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Web Marketing Tactics That Work

Here is a conversation I have at least once a month with a law firm prospect who calls us about our services:

  • Prospect: I am interested in doing social media for my firm.

  • Me: Why are you looking at social media?

  • Prospect: Well that is where the future is and I am not seeing that many firms in my area leverage it.

  • Me: Ah, I see. Social has really changed in the last three years. It is mostly pay-to-play now and is an awareness strategy like TV. It typically isn’t a direct driver of leads. Are you interested in increasing awareness for your brand or in getting more leads?

  • Prospect: Leads … I need more business.

  • Me: Have you considered an SEO or PPC campaign?

  • Prospect: No, those are too expensive for me.

  • Me: Ok, well there are a few tactics that you can try for free. Are you doing any community outreach, speaking engagements, taking known referrals out to lunch, or any other face-to-face networking?

  • Prospect: No, I need to. I just don’t have the time.

The conversation either ends there or turns educational for those who want to learn. I can empathize with partners of a firm that are trying to make things work. Being creative and having a can-do attitude is great. Unfortunately, that sometimes just isn’t enough if you don’t have the time or money to properly implement proven marketing tactics.

Many attorneys spend money or time on marketing tactics without ever asking themselves “What is it going to take for this to work?” I am going to discuss several marketing tactics below and answer that question for you. If you can’t afford to spend your time or money on them, then don’t go that route.

Know What You Are Getting Into

Before we get into specific tactics, I want to make sure you understand a few key fundamentals. Marketing doesn’t have to be as complex as it is made out to be. By understanding a couple of key components, you can dramatically improve your likelihood of success.

  1. What are the costs of marketing? (Hint: It isn’t always money.)
  2. How does the marketing campaign work? (Awareness vs. Positioning)
  3. Cost #1: Marketing that Only Requires Your Time

    Yes, time is money. But not all marketing campaigns require you to pay an outside source, like an agency. There are many different tactics that can be performed by the attorney or people working at the firm.

    Now, here is the truth about tactics that require only your time: THEY WORK INCREDIBLY WELL. Why? Because no one wants to do them! Most attorneys complain about not having enough time to spend with their family and are overloaded with client work.

    For lawyers with small budgets, I highly recommend focusing on what other firms won’t do.

    These tactics aren’t anything new. Most of the time when a marketing tactic is proven to work, it slowly loses effectiveness as everyone starts to do it. Because other attorneys aren’t willing to spend the time to make their marketing work, these tactics remain fresh. Everyone knows they work; they would just rather pay someone else to do them (which usually defeats the purpose).

    Cost #2: Marketing That Is New (Opportunity Cost)

    Let me share with you a few facts of life when it comes to new marketing tactics.

    • Can you afford to pursue a marketing campaign that is likely to fail? Whether it costs time or money, there is an opportunity cost. If you focus on new tactics, then you aren’t as focused on the tactics that are known to work.
    • Most new marketing ideas fail…for someone, at least. Sometimes the idea is just plain bad. Sometimes it is going to work only for a specific type of business. Until people start to implement the idea en masse, no one will know who it is going to work for. Oftentimes it is a matter of how to execute the tactic, which can be a difficult learning curve.
      • Many years ago, when social advertising first came about, new agencies focused on social media sprang up all over the place. They were willing to sell their services to anyone and everyone. Now, very few of those agencies still exist. Social advertising works only for certain types of businesses. When a new marketing tactic is discovered, agencies will sell it to anyone because it isn’t fully understood yet.
    • Looking for tactics that the bigger firms haven’t found yet is a naïve strategy. Some of my bigger clients are willing to spend up to $3,000 per month on new ideas, and they don’t care whether they work or not. They want to be on the cutting edge and are willing to pay for it. If a larger firm isn’t pursing a strategy, there is a good chance they pursued it for a while but it didn’t work. If the tactic doesn’t cost much, I guarantee you the larger firms have tried it.
      • I occasionally will speak to a client or prospect that is really excited to try a marketing tactic that other firms aren’t doing, without ever considering the fact that other firms might not be doing it because it doesn’t work.
    • Occasionally a new tactic works and the first adopters are handsomely rewarded. Television in the 1980s or SEO in the 2000s, for example. That doesn’t mean you should pursue TV or SEO — just realize the expected ROI decreases as more firms pursue those strategies.

