How To Start Marketing Your Law Firm
A Beginner's Guide
Starting a new law firm, either as a solo-attorney or with a few associates, is a significant decision that can feel a bit overwhelming at times. Not only do you need to practice law, but you need to practice being a business owner, a bookkeeper, a billing specialist, and a marketing expert.
We may not be able to help with your business registration or accounting… But this guide can help get your law firm online and jumpstart your sales and marketing.
Let’s get started!
Step 1) Invest in a CRM & Legal Practice Management Software
First things first. Before even thinking about marketing your law firm, establish a system to manage leads and handle cases.
A customer relationship management (CRM) solution is meant to assist with intake (phone calls, form fills, chats). It helps you manage your pipeline and move people from “new lead” to “new client” effectively. Your system can be a simple Excel spreadsheet, or a highly sophisticated marketing automation solution.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software
- Purpose: Manage intake, track leads, marketing automation
- Examples: Clio Grow, Lawmatics, Excel
Legal practice and case management solutions help you be a better lawyer, and can improve the quality of your service. They can help organize documents, track billable time, and collect payment.
Case Management Software
- Purpose: Manage cases, track time, billing
- Examples: Clio, Filevine, Case Tempo
There are plenty of tools, companies, and entire industries dedicated to intake and client management. Do a little research, check for compatibility, utilize free trials, and go with something that works for you.
The important thing is that you have a system in place so you’re ready whenever that first client comes in.
Step 2) Build & Launch Your Law Firm Website
There are a lot of routes you can take when launching a website for your law firm. You can go quick and easy with cheap hosting and a pre-built theme, or you can invest in something a little more custom.
Just remember – the perceived quality of your practice will be reflected in the quality of your website. Don’t end up with a site that’s slow, unstable, or not mobile-friendly. It will hurt business. You’ll lose real revenue from missed opportunities.
Here’s what’s required to launch your new law firm website:
- Registrar – Where you buy your domain name
- Hosting – Where your website lives
- DNS – Connects your domain to your website
- SSL – Secures your website
- CDN – Makes your website faster
- Platform – Base code your website is built on (Ex: WordPress)
- Theme – Design framework for your site
- Plugins – Optimize performance (speed, cache, minify, etc)
- Practice areas – What you do
- Messaging – Who you are (for People)
- Schema – Who you are (for Google)
- Photography Optional, but highly recommended
Certain steps will be easier than others. Some tools and providers will be more helpful. Your website is your business, and sometimes it’s worth paying a premium to ensure things are done properly.
Step 3) Install Tracking & Setup a Reporting Infrastructure
Next, you’ll want to start tracking your website performance. How are people finding you? Which pages are generating how much traffic? How many leads are you getting? Knowing how well your marketing channels and campaigns are performing will help you make better decisions down the road.
For starters, these are the essentials:
- Google Analytics (GA4) – What happens on your website
- Google Search Console – How does your site perform on Google
While not absolutely critical, the following are top priority:
- Install Call Tracking
- Track all Leads
- By Type – Forms, Calls, Chats, Downloads, etc.
- By Quality – New (all), Qualified (good), and Converted (signed clients)
- By Channel – Organic, Paid Search, Branded, Non-Branded, etc.
- Track all Marketing Spend
- Agency Fees
- Ad Spend
- Marketing Tools
Whether you use spreadsheets or software, find (and use) a system that works for you. It doesn’t have to be complicated. You just have to be consistent.
Step 4) Get your Law Firm on Maps and Directories
Now that you have a trackable website, it’s time to move off-site. It’s been argued that map listings are even more important than websites. It’s where many people first interact with your law firm. It creates a strong first impression, and influences whether people visit your website or move on.
The primary maps for local search include:
- Map Listings
- Google Maps (Google Business Profile, previously Google My Business)
- Bing Maps (Bing Places for Business)
- Apple Maps
Social pages and directory listings don’t need to be created immediately, but it’s a good idea to start pushing your name, address, phone number, and website across the web to help people (and search engines) find you:
- Social Sites – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.
- General Directories – Yelp, BBB, Yahoo!, FourSquare, etc.
- Legal Directories – Avvo, Justia, Nolo, FindLaw, etc.
You’ll want to get on all these eventually, but prioritize by importance, relevance, and effort to get listed. There are many tools that can help automate directory submissions. Don’t do it all manually.
Step 5) Optimize & Advertise
Now, a lot of what you’ve already done can be considered marketing: the content on your site, the pictures on your Google Business Profile, or simply being listed on a legal directory (online billboards).
There will always be more to do, but start by focusing on the basic elements:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Fundamentals
- Site architecture (parent-pages and sub-pages)
- Page titles & descriptions
- Content (quality & quantity)
- Internal linking
- Site speed
- Local SEO
- Fill all sections completely
- Monitor for updates from “Google users or other sources”
- Keep your N.A.P. 100% consistent across the web
- Request reviews
- Respond to questions
- Paid Search Advertising (Pay-per-click, or PPC)
- Conversion tracking
- Location targets (include and exclude)
- Bidding strategies to maximize conversions & minimize cost-per lead
- Keyword match types
- Ad copy
- Ad extensions
It’s no secret SEO takes a little time to gain traction (especially for brand new businesses). Be patient, implement best practices, and create a game plan for long-term growth.
If you can afford the upfront expenses, PPC advertising is a great way to quickly generate leads for your law firm. Build your paid search campaigns thoughtfully, set a monthly budget, and monitor performance metrics to make sure you’re making a decent return on your investment.
Different marketing channels aren’t always one or the other. Sometimes, channels like organic search and paid search work better together. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Diversify your efforts, and prioritize easy wins and low-hanging fruit.
Step X) Analyze, Adjust & Achieve
At this point, you’re on the map, your site is live, you can track leads and manage clients. Now, it’s time to grow!
Unfortunately, this is where the beginner’s guide ends…
Advanced marketing strategies don’t apply to everyone equally, and vary based on location, practice area, competition, and unique circumstances.
What is universal for all small businesses, however, is the need to create a sense of direction and purpose:
- Set SMART Goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely)
- Measure the right metrics
- Analyze & find patterns within your data
- Make informed decisions that help achieve your goals
- Be prepared to adjust when things don’t go to plan
There’s a lot to learn about law firm marketing, but remember that your time is a valuable resource.
Don’t try to do it all.
Don’t try to do it all at once.
Don’t try to do it all alone.
Move things off your plate by hiring a receptionist, an accountant, or a marketing agency. Find partners you trust and utilize their strengths to achieve more than you could on your own. Make space in your schedule so you can do what you do best.
Be a lawyer.