The best type of new customer, whether you are an attorney, an air conditioning company, a roofer or a restaurant is one that was referred to you. Not only does it cost you nothing to generate a lead from referrals, but you actually get better quality clients because when referred by a friend or family member, people seem to have a better understanding of the service they need and the help you can provide. While attorneys and other professionals are constantly looking for referrals, the reality is that they need to do more if they want to have steady work.
Referrals are great, but they are not enough and that holds true especially in the legal industry where clients can find someone within minutes, whether they have a referral or not. For those who do not have a great recommendation from a friend or family member, Google becomes the top referral site for them, along with other platforms and sites the consumer trusts. No site generates better or more consistent results for law firms than Google and that is not going to change anytime soon.
Digital Marketing Challenges For Attorneys
While you know where to go for results, what you may not realize is that the word has been out for a while on that. Locally, there are dozens of attorneys battling for the top page of premium keywords. They are willing to pay for those spots and dedicate as much time as is needed. Expand your target area and you will find even more competition as national firms are covering every top city and region they can to grab new clients.
While you do have an insane amount of competition, the good news is that there are cost-effective ways to get results in digital marketing. A bigger budget helps, but there are a wide range of areas you can invest time and money into that will help you generate short and long-term results. Some of these platforms will produce faster and more effectively than others, but each one brings with it a unique value in content distribution and audience reach.
You Need A Good Website, Not An Expensive One
The first thing your law firm needs if you want to establish an online presence is a good website. However, before you start heading out and looking for proposals, you need to understand the functionality and usage of the site. Your website will be used for marketing purposes and to capture leads, that’s it. You are establishing an online presence and the website is the first and most effective way to do that. However, that does not mean you have to break the bank.
E-commerce businesses have to invest tens of thousands of dollars into their website each year. You are not an e-commerce company and therefore do not have to make that same commitment. You need a good site, one that can hold up well and be utilized for marketing campaigns, but you do not need the flashiest and most expensive one in the industry. Save your marketing dollars to drive in new clients.
Determine Your Target Audience
Before you determine where and how to market your services you first need to figure out who your target audience is. For attorneys, the key factor in determining who the target audience is will be based on what services you provide. For example, if you offer real estate legal services, you need to focus on relevant keywords and those who are looking specifically for lawyers who offer assistance in that area. Trying to cover too many services means you are expanding your audience but also stretching your advertising budget thin. Location and area of service will greatly impact your budget and in order to keep it manageable, you want to focus on a single service or area of services to offer.
It does not matter what your budget is, what size the audience is or what your goals are. If you are starting out, you need to start local. By establishing your firm locally, you are giving yourself two key advantages. The first advantage is that you are focusing all your resources on one area, meaning you should get faster results. You also will get important information on what works and doesn’t work with that audience and that information can be used for campaigns that target different locations.
The second advantage to starting your advertising campaigns locally is that you get to establish yourself in your area and move forward. Having an established presence online is very important. Imagine if you are based in Texas and you are advertising your services in California. A potential client may see your ad and start to research you. However, upon learning you are based in Texas and realizing that you are not established there, the client loses trust in your firm. This is why starting locally is a good idea. Even national clients will want to know that you are doing great back at home, otherwise, why wouldn’t they just stay local as well?
Every Platform Has Value
Google is your top marketing platform and that will not change under any circumstances. However, that does not mean that you should avoid other platforms, especially if they are free and easy to use. Will you get a client from Facebook? Probably not. Will you get calls from YouTube? Maybe, but without any ad budget, you cannot expect much. So, why use these platforms? Because first you never know. You never really know if someone sees your ad on Facebook and ignores it, but when they see your name later on Google they remember it and click on your link over the competition.
Another reason to invest time into these other platforms is that while they do generate slower results in some cases, they can generate more affordable results. In some cases, these platforms may only produce one prospect or lead a month, as an example. However, that single lead may have cost you a fraction of what your leads from Google cost you. That’s why it’s worth putting the content out there.
The Beauty Of Google
No law firm can consistently produce new, non-referred leads online without the help of Google. You may have heard that this lawyer had a great Facebook campaign and someone else invests mostly in email marketing. They may actually have success with those other platforms, but what they are overlooking is the number of leads that verified the firm by first checking them out on Google. Without that presence there is no reason for a prospect to select you or trust you over the competition.
Yes, you can generate leads outside of search engines. Sometimes, those leads are more affordable than on search engines. However, for long-term consistency, nothing is going to beat the top search engine sites because that’s where clients who do not have referrals or recommendations go to get information and make a selection. Google allows you to generate leads in 3 primary ways. First is your organic presence, which is affordable and allows you to establish yourself locally. The second way is with organic rankings. This is a bit different because it’s based more on the quality of your website and services and less on your location. Finally, there is paid advertising which is more expensive but generates the fastest results.
Keep Creating Quality Content
You may have heard that content is king and that statement is true and for a very good reason. Without high-quality content, none of your ads would produce. It doesn’t matter if you are ranked at the top of page one. If you do not offer the consumer something of value in your ad, they are not going to take action. That’s why content is key and it’s something that you should regularly work on and produce.
- Blogs: Your website not only needs a blog section but you need to contribute to it at least once a month. Your marketing team is going to work on content that’s going to be informative and even help your website rank for Google. However, a blog from you can create real interest because you can write based on your experience and knowledge of a specific subject. Try focusing on a single topic each month and write a long-form blog about it. The reason is because it will rank better that way and generate more traffic for you.
- YouTube videos: Attorney’s have missed the advantages of YouTube and video platform sites for years. No, someone is not going to randomly watch a 30 minute video about real estate law and just call you. However, if that video is the best resource thousands of people have for real estate law, do you think that’s going to generate some interest? You do not need a fancy setup. Start a video and talk about the topic, then post with a relevant title and description and share it on your social media with your blogs.