    Cost #3: Marketing That Is Expensive

    These are tactics that have been proven to be effective. Everyone knows they exist and so the costs are going to be driven up. They aren’t as risky, because they are already proven. When these tactics fail, it is because they were poorly implemented or should not have been implemented because of your unique situation.

Types of Marketing Campaigns

Awareness Campaigns

There are a variety of media to use for an awareness campaign, with two primary outcomes: Brand and Educational.

Awareness Media includes: Television, Billboards, Radio, Social Media, and anything considered ‘mass advertising’.

When pursuing a brand awareness campaign, the goal is to get many people to remember who you are and what you do. This is a proactive approach to marketing in that you want them to remember you when they need you. The three major components are:

  1. Reach – The number of people that see your advertisement. Is your campaign going to reach enough people to be worth it?
  2. Frequency – The number of times each person sees your advertisement. Is your campaign going to show each person the ad enough times for them to remember the ad?
  3. Messaging – The advertisement itself. Are people going to remember what you want them to remember from the ad? Sometimes people remember ads but don’t remember who the ad was for or what they were selling.
    1. The key to success with a brand-awareness campaign is brand recall. Just because someone sees your ad, this does not mean they will remember it.

      Educational Awareness Campaigns

      An educational awareness campaign works the same, with one major difference. Rather than being focused on getting people to remember who you are and what you do, you want to teach them something. This is commonly seen with product liability topics, to inform those who don’t realize that they may have a case. You must spread awareness of the issue to people who may have been injured.

Positional Campaigns

Most people don’t care about attorneys until they need one. Consequently, much of attorney advertising is about being in the right place, at the right time, with the right service. The No. 1 way people find an attorney is through a search engine. They go to Google and either type in informational or transactional phrases.

  • Informational – People have a problem, but they don’t know the answer. So, they start to conduct research to see what their options are. Example: ‘I got hurt at work and can’t afford my bills.’
  • Transactional – People know they need an attorney and are actively looking. They will type in phrases like Car Accident Lawyer, Injury Attorney, or Medical Malpractice Law Firm. These searches will typically have “lawyer,” “attorney,” or “law firm” in the phrase somewhere.

There are two ways to leverage the search engines for business:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): SEO helps you appear naturally (organically) either in the maps or the organic listings around the maps.
  • Pay-Per-Click (PPC): Paying to be seen in the search engines is called pay-per-click advertising, and those results will be denoted with the word ‘Ad’ next to them. These ads are typically at the very top or very bottom of the page.

Marketing Agency for Attorneys

Campaign Strategies, Tactics & Assets

How To Get Them To Work

1. The Law Firm’s Brand

  • COST: Low

  • PRIMARY TYPE: All

  • DIY: Maybe

What it is: When we talk branding for law firms, we are referencing the core elements that define your firm: logo, brand colors, persona (e.g., serious, relaxed, tough, down to business…), taglines, typography / fonts, et al. The type of practice areas your firm is focused on also help to define your brand.

Your law firm’s brand should help define your potential audience as a key metric of your marketing. For example, does it make sense to run PPC ads for divorce, if your brand is a personal injury practice? Of course not. But, a criminal defense firm should certainly run DUI PPC ads as a sub-set of their overall brand.

Keys to Success: The main thing is to be clear and consistent. Your branding should be the same across all your marketing efforts. You also don’t want your brand to get stale. We frequently see this with websites frequently when they haven’t been updated in a decade. Most businesses will update their branding every 3-5 years.

When it Will Fail: When people can’t tell who you are and what you do. Ask people not affiliated with your firm and who aren’t in the legal industry what they think. This will let you know how the layperson views your brand.

2. Web Design

  • COST: Low (but don’t skimp.)

  • PRIMARY TYPE: All

  • DIY: Only until you can afford better.

What it is: Your website is your digital business card. It can be your first impression and sometimes your only impression.

Keys to Success: In the grand scheme of things, website design is low-cost. Your investment in your design should be scaled to your overall marketing plan. If you are just starting out and can’t afford a professional site, then a DIY option is acceptable. If you plan on running PPC or SEO, then an effective, well-designed website is required. Not taking your website serious is an easy way to waste money with on-going campaigns.

When it Will Fail:

  • It is broken. They don’t work forever. Minor programming updates are required.

