21 Marketing Ideas for Small Law Firms
Small law firms are always looking for marketing ideas that won’t sink their modest marketing budget. It’s hard to compete with those huge, multi-city national law firms that have hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend on marketing each year. But with some creativity, focus, and little time, there are many marketing ideas for small law firms that can produce outstanding results. Best of all, they cost little or nothing to implement. At Gladiator Law Marketing, we’ve put together a list that we hope is useful.
Our List of Marketing Ideas for Small Law Firms
Below we’ve created a list of 21 marketing ideas for small law firms. While it takes time and a little organization to implement some of these strategies, they can really pay off. These are easy ways to stretch your firm’s lean marketing dollars and even have fun in the process.
1. Claim Your GMB Account
Did you know that Google My Business (GMB) offers your law firm a free listing? It certainly does! This is one of the first things you should do when building a law firm marketing strategy. GMB for lawyers is a tool that enables you to manage and optimize your Google business profile on the web, which will increase your visibility on local search engine results pages (SERPs) from Google Search and in Google Maps. To begin using your GMB account, you must verify your business and show proof of ownership. If a profile doesn’t yet exist, then you can create one.
2. Get a Perfect 10 Avvo Rating
Why not shoot for the stars? Getting a perfect 10 Avvo rating can put you head and shoulders above the competition. Avvo.com is an online legal directory that includes 97% of attorneys in the U.S. The site rates individual lawyers based on information in their Avvo profile. These ratings are then published on sites like Google, Yahoo, and elsewhere. Avvo’s audience is massive and getting larger. As an attorney, you likely already have an unclaimed profile on the Avvo website, so “claim” it and add more details about your professional practice areas, credentials, and awards. A rating of 10 – 9.0 is considered “superb.” If your profile isn’t claimed, Avvo won’t give you a numerical rating and it will be designated as “no concern.” So, take a few minutes and update this profile. It could pay off in spades since Avvo is a place where potential clients go to check out attorneys’ backgrounds.
3. Create Student Scholarships
Everyone loves to help a struggling student, and what better way to do so than creating a scholarship in your law firm’s name. This creates publicity for a good cause and for your firm. For example, applicants for the annual award can be required to write a 500-word essay about the importance of the U.S. judicial system as part of their application. Scholarships of $500 or $1,000 or more can help offset a college student’s tuition. When a winner is chosen, you can promote your award and the student through a press release distributed to local newspapers, magazines, and TV stations. This is a marketing idea for small law firms that makes a big difference in a young person’s life.
4. Build Word-of-Mouth Marketing
It doesn’t cost anything to ask friends and professional colleagues to pass on your law firm’s name to their acquaintances who may be looking for an attorney. You can offer to return the favor by recommending their business or service. Nothing beats the power of networking, and word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most cost-effective and powerful methods of building your brand.
5. Leverage LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a sometimes-overlooked social media platform that has less glitter than Twitter but a lot more gravitas. LinkedIn is the social site where professionals share industry ideas, think pieces, and networking leads. Consider writing an educational blog intermittently – say, on business law trends, tax planning, or legal adoption issues – and posting it on your LinkedIn page to keep yourself top-of-mind among your professional peers.
6. Pursue Social Media
Most law firms these days have a Facebook page, and some extend their social media campaigns to Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube as well. At a minimum, even small law firms should have a Facebook page. The key to social media is keeping it continually updated with comments, photos, and new information; otherwise, it looks stale and tired – not a good first impression. Young people get most of their news from social media, so having a presence is a must for Millennial and Gen Z clients. It’s one of the most inexpensive marketing ideas for small law firms.
7. Explore QR Codes
QR codes for law firms are becoming increasingly popular because (a) they provide an easy way for mobile users to optically scan and locate your firm’s information, and (b) they can be integrated with an online payment solution to securely accept payments from clients. A QR code is a two-dimensional barcode that can be read by the camera on a consumer’s smartphone. By placing a QR code on your marketing collateral and elsewhere, you can expand your visibility to a whole new world of mobile users who are searching for legal information and guidance. You can place a QR code on your business card that enables a client to access information about bankruptcy filing, personal injury claims, or family law. A recent article in ABA Journal explains how QR codes can enhance cashflow by connecting clients to a custom, secure payment page.
