Digital marketing for lawyers is vital to generating client leads and growing your law firm’s business.
If you’re only relying on attorney referrals to gain more clients, you could be missing out on significant online marketing opportunities.
Continue reading to learn more about digital marketing strategies for lawyers, why they matter, and how to implement them to meet your goals.
Table of Contents
What is Digital Marketing for Lawyers?
Digital marketing refers to various online strategies to increase your brand awareness and grow your business.
That doesn’t simply refer to optimizing your law firm’s website (although that’s a vital component); it encompasses many practices to build your reputation and credibility online.
Digital marketing strategies for lawyers may include:
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Pay-per-click advertising
- Social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter
- Email marketing
We’ll discuss each of these strategies in further detail below.
Ultimately, digital marketing is another marketing tool you can use – in addition to referrals, word of mouth, newspaper ads, billboards, and radio and television advertisements – to engage with potential clients on a more global scale.
Why is Digital Marketing Beneficial for Lawyers?
Digital marketing is essential in today’s technologically-driven landscape. Studies show that other than recommendations from family and friends, most clients utilize search engines, online reviews, and legal directories as their first step in locating an attorney.
Thus, if you don’t have an online presence, you may be overlooked by clients who would otherwise retain your services.
Even when a potential client is referred to you by someone else, they are likely to research you online before contacting you. Many people will keep looking if you don’t have a user-friendly website or online reviews.
A solid online presence allows you to tailor your services to your target audience.
For example, if someone in Clearwater, Florida, needs a personal injury lawyer, they will likely search Google first and click on one of the first results. When you use more traditional forms of advertising, such as newspaper ads, your audience is whoever subscribes to that newspaper – not necessarily someone in need of legal representation.
Online marketing is particularly useful for attorneys who are just getting started or rebranding because they can’t rely on word of mouth. It allows new attorneys to build their brand and provides a more cost-effective advertising method.
Another benefit of digital marketing is ongoing client engagement through online attorney ratings and reviews.
Since a majority of people rely on online reviews before hiring an attorney, it’s important to request reviews from your clients and peers and respond as often as possible.
The Importance of Setting Your Digital Legal Marketing Goals
It should be noted that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to legal digital marketing. You need to evaluate your marketing goals and target audience and tailor your online marketing strategy accordingly.
What Are Your Marketing Goals?
First, you need to ask yourself what you are seeking to accomplish long term.
- Are you trying to drive more traffic to your firm’s website?
- Do you seek to boost your online reputation by increasing your client ratings on legal directories?
- Do you want to generate client leads using a pay-per-click campaign?
No matter your goal, the result is more business opportunities. However, it helps to have a game plan beforehand so that you can craft a strategy to meet your specific goals.
You should also be realistic about your goals. For example, legal SEO is a highly nuanced and competitive market.
Don’t expect to rank on Google’s first page in one day. When SEO is implemented correctly, it can take time to get the results you want.
Who Is Your Target Audience?
Your target audience is the client base you want to attract. For example, a personal injury lawyer will have a different target audience than a criminal defense attorney or immigration lawyer. Your whole marketing strategy needs to encompass your target audience.
Knowing how your target audience thinks will help you tailor your law firm’s digital marketing strategy and determine what kinds of keywords to use in your content. What types of content will your target audience search for online?
How can you appeal to potential clients to get them to hire your firm to represent them? These are essential questions to consider when building your online presence.
Assess your existing and former clients and note any common attributes. Conduct research to determine who is more likely to retain your legal services in your area. Examine your competitors’ online presence to see who they are trying to reach.
Knowing your audience will also guide you when determining which social media platforms and legal directories to focus your attention on. With the myriad of options for each, you may initially need to focus your attention on the more relevant sites that attract your target clients.
For instance, your target clients may be more active on Facebook than on LinkedIn, meaning you should focus more attention on posting updates on Facebook to maintain and promote client engagement.
The Importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in Digital Marketing for Lawyers
Search engine optimization, or “SEO,” is at the heart of most digital marketing. It involves improving the quality and user experience of your website to make it appear higher in search engine results pages (SERPS) like Google’s.
Prospective clients are no longer consulting the Yellow Pages to find a lawyer; they are looking online. Odds are they are searching for legal services through Google.
Moreover, research suggests that only two to three percent of people visit the second page of Google. Less than one percent click on a site on the second page of Google.