  • It is never updated. Realistically, you should have your website redesigned every 3-5 years. Otherwise it begins to look stale and doesn’t operate on all devices.

  • It doesn’t match the personality of the firm.

  • It isn’t of a high enough quality to accomplish your goals. You might not need a $5,000 website. If you are running PPC or SEO, then you probably do.

3. Blogging

  • COST: Free-Low (but don’t skimp.)

  • PRIMARY TYPE: Positional

  • DIY: Yes

What it is: Adding content to the blogging section of your website.

Keys to Success: Make sure the content you write is directly related to information people are searching for. This requires conducting research BEFORE you write. At one time it was acceptable to write on anything you felt was relevant. Google doesn’t like websites with unnecessary content, which is why it is important to make sure people are interested in what you are writing. In addition to the content, you need to build links to your blog. If you don’t, it won’t rank, and no one will read it.

When it Will Fail:

  • The content isn’t aligned with real search behavior.

  • No links are built to the blog page.

  • The content isn’t better than what is already available.

4. The Law Firm’s Reputation

  • COST: Low (but don’t skimp.)

  • PRIMARY TYPE: All

  • DIY: Mandatory

What it is: It is primarily online reviews, but general sentiment counts as well. Some firms can attain regional or national reputations, and this obviously goes beyond just getting good reviews.

Keys to Success: First and foremost, be a good attorney. There is no replacement for doing your job well and treating people with respect. Second, ask people to review your firm. There is software available to help with this, but no agency can do it for you. At a minimum, you will have to provide contact information for the clients you want to solicit a review from. A good goal is to get 10% of clients to leave a review.

When it Will Fail:

  • You don’t ask people for a review.

  • You are penalized by the bar association.

  • You ask people who are mad at you to leave a review. (Yes, I have seen it happen.)

  • You don’t respond to reviews appropriately.

5. Law Firm Videos

  • COST: Medium

  • PRIMARY TYPE: Awareness

  • DIY: Not Recommended

What it is: These can be used either for active awareness campaigns or as supplementary content to help educate people about your services.

Keys to Success: If you are going to use the video with advertising, it needs to be a professional-quality video. Work with an experienced videographer and clearly explain to them how you intend to use the video. If you are simply adding videos to your website or YouTube channel to help your existing clients or people already visiting your website, a professional-level video is suggested but is not as important. Never use a low-quality video. You don’t want to have a really nice website and then put a low-grade video on it that destroys the feeling.

When it Will Fail:

  • The production of the video isn’t aligned with how it will be used. For example, a seven-second video might be appropriate for YouTube pre-roll but not for Facebook.

  • Low-quality videos are used in advertising campaigns.

  • You spend a ton of money on the video but don’t have anything left to get people to see it. I see this more than you would think. Paying for great video does nothing if no one ever sees it.

6. Search Engine Optimization

  • COST: Medium

  • PRIMARY TYPE: Positional

  • DIY: Not Recommended

What it is: Getting your website to show up on Google, Yahoo, Bing, or any other search engine for phrases people use to find an attorney specializing in your practice areas. This is done through website design, content, on-site optimization, off-site promotion, and an active review management campaign.

Keys to Success: Be diligent about your strategy and stick with it over the long term. You can’t guess with SEO … that will just waste money.

When it Will Fail:

  • Poor website design and functionality.

  • Poor Content.

  • Poor On-Site Optimization.

  • Not paying attention to industry trends.

  • Not enough link-building or low-quality link-building.

  • Targeting a population that is too small. Sometimes PPC is a better option.

  • Not having a budget that is competitive with that of your local competing firms.

7. Search-Pay-Per Click

  • COST: Medium to High

  • PRIMARY TYPE: Positional

  • DIY: Not Anymore

What it is: Paying the search engine to show your website at the top of the search results for the phrases people use to find your practice areas.

Keys to Success: Work with an agency and have a high enough budget to be competitive. With the advent of artificial intelligence, bid management software, and the evolution of Google scripts, managing your own campaign is extremely difficult. We conducted a study last year that revealed most firms lose money on search PPC. In fact, you really need to be in the top 10%, performance-wise, to see a healthy profit. That is possible if you know what you are doing.

When it Will Fail:

  • You don’t leverage technology.

  • You don’t pay attention on a consistent basis.

  • You target the wrong keywords, geographies, or bid types.

