It’s not enough to hang a shingle and hope clients start walking through the door. You’ll need to market your law firm – and market it well – to build a successful and thriving practice. 

Whether you’re an established firm or fresh out of law school, it’s important to know how to market your law firm successfully – even if you’re working with a law firm marketing agency.

Here, you’ll learn everything you need to know about law firm marketing – what it is, how to do it, and where to turn for help.

What is Law Firm Marketing and Why is it Important?

Legal marketing involves promoting your practice so that a prospective client will hire you when they’re injured in an accident, decide to get a divorce, or find themself facing serious criminal charges. 

The goal is to get your brand out there, demonstrate your excellence in your practice area, and make prospective clients understand exactly why they’ll want your law firm handling their case.

You might be wondering:

How exactly do lawyers market their firms? Methods typically fall into one of two categories: traditional and digital.

Traditional Law Firm Marketing

For decades, law firms and attorneys relied on several marketing strategies, including:

  • Promotional pamphlets
  • Brochures
  • Business cards
  • Advertisements in local magazines or newspapers
  • Billboards
  • Television and radio ads
  • Networking at business events

These methods can be costly and time-consuming, and they tend to be very light on content. You need to fit a lot of information into a small space or a short amount of time.

It can be hard to persuade a prospective client to choose your law firm based solely on a jingle, a catchphrase, or a short pitch.

Not surprisingly, bigger law firms typically have the advantage when it comes to traditional marketing practices because they tend to have more resources at their disposal.

A larger firm might be able to afford TV ads, whereas a law firm in its second year of existence probably won’t. A bigger firm can also afford the costs associated with printing eye-popping pamphlets, stuffing envelopes, and sending out mailers to the local market.

A smaller firm, on the other hand, would likely have to handle most of that in-house, and likely have to settle for a lesser quantity of advertising materials.

Whether a firm is well-established or new, traditional marketing efforts can be hit-or-miss. 

In recent years, cost and client behavior have helped to drive most law firm marketing practices into the digital world. 

Digital Law Firm Marketing

Digital law firm marketing involves using the Internet to reach prospective clients.

Digital marketing strategies involve: 

Search engine optimization (SEO), practices to land your law firm’s website at the top of a Google search page for relevant terms, is the holy grail of digital marketing. Research shows that 96 percent of people looking for an attorney use a search engine.

Google is the go-to engine for most people, accounting for north of 81 percent of daily searches. 

If your law firm marketing plan can rank your practice at the top of Google’s results page for relevant keywords, you’ll get in front of the clients you need when they’re in the market for an attorney.

Digital marketing levels the playing field between law firms young and old, big and small. With a few keystrokes and clicks, any firm can get their brand in front of potential clients – as long as they use the best practices and strategies.

12 Easy Steps For Marketing Your Law Firm Successfully

You don’t have to spend a fortune or invest all of your time into a law firm marketing campaign to see results. By following a few key steps, you can attract clients, grow your firm, and see a substantial return on your investment. 

1. Create a Marketing Budget

First and foremost, create a budget and stick to it. Surprisingly, many law firms don’t have a dedicated marketing budget. Without a pool of resources to draw from, you’ll be doomed from the start.

You may be wondering: 

How much should you invest in your law firm’s marketing efforts? The answer depends on several factors.

  • What is your practice area?
  • Where are you located?
  • What size is your firm?
  • Are you a solo practitioner?
  • Are you a new practice or has your firm been around for a while?
  • What are your marketing goals?
  • Are you going to handle marketing yourself or hire a law firm marketing agency?

If you’re competing in a big market – like New York City, Chicago, or Los Angeles – you’ll probably have to set aside a larger marketing budget than a firm in a more suburban or rural part of the country.

Similarly, smaller firms might have to invest more (at least up front) to compete with larger firms, regardless of the market size.

At a minimum, you should set aside at least 8 percent of your firm’s gross revenue for marketing. Some estimates show that law firms spend between 2 and 15 percent on marketing.

One thing you don’t want to do is underfund your legal marketing campaign. Set aside slightly more than you might think you need, if possible.

There’s a good chance that your investment will cost more than you initially calculated, and you’ll want to have funds available to make up the difference.

Successful law firm marketing strategies can yield great returns on investments (ROIs), so spend now to reap the benefits down the line.

2. Build Your Brand

Before you do anything  – traditional or digital – you need to have a vision. You need to have a brand

  • Who are you?
  • What’s your passion?
  • Who do you serve and represent?
  • What’s your experience?
  • What sets you apart from other attorneys/law firms?

Are you a generational law firm that’s been at it for decades? Are you a nationally acclaimed, award-winning trial attorney?

