Are you still relying on park benches, billboards, radio, and local TV ads to grow your law practice?
You’re wasting your time and money, and (if you’re like most attorneys) you don’t have enough of either.
Here’s what you’re doing wrong, and what to do instead.
This article will cover:
- Why Your Practice Isn’t Growing
- Digital Marketing vs Traditional Marketing for Attorneys
- What to Do Instead
Why Your Practice Isn’t Growing
It’s because you’re not seeing the full benefit of digital marketing.
In a September 2018 survey of 190 law firms in the US, respondents were asked what percentage of their overall marketing budget was allocated to digital marketing.
“Nearly 50% of respondents indicated that they allocated 15% or less of their marketing budget to digital marketing.” (Hubspot)
And it’s no surprise why. Your law firm faces significant challenges when adopting digital marketing strategies:
The primary challenge there is convincing leadership to try new tactics.
So, whether it’s you that needs convincing or your boss, let’s see if we can’t convince you of the benefits of digital marketing over traditional.
Because once we do that, the resources, budget, time, and training will follow.
Digital Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing for Attorneys
There are a few primary reasons why digital marketing can grow your legal practice more effectively than traditional channels.
This section will break them down.
The “On my Terms” Factor
With digital marketing, your prospective clients can choose how and when they learn about you.
To see what your firm offers, they’re searching on Google, YouTube, Facebook, or LinkedIn. And they’re learning about you from social media posts, blog articles, videos, and more.
Traditional marketing doesn’t give your prospects a choice. Your face is on a park bench. Your flyer is coming through their mail slot. Your voice is on the radio.
Online, prospects get a choice to engage with you.
As a result, the people looking at your digital content are much higher intent than those that might glance at your billboard or listen to the first second of your radio spot before turning their attention elsewhere.
Because they are not choosing to engage with you, they will probably ignore you. Yes, even if you’re right in front of them.
Never underestimate the power of choice.
The “on my terms” factor is the primary reason digital marketing costs less and yields a better return than traditional. Let’s take a look at that cost, though.
The Cost Differential: Traditional vs. Digital Marketing
To reach 2,000 prospective customers, it will likely cost you $150 to run a local radio ad. It will cost you $500 to run a magazine ad, and it will cost you $900 to run a direct mail campaign.
On the other side, it costs roughly $15 to run a Facebook ad campaign and $50 to run a Google search campaign:
And those 1,000 people you reach through online marketing?
You can be 100% sure they’re in your target market, either because they searched for something related to your practice or because you chose them specifically with Facebook ad targeting.
And when it comes to TV ads, the cost differential is even more startling:
It costs almost 20x as much to reach 1000 people with TV ads as it does with Facebook ads:
Exposing Your Business to Prospective Clients
Most attorneys don’t have international businesses. You practice in your town, city, or county, not worldwide.
They don’t all matter.
What does matter is which strategy (traditional or digital) enables your practice to reach more of the right people.
And that’s where targeting comes in.
Let’s say you’re an immigration attorney from Fort Lauderdale.
How would you reach your target clients?
Sure, you could plaster your face all over every bus stop, park bench, and freeway billboard in your area.
But how could you be sure the people who saw your ad were ever going to be interested in hiring an immigration attorney?
You’d just be throwing money into a hole.
With Facebook Ads, on the other hand…
You could target Spanish-speaking people living in your area who Like Facebook pages related to Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, or Mexico and have also shown an interest in immigration to the United States:
For less than 50 cents per click, that would get you around 1,500 ad views a day and drive between 22 and 69 highly-targeted people to your website:
Now, we’re not telling you to abandon traditional marketing entirely.
We’re just saying that if your practice isn’t growing as quickly or as well as you’d like it to, it may be your reliance on traditional avenues that is holding you back.
The next sections will cover the top strategies you can use to grow your business with digital marketing (and why they work).
What to Do Instead: Video Marketing for Attorneys
“I’ve been running TV ads for a long time […] Never in my time practicing law have I had people come up to me and say, ‘I saw your ad on TV.’ Now, I have three people a day tell me that.” –Bruce Fox, Partner at Fox & Farley in Knoxville, Tennessee.
A good marketing video will change the way your prospective clients see you.
A good video can turn “just another attorney” into an attorney with a name, personality, and reason they practice. A reason to be trusted.
Here’s an example of a great legal brand video (from Fox & Farley):
- Including a high-quality brand video on a law firm’s website has been shown to increase case volume by up to 300%.
- Using videos on landing pages (such as “contact us” or “book a consultation” pages) can increase information submittal by 86%.
Video marketing best practices:
- Tell a story: To truly stand out with your video, you need to tell a story. You can’t just list your law firm’s history and expect people to respond.
- Don’t write a script: Scripts will make your video’s message feel stilted. Instead, make it a natural flow of conversation from question to answer. Start with your story and the reason you practice, then tie in an emotional element, your proven value (years you’ve practiced, for instance) and finish with a statement which tells your prospective client what to do.
- Use engaging music: Music sets your legal video’s mood.