8. Become a Guest Blogger
If you’re an attorney who likes to write, consider being a guest blogger on a third-party website or publication. Typically, the post will carry your byline – another feather in your cap. Guest blog posts can enhance your small firm’s marketing efforts by adding backlinks to your website, strengthening your domain’s authority, and getting your name in front of a larger audience. You want to find guest blogging opportunities on websites that themselves have strong domain authority and are related to your practice areas. For example, sites about legal technology, investment and retirement (estate planning), automotive (car accidents), and healthcare (nursing home abuse) may relate to the legal work you do. When you guest blog on sites with “dofollow” links to your firm’s website, you can get an SEO boost by passing the authority of the origin site to your site.
9. Get Involved in the Community
Every Little League team or Girl Scout troop is looking for sponsors to provide jerseys or for businesses to donate items for raffles. For a modest out-of-pocket cost, a law firm can invest in its community, build goodwill, and get publicity by sponsoring youth activities. Or perhaps furry, four-legged friends pull at your heartstrings. Your law firm can donate funds to the local Humane Society or volunteer at a pet-rescue location. You can take pictures of your staff pitching in with rescue puppies and then post photos to your law firm’s social media site. There are so many ways for small law firms to engage with your community – sponsor a 5-K run to beat cancer, bicycle to end diabetes, or donate toys to a children’s hospital.
10. Prioritize Website Optimization
It’s important to invest in SEO if you want to increase your Google ranking on SERPs and make sure searchers find you online. While it can cost money to hire an SEO firm to optimize your website, it’s well worth the investment. If potential clients can’t find you through mobile and online searches, they can’t hire you. SEO is a highly technical craft and hard to do on your own unless you’re an SEO professional. This is a critical marketing idea for small law firms, and you may want to focus a healthy portion of even a modest marketing budget here.
11. Configure a Chatbot
While you’re optimizing your law firm website, add a chatbot. Consumers are demanding round-the-clock service these days, and a 24/7 chatbot can meet that need. A chatbot is a computer program that simulates human conversation (either spoken or written). It’s a first-response tool that greets and engages consumers in a friendly, conversational manner and can link them to a help center or FAQ section on your site. Chatbots are artificial intelligence (AI) that enables consumers to interact with a business via voice, text, or messaging. You’ve seen them on law firm websites – the little box that suddenly appears on a web page, often with a tiny headshot photo of a human, and a message that says, “How can I help you today?” Chatbot software is simple to install and affordable. Chatbots provide would-be clients a way to get around your 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. office hours, giving them immediate satisfaction and useful information.
12. Create an Attorney Referral Program
Formalizing an attorney referral program is an easy way to implement a passive income stream for your firm – passive, at least, in the sense that the legal work will find you rather than you having to go find it. Some of your peer law firms or solo practitioners don’t serve all practice areas, and when a client walks through their door with a legal need they don’t provide, the firm will hand off the client to another law firm. By offering a fee through an attorney referral program, you can attract case referrals from other lawyers. Whether it’s for a set fee or another financial arrangement, you can handle a case on another attorney’s behalf, serve as co-counsel, or serve as chief litigation counsel, depending on the client’s needs. If you establish an attorney referral program, it’s a nice idea to create a page on your website explaining that you offer this program. Then, in future digital marketing efforts aimed at attorneys, you can link to this page.
13. Become a Media Thought Leader
Talking to journalists isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but for those attorneys who are stout of heart, being available to local media as an informed and authoritative source on legal topics can be a way to get earned media coverage and the publicity that ensues. Newspaper and TV reporters often look for a source to explain or comment on a significant U.S. Supreme Court decision, a local legal trend, or a retirement topic like estate planning or changes in tax law. By making yourself available to journalists, you can build your law firm’s visibility in the media.