Has your firm set records with the settlements and verdicts it has recovered? Do you get a ton of referrals from former clients because you’re genuinely invested in your client’s lives and futures?

If you’re fresh out of law school, be a visionary. Think about the type of firm you want to be and manifest it.

Bank on the experience and results you’ve achieved. Embrace client satisfaction. Begin to put the pieces of your legal empire into place.

Put a lot of thought into branding your law firm. It’s what prospective clients will see first and quite often, it’s what will bring them back when they need an attorney.

3. Identify Your Target Market

Before you start marketing your law firm, you’ll have to decide what market you want to reach.

Who is your ideal client? Where do they live? 

You can tailor your marketing strategies accordingly when you know who you’re trying to connect with and where they can be found.

A tailored strategy can help to save money and time – which is arguably just as valuable – as you work to get your law firm’s name and reputation out there.

4. Expand Your Visibility By Completing Free Lawyer Profiles

You don’t always have to spend money to market your law firm. There are tons of legal directories and websites out there – many with great reputations – that offer attorneys the opportunity to build profiles at no cost. 

These include:

Among other things, these profiles will highlight your experience, awards you’ve won, client ratings and reviews, your specific location, and other important information about your practice. The more detailed your profile, the better.

Clients are more likely to call an attorney with a comprehensive profile – complete with a reassuring headshot – than an attorney who’s provided little-to-no helpful information.

Some websites offer enhanced services – like do-follow links which can be great for SEO – at a cost. Depending on your goals, it may be worthwhile to upgrade your profile. 

Claiming free lawyer profiles can offer two distinct advantages:

  • Establish visibility in your local market so that prospective clients can find you when they use these websites to find an attorney, and
  • Increase your law firm’s authority, which is a cornerstone of successful SEO practices

When Google decides what law firm websites to rank, it’s going to consider many factors. Among them – authority. Does the law firm’s website – through its content and links – appear to be the type of expert a prospective client might need?

When other authoritative websites link to you – including those offering free and/or paid lawyer profiles – it can add to your website’s (and brand’s) authority, potentially causing it to rank higher on search engines.

Don’t skip attorney profiles, especially those offered by respected legal services. Spend an hour or two of your time completing these accounts for an easy and inexpensive way to boost your law firm’s marketing efforts. 

5. Create a User-Friendly Law Firm Website

In order to show up in Google’s search results (and search results on other search engines like Bing and Yahoo!), you’ll have to have a website for your law firm.

Here’s the bottom line:

Your website needs to be great. Not just good. Great.

When prospective clients visit your law firm’s site, they’ll know within moments if they will call you for help or not. Your website is your law firm’s first impression, and how it looks and functions matters.

What makes a law firm website great?

  • It should load in two seconds or less – the longer a user has to wait around, the more likely they are to hit the back button
  • It needs to look nice – a clunky, unattractive design will drive prospective clients away before they give your content a chance
  • It has to be user-friendly and function effectively – make sure that it’s easy to navigate and that users can find the information that’s most important to them quickly

User experience (UX) is another cornerstone of SEO. Two metrics can help you determine if you have a user-friendly website that’s working effectively as part of your law firm’s marketing tactics: bounce rate and dwell time.

Bounce rate refers to how often users leave your website before diving into your content.

Dwell time refers to the length of time a user spends on your website.

You want your law firm’s website to have a low bounce rate (people stick around once they click through from Google or another link) and a high dwell time (not only do they stick around, but they stay for a while).

The average amount of time a person spends on a website is just 15 seconds.

When you’re designing your practice’s website, you need to make sure the design pulls them in, and that the content convinces them to stay a while. Once they’re on your site and engaged, your content can take over and help sell your legal services.

6. Embrace Content Marketing

It’s not enough to have a user-friendly website. In fact, it’s all for nothing if you don’t have good content to support it. You’re vying for a limited number of spots on Google’s first page of results, and mediocre content will never help you land there.

Likewise, bad content won’t help your clients. It won’t sell your law firm. It won’t make your phone ring, which, at the end of the day, is your ultimate goal.

When you’re putting together your marketing budget, make great content a priority investment.

What is content, anyway?

Content refers to anything you write, develop, or record, such as:

  • Blog posts
  • Guest posts
  • Landing pages
  • Evergreen pages
  • Videos
  • Photographs
  • Podcasts
  • Attorney bios
  • Resources
  • E-books

Memes can even be considered content in the era of social media.

Content marketing involves creating a range of content that’s designed to help users at different stages in their process of searching for an attorney.

It’s important to create dynamic content that is helpful, informative, and sells your law firm as the solution the user needs (albeit discreetly).

