Most law firms would agree that there’s nothing like finding a new client. New clients not only bring in revenue, but also lifetime value and new referrals. But it’s hard to find a good client if you don’t have new inquiries coming in.
Some law firms have a reputation and client base that brings in referrals and inquiries with nothing but a phone number. But for most lawyers, you have to go out and market your firm to get a quality pool of potential clients.
I’ve consulted on search marketing for several large, local professional firms. I’ve also written posts on promoting your website and creating a local business marketing strategy. Based on those experiences, here are some lawyer & law firm marketing ideas that you can use to bring in more clients.
Create City-Specific Website Pages
For many clients, regions are too big and neighborhoods are too small for the right law firm, but they do want a local lawyer in their own city.
That may sound obvious, but most professional firms that I’ve worked with still don’t focus their marketing on individual cities within a region. It’s a lot of work. It’s tedious. But it can still be worthwhile.
Make sure that every city page is actually about that city and includes all your services. Make your page structure “scalable” so that you can easily expand your service area as needed.
Create Niche Service Pages
Lots of clients have specific services and/or expertise that they want. Instead of listing your services & expertise in a giant list, make detailed pages about each expertise. Try to rank for searches like “[service] lawyer”.
You can use Google Suggest for ideas. Go to Google and type in “[city] lawyer that” and hit space, but not enter. You’ll see some suggestions.
You can do this with the entire alphabet and as many modifiers as you can think of.
Create pages that match those search queries to show up when people search.
If you want to take this to the next level, you can use a tool like SEMrush’s Keyword Explorer to provide phrase match search terms in bulk.
Create Local Guide Pages
Create resource guides for people moving to your city. Create lots of them.
Use Google Autosuggest to understand what people are searching for in your city.
Find a niche in legal questions, which vary State by State and jurisdiction by jurisdiction.
Make a local version for popular legal questions.
Develop Your Local Citations & Reviews
You should already have a Google My Business profile so that you can show up in Google Maps.
But you can take it to the next level to show up even more prominently.
First, you can build your Google My Business profile with photos, posts, and full listing details.
Second, go to every local business listing site and make sure that your Business Name, Address, and Phone Number match exactly. Whether it’s on the Yellow Pages, Yelp, or elsewhere – everything must match. These are called your “local citations” and Google uses them to confirm the relevance of local business.
You can use SEMrush’s Local Listing Management Tool to audit all these listings quickly.
Third, create a local review strategy. Having diverse, unique, and regular reviews on your Google My Business page is the number one way to get more views (aka calls & inquiries) from Google Maps. There are many ways to get reviews, but you can use follow-ups emails, retargeting, and many other methods.
Fourth, you need to make sure your categorization is comprehensive and complete. Many listings offer varying and multiple business categories. If you are a law firm with multiple services, makes sure you are listed in every database.
Steal Ideas from Large Local Competitors / Businesses
I’m not a fan of brainstorming. I think that it’s more effective to build off ideas that have already worked.
No matter your size, you can always look to larger competitors or larger businesses for inspiration.
With law firm marketing, make a list of local businesses that you *think* are being creative – including companies in different industries.
Like local listings and keywords, I then use a marketing tool like SEMrush to spy on those competitors. Type in the URL of a competitor below to see an example.
Here’s what you’ll see.
It looks like a lot. But drill down and categorize each link. You’ll quickly get a sense of what they are doing. You’ll see where they are posting on social media. You’ll see which media outlets have accepted press releases and what types of digital marketing they’re doing.
The trick here is *not* to copy cat them. Instead, take the general idea of what your competitors have done and make it your own – or, make it better.
Work with Local Publications & Blogs
Every city, no matter how small, has an interest in themselves. In Atlanta, where I live, we have a Curbed blog in addition to the AJC Blogs, Atlanta Business Chronicle, and dozens of smaller neighborhood newspapers and real estate blogs.
Find those and become a regular fixture. All local publications & blogs act on tips & press releases. Very few have a “boots on the ground” journalists. If you can be the place to provide inside information, free images, and consistent write-ups, you’ll earn attention and links.
In the legal arena, any statistics, trends, or data that you have can easily translate to free PR, which can then translate into links to your website.
That extra attention and those links will help every other idea on this list. Google loves links. Social media users find URLs via links.
Your city pages, service pages, and everything else on your website will benefit from more inbound links.
Use Hyper-Local Facebook Ads
A local business has one massive advantage against national brands trying to operate locally – you live in your city and understand it.
Facebook allows for hyper-local advertising. You can run ads that show within a radius of only a few miles. It’s tedious to set up, but it’s relevant and effective.
Learn how to create hyper-local targeting for demographics and geography to find lots of interested clients.
You can run small, targeted campaigns that show multiple places at once.
Use Hyper-Local Google Search Ads
Google Search ads are famously effective and famously expensive. The best client is someone who searches for “lawyer in [city]”.
But that search click will be very costly.
In fact, some of the most expensive searches on Google are for legal terms.
But like Facebook, you have an critical local advantage with Google Quality Score. Google will show ads higher if they are more relevant even if they don’t have the high bid.
