In a competitive legal marketplace, you need every advantage available to reach prospective clients. Attorney marketing opportunities abound, delivering both significant potential and also confusion.

Without a tailored attorney marketing strategy, it’s easy to waste time, money, and effort on initiatives that fail to attract the specific types of leads your practice requires. Convincing those leads to convert can be even more difficult. To cut through the confusion, we’ve highlighted several best practices for successful attorney marketing:

Get new clients and drive referrals with marketing tools and advice for legal professionals.

Find your niche‌

Your law firm cannot be all things to all people. While it’s tempting to provide a range of services in hopes of capturing the interest of as many clients as possible, this approach is likely to backfire.

Today’s clients don’t want a jack of all trades. They prefer attorneys who have proven themselves with specific types of cases. For example, somebody looking to file a medical malpractice lawsuit will take little comfort in knowing that you also handle DUI, estate planning, and intellectual property matters. They’ll find your law firm far more compelling if your track record indicates a history of success in medical malpractice cases that resemble their current concerns.

Before you implement specific attorney marketing tactics, take some time to determine and define your niche. This will depend on your interests, professional background, and the top areas of need in your community. It’s likely you already practice and emphasize your niche to some extent — but you also need to make potential clients aware of your background and commitment.

Once you’ve identified a specific practice area, research keywords that reference your focus as a law firm. These can be incorporated throughout your website and may even form a blueprint for the types of content you want to add.

Returning to the medical malpractice example, you might use terms such as “medical malpractice law firm” on your homepage or “top medical malpractice attorney” for your professional profile. Additional pages on your website may break this broad practice area down into specific niches your firm handles, such as surgical errors or birth injuries.

Don’t just litter these pages with keywords. Instead, they should elevate already high-quality content that provides genuine value to website visitors. This is your opportunity to demonstrate that you are an authority in your niche.

Develop a tailored client persona

You’ve determined which types of cases you prefer to take on and selected keywords accordingly. Now, further targeting is needed to ensure that specific types of clients find your website and choose to invest in your services. Without the right messaging, you risk inadvertently turning away preferred types of clients — or wasting your marketing efforts on prospects you’re unwilling or unable to serve.

A detailed client persona can help you pinpoint which leads are the best fit for your practice and how you can position your brand to win their favor.

If you believe that you are already serving the types of clients you want to seek through future marketing campaigns, review their details to determine trends. These could range from demographics to personal objectives. What convinced these clients to select your law firm? Consider discussing their experience so you can get a better sense of what they wanted from your legal services and whether you were able to deliver on these demands.

Interviews are even more important if you plan to transition to a new practice area. You need to understand what exactly motivates leads to become clients. Once you’ve done your research, you can use these insights to craft a persona representing a “typical” client you might encounter. Include details such as:

  • Demographic information such as age or marital status
  • Information about occupation, hobbies, or aspirations
  • Adjectives describing personality traits or values
  • Objections that might prevent a client who looks like this persona from converting

Don’t be afraid to adjust your persona as you acquire new clients. Your understanding of this type of person may evolve, as could your willingness to work with a specific client base.

Focus on local SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) allows you to develop content that reaches users from Google and other search engines. To improve your SEO strategy, use local terms. These build on clients’ desire to work with attorneys who understand your region’s legal system and procedures. These should fit naturally into your content. Avoid stuffing local keywords, as Google’s current algorithm does not look favorably on this tactic. Selected keywords can be featured on your website’s homepage, in your blog posts, or in content explaining the scope of your geographic service area.

Simply adding local terminology can make a world of difference for your campaign. For example, a generic “medical malpractice” keyword may result in few conversions. But the phrase “San Diego medical malpractice attorney” will be more likely to attract attention from the specific prospects who are inclined to visit your office or schedule a consultation.

Launch a local PPC campaign

attorney marketing should include PPC advertising
Text-based PPC ads, like this one by legalshield.com places you at the top of the search engine results pages when someone enters your chosen keywords.

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising can deliver a quick marketing boost as you wait for your SEO efforts to take hold. With PPC, local efforts — known as geotargeting — provide the best return on investment (ROI).

As with SEO, keywords must be carefully targeted to account for a competitive market. This is even more important with PPC, as steep demand may drive up prices for top keywords.

Google Ads forms the basis of most PPC campaigns. Numerous options are available via Google Ads:

  • Text-based campaigns displayed on search engine results pages (SERPS)
  • Displays on partner websites
  • Brief ads played immediately before or during YouTube videos

If you opt for search campaigns via Google Ads, don’t forget to take advantage of ad extensions, which can feature phone numbers or other call-outs to prompt action. Sitelink extensions can lead prospects to specific pages on your website, while lead form extensions encourage qualified leads to initiate contact, thereby taking a key step towards conversion.

Optimize for Google My Business

Google My Business (GMB) is an increasingly important tool for local entities such as law firms. This resource allows search engine users to find nearby businesses that match their objectives. Searches are displayed in featured panels, which are more visually compelling than typical titles and descriptions found on search engine results pages (SERPs).