So, if you want your law firm website to have maximum digital exposure and generate noteworthy web traffic, you need to rank on the first page of Google.
The Anatomy of Google’s First Page
You will see three main things when entering a search in Google:
- Paid Ads: These ads occupy the top spots on search results and are obtained through the Google Ads auction system. A paid advertisement will have an “Ad” box next to the URL. We will discuss paid advertisements in more detail below.
- Local Pack: The local pack appears on the first page of searches with a local intent (e.g., “local lawyer near me” or “City personal injury lawyer”). The pack features a map of business locations and three businesses relevant to a users’ search.
- Organic Results: These results are the ones most relevant to a user’s query or keyword. Google uses various ranking factors to determine the quality and relevance of a web page.
To be sure, the higher you rank, the more traffic your website will get. Web pages that rank first in the organic search results (we’ll explain this in more depth below) are up to 35% more likely to get a click than a page that ranks tenth.
A law firm’s ability to rank on the first page of search engines corresponds to more website traffic, a greater number of leads, and a higher caseload.
How Do Google Rankings Work?
Google’s algorithm considers over 200 factors to determine which websites best answer a user’s query or address their keyword search.
The most important factors for SEO are:
- Content: Having relevant, high-quality information on your web pages. Information that addresses the questions and keywords users are searching for online.
- Links: Obtaining backlinks to your website from other websites. This shows Google that other people recognize your content as useful — and makes it easier to find you online.
- RankBrain: Artificial intelligence that helps Google determine a searcher’s intent.
Did you know that Google treats law firms and legal content differently from other content online? Why? Because when someone is searching for legal services or information online, it could impact their:
- financial stability,
- health, and/or life or
Potential clients may be searching for help with a divorce, criminal charges, or getting compensation after an accident. Their legal issues and the content they find online could literally mean their money or their life.
What does this mean for your law firm? It means Google will hold your content to a higher standard than generic information online and will place additional emphasis on your content’s expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (EAT).
The search engine will use various metrics to analyze your content’s expertise before ranking it, including:
- the time the user spends on the page, and
- the site engagement.
Google will also analyze the authority of your content by examining whether others have linked to or shared your web page. It will measure the trustworthiness of your site by scrutinizing user reviews, web page bounce rates, user experience for mobile users, and the security of your HTTP domain.
Local SEO refers to marketing strategies that target clients in a particular geographic area. For law firms, this will be the city (or cities) where you have an office.
A major part of local SEO is appearing in the local map pack mentioned above. Studies have shown that the local pack appears above organic listings 93% of the time for searches with local intent.
The local pack highlights three businesses (or, in our case, law firms) that it believes are relevant to a user’s search.
The pack features these businesses’ names, addresses, phone numbers, and locations on the map. These businesses in the pack get a whopping 44% of clicks in a search. Law firms in the local pack can see as much as a 400% increase in views and a 100% increase in clicks.
Ranking in the local pack matters if you want to increase leads and elevate your law firm’s presence online. How do you do this?
Local SEO strategies involve optimizing your firm’s website to highlight your community involvement and obtaining backlinks from local sources. It also involves optimizing and updating your Google My Business profile.
SEO is probably the most important aspect of digital marketing. If your website is not optimized for search engines, then you are missing out on scores of potential leads.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising
Pay-per-click, or “PPC,” is a form of online advertising that pays a host (like Google, for example) when a user clicks on a business’s ad on the platform. A business pays the host for each click its ad receives, meaning no clicks equal no charge.
Google Ads is the most prominent platform for PPC.
On Google, there are:
- 63,000 searches per second
- 3.8 million searches per minute
- 228 million searches per hour
- 5.5 million searches per day
What do all these numbers mean? They mean consumers are searching for information, products, and services online — and they are using keywords to do it. Your law practice can get it on this action with PPC.
A pay-per-click campaign allows you to target keywords that are relevant to your practice areas and appear in searches for these terms in your geographic area.
This advertising model enables you to find the right users at the right time: when they are looking for legal services.
With Google Ads, PPC advertisements appear at the top of the first page of search results — the most highly coveted real estate on search engines.
This prime position places you above
- The local pack; and
- Organic results for the keyword term
You will only pay Google when a user clicks through your ad to visit your website — making it an efficient and economical form of digital advertising.
How Much Does PPC Cost?
