I really wish there was a single, golden marketing strategy that worked for any law firm. But the fact is, you have to be picky if you want the best results. Law firms in different regions, in different fields of practice, and who are operated by one partner versus two or more - they all require a different approach to marketing. No two firms are going to present the same.
Since Practice Alchemy has worked with law firms of all types and successfully developed messages that draw in clients, we figured we’d review some of the strategy basics. First things first - choosing your channel.
Back up a second - what’s a “channel?”
When you’re reaching out to potential clients, you want to deliver messages about your professionalism, your legal expertise, the type of cases your firm can handle, and other reasons why you’re the best choice available for legal services.
In marketing, channels are what we call the different delivery methods for sending those messages. There are actually two ways to look at channels: by medium and by platform. For example, Social Media is a marketing channel, and Facebook is a platform of that channel. You need to be able to understand marketing channels before you can choose the platforms, so we’ll only cover that topic in this article.
Common Marketing Channels
Think about your ideal clients. They usually fit some kind of profile, and can be identified by their background. For consumer-facing attorneys, people in certain careers, who have certain income levels, are a certain age, and so on share some common behaviors. For business attorneys, certain types of companies. Those attributes can help you identify how your potential clients get information, or, to use marketing-speak again, what content they prefer to consume.
Here are some media that most people, regardless of their background, tend to interact with on a daily basis:
- Internet Articles or Blogs
- Print (newspaper ads, bus stops, signs, etc.)
- Social Media
- Online Text or Display Advertising
Choosing Your Channel
Which Channel Is Most Relevant?
Now, just because those options we listed are commonly used doesn’t mean they’re all going to be valuable for your particular law firm marketing strategy. Some channels are going to be more relevant than others, simply because of your ideal client’s behaviors. Here’s a hypothetical example to explain:
Let’s say your law firm handles corporate law, focusing on private financings, mergers and acquisitions, and commercial transactions. Your practice also has an additional business specialty, serving industrial and manufacturing clients. Manufacturing executives may be more inclined to read web articles on engineering forums, but less likely to visit social media, which makes blogging a better channel choice. (Note: Remember, this is just a hypothetical example and is not based on actual recorded data.)
What Do You Want to Happen?
It’s also important to choose your channel based on your goal for your target client. Are you trying to get them into your office for an initial meeting? Advertising will tend to be a strong channel choice for that goal because the clients who respond the ad will already have some idea about what services they need.
Other potential clients will know they have a legal problem, like going through a divorce, but won’t know which attorney can best meet their needs. In those cases, the clients may benefit from a little “warm-up” messaging that’s personalized for them and gradually builds trust. Those messages can be sent by email, or maybe directly on social media.
These are just a couple of examples. There may be a different ideal channel, or combination of channels, that isn’t listed here.
What Are You Willing to Spend (and Hoping to Make Back)?
Another factor that will help you decide on the right marketing channel is budget. This one is usually the most obvious to attorneys, but you’ll actually want to take it a step further than figuring out how much cash you’ve got on hand. Based on who you’re trying to reach and what you want them to do, which marketing channel is going to produce the highest return on investment (ROI)?
Several factors, such as how competitive your space is or how quickly you’re trying to close new clients, will affect how much you’ll need to invest in order to make a particular channel effective. And it’s worth mentioning that these investments aren’t just about money, but time.
Social media can mostly be done organically for law firm marketing, and therefore doesn’t have a big sticker price, like paid advertising (Did you know that legal industry keywords are consistently among the most expensive words for Google text ads?). On the other hand, a paid advertising campaign can be set up and launched for a certain timeframe in as little as thirty minutes. Lawyers need to log several hours every week in social platforms just to find the right clients, let alone build relationships with them.
The key to finding the channel with the best ROI is to test in small batches on each channel. Without knowing how certain marketing activities perform ahead of time, betting all your chips on one strategy is a huge risk. The only way around this testing phase is if you find a resource or partner who has already built a library of performance data, and knows which strategies are proven to work for law firms.
Get Help with Building Your Law Firm Marketing Strategy
Unless you’re looking to hire an internal marketing manager, it can still be difficult to balance planning your marketing, executing activities, measuring performance, AND actually practicing law. Luckily, Practice Alchemy handles it all for you.
Our team of marketing experts have been running fully-managed marketing for law firms of all sizes and practice areas for years. Each service engagement starts with a customized Practice Audit, where we leverage our historical data against your firm’s current activity and long-term goals. You end up with a twelve-month action plan, broken down by quarter, that shows you which marketing channels are most likely to succeed - and it’s yours to keep, regardless of whether you want to move forward with outsourced marketing services.
Not a bad deal for someone looking to kickstart their practice’s marketing.
Looking for a complete breakdown of the state of law firm marketing and how firms are catching up? Check out our compiled long-form guide to law firm marketing.
Interested in seeing what your ultimate law firm marketing plan looks like? Get started by requesting a free law firm marketing assessment today so we can learn how to best serve your practice!