What type of content do you need for your site?

There are three distinct types of content you’ll want: informative, commercial, and transactional. 

Informative Content 

Informative content answers a question. It’s not designed to sell your legal services. Why? That’s not what the user is looking for in this instance.

For example, if you’re a personal injury attorney, you’ll want to develop content around frequently asked questions.

Can I get compensation if I’m blamed for an accident? What does it cost to hire an attorney? What causes most car accidents? How long do I have to file a lawsuit? These are the questions the user has.

Through your content, you’ll be providing important information about your practice area and demonstrating your authority on the law to a prospective client and Google.

Commercial Content 

Commercial content helps a user learn more about your law firm before they call to schedule a free consultation. These pages – including attorney bios, case results, and testimonials – are where your brand will shine through and tell your story.

Transactional Content

Transactional content is built to sell your law firm’s services to someone who’s ready to hire an attorney.

Typically, your transactional pages will be your law firm’s homepage and other evergreen pages related to your practice area.

For instance, if you’re a criminal defense attorney, you’ll ideally have pages dedicated to white-collar crimes, assault, battery, murder, and other criminal offenses.

Not only will these pages offer information about the crimes, but they’ll also highlight exactly how your law firm can help and why you’re the best choice.

Use calls-to-action (CTA) to point users in the right direction.

Your law firm website needs to demonstrate your experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-E-A-T). These are critical for not only ranking on Google but also getting the phone to ring.

Through content optimization, you can create relevant, helpful, and engaging content at all stages of the sales funnel for your prospective clients, thereby guiding your law firm marketing strategy in the right direction.

7. Utilize Best SEO Practices to Rank on Google

We’ve hit on a few of the best practices for SEO to get your law firm’s website to rank on Google. However, SEO best practices are so important that they deserve a section of their own.

Missing key elements of a successful SEO campaign can be incredibly damaging to your law firm’s overall marketing efforts.

Here are some of the top SEO strategies to help your website rank:

  • Build a user-friendly law firm website that highlights your brand
  • Create unique and compelling content that’s relevant to your legal practice and written specifically for your target audience
  • Research relevant keywords and build content around them
  • Build links to your website from authoritative, trustworthy sources through guest posts and other white-hat SEO tactics
  • Utilize an aggressive internal linking strategy that helps Google crawl your website and organically enhances the user’s experience while navigating your content
  • Invest in pay-per-click (PPC) Google ads and local services ads to supplement your organic SEO efforts
  • Show up in the local pack by creating hyper-focused-local pages and resources for prospective clients

SEO for lawyers works best when you take a comprehensive, organized, holistic approach. The end result – a website that speaks to both Google and your prospective clients.

That’s the sweet spot you want, and it’ll help to increase your call volume, leads, and caseload.

8. Optimize Your Google My Business (GMB) Profile

There’s one free profile that’s so important that it warrants further discussion.

A lot of law firm marketing – and online marketing generally – involves what happens on Google. So, it makes sense to optimize everything that’s even connected to Google – including your Google My Business (GMB) profiles.

Google wants to connect its users with relevant, helpful information.

When someone in New York searches for a pizza shop, it’s not going to recommend a shoe store in Chicago. Nor will it recommend a pizza joint in Los Angeles. Rather, Google will try to provide that user with a list of the best pizza places near them. So, it’ll give that user a list of pizza places within a few blocks or miles (depending on how many pizza places are nearby). 

One way that Google knows what businesses are around, what they do, who they serve, and how they’re rated, is through Google My Business profiles.

What does this mean for your firm? 

As a business, you can claim and complete this free profile to help Google understand your practice and convey critical information to prospective clients. Google and users will use your GMB profile to make important decisions – like whether to show you in certain search results or call your law office.

If you don’t optimize your GMB profile, you’re not going to maximize your law firm’s marketing campaign. You need to do what other law firms are doing, and you need to do it better.

Take advantage of this free tool and provide exhaustive information so that you’re seen as relevant, helpful, and trustworthy when it counts.

9. Obtain and Publish Law Firm Reviews

Attorney reviews are a great marketing tool. Don’t sleep on just how much of an impact getting reviews from former clients can have on your law firm’s future success.

Which law firm would you choose, the one with five reviews or the one with five hundred? Even if you’re a new practice or new to the field of law, getting reviews that go into detail about the benefits of your legal representation can work wonders when prospective clients are deciding which law firm to contact. 

Have your staff ask former clients to leave you reviews on Google, Facebook, Avvo, and other platforms. Make it a point to ask clients themselves once you’ve helped them navigate a difficult legal issue.