- Webinars: A monthly webinar is actually something attorneys do not do enough of but it could generate major interest for your brand, and at no cost. Creating free content and sharing it around the web will generate an interest in your firm and the content you are creating. A webinar is not only additional content, but a way for you to get people to engage with you on your time.
- Newsletters: Updates about what’s going on in the world, the legal field, recommendations or tips for managing your legal needs are all welcomed to people who do not have a legal background. So, why not give that information away to that audience? They will appreciate it and have an interest in it, even if they do not currently need the information you are providing.
Content is not designed to just get engagement. In some cases, it’s meant to establish your brand as an industry leader and chief resource for people to rely on. Once you have that established, you can literally spend zero dollars a month on marketing and still get leads. However, you can see how much work it will take to generate that kind of content and an audience to read it.
Remember, Fast Results Cost Money
While these strategies are proven, they have also proven that they need time to work. If you are not as patient as you would like to be, especially when it comes to getting new clients calling, then you need to invest in your digital marketing. This is where understanding each platform can benefit you even more.
Investing in results means focusing on consumers who are actively looking for your services. The place that most people go to find a lawyer or other types of professional service providers is Google. Paid advertising based on search results can be expensive, but it can also generate high-quality leads in days instead of months. It’s important to understand that even though you are paying for results, campaigns do take time to ramp up and the system needs to learn about your efforts, your brand and your audience. However, PPC is the most reliable way to get immediate traffic to your website and generate interest in your services.
Keep Producing Content
Even if you are investing in paid advertising, continue working on your content and produce as much as you can. Good content only reinforces your paid efforts and that can help in not only generating more leads, but also keeping your cost per lead down. Sites that have good content tend to generate better quality leads at a lower cost.
Build New Channels Of Communication
Your audience can visit YouTube or your social media to get your content, but how can you communicate with them? That’s the problem and you need to find a faster way to communicate. Email marketing is considered one of the best options but requires you to capture the data of not only your clients, but prospects as well. However, it’s worth the investment because email marketing works long-term and is cost-effective.
Estimated Costs Of Digital Marketing Services
The cost of marketing services will vary by agency, service, target audience and more. Each place will have different rates for their services but it’s important to know what you are paying for and how much it should generally cost.
A strong website will reinforce each of your marketing efforts and bring consistent and quality leads to your business. However, you do not need to get anything over the top. You just need smooth design, simple and friendly functionality and a strong content base to help with rankings and other marketing efforts. Ideally, you will be adding content throughout the site each month, so the more space you have for new content, the better.
This is also where you want to have answers for people who are either thinking about becoming a client of yours or are currently a client and have questions about the process and what to expect. Include a FAQ, a blog and other places people can go to get actual answers to their legal questions. The more they rely on your content as a resource, the more you can expect quality leads and engagement.
SEO ($2,500-$7,500 a month)
Search engine optimization is the most cost-effective and proven way for attorney’s to generate new leads to their website. However, it is not a fast-performing service. It takes time to generate top page rankings and go after keywords with tons of competition. This is where you need to have a lot of high-quality content to get the rankings and expect link building efforts like press releases as well.
The standard time to generate top page rankings for a good SEO agency is about 6 months. While that may seem like a lot of time, each month you will see improvements with rankings, traffic and leads. However, expect 6 months to get top page rankings for the premium keywords, especially if there’s a lot of competition.
PPC ($5,000-$50,000 a month)
Pay Per Click is one of the most reliable and proven services to generate fast leads for law firms. However, especially in areas and services that are extremely competitive, the cost per click can be expensive. That’s why you have to have an understanding of what you can do with your current budget, which your marketing agency can go over with you.
In some cases, you can run $5,000 on PPC each month and get solid leads. In some cases, you will be spending less with that budget than 20-40 other law firms targeting the same area. If you are dealing with that much competition, do you expect to get premium results? The cost of PPC really comes down to what your budget is and how it can be utilized.
Email Marketing ($1,500-$2,500 a month)
There are mixed results for attorneys when it comes to email marketing. If the list is built with former prospects and clients, you can expect higher open rates and click-thru-rates. However, if you purchase a list you need to be more patient with it and the results you are expecting. Yes, these are new prospects, but you do not know if they need your services right now or are interested in your assistance? That’s why you need to be patient and try utilizing those lists only once or twice a month.
Social Media ($1,000-$3,000 a month, not including ad budget)
For those who love social media, the platforms can produce quality leads in the legal field. However, you have to take the mindset that you are targeting a more randomized audience, rather than a highly targeted one. This means you are running ads to people who may have zero interest in your services. So, why run the ads?
If you can put $5,000 in your social media campaign and generate more leads than that same amount of money would work on Google, it makes sense to give it a try. Social media has become an avenue where attorneys with a smaller budget find affordable leads but the content has to be strong and there has to be patience with the campaigns.
How Email Marketing Lowers Your Costs
Investing in email marketing is always a good idea, especially for attorneys. Remember those referrals we spoke about? Imagine if you have a former client who receives your emails every month. It can be a simple newsletter that gives them tips on legal topics. They may never engage with the email but because they get it frequently, they remember you and they also remember your name if they meet someone who needs an attorney. Email marketing is a cost-effective way to keep your clients in the loop and remind them that you’re around and offering your services.
Digital marketing for attorneys comes down to steady content creation and distribution as well as having a strong budget to target an audience on platforms that generate steady results. It’s a lot of work which is why working with an experienced agency can make a huge difference, especially as you are starting out.