  • Your website is substantially worse than your competitors’.

8. Display Pay-Per-Click

  • COST: Low to High

  • PRIMARY TYPE: Awareness

  • DIY: No

What it is: These are graphical ads that can be shown on websites that display ads. These ads are not the type that are seen on search engines. This is a form of mass advertising.

Keys to Success: All the basics of an awareness campaign are important: Reach, Frequency, Messaging, and Targeting. These campaigns are highly customizable and thus can be seen at a wide array of budgets. It is important that your expectations be properly aligned.

When it Will Fail:

  • Poor messaging.

  • Not attaining enough reach and/or frequency.

9. Remarketing Pay-Per-Click

  • COST: Low

  • PRIMARY TYPE: Awareness

  • DIY: For Some

What it is: This is a form of display advertising that is shown only to people who have visited your website. Some studies have shown it to increase the effectiveness of other campaigns by up to 50%.

Keys to Success: The cost per click for these types of campaigns is extremely small. It is our opinion that every law firm should be doing re-marketing. Keep the messaging simple, about who you are and what you do.

When it Will Fail: This is about as low-risk as you can get. The only way to fail with this is to not do it.

10. Social Media (Organic)

  • COST: Free

  • PRIMARY TYPE: Awareness

  • DIY: Yes

What it is: Posting messages, videos, and other content to your social media pages.

Keys to Success: The best part about this is that it is free and anyone can do it. The downside is that it isn’t very effective. Most people do not want to be publicly associated with an attorney, so few people are going to follow your firm. All of the social media companies want to drive revenue through advertising, so they intentionally limit the effectiveness of free use of their platform.

When it Will Fail: The worst thing you can do is have unrealistically high expectations. It isn’t unheard of for an attorney to occasionally get a case from social media, but it isn’t likely either. The key thing to remember is that people don’t go to social media to find an attorney.

12. Social Media Advertising

  • COST: Medium

  • PRIMARY TYPE: Awareness

  • DIY: No

What it is: Display advertising on social media platforms like Facebooks, Instagram, or LinkedIn.

Keys to Success: This is an awareness campaign where you are forcing your business onto other people’s newsfeeds. This needs to be treated like a mass advertising campaign. We find that these campaigns are best suited as a supplement to other brand awareness campaigns such as TV.

When it Will Fail:

  • If you treat it like a direct driver of leads — it isn’t. It is an awareness campaign.

  • You don’t pay attention to industry changes. There are many privacy-related changes taking place. Additionally, Facebook advertising has always been difficult to figure out. What works on social is frequently changing.

13. Social Media Involvement

  • COST: Free

  • PRIMARY TYPE: Awareness

  • DIY: Mandatory

What it is: Participating in community groups on social media. These can be any type of local group where you can extend your network and increase your popularity.

Keys to Success: This must be done yourself. You cannot hire an agency to impersonate you. We have spoken with many firms that see success with social media by being active within the community groups. Don’t be spammy and there only to sell your services. Actively participate in discussions and bring up your services only when warranted. People will hire you or refer to you in these communities because they view you as a friend. You can’t fake this type of involvement.

When it Will Fail:

  • You push your services on people.

  • You come across as not being genuine.

  • You aren’t consistent.

14. Directories

  • COST: Low to Medium

  • PRIMARY TYPE: Positional

  • DIY: No

What it is: Paying to be included in a directory. The most common directories are FindLaw, SuperLawyers, Justia, and AVVO.

Keys to Success: The search engines are always going to rank a handful of directories because these give people another option, just as they are always going to rank some local firms. Directories can help expand your geographic reach and put an additional hook in the water. You just need to make sure the directory you pay is actively ranking in the geographic area you are paying for.

When it Will Fail: I hardly ever speak with an attorney who is thrilled with what they get from directories. The biggest problem is that directories get traffic from search engines, just like your own website does. If their rankings decline, so does the number of people visiting your profile on their directory. Additionally, they get only a portion of the searches and then you have to compete with other attorneys on that directory. Directories will never outperform your own website.

15. Lead Buying

  • COST: Medium

  • PRIMARY TYPE: Uncategorized

  • DIY: No

What it is: Paying an agency for each lead delivered.

Keys to Success: Hire the right agency, which is easier said than done.