Reviews add up, and, together, they can be incredibly influential.

10. Utilize Social Media

Roughly two-thirds of the American population use at least one social media platform. If you’re not marketing your law firm on social media, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to get your brand out there. 

Where should you establish a social media presence for your law firm?

83 percent of Americans use YouTube, and you can use it to increase your brand awareness, demonstrate your authority on the law, and connect with your local community.

Think about creating videos that answer frequently asked questions, highlight your firm’s case results, or show off your community relationships. Videos can be linked both on and off your site and shared easily by users across other social media platforms.

Facebook is a great way to connect with your local market. Create a dedicated page for your law firm where you provide information about your practice, share links to blogs and other content you’ve created, highlight results and awards, engage with members of your community, and showcase reviews from former clients. 

Instagram and TikTok have taken the nation – and world – by storm over the past few years. So much information is now created and shared through graphics and reels (videos).

Embracing this trend can perhaps be the single best way to market your legal practice in a fun and engaging way. 

Your engagement isn’t just limited to Gen Z, either. Every generation – from millennials to baby boomers – have a presence on these video-centric social media platforms.

Putting yourself out there and creating content is a great way to make a name for yourself and be front and center in a person’s mind when they find themselves in need of an attorney.

11. Go Beyond Your Digital Presence

Even though the bulk of your law firm marketing will likely be done online, it would be unwise to miss out on the benefits of more traditional strategies. 

This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to put up a billboard, develop commercials for TV, or even record ads for your local radio station.

These can all be helpful, but also might not be necessary given your marketing goals, budget, and location.

Here’s the thing: 

You can achieve a lot by taking a few simple actions to promote your brand and grow your practice:

  • Sponsor local community events and organizations
  • Volunteer at local non-profits 
  • Join legal organizations
  • Attend legal conferences and network to increase the likelihood of referrals
  • Become a guest speaker at conferences and colleges to increase your visibility, authority, and trustworthiness
  • Write books, papers, and other materials that can be distributed and shared by colleagues and clients, alike

Your traditional marketing and digital marketing efforts should be complementary. They should work together to maximize your overall marketing efforts.

Be consistent throughout – if you have a tagline or catchphrase, use it across all mediums. Put it on your business card, your website, your pamphlets, and across social media. 

12. Track Your Marketing Efforts and Measure Your ROI

How do you know if your law firm’s marketing efforts are working? There are several pieces of information you can consider when tracking your marketing results

Key performance indicators (KPIs) include:

  • Where is your law firm’s website ranking on Google now vs. when you started?
  • Has your organic website traffic increased?
  • Has website traffic increased due to your paid ads?
  • Has there been an increase in website conversions?
  • Where are you ranking in the local pack?
  • Is your law firm’s phone ringing more? 

There are plenty of tools – both free and paid – that you can use to track your SEO and digital marketing success. 

These include:

Google Search Console: a free tool that shows you which terms you’re ranking for, what keywords are driving traffic to your law firm’s website, and where you’re landing in the rankings

Google Analytics: a free tool that helps you breakdown website traffic and visitor behavior, including bounce rate, time spent on various pages, and conversions

Pro Rank Tracker: a paid tool that provides a comprehensive overview of your firm’s rankings

Local Falcon: a free and/or paid tool that helps you see exactly where you’re ranking in local searches for specific keywords

CallRail: a paid tool that helps you understand the quantity and quality of calls made to your law firm

When should you start seeing results? 

Honestly, it depends on how much you’re doing and which strategies you’ve incorporated into your marketing campaign. But, as a general rule, you can typically expect to see results within 6 to 12 months.

What kind of a return on investment should you see?

It’s a good sign if you’re seeing an ROI of 5:1. It’s a great sign if you’re seeing an ROI of 10:1 or higher. For every dollar spent on marketing your law firm, you want to see anywhere between a 5 and 10-dollar return.

Anything less means that your marketing strategy needs to be adjusted – or that you haven’t waited quite long enough to see the fruits of your labor.

Law Firm Marketing Glossary

If you’re planning to market your law firm – on your own or with the help of an agency – it’s a good idea to understand the terms and phrases you’re most likely to hear throughout the process. 

Backlinks are links to your website from other websites. Obtaining backlinks from high-quality, authoritative sites can boost your digital marketing efforts. Simple ways to build backlinks include writing guest posts for other websites and completing your free (and/or paid) attorney profiles.

Black Hat SEO

Google and other search engines have certain rules and codes you have to follow if you want to rank on their websites. However, some people use black hat SEO tactics that violate these rules because they’re cheap, easy, and can yield positive results quickly.