14. Write Personalized Thank-You’s
Never underestimate the power of a handwritten note. You may be tempted to think of it as old-fashioned, but in the age of hashtags, tweets, and emojis, a handwritten note stands out. It says you took the time to sit down, collect your thoughts, and pen a sincere sentiment. Invest in some thick, embossed stationery and greet the person by their first name. Thank them for referring a client or allowing you to represent them. It’s a memorable gesture the person won’t soon forget.
15. Get Behind Email Marketing
Creating an email contact list and sending out monthly emails on newsy topics about the law is an easy way to keep your law firm’s name in front of peers and potential clients. Marketing emails, often referred to as eblasts, are best when they are educational and provide nuggets of actionable information, rather than just being promotional sales pitches. If the emails provide value and insight, people will read them. You can build a contact list and distribution method by using MailChimp or a similar service. Email marketing is cost effective and one of the simplest marketing ideas for small law firms.
16. Pursue Client Testimonials and Reviews
Getting positive client testimonials to post on your law firm website and asking clients to leave reviews on third-party platforms like Google, Yelp!, Avvo, Facebook, and elsewhere are great and inexpensive ways to build your law firm brand. It takes focus and consistency to continually ask clients for reviews and testimonials, but it’s well worth the effort. Research shows that 90% of consumers read reviews before visiting a business, and 40% of consumers form an opinion by reading just one to three clients’ comments. Testimonials and reviews are a must when it comes to marketing ideas for small law firms.
17. Create Short Videos
More and more law firms are imbedding short videos in their web pages to market themselves. Whether it’s a lawyer explaining a legal topic or a satisfied client offering a positive testimonial, these crisp videos can be compelling. The key is to keep them short, packed with information, and of high technical quality. It’s often best to use a professional video firm to make these, rather than just creating a video with your cell phone.
18. Lead Seminars
Whether you serve as an adjunct instructor at a local college or host a lunchtime seminar for the Rotary Club, teaching and leading educational workshops is a brilliant way to build and enhance the authority of your law firm brand. The general public is interested in many legal topics and would welcome the chance to attend a free seminar on estate planning or forming an LLC. There’s nothing that says “authority” better than being the attorney who is teaching everyone else. It’s both a way of paying it forward and of promoting your services. This is one of the easiest and most enjoyable marketing ideas for small law firms.
19. Attend Legal Conferences
There’s just no substitute for in-person networking, and what better way to do this than to attend legal conferences and rub elbows with other attorneys and law firm marketers. We’ve compiled a list of the annual legal marketing conferences, and the American Bar Association and local bar associations also offer a wide range of regional conferences and workshops. Attending conferences can help you stay abreast of new legal trends and emerging law firm technology.
20. Consider Teacher Giveaways
Offering teacher giveaways and donating school supplies each fall has become a popular way for law firms to get involved in the community, show their appreciation for educators, and get publicity. Whether it’s a weekly drawing that passes out gift cards to teachers who are nominated by family and students or a Saturday drive-up distribution of pencils, paper, folders, and staplers to students – these giveaways put a smile on everyone’s face. It’s a way to say thank you to the community where you reside.
21. Get to Know the Small Business Administration (SBA)
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers a wealth of free workshops, webinars, and other resources for everything from launching a small business to marketing on a budget. It also provides information about buying and selling your business, hiring employees, and preventing cyber-attacks. The SBA’s Learning Platform offers online courses for everything imaginable, with a full section on marketing and growth strategies. The SBA is also a hub for SCORE, the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert (often retired) business executives and mentors, who offer guidance and personalized coaching to small business owners.
Let Gladiator Help You with Marketing Ideas for Small Law Firms
If you’re looking for smart, cost-effective marketing ideas for your law firm, Gladiator Law Marketing can help. We have dozens of satisfied clients who came to us with marketing challenges, for whom we created customized solutions. Even if you’re a small law firm, you can still have a blockbuster marketing plan. To find out more about how we can help, call us for a free consult at 888-683-3212.
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