When it comes to learning how to market a law firm, it can be very easy to make mistakes. Lawyers know how to write, but marketing can be a minefield of technical jargon and technology. When it comes to marketing, it’s beneficial to have an end goal, but mistakes that are made at any stage of the marketing launch can seriously reduce marketing effectiveness.
There is an entire industry built around providing lawyer marketing ideas and legal marketing services, simply because law firms consistently make the same mistakes.
When it comes to learning the basics of how to market your law firm, here are some of the most common mistakes. Knowing where others go wrong is a great way of learning what to do right.
Mistake #1 – The Ideal Client
One of the biggest mistakes that law firms make with their marketing strategies is failing to identify their clients. This is primarily due to the mindset of traditional advertising. While billboards and radio ads still have their place, technology has transformed the impact of marketing. Traditional marketing uses a net to attract customers. It’s a net that allows more potential customers to slip through the holes. That kind of overly-broad marketing is a thing of the past and law firms that hope to increase their market share need to update their way of thinking.
Targeting your Marketing
Now, you can target your advertising messages directly to the people that will be most likely to respond to them. That will mean much more effective in terms of real results. What’s more, it means that the more you know who your target audience is, the more likely that you make the right decisions across the rest of your marketing campaign.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the more people that see your marketing efforts, the better.
High numbers don’t always mean big results. Sometimes having a smaller number of people see your marketing campaign can have a more significant impact if the right audience is seeing you.
Researching your Target Demographic
This is vital and will continue to be a valuable resource across every stage of your marketing. It’s a simple fact that the more you understand who your target audience is, the easier it will be to market to them. You can do this in a variety of ways, but the critical task needs to be segmentation. You need to break down the data of your main clients by personal characteristics. Use categories like:
● Age group
● Employment and sector
● Geographical location
If you are a business lawyer targeting brands rather than individuals, then you can do the same breaking down process. This process is called firmographics. For that, you need to segment your clients into categories such as:
● Company size
By collating this information, you will be able to identify very clearly the type of clients that you are currently attracting. It means you will be able to build up a profile of your average client (known as The Ideal Client).
You may find that you simply don’t have enough data about your client list to build up a strong client persona.
There are online resources and legal marketing services that can conduct your client research for you.
Another way to narrow down the characteristics of your Ideal Client is to segment them based on their behavior. This can be their social media habits and likes, or the information that they are accessing on your law firm website. Doing so can give you a lot of valuable information regarding what makes them likely to respond to a set marketing strategy. Like all targeted marketing, the more that you understand your audience, the more that you can tailor your marketing ideas to match.
Using the Data
Once you have collected all of the facts about your clients, you should be able to see if you are attracting the ones that you want. If you’re a law firm specializing in automobile accidents, but your main clients are entrepreneurs with liability cases, then clearly there is a disparity.
Define your target audience and compare it to your actual clients.
If you target your marketing based on the presumption that your clients have a 50/50 male to female split, but the truth is that your clients are 80% female, then your targeted marketing is not going to be as effective.
Likewise, if you are aiming your marketing at a very niche legal sector but you’re only gaining a few percentages of clients from that niche, then something has gone wrong.
Fine-tuning your lawyer marketing ideas will be very reliant on the audience research that you do. Failing to understand just who their audience is and aiming for too broad a client range is one of the most common mistakes that law firms make when marketing. You can use all of the lawyer marketing best practices, but if you’re casting a too-wide net, then you’re not going to catch what you want to catch.
Mistake #2 – SEO & Content
This can be a confusing area, which is why so many law firms make mistakes with law firm SEO. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is simply using your available resources in order to rank higher on search engines like Google. Appearing high up on page one of a Google search engine results page is the goal, and the number of clicks that you can get from a client search query can dramatically increase.
The higher that you appear on a search engine results page, the more visible your law firm becomes.
This is essential when it comes to marketing your law firm,but too many attorneys fail to make use of SEO.
The key to better SEO. There are a variety of different content types that you can make use of, from blog posts to video guides to infographics. However, the content that you create should serve a purpose. The critical element is value. If your content provides value, then search engines will reward you for it on the results pages.
Never just produce content for the sake of it.
There are some practical ways that you can avoid the mistake of bad SEO.