However, once a search engine discovers that you’ve violated their terms, it’s a short distance between you and the bottom of the rankings.

Blog Post

Blogs are informative pieces of content that answer questions or explain an aspect of an attorney’s practice area. Blogs are often designed to reach clients at the top of the content marketing funnel when they’re still doing research about their legal problems and beginning to determine if they need a lawyer.

Brand

Your law firm’s brand is what sets you apart from the competition. It’s what makes your practice unique, and why prospective clients would be drawn to you.

Budget

Running a law firm is a business. Just like everything else, you need to allocate a specific amount of money to fund your marketing efforts.

Having a budget in place allows you to more easily calculate a return on your investment and ensure that you don’t overspend or underspend on your campaign.

Call to Action (CTA)

A call to action is persuasive text that’s designed to encourage prospective clients to call your law firm. Typically, you’ll advertise a free consultation with your firm and emphasize how you can help them with their legal issue. 

For maximum benefit, distribute CTAs throughout your content so that readers are regularly prompted to reach out to you to discuss their situation.

Click-Through Rate (CTR)

Click-through rate refers to the number of times someone clicks on a link vs. the number of times it’s displayed. This can apply to paid ads or organic search results.

A high click-through rate is good especially when it’s followed by extended dwell time. 

Content Marketing

Content marketing, as the name suggests, involves advertising your law firm through blogs, articles, guest posts, social media posts, videos, and other forms of content.

Content that informs users and sells your brand simultaneously can be very powerful for SEO and your overall marketing campaign. 

Conversion Rate

How often does a website visitor click on a call to action, complete a request for a free consultation, or pick up the phone and call your law firm?

These are all ways in which a user converts into a potential client for your law firm. When you compare the number of times a person converts (taking some defined step toward hiring your law firm) to the number of website visitors you have overall, you’ll calculate your site’s conversion rate.

Domain

Domain refers to your law firm’s website address. While domains are not an official Google ranking factor, they can be instrumental in helping you build your brand and grow your practice.

You can get creative with your domain by using keywords or phrases associated with your practice. For instance, if you primarily handle truck accident lawsuits in Oklahoma, you could try for a domain like “oklahomatruckaccidentlawyers” or “bigriginjuryvictims” as a way to market your firm.

Keywords

Keywords are the terms and phrases people use when conducting a Google search.

There are two types of keywords: short-tail and long-tail. Short-tail keywords are 1 to 3 words long and typically more general in nature. Long-tail keywords are longer and tend to have more of a specific intent behind them.

When you’re trying to market your law firm online, you need to know which keywords will be most helpful in helping you rank and reach your target audience. Keyword research is an essential aspect of law firm SEO.

Once you’ve determined the keywords you need to target, you can craft content around those keywords and incorporate them organically into your landing pages, articles, and blogs.

Local Market

While it doesn’t hold true for all practice areas, legal representation tends to be a very localized service. If you have a practice in Greensboro, North Carolina, you’re going to want to target clients in and around Greensboro, not clients in another part of the state or across the country.

When appropriate, your marketing efforts should focus on your local market.

You want to be visible and memorable to those in close physical proximity. This can involve embracing local SEO tactics and expanding your relationship with your local community beyond your law firm’s physical doors.

Search engines provide organic results, where websites are ranked based on, among other things, their quality, authority, trustworthiness, and location. Traditional SEO practices aim to help websites rank higher in organic search results.

Some search engines, like Google, also provide paid results – or ads – on their platforms.

Just because you pay for an ad doesn’t necessarily mean it will show up or show up every time. You’ll still be competing with other law firms in your market.

However, paid results tend to show up higher on the page and are more visible than organic results in some situations.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a comprehensive digital marketing strategy designed to help websites rank at the top of organic search results. Many components go into and complement SEO campaigns.

Exceed Your Law Firm Marketing Goals

While you can certainly market your law firm yourself, you don’t have to. It can be time-consuming and often requires a great depth of knowledge and skill to get it right.

Hiring a law firm marketing company can help you maximize your efforts and give you the time you need to focus on doing what you do best – helping your clients.

Still, it’s important to understand law firm marketing so that you can understand the steps a legal marketing agency will (or should) take to help you get clients and grow your practice. 

If you want to market your law firm and see results, choose a trustworthy, respected agency like LawRank.

At LawRank, we’re experts in digital marketing for lawyers – including law firm SEO, local SEO, PPC, and more. We don’t just help our clients rank on the first page of Google in the toughest markets in the nation, we get their phones to ring and caseloads to surge.

Learn more about how we can help you grow your law firm through dynamic, smart law firm marketing strategies by contacting us today