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How to Choose Where to Market Your Small Law Firm

The marketing options for law firms are endless. So is the amount of people trying to sell you those options. Naturally, they assume all lawyers are rich (if only) and have stacks of hundred-dollar bills set aside for marketing.

That leads us to the million-dollar question. How do you sift through what you’re being told you should do to market your business, and hone in on what actually works?

Even the lawyers who do a lot of marketing don’t always get this right. They just pick one thing and continue to do it. They never take a step back to figure out what a smart marketing strategy looks like.

The First Decision You Need to Make

Every lawyer has an ideal client. The first part of a winning marketing strategy is identifying, very specifically, who that ideal client is.

If you dive right into marketing tactics, you might get clients, but will they be the right clients? How will you know if you haven’t identified who the right client is?

For example, you could let a salesperson talk you into an internet marketing campaign because it’s cheap. If you get a few clients from the campaign, that may seem like a solid ROI on the surface.

But what happens if you end up with low-quality clients? Is the ROI still solid if the clients are high maintenance, or you have to chase them for months to get paid?

You may have been penny-wise but, because you had no strategy, you’ve also been pound-foolish. Just like you don’t want clients to choose your law firm based on price, you shouldn’t choose marketing tactics based on price.

Instead of focusing on the cheapest option, focus on the kind of client you want.

Market to People You Know First

Before you choose a lead-generation tactic - marketing to people who don’t know you - make sure you’ve marketed to the people who do know you.

We all know that referrals bring the best kind of business. When someone is referred to us from a former client or another attorney, it’s much easier to get the engagement.

Doesn’t it seem downright silly to invest in cold advertising to people who don’t know you when you haven’t maxed out your marketing to people who already know and trust you?

That’s the first stop on the marketing journey with nearly every attorney we work with – helping them reach that audience and nurture those already hard-won relationships for the long term.

To be fair, most attorneys who come to us don’t know what they don’t know. They base decisions on their own set of experiences and a few things they’ve been told by other attorneys.

But we attorneys are a secretive bunch. Most of us won’t share our full marketing strategy. You only hear little snippets here and there.

Get Help, But Make Sure It’s the Right Help

It often takes an outsider – marketing experts like us – to tell a law firm what the right strategy is, based on our experiences with hundreds of law practices.

The fact that we function as the chief marketing officer is a huge value to our clients. We offer expert-level help and the ability to implement strategies in a way that most attorneys don’t know how to do or don’t have time to do.

As an attorney, you have to be careful about the help you seek. Too many times, I’ve seen traditional marketing agencies get lawyers in ethical trouble because the agency didn’t understand the rules of attorney advertising.

If you’re going to work with an outside vendor, make sure you choose a company that has experience with attorneys. They shouldn’t be doing marketing for the dry cleaner one day, and for your law firm the next.

Understand the WHO Before Choosing the WHAT

Know who your ideal client is. Talk to the people who know you – your best referral sources – before marketing to people who have never heard of you.

Get help from people who know how to succeed with marketing while working within the rules of legal marketing.

Look at your calendar for the next month and ask yourself honestly, “Am I going to get this done?”

If not, then don't spend another minute. We can help, from thinking through your strategy, to executing your plan, to analyzing the results.

Want to learn more about marketing your law firm? Download our e-book on authority positioning.


Raj Jha