● Have a content marketing strategy: This will cut down on the temptation to create fluff pieces that will add little to no value to your potential clients. Make sure that you have some understanding of content marketing best practices, and make use of legal marketing services if you need help building your strategy.
● Know your audience: The research that you have done into segmenting your audience plays a crucial role in your content creation. Make sure that you have a firm idea of your target audience and tailor your content to them so that it has specific and targeted value.
● Stay Simple: Law is a complex subject matter. It means lots of jargon and confusing clauses and legislation. Your clients are very likely not going to know what those terms mean, so avoid using legal jargon. The aim is to be as transparent as possible so that your audience can grasp a subject and easily understand how you can solve their legal problems.
● Don’t sell: It might be tempting to scatter self-advertising in your content, but this should be avoided. Your content should be intended to inform, not sell. The whole point of a content marketing strategy is to establish yourself and your firm as a trustworthy legal service. You should not be pushing and promoting your services in your content.
● Use your keywords: This will entail some marketing know-how. Your keywords are the most commonly used words in your sector, and the words and phrases that people type into search engines when they need answers that are relevant to your firm. Terms like ‘local law firms’ are ideal, but this can be a complicated process, and there are pitfalls. That’s why using a law firm marketing company is always a good step in the right direction. They can ensure that you know the best keywords and how to use them.
It’s essential that you do not start your marketing strategy and then just let it run without supervision. You will need to collect, analyze, and track your metrics. You can break this down into:
● Page views
● Overall site visits
● Social media shares
● Conversion rates (how many people pay for a service after seeing your content)
Ensure that your content is resulting in the right actions. If it is not, then you need to make adjustments.
Mistake #3 – Social Media
Whether you love it or hate it, social media is a valuable marketing tool. There are endless guides on how to use social media to boost your marketing efforts and get the most from it.
There are some common mistakes that law firms are often very guilty of when it comes to using Facebook, Twitter, and other social platforms.
You can’t merely make occasional posts and hope for the best. You need to have a well-developed and practical plan, and you need to follow it up regularly. The most common social media mistakes that law firms make are:
● Winging it: If you do not have any clear objectives or set goals, you will never know how effective your social media marketing is.
● Impatience: Social media marketing is not a quick fix to an ailing law firm. It’s a long-term strategy that is intended to build relationships with clients and prospective clients. Don’t assume that making a post on Facebook is going to result in an immediate profit-boost. Cultivate your social media as you do your client list.
● Going cheap: Of course, social media is free to use, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t spend money on it. Law firms that make use of paid social campaigns, or make use of a law firm marketing company will always have a stronger impact on social platforms. Some forward-thinking law firms are even hiring full-time social media managers who know how to leverage more views and encourage engagement. This solution also addresses that other social media blunder of spreading responsibility and accountability across the firm. Set one person as your social media marketer, and the results will vastly improve.
● Tracking results: If you aren’t assessing how much impact your social media marketing is having, then you will repeat the same mistakes over and over again.
● Sticking to one platform: Facebook might be the largest social media platform (for now), but it’s not your only option. Experiment with a variety, and share the content on the right platforms to maximize impact. Fellow legal professionals might be interested in your latest content, so you might consider posting it on LinkedIn. Your clients may be more likely to be on Facebook or Twitter, so you should post your targeted content on those platforms.
● Using Links: If you can persuade an audience member to leave the safety of a social media platform in order to read or watch a piece of content on your lawyer’s website, you have won half of the battle. Once they are on your site, you can then use your content and navigation to guide them around your web pages. Social media ‘likes’ numbers matter very little if you are not engaging in real-world follow-ups. Getting visitors to your site is a tangible result.
When it comes to social media, most legal professionals will have only a cursory knowledge of how it can be effective for promotion. The more that you put into it, the more useful it can be. However, it is possible to overly rely on social media, and that’s why you need to strike a balance.
Mistake #4 – Feedback
It used to be that businesses were built around the word of mouth recommendations. Usually, these recommendations came from friends and family. In the digital age, word of mouth is just as valid a marketing strategy, except that it has gone online. Your existing clients are an incredibly valuable marketing resource, and yet too many legal firms either fail to recognize that fact or adopt it in the wrong way.
