- Identifying which types of marketing strategies are best for a firm is usually dictated by their end goals and budget.
Each law firm has their preferred type of marketing tactics, and some may work better than others. If your firm is new, you may be doing little to no marketing at all. If your firm has been in business for several years, you may be running several different types of marketing campaigns such as digital ad campaigns, investment in search engine optimization (SEO) and website creation, purchasing leads, billboard sponsorship, and obtaining referral partners.
So what type of marketing is your law firm using to grow awareness and bring in new clients?
Factors such as practice areas, geographical locations, and market competition can influence the type of marketing a firm runs and that campaign’s performance and outcome. For example, a firm that invests in billboards may see an increase in brand awareness overtime. A firm that runs an aggressive online paid advertising campaign may increase traffic to their website. Identifying which types of marketing strategies are best for a firm is usually dictated by their end goals and budget.
Most forms of marketing can fall under two primary categories: brand awareness or lead generation.
Brand awareness is just as it sounds — increasing name recognition in the marketplace -– and it takes time and financial investment to build. Billboards, banner ads, and tv commercials are all forms of brand awareness marketing.
The other category of marketing is lead generation. A lead, or a marketing lead, can be defined as someone who contacts your business with an interest in your services. This usually comes in the form of a phone call, email, or form submission on your website. Pay-Per-Click (PPC), SEO, and online referrals are examples of lead generation marketing tactics.
A law firm needs to take on new clients and cases in order to grow and increase their revenue. Each new client started as a lead at some point in their legal hiring journey. So, if a law firm can identify the sources of their leads that bring in the most clients, they’ll be able to invest into those channels in order to grow.
There are top channels for generating leads for your firm, from purchasing leads outright to running specific campaigns that attract and obtain prospective clients.
Purchasing leads from a company like Martindale-Nolo is the easiest way law firms can start getting leads, and often provides the highest return on investment (ROI) compared to other forms of marketing. Leads are often inexpensive to purchase and allow you to specify which practice areas and locations (including counties) you wish to target. In practice areas where cases generally bring in more revenue, such as personal injury and motor vehicle accidents, this can be an excellent route.
For example, let’s say an attorney buys 50 leads at $60/lead over a 3-month span, and is able to close 5 clients out of those leads (10% close rate). If the average personal injury case nets the firm $50,000, the ROI would look like:
|Cost:||50 x $60 = $3,000|
|5 x $50,000 = $250,000|
|Cost:||50 x $60 = $3,000|
|Revenue:||5 x $50,000 = $250,000|
As you can see with the above ROI example, purchasing leads can produce an excellent return if done correctly. The great thing about buying leads is that attorneys with little to no marketing experience can start receiving leads and inquiries immediately, without having to invest a lot of time and money into new marketing campaigns. Additionally, larger firms can use a Pay-Per-Lead (PPL) program to supplement their existing marketing and obtain more market share.
There are a few things to keep in mind when purchasing leads. It is crucial for attorneys to have a solid follow-up process in place anytime they receive a lead. This usually includes a series of phone calls and emails to the lead after they receive it.
Another channel for generating leads is to run PPC campaigns on Google and Microsoft. This option may require hiring a marketing professional or outsourcing to an agency, as there are several technical steps involved in running a successful PPC campaign that is able to generate leads.
To run a PPC campaign, you will first need to create a list of keywords and ads and then specify preferred geo-targets. Next, specify how much you are willing to pay anytime someone clicks your ad.
For each keyword, there is a bidding system, and the more that you’re willing to pay for each click, the higher up on the search results your ad appears. Just note that the legal industry has a reputation for having some of the most expensive cost per clicks for keywords.
SEO is similar to PPC in that you are trying to get your website listed in the search results for a certain group of keywords, but unlike PPC, you don't pay for clicks and ads. The goal is to try to get your website to show up organically in the search results.
Leads generated from SEO compared to PPC tend to convert better than PPC on average, but can also take longer to see results. PPC campaigns can be set up in a few days with leads coming in after only a week, whereas SEO leads can take 6 months to years to start coming in. However, the investment can be well worth it as law firms with good SEO rankings can generate a large number of leads on a regular basis. Depending on your firm’s bandwidth and budget, consider investing in both PPC and SEO to cover all bases.
Lastly, getting listed on lawyer directories is another great option for generating leads. When a person needs to hire a lawyer, they often search online (typically “near me”) and those searches often lead to a lawyer directory site. Lawyers listed at the top of those directories’ search results — and have good reviews and ratings — receive the lion's share of leads and inquiries within a directory.
When it comes to law firm marketing and lead generation, there are many options available for firms. Start out by identifying budget, market landscape, and competition before investing in a marketing strategy, and then select the solutions that work best to hit these goals.