- Film B-roll: You don’t want a video that is just you sitting in your office, staring at a camera. Include shots walking around the neighborhood or a park, then layer your voice over the top.
- Edit with intention: Strong editing is what will make your legal video stand out from your competitors, but it is another thing you might have to learn.
If this all sounds overwhelming, consider hiring a professional and award-winning team like Crisp to manage your legal video production.
What to Do Instead: Search Engine Optimization
When someone types “personal injury attorney” into Google, you want to show up at the top of the results page.
Provided the results match the search intent (which is extremely likely for the legal industry), the #1 spot at the top of Google gets about 30% of all clicks. The second gets 15% and third gets 10%. Ninth and tenth positions get around 2% of all clicks.
How to get your law firm’s website to rank on Google:
Step 1: Make sure your “Google My Business” page is up-to-date.
It’s no surprise that Google rewards businesses which have played the game with improved search results.
Completing and optimizing your “Google my Business” page is just one step towards playing the Google search game.
- Create and verify your page
- Use Google posts within your account
- Encourage your clients to review you online
- Respond to reviews (and include your location when you do)
Step 2: Lower your bounce rate.
The top-ranking pages have 8.7% lower bounce rates than sites which rank in the #10 spot.
You can lower your bounce rate by improving site navigation (such as a better nav bar and general site simplification) and using site optimization strategies to draw your visitor’s attention to the information they’re looking for.
Step 3: Add an engaging video.
This is straightforward, and hopefully you’re already sold on incorporating legal video into your marketing strategy from the previous recommendation.
Web pages with video are 53x more likely to rank on Google’s first page.
Step 4: Do the back-end stuff.
This may not be your responsibility, but speak to your web developer to ensure they’ve optimized your website for search.
This includes (but isn’t limited to):
- URL optimization (include keywords)
- Title tagging
- Header optimization (keywords) within your pages
- Page Meta Description
- More pages that include keywords
Step 5: Optimize for mobile
As of 2018, the majority of people who search online are doing so from a mobile device. As of 2019, it’s 59%.
Which means your website can’t crash or look terrible when your website visitor is viewing it from their phone.
And Google knows if you haven’t optimized.
Consider hiring a web developer to redesign your website using the “Accelerated Mobile Redesign” plugin, from Google themselves, or at least incorporating responsive design best practices.
What to Do Instead: Facebook Ads
More than any other industry, law firms should be using Facebook Ads.
The legal industry has the highest average Facebook ad click-through rate (1.61%).
That means that when you create a Facebook ad which targets 1000 people, 16 of them will click through on it in any given day.
Which, when you’re only paying around $10 to reach those 1000 people, is a fantastic use of your marketing budget.
High-Quality Attorney Facebook Ad Example:
This Facebook Ad includes a short video along with the attorney’s selling-points (service, integrity, skill), their contact information, and concise messaging.
Facebook Ad Best Practices for Attorneys:
- Use video.
Adding video to your Facebook Ad can increase click rates by between 25-100%.
- Create multiple ads to target different audiences.
For instance, test an image of a father with his children alongside the copy “A father’s place is with his children” when targeting recently-divorced fathers.
Use a different image and different copy when you target mothers.
- Showcase your UVP.
Your unique value proposition (or UVP), is the variable which results in your standing out from competitors. This isn’t the years you’ve been practicing or your win-loss ratio, though. Instead, discuss the reason you practice. For instance, share how experiencing an injury of your own inspired you to become a personal injury attorney.
For a step-by-step walkthrough to Facebook (and Google) advertising for the legal industry, check out our post, “Law Firm Advertising: How to Use Facebook and Google Ads to 10x Your Growth (With Examples).”
What to Do Instead: Get Online Reviews
In a study of 400 people in the US who had recently used an attorney, 82% of participants said that they wouldn’t hire an attorney who had less than a 3.5-star rating.
Needless to say, getting online reviews is hugely important for your business. The majority of your clients (even if they first see you on a billboard) are going home and Googling your firm’s name.
The first things they see are going to be reviews, whether through Google Maps or a site like Avvo.
Here’s an example from Avvo based on a search of lawyers specializing in motorcycle accidents around Seattle:
How to get more, better, online reviews:
- Do it before your clients get their check. Once you’ve satisfied your client, ask them to leave a review while they’re still in your office. If you give them the check and ask them to review down the line, they might head first to the bank and then disappear. Chasing down a client for a review after the fact can be difficult.
- Ask them to do it in your office, while you get them a water or coffee or deal with “paperwork” in the other room. Don’t stand over their shoulder.
- Make it about altruism. Remind them that a review isn’t about helping you, but helping other people find justice or restitution.
- Send a follow-up email with links to review sites. Only send these emails to people who were super satisfied with you.
Hopefully, this article has given you a bit more insight into why your practice isn’t growing as quickly as you’d like, and what you can do it about it.
In recent years, the digital marketing strategies in this article have proven to be way more effective than traditional strategies. And, because they’re more easily measurable, we can prove the effects more readily.
So, are you ready to dive into the 21st century of marketing?