That’s the number of lawyers there are in the US.
It’s a lot of competition.
How can you grow when there are 1,356,332 other trees blocking the sun?
The answer is simple: do it all better.
That sounds harsh, but it’s the reality. Your competitors are already engaging in online marketing their law firms. You just need to do it better.
And this resource will help.
We’ll give you a complete breakdown of how you can grow your law firm with social media, content, and email.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
Before we dive in…
There are two things we need to address.
- You don’t have to do all of this.
Instead, identify those online marketing strategies that resonate most with you, test them out, and see how they feel (and what the results are).
Better yet, speak with a law firm marketing expert before you spend a dime. Discuss your objectives and get some help identifying the best ways to achieve them.
- One of the most important parts of successful marketing is story. What’s yours?
Before you dive into any social media, content, or email marketing, you need to sit down with a cup of coffee and start discussing the “why” behind your practice. What makes you different from competitors? What makes you unique?
Identifying what your brand’s story is will inform your approach to every digital marketing strategy.
If you’re stuck, check out some legal brand videos from Crisp for inspiration.
For more on “branding” your law firm, check out our article “Does your firm need a brand?”
Online Marketing for Law Firms: Social Media
Introduction to social media for law firms
The fact is, if your law firm is strapped for time and marketing resources, there’s only one real social media platform to focus on: Facebook.
Facebook has more than twice as many users as any other social media platform (if you don’t include YouTube).
68% of Americans are on Facebook (compared to 35% on Instagram, the second-most-used platform).
This graph really shows how Facebook dominates:
The social media giant controls between 70 and 90% of all minutes spent on social media:
In short, Facebook is head and shoulders above every other social media platform. It’s not even a contest.
If you’re going to invest in social media marketing, most of your energy should go towards Facebook.
Social Media Posting
In recent years, and to prompt businesses to use advertising, Facebook and other social media platforms have started to decrease organic reach.
Organic (as opposed to “paid”) reach is the extent to which your Facebook posts are seen by your Fans without you paying a dime.
For instance, if you have 1,000 fans and your post is seen by 150 people, you have 15% reach.
However, the fact of the matter is that organic reach on Facebook is pretty miserable.
It hit an average low of 2.6% back in 2015, and hasn’t come up since.
But that doesn’t mean you should leave the platform, or even stop posting.
Facebook is, at the very least, a place for your firm’s target clients to find and talk with you. And your organic posts can still be a place to engage with prospective and previous clients.
Here’s how to get the most out of Facebook’s organic side.
Organic posting best practices:
- Video: It’s not even a contest. On average, video posts on Facebook get at least 59% more engagement than other post types.
- Schedule: You don’t want to be manually posting on Facebook. Instead, try a social media management tool like Hootsuite, Buffer, or Agorapulse.
- Repurpose: For instance, turn your top blog or most-watched long-form video content into a short Facebook video post.
- Create content around current events: Try to tap into what your target market is already thinking about. In general this would be holidays, major events (the Superbowl, for example), or even something as simple as it being Friday.
- Test: Identify what types of posts (video, quotes, text, images) work best for you, then stick with what works. Remember, engagement begets engagement (Facebook’s algorithm rewards brands whose posts get engagement by showing them more frequently on their Fans’ newsfeeds).
- Incorporate your firm’s “voice” and personality: This is a huge part of building a community on Facebook, and it’s also why video is so impactful. Show your face; show your personality; show your prospective clients that you are an individual who cares about them (rather than a corporation who sees them as another notch on their belt).
Social Media Advertising
Brian Boland, former VP of Advertising Technology at Facebook, once said: “Paid media on Facebook allows businesses to reach broader audiences more predictably, and with much greater accuracy than organic content.”
And, as cynical as you might be about reading Facebook marketing recommendations from their VP of advertising, he’s right.
Facebook advertising does give your law firm an unprecedented opportunity to drive growth.
Introduction to social media ads for law firms:
81% of law firms are already on social media, but only 23% of them are paying to promote themselves:
And that’s an opportunity for your firm.
As competition for the same target audience increases, so does the cost to put your law firm’s ads in front of them. Low competition means your firm can get in front of more people for less money.
And the legal industry has the highest average Facebook ad click-through rate (1.61%) out of all industries.
In short, that means that it costs less money for your law firm to reach more people, and more of those people will engage with your ads than they will the ads from any other industry.