If you’re not gathering feedback from your clients, your marketing will be noticeably weaker. In the modern era, people certainly enjoy leaving reviews, and you should be capitalizing on that fact. Even negative reviews can be useful, as they can give you an indication that there is something in your firm that needs addressing and fixing. Positive reviews are obviously the goal, and there are two useful tactics you can try to gain more:
● Single transaction clients: Your request for feedback should take place at the end of your transaction and service provision. This is the most basic form of feedback gathering, but the results can be very impactful when you use them in the right way.
● Regular clients: These are often the backbone of a law firm, and that means ensuring that they are happy with the service that you provide. For regular clients, you should make a request for feedback at least once a year. However, you should also approach them for reviews and feedback whenever you make a change to your business. If you are adding services or changing your specialty, then that’s a good time to make a feedback request. You can do this formally via a structured feedback form, or simply via a few questions over email.
Of course, it’s useless to have a great collection of feedback quotes and data but then do nothing with it. You need to know where to use it. There are some key locations where feedback information is ideally placed for law firms. Your feedback should be included:
● On your website: Having testimonials on your website can have a dramatic influence on whether a prospective client gets in touch with you. Those reviews give you respectability and can increase levels of trust. That will make clients more likely to trust that you are the right attorney for them. Make sure that they are recent testimonials. If your reviews are more than a few years old, it’s time to update them.
● Emails: This remains one of the best marketing tools of the modern age, and your email marketing strategy should be integrating feedback into their layout. Remember, emails land directly into the daily lives of your target audience, and if you have done your research, then that email can prompt a response. You can boost your chances of a positive response by including soundbites that have been left by happy clients.
● Social Media: Again, it’s important not to get too swept up by social media marketing, but it does have a lot of value. Don’t be afraid to shout about your successes on your social platforms.
Consumers trust online reviews, and they can be all that stands between you and the growth of your law firm. Make sure that you are collecting feedback, analyzing it, and then using it in the right way. If you pay attention to what you are told, then you can only enhance your online reputation.
Mistake #5 – Ignoring Trends
Marketing is in a constant state of change. That’s why one of the main tasks of any law firm marketing company is to ensure that they are always up to date on what works and what is no longer sufficient. In an ever-changing field, it can be hard to keep up with the newest and most effective legal marketing choices.
Unfortunately, your impact and ROI will depend on being somewhat aware of the latest marketing trends and technologies.
If you stay using the same marketing strategy for years, you’re making one of the biggest single mistakes that law firms make. After all, it’s not an easy task to keep up to date in marketing. However, here are the best ways to ensure that you don’t end up wasting time on marketing your legal firm in ineffective ways.
● Learn: You might feel that you’ve spent plenty of time in the classroom on the road to becoming an attorney. However, your education should never stop, especially when it comes to making improvements to your business. It’s not enough to just read blogs and legal magazines. There are plenty of online courses available that can take you to entirely new levels of marketing skills.
● Read: This is always a good bit of advice, but what you read matters. If you want to ensure that your firm is making a marketing impact, then you should commit to reading some books on the subject. Find a list of the best marketing books and pick one or two from the list. You don’t need to put down your John Grisham for too long, and you might be surprised by how much you can pick up from even the most generic chapter of a good book.
● Subscribe: There’s a good chance that you already read news articles relating to the legal sector. If you read something particularly useful, it’s always a good idea to see what else the platform has to offer. Finding the right resources is one of the best ways to improve your digital marketing skills, and subscribing to the most informative sites and news outlets can give you a regular dose of industry-relevant news.
● Network: This remains one of the best ways to spread awareness of your firm. Now that networking can be done online as well as in person, there’s no longer any excuse for not perfecting your networking skills. The more comprehensively you build a network of colleagues and professionals, the easier it will be to have questions answered, get tips and advice, and establish yourself as a leader in the legal field.
● Google Alerts: Sometimes, a news report will come out of nowhere. It could be something specific regarding your legal niche, or it could be something relevant regarding marketing tips. Those news reports and new articles can very easily be missed. That’s why setting up a Google Alert for some of your legal keywords can be so beneficial. They can ensure that you don’t miss out on breaking news, and make it less likely that you miss those articles where it’s you that is the ideal customer.
Marketing mistakes are easy to make. However, by knowing what the most common errors are, you are far less likely to make them. Make sure that you know what you should (and shouldn’t) be doing with the marketing tactics that you adopt for your legal firm. The more that you understand the power of marketing and how it can transform your potential for growth, the more incentive you will have to get it right.