Like Facebook, it’s tedious to set up, but if you can set up a hyper-local campaign, you’ll be able to get Google Search traffic that large competitors can’t bid on.
The key is to run landing pages that perfectly match your ads, and run ads that perfectly match specific, local keywords.
Use Hyper-Local Google Display Ads
Google’s Display Network also offers opportunities for local advertisers who are willing to put in the work.
Google serves banner & text ads on some of the best ad locations on the Internet. Many placements are expensive for bulk ad buys.
But again, Google would rather serve a relevant ad with a low bid than an irrelevant ad with a high bid. That’s your opportunity to set up a hyper-local campaign focused on specific demographics in a specific area.
Even if you have a small market, you can always use Google’s Retargeting setting to solicit more reviews & referrals.
List on Locally-Popular Legal Websites
Lawyer listing websites are a dime a dozen. They will send traffic to your listing. But they are expensive and require a lot of legwork.
The key is to find a few key lawyer websites that are popular in your area – and list on those.
List on NextDoor & Local Forums
NextDoor is one of many local social media websites & forums. They are hard to find and hard to join, representing an opportunity for any local, enterprising attorney.
These networks are interesting because they are specifically local and extremely relevant for professional services.
They also have an accessible, affordable, and useful local advertising service.
Advertise / Post on Local Subreddits
Reddit is an attractive website for many industries. But local subreddits are especially interesting for attorneys and law firms for a couple of reasons.
First, they are hubs for local discussion & recommendations.
Second, they are the first place for people to ask open-ended specific, local questions.
Now, Reddit is decidedly non-commercial with lots of rules. You should get to know them before posting or commenting as a commercial entity.
However, you should explore their sidebar wiki for research.
You should get in touch with the moderators to listen to their rules about business posting. And you should look at running ads or giveaways there.
Automate Social Media Monitoring
Like Reddit, people often start their lawyer search on local social media with open-ended, specific questions.
It’s impossible to spend all your time on social media. But it is possible to automate both posting and listening on social media.
Take advantage of Twitter alerts, IFTTT, Zapier, and other tools to automate your social media presence and find great leads.
Contribute to Local Wikipedia
Wikipedia is a known resource for everyone. It relies on contributors – and authoritative contributors for local cities are often sparse.
Look for opportunities to use your website as an authoritative source for Wikipedia. A law firm is well-positioned to provide historical documentation, legal background, and more for Wikipedia entries.
Don’t be over-promotional or spammy, but you can look to increase your presence there for the links and the potential exposure.
After all, if people are using Wikipedia for legal research, it’s a great place to have your website & brand.
Identify & Market Popular Client Sources
Take previous & existing clients and try to understand where those clients came from and how they found you.
See if there is a way to build off that success. It sounds cliche and obvious, but the key is in the execution. I’ve worked with plenty of professional firms who knew where they got clients from, but never thought about increasing that channel.
Cross-Promote Local Professionals
Local real estate agents usually have an incredible offline network, but have a poor online network. That’s the same with accountants, therapists, and other professional services. If you are investing in your online marketing efforts, try to develop a relationship to cross-promote as many local professionals as possible.
Cross-Promote Local Businesses
As a lawyer, you have the opportunity to stand at the nexus of lots of businesses & people. The key to most law firms is referrals. Try promoting other businesses in an effort to simply be top of mind for when the need for an attorney happens.
Remember that even a link to your website from their website will dramatically help your other online efforts.
Coordinate Offline & Online Marketing
Use Events To Get Social Media Attention
Events like open houses, pro bono, Q&A sessions, seminars, college recruiting events are staples for many law firms. But events have a bonus effect online.
You can list them on multiple platforms to get extra exposure. Facebook is the best place for this tactic, but it also works on Google, Instagram, and event apps like Meet and Four Square.
Use Video Tours To Hack Social Media
Like events, most social media gives preference to video in their feeds. Take interesting video tours of legal issues with behind the scenes explainers.
Video can be hard, but that means you will get a competitive advantage if you can pull it off. Create “evergreen” videos about topics that will last.
Post the file natively to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Pay a small budget to boost it. And look for opportunities to embed it on your website.
Use Digital Referral Fees for Word of Mouth
Referral fees are also a staple of attorney marketing. But they don’t get the same reach as digital referral codes.
Whether you use a simple bit.ly link, manually hand out custom codes (i.e., client numbers), or use a software service – digital referral codes can help you move limited physical word of mouth to unlimited digital word of mouth.
Find & Sponsor Local Charities
Sponsoring local charities provides a few marketing benefits.
First, you can likely get a link to your website, which will help your other efforts.
Second, you can tap into a well-networked organization with lots of word of mouth potential.
Third, you can tap into neighborhood goodwill to help with soliciting reviews to help with your Google My Business efforts.
There are a lot of marketing ideas out there for attorneys and law firms. You don’t have to do all of them. You just have to do one or two well.
Find the one that fits your interests & resources and give it a try. Learn based on your initial experience and improve.