Here’s a Facebook ad example from a law firm like yours:
This ad was part of Berry Law Firm’s incredibly successful video advertising campaign, which drove more than 300 qualified business leads from Facebook and more than 1,000,000 views.
You can read more about this advertising campaign here.
Social media ads best practices:
Here’s how to drive more engagement and click-throughs from your Facebook ads:
- Focus on the image: Keep it simple (as your ads will be seen on small screens, and detail won’t come out well). Use bright colors (to grab the eye), and include people and faces (as they’re more eye-catching than objects).
- Incorporate video: When it comes to driving clicks on your Facebook ads, video wins, hands down. It drives more than 59% more clicks than any other ad type:
Basic Facebook ad targeting:
There’s no point in showing your Facebook ads to someone who won’t possibly sign on the dotted line.
So be sure you’re targeting your ads specifically:
- People in your area
- People in your firm’s target age demographic
- People with interests relevant to your firm
For instance, here’s how you might target a Facebook ad if you were an immigration law firm from Fort Lauderdale:
Custom audience targeting:
Facebook also allows you to import a CSV of people that you want to target with an advertisement.
Called custom audiences, this strategy is particularly helpful if you’re looking to re-engage with prospective clients who may have booked a consultation with you but either not shown up or didn’t commit.
You can also create a custom audience of people who haven’t yet given you their email address but have visited your website.
Retargeting audiences work by automatically adding a cookie (a little snippet of code) to your website visitors’ browsers.
If those visitors don’t book a consultation or complete your desired action, they’ll be shown an advertisement for your firm when they next visit Facebook.
This can be an incredibly powerful marketing strategy, both because 92% of your site visitors aren’t yet ready to commit when they first get to your website, and because your prospective clients are shopping around for the law firm right for them and their case.
The more they see your brand name and face, the more they’ll remember you when they have a legal need.
Social Media Top Tips:
- Facebook is the biggest social media platform out there. If you’re going to invest in social media, invest in Facebook.
- Create video content both for Facebook organic posts and advertisements. It out-performs every other content type by a significant margin.
- When creating your organic or paid content, be sure you’re showing your face, telling your story, and engaging with prospective clients on a personal level.
- When targeting your ads, only target people likely to actually engage with you. Better targeting equals higher click-through rates and lower costs.
- Implement a custom audience strategy to re-engage with lost prospects, and a retargeting strategy to engage with prospective ones.
To get a complete guide to Facebook (and Google) ads for the legal industry, check out “Law Firm Advertising: How to Use Facebook and Google Ads to 10x Your Growth (With Examples).”
Online Marketing for Law Firms: Content Marketing
Introduction to content marketing for law firms
Your law firm’s growth relies on two primary elements: organic marketing and paid ads.
The paid side of that equation is met with Facebook and Google ads (which includes YouTube). Both are incredibly powerful platforms that, when managed well, can drive your firm’s growth all by themselves.
But if you have the resources, organic marketing (in the form of content marketing) can have a huge impact as well.
- Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing endeavors yet generates 3x the amount of leads.
- Companies that implement content marketing strategies see 6x higher conversion rates than those who don’t.
- 28% of marketers have reduced their advertising spend to allocate more funds towards content marketing.
Content, whether video, blogging, webinars, or any other type, increases how visible your law firm is online.
Think of the internet as one big room. All your prospective clients are in that room, and all you need to do to grow your business is to get (and keep) their attention.
Ads give you a megaphone, but content marketing shows that you have something worthwhile to say.
Here are the two top content marketing strategies: video and blogging.
Introduction to video for law firms:
When it comes to content, video (like it is on social media) stands head and shoulders above other formats:
- Marketers who use video get 66% more leads per year.
- Marketers who use video achieve a 54% increase in brand awareness.
- Video produces an 81% increase in sales.
And, even more than those numbers, video enables your firm to tell its story and engage with prospective clients on a personal level.
That can make all the difference. Video makes it possible for your prospective clients to connect with you — not your website or your blog copy, but your story.
Here are the two most popular types of video content:
A good law firm brand video can change your whole business.
It can be placed front and center on your home page, or broken up into shorter social cuts to run as ads and drive engagement from YouTube and the other major social media platforms.
Here’s an example of a high-quality, legal brand video from the Crisp archives:
Most of your prospective clients aren’t yet ready to sign anything. They’re shopping around for information about their case and which firms can best represent them.
