In its most basic form, legal marketing is the process of promoting and selling legal services to potential clients. This can be done through traditional marketing channels like advertising, public relations, and networking, as well as more modern methods, including websites, search engine optimization, and social media. Regardless of the strategies used, the goal of legal marketing is always to generate more business for the firm.
Legal Marketing Basics
Legal marketing, broadly, is the process of strategically utilizing a range of marketing tactics to raise awareness and increase visibility for your legal practice. It includes all activities related to driving new business for your firm, such as traditional advertising, digital marketing, building relationships with clients, prospects, and industry peers, and other techniques intended to grow a law firm’s or lawyer’s brand, reputation, and name recognition, ultimately leading to more leads – and more business.
The landscape of legal marketing is constantly evolving, making it essential that firms keep up with the latest trends to stay competitive. For a law firm to succeed in today’s market, it must consider both traditional and digital marketing channels. This requires an understanding of current best practices and strategies, such as creating quality content that conveys the firm’s expertise; optimizing your website for search engines; engaging with potential clients on social media platforms; forming meaningful partnerships with industry associations; tracking analytics from online campaign efforts in order to judge their efficacy; and participating in conferences, events and other activities where you can engage with clients and prospects.
When done right, legal marketing campaigns can lead to increased business from satisfied customers who have had favorable experiences with your law firm.
Attorney Advertising Used to be Illegal!
Marketing for law firms is still a relatively new field. Believe it or not, until the late 1970s, attorney advertising was prohibited in most states. That changed when the U.S. Supreme Court decided Bates v. State Bar of Arizona, making it possible for attorneys to advertise their services and reach potential clients who wouldn’t have known about them otherwise.
Although many forms of attorney advertising and marketing are now perfectly legal, attorneys are still bound by the rules of professional ethics in promoting and marketing legal services and must meet all ethical standards and state-based rules related to legal marketing. This is one important way that legal marketing differs from marketing in many other industries. Some attorneys may still feel reluctant to advertise. There is some resistance, perhaps rooted in history, to the idea that a good and respectable attorney or firm needs to resort to such commercial means to find business. Most attorneys bristle at the idea of being perceived as an “ambulance chaser,” or anything close to it.
Legal Marketing Takes a Variety of Forms
Legal marketing comes in a variety of forms, each with its own advantages and strategies depending on your firm’s needs. Traditional forms such as print advertisements, direct mail campaigns, and radio spots can help establish your name in local markets while reinforcing your online presence. While these initiatives are a part of some legal marketing plans, they have been less commonly used in recent years.
More popular in today’s legal marketing plans are digital marketing efforts. Websites are standard for law firms today and should provide comprehensive information about your services and attorneys, while being easy for visitors to use to examine and evaluate your offerings. Search engine optimization, or the practice of optimizing your website content to increase the likelihood of your law firm’s website appearing at the top of organic search results, is another tactic often used by law firms.
Many firms pursue a content strategy as part of their legal marketing plans. Creating content that is easy to understand and engaging for potential clients to quickly assess if you are the right fit for their needs is essential. This can include blogs, videos, live streams, podcasts, website pages, firm news, emails, microsites, newsletters, articles, and social media posts.
Many firms use social media outlets like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to promote their services, support their content strategy, and build relationships with current and prospective clients. This educates prospects and clients about a law firm or individual attorney’s practice, builds credibility, and can help establish them as a thought leader.
Online advertising, including paid search ads (pay-per-click) and paid social media ads, are a growing segment of digital legal marketing and is changing the legal industry. Effectively utilizing these tactics can help lawyers and law firms reach a much larger audience than ever before, including not only potential clients but referral sources and even other attorneys.
Many attorneys find success with public relations initiatives, media appearances, networking, writing and publishing articles, and speaking engagements as a way to increase their visibility, build their reputation, and connect with their target audience.
Legal marketing can be an incredibly powerful tool for law firms and attorneys looking to maximize visibility and draw in new clients and is the key to success for any law firm. It allows firms to reach new clients, build relationships with current clients, and create a positive reputation in the community. From targeting potential clients to creating a lasting brand presence, it’s important to develop a strategy that works for your individual strengths and needs. Ultimately legal marketing is all about ensuring that your firm stands out from others in the legal landscape with distinctive messaging that resonates with your client base so that you can build long-term relationships for mutual benefit.