For small law firms, marketing is often the single greatest obstacle to their success. After all, there’s no shortage of lawyers. Digital marketing can feel like a shot in the dark because there are so many platforms that you can use for content marketing. Algorithms also tend to favor the bigger firms, who often have dedicated budgets for marketing and law firm SEO.

All the same, marketing your small firm is an essential ingredient for success. Fortunately, as long as you are committed to the process, there are tried and true methods to build your business. 

Remember: This is a marathon, not a sprint. In the legal world, persistent dedication triumphs over a shotgun approach. With this in mind, here are six tips to grow your firm steadily over time.

Specialization Is Essential

To successfully market your small firm, you must specialize.

There are many reasons why a narrow focus is necessary:

Clients Who Hire Small Firms Have Specialized Needs 

While giant corporations need big firms that practice in many areas, local businesses or individuals may only need someone to handle contract disputes.

Search Engine Results Reward Specialization

Search engines like Google reward websites that are hyper-focused on specific topics and regions.

Localization Pays

Small firm clients want a lawyer who operates nearby, so focusing on a smaller region is often best. For example, don’t bill yourself as a Florida law firm; bill yourself as a Fort Lauderdale law firm. 

Specializing like this does not mean that you can’t branch out with your practice. What it does mean is that, for marketing purposes, you’ll want to focus on a specific area of law and local geographic region to serve. 

As you read through these tips, you’ll see the many ways in which you can put your specialization to use.

Build a Professional and Attractive Law Firm Website

The vast majority of prospective clients will visit your website before they contact you. Even clients who are referred to you by a friend, family member, or another attorney are going to check out your site. 

As such, your website is among your most effective marketing tools, if not the most effective one. 

For a website to fulfill your marketing needs, it must be professional and attractive. 

Here are some essential ingredients:

  • Your website must be fast. If it is slow to load, you lose visitors before you have the chance to market to them.
  • Make your specialization clear on your website.
  • Include a blog. This is an opportunity to speak to potential clients, showcase your expertise, and set a tone.
  • Include positive testimonials from current or former clients.
  • Make sure that your website’s structure is designed to be simple and easy to navigate.

Above all else, you do not want your website to be static or boring. You want an attractive website that invites prospective clients to engage with you.

While pages that describe your firm and introduce your attorneys are necessary, don’t stop there. Offer educational content that answers simple questions and highlights the value of your services. 

Attorney SEO Is Marketing

Search engine optimization (SEO) is not some esoteric digital practice for techies. It’s a marketing tool for everyone – including law firms and lawyers just like you.

While there are countless free SEO guides readily available, this is one area where you want to consider dipping into your marketing budget. An experienced SEO professional is often a difference-maker when it comes to positive results. 

Though this is a huge field, here are some simple rules to get you started:

  • SEO is first and foremost about keywords, which are two to five word phrases that people type into search engines. 
  • The more specific the keyword is, the higher you will rank on search engine results. For example, small law firms want to employ keywords like “Chicago auto accident attorneys,” not “Chicago attorneys.”
  • Do keyword research! There are plenty of free SEO tools to help you identify the best keywords to use for your business.
  • Consistent content leads to higher rankings. For a law firm, the content is most likely the blog; update it regularly, and link your posts to social media.
  • Faster websites rank higher, as do multimedia items like images and videos.
  • In your blog, link to external, authoritative sources. External links help you rank higher as long as they lead to reputable websites.

When you want to bring new visitors to your website, SEO is the way to do it.

Social Media For Law Firms Is the New Direct Mail

These days, no marketing guide is complete without reference to social media. 

Platforms like Facebook provide a number of benefits, which include:

  • Hyper-local focus
  • Active discourse between your firm, existing clients, and potential clients
  • Easy referrals and ratings
  • Cost-effective paid advertisements

Again, there are plenty of free guides available about Facebook marketing for your small law firm

Here, we focus on simple, general rules that you can adopt:

  • Be active and post at least once per day.
  • People go to Facebook to be informed, entertained, and inspired. You want to reach them in all three ways.
  • Through post comments and direct messaging, engage with your audience.
  • If you decide to purchase ads, then be specific by focusing your (pay-per-click) PPC campaign on your area of expertise and geographic region.

Above all else, remember that social media is social before it is media. Post, comment, and message accordingly. 

Other Digital Tools Increase Your Law Firm’s Reach and Build Its Reputation

Beyond your website, social media, and search engine optimization, there are other digital tools that can work for your small firm. Chief among these is Avvo, where lawyers communicate with and answer questions from laypeople. Avvo is a great tool for building your firm’s reputation and spreading its name.

Other websites provide opportunities to list your business. 

Make sure that your information is consistent across these platforms:

  • Yelp
  • FindLaw
  • Justia
  • Yellow Pages
  • Hg.org

Finally, email newsletters are a great way to stay in constant contact with your audience. This keeps your firm engaged with its clients but also allows you to spread word about your triumphs.

Analog Marketing Still Works in Our Digital World

With all these digital tools to master, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that you are an esteemed professional. Your clients don’t want the best marketer; they want the best attorney. Your job is to zealously represent your client, not to become an SEO expert

As such, remember that your best marketing tool is YOU. Be the distinguished lawyer who delivers on their promises and the referrals will come. The law is a reputation-based profession first and foremost, which means that no marketing tools can replace your bearing and trustworthiness. 

Be someone to respect, and remember why you went to law school. Partner with people who can add value to your company when it comes to legal marketing and spread the word about your services.