When it Will Fail: Almost always. The biggest reason is because it is easy to acquire low-quality leads. I can even tell you how to do it yourself. Run search PPC campaigns at the bottom of the search engine. The cost-per-click to get your website to show at the bottom of page ads is extremely low. People who are desperate to find an attorney to take their case will click on every single firm that shows up on the first page. By the time they get to the bottom, the other firms would have signed them if they had a legitimate case. No one wants their ads to be shown on the bottom of the page for this reason. Lead-selling agencies will run ads in these spaces because they can generate cheap leads and sell them to you at a premium. There are other ways to generate leads, and sometimes they are effective, but you have no way of knowing what you are going to get.

16. Email Newsletters (Client Focus)

  • COST: Low

  • PRIMARY TYPE: Awareness

  • DIY: Yes

What it is: Periodically emailing a newsletter to a list of subscribers who were former clients or consumers of some kind.

Keys to Success: These can work in a few different ways. The main thing you want to avoid is being too spammy. Most people aren’t going to be interested in legal content, so it is difficult to get too much traction with newsletters. The main benefit of them is in people seeing your brand and then, hopefully, referring cases to you in the future. We prefer to send this type of newsletter on a quarterly basis.

When it Will Fail:

  • You send them too frequently and you have a high unsubscribe rate.

  • They frequently end up in people’s spam.

  • Your expectations are too high.

  • People don’t value the content and advice you are sending.

17. One-Off Emails

  • COST: Low

  • PRIMARY TYPE: Awareness

  • DIY: Yes

What it is: Sending emails when you have something people should hear about. We like these.

Keys to Success: Make sure you keep good lists of emails that are categorized. You may want to send past clients different emails than you those send to other attorneys. For past clients, these are very effective for public service type of announcements — a type of product liability case, for instance. For other attorneys, this communication can be used when you have something to share that may help them. A recent example is one of our clients that settled a unique type of product liability case. It had to do with an exploding part that usually destroyed itself, thus typically leaving no evidence. They were fortunate enough to have a part that survived the explosion. They wanted other attorneys to know they could help them with similar cases because they had evidence that could be used. Attorneys like information that can help them with their own clients, not spam emails asking for referrals.

When it Will Fail:

  • You don’t have anything of value to share.

18. Email Newsletters (Referral Partner Focus)

  • COST: Low

  • PRIMARY TYPE: Awareness

  • DIY: Yes

What it is: Periodically sending other attorneys or acquaintances newsletters in hopes of getting referrals.

Keys to Success: Send valuable information — don’t just email people asking for referrals.

When it Will Fail: You simply ask people for referrals. If you want to get referrals from people, build a relationship with them.

19. Email Drip Campaigns

  • COST: Low

  • PRIMARY TYPE: Awareness

  • DIY: Maybe

What it is: Sending a series of emails to a subscriber. These people typically sign up on your website.

Keys to Success: The No. 1 thing to consider is the consumer decision cycle. Many law firm clients go from needing an attorney to hiring an attorney quickly, so a drip campaign doesn’t have enough time to be effective. When someone is going to take weeks or months to choose an attorney and conduct extensive research, a drip campaign can be a fantastic way to build trust with them over time. Once the drip campaign is set up, it runs without any other involvement.

When it Will Fail: The decision cycle is short, or the content delivered isn’t valuable. It can also fail if people aren’t signing up. This typically requires what we call gated content, valuable information that people want and are willing to give their email address to get.

20. Birthday Cards & Emails

  • COST: Low

  • PRIMARY TYPE: Awareness

  • DIY: Yes

What it is: Sending people an email or card on their birthday. It is simple. Plenty of businesses do it, so it doesn’t come across as spammy. It also is a little more personalized than other methods such as a newsletter.

Keys to Success: There are software companies that will automate this process for you. https://www.postable.com/ or https://mailchimp.com/

When it Will Fail: This is a low-risk tactic. We fully believe every law firm should be doing this, because it protects the network you have already built for yourself. The best way to fail is to not do it.

21. Holiday Cards & Emails

  • COST: Low

  • PRIMARY TYPE: Awareness

  • DIY: Yes

What it is: Sending people an email or card during the holiday season.

Keys to Success: Same as birthday cards but this gives you one more opportunity during the year to stay in touch in a non-spammy way.

When it Will Fail: If you don’t do it.