More importantly, they’re overwhelmed. The legal world is a complicated one, full of words they don’t know and concepts they don’t understand.
Creating educational content in the form of high-quality video positions your firm as a provider of value before they’ve committed to anything.
So when it comes to choosing an attorney to represent them, who do you think they’ll consider first? The firms they’ve seen online, or the firm they found by typing “I need help. How do I…?” into YouTube or Google?
Here’s an example of a high-quality, legal educational video from the Crisp archives:
Introduction to blogging for law firms:
Just as educational video content can position your firm as a provider of value to your prospective clients, blogging can as well.
But it can do more than that:
- Businesses publishing 16+ blog posts per month see almost 3.5x more traffic and 4.5x more leads than those that publish four or fewer times per month.
- On average, companies with blogs produce 67% more leads per month than those without.
- 82% of marketers who blog see positive ROI from their efforts.
The answer, in short, is search engine optimization.
30% of all searchers click on the first link they see. 15% click on the second link, and 10% click on the third.
Only 1 or 2% of people scroll down to the bottom of the page to click on a link.
So when someone types “personal injury lawyer” into Google, you want your firm to pop up right at the top.
Now, you could spend big money to show in that top position (and I’m not saying that’s a bad idea).
But you can also use content marketing to get there without paying a dime.
This is what marketers are talking about when they say “SEO” — it’s the strategies that get your law firm to appear when someone types in a desired search term or phrase into Google.
Here are a few of the top strategies to optimize your blog for SEO.
Blogging Best Practices:
- Write with search keywords in mind. What are your target clients searching for on Google? Brainstorm 20 or so ideas.
- Track search volume. There’s no point in creating high-quality blog content for a term that nobody searches. Use Google’s keyword planner to see the volume of your brainstormed keywords.
- Create long-form content. It may be a higher investment of time, but long-form content does tend to rank better than shorter content. Whether that’s because Google thinks long-form content will give more value to the reader, or because of a thousand other possible reasons, only Google knows.
- Promote as intently as you write. There’s no point in creating high-value blog content, publishing it, and waiting for it to explode. Instead, send it in your newsletter, post it on social media, share it in communities, and put it out wherever you can.
Content Marketing Top Tips:
- Create a brand video to introduce yourself and your brand story to prospective clients. Make sure it’s a high-quality video, though, as a low-quality, shoddily-filmed and edited video will do more harm to your firm’s reputation than no video at all.
- Create educational video and post it on social media, YouTube, and your website to give value to prospective clients before they’ve even spoken to you. It will increase their appreciation and chance of engaging down the line.
- When writing your blog content, consider both what value you can deliver to your readers and how to rank on Google’s search results page.
- To review brand videos created for law firms like yours, check out Crisp’s video archive and success stories.
- To learn more about how you can use video to drive awareness and get more clients for your law firm, check out “How to Use Video to Drive Awareness and Get Clients.”
- To get a step-by-step walkthrough to law firm video marketing, check out “A Step-by-Step Guide to Adding Video to your Marketing Toolbox.”
Online Marketing for Law Firms: Email
Introduction to email marketing for law firms:
Once you’ve gotten the attention of a prospective client (whether through social media, ads, or content marketing), you can’t just leave them be.
Expecting a prospective client to choose you for their legal needs without any involvement from you is naive.
Sure, a few of them might engage without it, but without an email strategy, you’ll never know how many clients you could have had.
Besides, email marketing works:
- Every dollar spent on email marketing yields a return on investment of $44.
- More than 50% of people in the US check their personal email account more than ten times each day.
- 73% of Millennials prefer communications from businesses to come via email.
- More than 59% of marketers say email delivers their highest ROI.
Email marketing is the best way for your firm to have an impact on whether your prospective clients sign with you or a competitor.
This section will dive into how to get your prospective client’s email information — and what to do with it once you have it.
Before you can turn a single email recipient into a new client, you need to turn prospective clients into leads.
So let’s talk about lead generation as an idea…
You’re already familiar with most law firms’ consultation forms. This is the most common way that the legal industry generates leads.
But it’s not the only way to do it.
You can also generate leads through…
- Email-gated webinars, which require people to provide their email address in order to register
- Email-gated ebooks
- Email-gated video
- Blog content upgrades
- A generic contact us page
- Conferences or real-world events
- Facebook lead ads
Lead generation best practices:
- When you’re sending people to your website from an ad campaign, send them to a landing page.