Properly optimized GMB pages are the most likely to occupy valuable search engine real estate, despite not requiring the investment of a paid campaign. This makes GMB one of the best opportunities for securing a high marketing return on investment (ROI).

At a minimum, claim your business and make sure that all featured details are correct. Check the highlighted address and contact information. Other details such as operating hours or photos of your practice can further improve trust among prospects. Don’t forget to include targeted keywords just as you would for your webpage.

Use social media to engage followers

Social media presents an important but often risky means of reaching out to potential and current clients. Data from the American Bar Association reveals that most law firms use sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn to some extent.

Social media platforms can improve brand awareness while also providing a dynamic means of sharing content that prospects find useful. Ethics, however, must be carefully considered. Avoid anything that could be misconstrued as giving specific advice to your followers.

Opportunities for engaging with clients via social media include:

  • Create a YouTube series with answers to common questions about your practice area. These videos can be shared in email newsletters and on your Facebook page or even embedded on your website.
  • Highlight news stories or blog posts your followers might find interesting or informative. These should relate to your legal niche.
  • Provide details about law firm employees to form a more personal connection with prospects. For example, a bio about your firm’s paralegal might highlight his passion for and involvement with a local charitable organization.
  • Share passages from client testimonials featured on your website. Social media also provides an excellent opportunity to show off video testimonials. Just be sure to get permission from clients prior to highlighting their feedback.
  • Let followers know about recent awards or other forms of recognition your law firm has achieved.

Encourage clients to share testimonials‌

Client testimonials are among the most powerful attorney marketing tools available. These can be displayed on your law firm’s Home page, About us page, or in email and social media campaigns. Better yet, develop a specific page dedicated to testimonials from top clients.

Don’t forget to seek reviews for your Google My Business page. These will be displayed prominently alongside other information on your profile. Many prospects will instantly pass on a law firm that lacks Google reviews.

Personalized emails are your best tool for securing testimonials from previous clients. These should include details that convey your high regard for these individuals and your desire for their honest feedback. All testimonial requests should also include links to submission forms, where past clients can share details about their experience with your law firm.

Many law firms focus on video-based testimonials, which provide a stronger, more emotional connection. Your contact may need some convincing to make the additional effort, but some may prefer this option over sending written feedback.

Regardless of your approach to client testimonials, be sure to send a follow-up email to all those who provide feedback. With written reviews, minor editing is acceptable prior to posting on your website. No matter the format, testimonials should be visually appealing and easy to navigate.

Nurture leads via marketing emails

Prospects who make contact with your firm will not necessarily convert. Some will be quick to schedule consultations, but others may require additional attention. This can occur via email nurturing, in which you demonstrate that your law firm deserves future clients’ trust.

Success with lead nurturing begins with segmentation. This reflects the various types of prospects interested in your services, as well as the stages they may occupy within the law firm sales funnel. Save time by using a segmentation tool that allows you to customize email content based on the needs and preferences of targeted audiences.

Your lead nurturing system should also include a basic content timeline. This allows specific types of emails to be sent according to the prospect’s current position in the sales funnel. To streamline this process, develop automated emails triggered by specific actions. For example, if a lead submits an interest form online, this should trigger a follow-up email that provides helpful information and encourages the lead to take the next step.

Develop a referral stream

attorney marketing includes creating a referral system with your peers
As you build relationships with other attorneys, build your referral program as well.

Referral marketing can provide a steady stream of qualified leads to your firm. It also allows you to help those prospects that you can’t take on as clients, by referring them to other firms. Many potential clients are more willing to trust law firms recommended by lawyers with whom they’ve already developed strong relationships.

Email marketing offers a valuable opportunity for nurturing your referral network. As with client outreach, regular, non-intrusive emails that provide genuine value can promote both brand awareness and trust among fellow legal professionals — increasing the likelihood of your firm receiving quality referrals.

Pay attention to your intake process

What happens to qualified leads after you’ve made contact? Whether they arrive by way of search engines, social media, or your referral network, these leads will eventually need to interact with your intake staff. When and how they’re contacted can determine whether they ultimately convert.

To begin, set up an automated welcome series. The first email should provide an opportunity to schedule consultations or calls. If prospects aren’t yet ready to convert, provide other opportunities for connecting, such as email newsletters or social media.

In addition to sending marketing emails soon after leads get in touch, it’s important to reach out over the phone. This process should be carefully developed and tailored to account for the quick loss in interest that occurs after prospects leave your website.

Not only should intake calls occur as soon as possible following initial contact, they should be on-brand. Scripts are helpful, but should not stand in the way of a personable tone that reflects the messaging on your website or social media pages.

Whether you’re interested in implementing an improved email nurturing, SEO, or social media campaign for your law firm, you’ll need up-to-date information on the most cutting-edge attorney marketing strategies. Constant Contact’s The Download offers extensive insight into all things legal marketing.