22. Direct Mail Newsletters

  • COST: Medium

  • PRIMARY TYPE: Awareness

  • DIY: No

What it is: Like an email newsletter, these can get a little spammy because people generally don’t like legal content. But this is another way to stay in touch with past clients.

Keys to Success: Try to find things that your target audience will be interested in. This can take some creativity with certain practice areas.

When it Will Fail: You don’t do it or have the wrong expectations for it.

23. Direct Mail From Public Records (Arrests or Accidents)

  • COST: Medium

  • PRIMARY TYPE: Awareness

  • DIY: Maybe

What it is: Accessing public records to find people who were arrested or in an accident. A letter is then mailed to them advertising your services.

Keys to Success: Getting a good system in place to do this and staying consistent. The letter should be simple, empathize with the person, and provide clear guidance on what to do next.

When it Will Fail: Many lawyers look down on this practice because you are making first contact, even though it isn’t in person. You don’t want people to be put off by your letter, but it is inevitable that some people will.

24. Invitation-Only or Other Closed Groups

  • COST:

  • PRIMARY TYPE:

  • DIY:

What it is: Being part of a group that sends law firms leads from a secured connection. These are rare and are sometimes secretive. Many of these groups have inside connections with unions or other professional organizations that funnel legal opportunities to their members.

Keys to Success: Finding the opportunity, because these are rare and not easily sought out. This isn’t the type of thing that you can just make happen.

When it Will Fail: You never get an opportunity. The best thing you can do is get popular within the legal and local community.

25. Business Lunches

  • COST:

  • PRIMARY TYPE:

  • DIY:

What it is: Take people out to lunch. This is an example of my advice to do the things that other attorneys don’t want to do.

Keys to Success: Most people are going to send referrals to people they like and have some sort of relationship with. That requires meeting people in person and having an active interest in them. You don’t even have to talk about business. Keep your network growing and maintain it. Try to take at least one referral opportunity out for lunch each month.

When it Will Fail: It will not work if you do not do it. Most attorneys don’t want to take the time to meet with non-competing attorneys or other referral opportunities. This technique does work, but it takes time to build these relationships.

26. Partner Gifts

  • COST: Low to Medium

  • PRIMARY TYPE: Awareness

  • DIY: Yes

What it is: Buy gifts for referral partners. It can be simple or elaborate.

Keys to Success: Find something they will legitimately like. One of our clients bought his referral partners electric mugs that keep their coffee warm. He put his logo inconspicuously on it with a short thank you.

When it Will Fail: You buy people things they won’t keep. The idea is that they keep the gift and then think of you when they see it.

27. Community Speaking

  • COST: Low

  • PRIMARY TYPE: Awareness

  • DIY: Mandatory

What it is: Talk to various groups about issues related to your practice area. Sometimes these are advertised to the public and take place at the library. Sometimes they are given at nursing homes. Some law firms have arrangements with other groups like the local unions or veteran associations.

Keys to Success: This is another excellent way to build your network and get people to like you. Most attorneys are unwilling to do the work to set these up, even though they are extremely effective and usually free.

When it Will Fail: You don’t take the time to set these up regularly. Sometimes the turnout is small with only a handful of people. That is ok — it only takes one case.

28. Community Sponsorships

  • COST: Low to Medium

  • PRIMARY TYPE: Awareness

  • DIY: Yes

What it is: Sponsoring a local event or team.

Keys to Success: This is just good community involvement. If you give back to the people who keep you in business, your popularity will increase and so will your referral network. When you make these sponsorships, ensure you understand what you are going to get, such as your firm’s name on t-shirts, a link back to your website, a sign at the event, etc.

When it Will Fail: You spend too much or you don’t get anything in return. (Then it’s called a donation.)

29. Join Local Organizations

  • COST: Low

  • PRIMARY TYPE: Awareness

  • DIY: Mandatory

What it is: Joining local organizations to expand your network. The local Chamber of Commerce is a good example.

Keys to Success: Sign up and attend events. Many businesses will sign up and then never participate. These organizations are meant to help you expand your network. So, you need to get out and make friends. Look for ways that you can help people, too, and they may reciprocate.

When it Will Fail: You do not participate or are unable to get people to like you.

30. Volunteer

  • COST: Low

  • PRIMARY TYPE: Awareness

  • DIY: Mandatory

What it is: Helping local organizations by volunteering your time.