- Limit navigation options from this page, to focus their attention and avoid distracting them with options.
- Make your consultation form simple and short. Fewer fields (in general) mean higher a completion rate.
Once you have your prospective client’s information, we dive into email marketing.
Email Marketing and Automation
Introduction to email marketing:
Email marketing is, hands down, the best way to contact your prospective clients.
Having their email address doesn’t mean you have their social media details (and reaching out to them on social might be seen as a little creepy). Additionally, unless they’ve booked a consultation, a phone call is premature.
Besides, the majority of your prospective clients prefer to be contacted via email.
So make sure that all of your lead generation campaigns are sending new contacts into your email provider, and get set up.
Email marketing best practices:
- Optimize for mobile. 46% of all email opens occur on a mobile phone, so be sure you’ve optimized your emails for mobile viewing. Check your email service provider does this automatically or speak to your web developer about this.
- Test your subject line. It’s the most important part of your email, so be sure you’re using an email tool that makes it easy to test.
- Test your “from” name. It may seem trivial, but your prospective clients may prefer to receive emails from “John at Birkhouse P.C.” or they may prefer to receive emails from “John Birkhouse.” Because open rates have such a high impact on reply rates, maximizing them is crucial.
- Be sure your emails have an “ask.” You need to tell your recipients exactly what you want them to do. Read an article, book a consultation, watch a video… It doesn’t matter, but give them direction.
- If you fail, try again. Sending more follow-up emails can triple your reply rate.
- Ask questions. Emails that ask recipients a question are 50% more likely to receive a reply than emails without a question.
- Write simply. Emails written at a third-grade reading level are 36% more likely to get a response than those written at a college level.
Email automation & segmentation:
You can’t be expected to wake up at 3am to send an immediate response when someone has provided their email address. Nor can you be expected to personally email every single person who provides their contact information (especially if you run a successful webinar or promote an email-gated ebook).
But you should. Time and again, studies tell us that you’ll get higher engagement and more conversions if you reach out to your leads quickly.
And that’s where email automation comes in.
When done well, email automation can both improve your email’s reply rates and save you time and money:
- Automated emails that are sent when a prospective client has just engaged get 119% higher click rates than generic broadcast emails (emails that are sent randomly).
- Marketers who connect with people with automated email campaigns see conversion rates as high as 50% because catching people at the right time with the right ask is always better than a one-size-fits-all strategy.
Hand in hand with automation comes segmentation.
You need to personalize your automated emails as well as you can:
- Segmented email campaigns have an open rate that is 14.32% higher than non-segmented campaigns.
- Click-throughs are 100.95% higher in segmented email campaigns than non-segmented campaigns.
- Marketers who use segmented campaigns note as much as a 760% increase in revenue.
Why are segmented email campaigns so much better than non-segmented campaigns?
It’s very simple: they show that you pay attention.
And they show you care. The last thing you want is to send a prospective client who told you they wanted to learn more about your personal injury work… an email about your divorce work.
Email Top Tips:
- If you’re only generating a few new leads every week, reply to them personally.
- If you’re generating too many leads to contact, automate using a marketing automation provider. But be sure you’ve segmented those leads and are using merge tags to send them personalized emails relevant to what they contacted you about.
- A/B (split) test your emails’ subject lines and “From” name. The smallest changes can have the biggest impact on your email marketing campaigns.
- Create email campaigns that are specific to your lead generation campaigns. For instance, if you’re running a webinar, be sure you’ve created an automated drip campaign that continues to discuss the webinar and add value.
- For a complete guide to your legal practice’s sales funnel and how you can turn visitors into leads and clients, check out “Law Firm Marketing: A Complete Guide to Growing Your Legal Practice Online.”
- For a guide to email marketing for your law firm, check out “4 Tips for Mastering Email Marketing in Your Law Firm.”
This comprehensive guide gives you a solid foundation for how to grow your law firm with online marketing. It gives you strategies that law firms like yours are already using with great success.
What it doesn’t give you is the plan to execute on these strategies.
That’s up to you, and it’s time to get started.
To learn how to effectively incorporate digital marketing into your law firm’s growth strategy, connect with a Crisp Legal Marketing Strategist for a one-on-one strategy session today.