The answer to this question is every attorney’s favorite: it depends. Ad placement and cost are typically based on Google’s Ad Auction, which Google uses to evaluate the relevance and quality of a given ad. The auction requires you to bid on keywords for which you want to appear in search results.
The cost of a PPC campaign will vary depending on your advertisement’s commercial intent and the success of your bid for a keyword. To be sure, PPC for lawyers is among the most expensive markets for pay-per-click.
The words lawyer and attorney are highly competitive terms that can cost hundreds of dollars per click, depending on the keyword.
However, Google allows you to control your budget. You can reduce the cost of your PPC campaign by:
- Scheduling your ad to run when your target audience is online and tailoring it to demographics like age, income, or marital status
- Limiting your ad’s reach to a discreet geographic area
- Using exact match and phrase match keywords to narrow the focus of your ad and keep it away from users who aren’t interested in legal services
- Choose the best keyword terms that funnel traffic to your site at the right price
There is a downside to PPC. Most consumers don’t trust ads. Therefore, PPC is best used not as a singular marketing strategy but as one component of a larger internet marketing plan.
Offsite Digital Marketing for Law Firms
Another critical component of your overall online marketing presence as a lawyer is offsite marketing. The term refers to any marketing efforts made outside of your website. Of course, many of these efforts will incorporate your website and are not completely separate.
Here are some of the most important offsite marketing strategies and techniques you should be adopting:
The Importance of Link Building
Link building is perhaps the most important offsite marketing strategy, at least for SEO purposes. Link building simply means increasing the number of backlinks to your website, so that Google understands that you are an authority in your area of law.
Websites with a high number of backlinks generally also have high organic website traffic. When Google decides how highly to rank a website on its search results, one of the primary factors is how many quality backlinks the website has.
One of the nice things about link building is that it can create a positive feedback loop. If your website has high-quality content and your onsite marketing techniques are sound, other websites will begin to link back to your website without any additional effort required on your end. From there, more and more websites and their users will follow those links, generating additional traffic for your website – and improving your clout with Google at the same time.
Using Social Media for Your Law Firm
Considering social media’s overall popularity, it’s probably not all that surprising that a strong social media presence is an important component of offsite marketing for lawyers and law firms. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn have billions of active users, and billions of posts are shared every day.
Google does not directly factor social media into its website rankings the same way it does with backlinks (i.e., it does not treat social media posts and shares the same way as Google). However, social media marketing is still important for SEO purposes.
The websites with the best SEO rankings also tend to have a strong social media presence. A strong social media profile is a great way to increase the popularity of your website and for your content to appear throughout the web. If your social media posts contain links to your website, and those posts are widely shared, there is a greater likelihood that other websites will begin to link back to yours.
The benefits of social media for your overall marketing strategy as a lawyer or law firm go beyond SEO. Considering their popularity, social media platforms are a great way to build trust with potential clients in your geographic area.
Generally, as a lawyer or law firm, you will serve a specific part of a state – or at least will have a targeted market. Increased traffic from the portion of the state or market you serve is crucial. Social media posts tailored to your place of business can thus help drive the right kind of traffic to your website: traffic from potential clients.
Creating and Maintaining Profiles on Lawyer Directories
There are a number of prominent lawyer directories currently on the internet: Avvo, Justia, and Martindale-Hubbell, to name a few. These directories look and operate differently, but the same general tactics apply to each of them. Having a robust profile on each lawyer directory is important for your marketing strategy as a lawyer or law firm.
For one, a profile on a lawyer directory is an opportunity to create a backlink to your website, thus improving your SEO presence. Moreover, a high-quality profile will stand out (most lawyers do not fully optimize their profiles) and can drive more potential clients to your firm.
Most directories allow users to filter their search results based on attorney rating. If you have a high rating on a directory such as Justia, your profile will appear higher on potential clients’ search results. If the user clicks on your completed profile, there is a greater likelihood that potential clients will reach out to you for assistance with their cases.
Email Marketing Strategies
Email marketing is an effective method to improve your online marketing presence as a lawyer or law firm. Email campaigns can reach the eyes of potential clients as well as former and current clients.
This makes them an effective tool for not only driving new business to your firm but also for keeping current clients engaged.
Email marketing campaigns can also remind former clients of the excellent representation you provided them with. The idea is to keep yourself and your business at the top of your clients’ minds should they require further legal representation.