Keys to Success: Make new friends. Helping others is a great way to expand your network and let people know what you do.

When it Will Fail: You don’t do it.

31. Law Firm Swag

  • COST: Medium

  • PRIMARY TYPE: Awareness

  • DIY: No

What it is: Creating items that have your branding on them: pens, t-shirts, mugs, hats, or anything else you might see on a convention booth table.

Keys to Success: Have a clear message that says who you are, how to contact you, and what you do. These items do nothing without that information.

When it Will Fail: The messaging is wrong. I should also mention that law firm stuff isn’t generally considered cool. So, these are mildly effective at best. The best way to expand your network is by doing a good job and making friends.

32. Content Marketing (Online or Offline)

  • COST: Medium to High

  • PRIMARY TYPE: Awareness

  • DIY: No

What it is: Getting content published in third-party publications. This is particularly effective when you need to educate your potential clients.

Keys to Success: Writing cool and interesting content won’t magically get you cases. This content needs to be directed at the right audience, inform them of why they might need your services, and convince them you are right for the job. This type of content is mostly effective for people who don’t know they might have a case. Class action lawsuits are a good example.

When it Will Fail: When the messaging and targeting are off. If you don’t have something that you want to inform people of, native content isn’t right for you (unless you are a national brand with an established identity).

33. Make National Headlines

  • COST: Free to High

  • PRIMARY TYPE: Awareness

  • DIY: Maybe

What it is: Getting in the news, which you typically don’t have any control over.

Keys to Success: Our biggest advice is to be ready for it. If you know your case is going to generate public interest, know what you are going to do before the news breaks. Stale news is no news.

When it Will Fail: You aren’t ready and your window of opportunity closes.

34. Radio Ads

  • COST: Low to Medium

  • PRIMARY TYPE: Awareness

  • DIY: No

What it is: Stereotypical ads that are run on various radio stations.

Keys to Success: Have extremely clear, concise, and consistent messaging. People need to remember who you are, what you do, and how they can contact you. This requires excellent messaging, reach, frequency, and targeting.

When it Will Fail: You don’t get the above factors right. The most common issue I find is that the reach and frequency are off. People aren’t going to remember you from hearing your ad one time. You need a large audience to hear your ad several times over a long period of time in order for this to work.

35. Billboards

  • COST: Low to High

  • PRIMARY TYPE: Awareness

  • DIY: No

What it is: These are obviously self-explanatory, given the number of billboards erected by lawyers. They work by getting people to know who you are and what you do.

Keys to Success: Like all awareness campaigns, messaging combined with reach and frequency is the biggest battle.

When it Will Fail:

  • You don’t have enough billboards to be effective. Occasionally there may be a single billboard that is so frequently seen that it can work all on its own. These are usually downtown as opposed to on the interstate.

  • Your messaging is too complex. People need to get the entire idea behind your billboard in just a few seconds. Who you are, what you do, and how to contact you. Keep it simple.

36. Display Advertising

  • COST: Low to High

  • PRIMARY TYPE: Awareness

  • DIY: No

What it is: Running offline graphical advertisements. These can be in magazines, in local restaurants, on the side of buses, on park benches, or anywhere else that people might frequent.

Keys to Success: These generally work best when combined with other awareness campaigns. You wouldn’t want to just run a bus campaign, for instance. All of the other awareness principles — reach, frequency, and messaging — apply.

When it Will Fail: You get the reach, frequency, or messaging wrong.

37. Television

  • COST: High

  • PRIMARY TYPE: Awareness

  • DIY: No

What it is: Running ads on TV.

Keys to Success: For decades people have been saying TV was dying. Well, it hasn’t yet and it’s just as effective as it has ever been. The biggest problem with TV, as is the case with most awareness campaigns, is cost. You have to saturate the market with your message that is well accepted by the community.

When it Will Fail:

  • You get the reach, frequency, or messaging wrong.

  • You don’t stick with it long enough. Some of these campaigns can take well over a year to reach full effectiveness.

38. Firm Mergers

  • COST: High

  • PRIMARY TYPE: Uncategorized

  • DIY: No

What it is: Merging with another firm or bringing on new partners. This might not sound like a marketing strategy, but it is. It is also something I am seeing more of lately. When you have more rainmakers, you have a bigger budget to spend on external marketing.

Keys to Success: Finding the right partners.

When it Will Fail:

  • You get the wrong partners that don’t produce.

  • You don’t get along with the new additions.

  • Everyone isn’t on the same page.

Law Firm Online Marketing

Make A Choice: Who Are You?

We frequently have initial marketing conversations with law firms in the midst of a professional identity crisis. They are struggling with the direction of their marketing, in part, because they haven’t decided who they are. While it can seem like the no-brainer to be all things to all people… more business that way, right? Wrong. Choices must be made and it starts with being clear about who you are and the role you want your firm to play.

Option 1: Be Small And Stay Small

Accept the fact that your ambition isn’t to be the biggest. Keep your expenses under control. Running a law firm doesn’t have to be outrageously stressful if you don’t have a staff and huge office to worry about. Running a small law firm is a choice in lifestyle. It isn’t a lifestyle that is right for everyone. Focus on these three things:

  1. Your Brand – Be extremely clear about what it is that you do and who you help. Keep your image up to date. Look the part.
  2. Your Reputation – Get as many Google reviews as you can. Provide exceptional service to your clients and beat the industry average when it comes to reviews. Try to get 25% of your clients to leave a review.
  3. Your Network – You are likely going to spend more time on your business than spending money on marketing. That means you need to be popular. Be a guest speaker, attend local events, and be well known in your community. Protect your network at all costs. Send birthday cards and holiday cards. Remember people’s names and make them feel special.

Option 2: Be the Dominant Firm

This takes time and money. Look at the dominant firms in your market. How many are brand new? Unless they have family money or a big backer, they have probably been in the business a while. Try to make progress year over year. Staying at the top is easier than getting there. It is also easier than being stuck in the middle. When you are at the top, you have the market power required to adapt quickly and see industry changes sooner.

Marketing Agency for Attorneys

Recommended Order / Timelines

Prioritizing Your Marketing Strategies

You may not need to start at the beginning. You also might decide to stop somewhere along the way. I do recommend that you achieve the minimums listed below. I also recommend not getting stuck between being small and being dominant. That is an uncomfortable place to be.

  1. Get the best branding you can afford. Don’t invest in marketing until your branding is on a professional level on par with that of other local competitors. If you can only afford a DIY website, then get a DIY website. But plan on upgrading. Seriously, don’t skimp on this part. I see way too many bad websites. Expect to pay at least $3,000, possibly as high as $5,000, for a marketing-ready website.
  2. Take your reputation extremely serious. Get reviews by asking everyone. Learn more about Google’s E-A-T quality guidelines, including your firm’s online reputation.
  3. Do everything that other attorneys refuse to do. Be a guest speaker, join local organizations, make friends, take people out to lunch, and get as popular as possible. This takes a ton of work but is worth the effort.
  4. Stay in contact with your network with non-spammy marketing. Send birthday cards and holiday cards. Send a newsletter 2-4 times a year. Run remarketing PPC. All of that should get your brand in front of people at least 7-10 times a year. This is enough to ensure that people don’t forget you in case a friend could use your services.
  5. Keep your expenses under control. Your business isn’t stable yet.
  6. Save your money until you can run either an SEO or PPC campaign. This likely means at least $2,000 per month but may be as high as $5,000 per month.
  7. Work with your marketing agency to know when it is the right time to incorporate whichever campaign you didn’t start with. You eventually want to leverage both SEO and PPC web marketing.
  8. Grow Your PPC Advertising until you can leave it on for the majority of the month for the keywords you want to target. Stay focused. It is better to be dominant for a single practice area than to spread your budget across many. Example: Start with DUI, then add general Criminal Defense, then add Drug Charges, then add…
  9. Look for ways to run awareness campaigns. At this point you should be nearing a dominant position in your market. Once you establish widespread brand recognition, you are there.

How Gladiator Law Marketing Can Help

There are many online marketing tools at your firm’s disposal. We determine which tools serve you best, then we implement a customized strategy based on your budget, market and goals. When you work with Gladiator Law Marketing, you don’t need to be an expert in search engine optimization, pay-per-click marketing, keyword research or content marketing. We assess your needs and implement a strategy. All you need to worry about is doing what you do best.

You already offer your clients exceptional service. You have everything in place to succeed. We give you the platform to showcase your services and make sure your firm is seen by potential clients. Let us set you apart from the competition.

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