Obtaining Client Reviews
Nowadays, people are accustomed to looking at reviews before buying a product or service; it’s no different when potential clients search for a lawyer. Therefore, it is important to have a high volume of client reviews and a high overall rating score.
There are many places where potential clients may review you or your law firm: lawyer directories, your Google My Business, and on a website where people can review local businesses, to name a few.
Suppose a potential client notices your firm has positive reviews from satisfied clients. They will certainly look at you more favorably than law firms that have low ratings or no reviews. Strong reviews may be the one thing that gets them to pick up the phone and call your firm.
You can also reply to reviews that you receive – whether positive or negative – to show potential clients that you are engaged and care about what your clients have to say.
These are just some of the effective techniques you can use to improve your online marketing strategy as a lawyer or law firm. Each can increase the success of your business and enhance your online presence.
Top Digital Marketing Quick Tips for Lawyers
Learning about a new topic such as online marketing can be daunting – especially when you’re an attorney with a full caseload. This section will cover a few quick tips to help improve your digital marketing presence as a lawyer or law firm in the legal industry.
- Create Quality, Relevant Content
Making sure your website is full of quality, relevant content will help drive more traffic to your business. You can share this content throughout the internet, which could help you reach potential clients. Strong content will help search engines like Google view your website as authoritative. This can, in turn, drive more traffic to your website.
- Maintain Robust Social Media Profiles
Some of the most successful businesses also have some of the most robust social media presences. This is because social media platforms are incredibly popular with just about everyone. A strong social media profile means that more clients will know about your business and be more likely to hire you.
- Create a Professional Website
Ultimately, a potential client will likely visit your website before hiring you – especially if they came across your business via an online marketing campaign. It’s important to have a high-quality website with a seamless user experience. Potential clients will be less likely to hire you if your website is not visually engaging and difficult to navigate.
- Stay Engaged With Your Clients
This applies to former, current, and potential clients alike. Be sure to respond to client reviews online, regularly engage with clients via email marketing campaigns, and regularly share relevant content you create on the web.
Measuring the Success of Your Digital Marketing Strategies
We’ve gone over the importance of digital marketing, its various components, and helpful tips. Now, how do you know if your marketing strategy is actually working?
There are five common key performance indicators (KPIs) that can help you determine if your strategies are working for you:
- Is your firm’s website gaining more organic web traffic?
- Are your keywords receiving a high ranking and click volume?
- Is there an increase in website conversions from organic searches?
- Are you gaining more referrals from your offsite SEO efforts?
- Is there an improvement in your local SEO presence?
Examining these KPIs will help you track your return on investment (ROI), which is crucial when evaluating the financial value of your marketing efforts. It allows you to determine which strategies work best for your firm and which should be modified.
Google Analytics will help you track your website’s organic web traffic, conversions from organic searches, and referral traffic.
You can use Google Search Console and Pro Rank Tracker to track your keyword rankings and click volume. These tools allow you to evaluate which keywords are most relevant to your target audience and track your progress over time.
Local Falcon and CallRail are SEO tools that track your local rankings. As a lawyer, your local SEO presence is paramount to the success of your online marketing efforts. You need to target clients in your particular geographic area, and these tools will help you determine how effectively you’re doing so.
Remember that you need to have realistic expectations. It’s important to continue measuring the success of your digital marketing strategies, but don’t expect dramatic results overnight. It may take several months (or more) to see quantifiable outcomes.
Working with a Legal Marketing Company to Manage All of Your Digital Marketing Strategies
As you can see, digital marketing for law firms has many different components. It requires extensive investments of time and money to do well. However, you may not have much time for marketing as a practicing lawyer, especially if you have a full caseload.
If you are serious about digital marketing, you should partner with a digital marketing agency for lawyers. Your competitors who rank for competitive keywords in your geographic area certainly are.
A legal marketing agency can handle all aspects of your digital marketing, from website design and SEO to managing your lawyer directories and social media profiles. This frees you up to focus on what matters most: your clients.
LawRank is a top SEO company for attorneys. We have a proven track record of helping law firms rank on the first page of Google. We’ve helped countless law firms increase their website traffic and calls and grow their businesses.
Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss our SEO services for law firms. We work with all practice areas including personal injury lawyer SEO, divorce lawyer SEO, and criminal defense. We’ll explore strategies to help you improve your online presence and get you the leads you deserve for your law firm.