When you’re running a law firm, there’s a lot on your plate, and being a great lawyer is only half the battle. To grow, you also need to be a great business owner.
That includes accounting for revenue streams, hiring, supporting a company culture, driving awareness, and so much more.
Luckily, you’re not alone.
When it comes to growing your client base, building your brand reputation, and communicating with your potential clients, your marketing team is critical to keeping everything in motion.
What roles should you have on your marketing team, and what tactics should they employ to market your law firm successfully?
This article will give you everything you need to build the ideal law firm marketing team.
- What should your law firm’s marketing team be responsible for?
- Legal marketing team roles: organic acquisition
- Legal marketing team roles: paid acquisition
- Legal marketing team roles: lead nurture
- Legal marketing team roles: content and creative
- Legal marketing team roles: strategy and operations
- Leading types of marketing teams
What should your law firm’s marketing team be responsible for?
There are three basic elements to a marketing team’s responsibilities: acquisition, monetization, and operations.
Even though the buyer’s journey stays the same, marketing changes and evolves constantly.
Not only does your team have to stay on top of the trends that reach your firm’s prospective clients, but they also have to recognize those people’s changing values.
Today, people are looking for a personalized experience.
Marketing is based around a number of core disciplines (we’ll get into them below), and your marketing team needs to know how to do it all.
A good marketing team is made up of people who, just like lawyers, specialize in one or two of these core disciplines.
The same way you wouldn’t expect a tax lawyer to defend a criminal case, you shouldn’t expect a single marketing team member to be able to tackle something outside their core focus with the same precision and insight that someone with that specialty can.
Here are the eight marketing core disciplines you need to consider:
- Conversion Funnels: This refers to the journey your firm’s prospective clients go through and how your law firm guides them through that journey.
- Content Marketing: Blog posts, videos, resources, and other content that attracts your target clients and provides them with value.
- Paid Marketing: Sponsored listings, pay-per-click, and social media ads are all examples of digital paid marketing.
- Email Marketing: This comprises the strategies your firm uses to get contact information from a prospective client as well as how you communicate with them via email to nurture before and after becoming clients.
- Social Media: Facebook, Instagram, and other social platforms have become go-to sources for people to find information about legal firms. About one million new users join social media every day, and 54% of them use the platforms to research businesses and service providers (like legal).
- Search Marketing: Search engine optimization (SEO) involves the strategies that get your firm’s website and content to the top of search results without paying for ads. Search marketing specialists are focused on developing an effective organic traffic strategy for your law firm.
- Data/Analytics: Who are you reaching? How do they respond to you? It’s essential to know these stats as you develop a marketing strategy. Analytics and data mastery allows you to make business decisions based on logic and data rather than fear and hunches.
- Testing/Optimization: What ads, content, pages, or emails work best? Testing, adapting, and testing again is key to learning how to best reach your ideal audience and turn them into clients.
Legal marketing team roles: organic acquisition
Organic acquisition refers to new leads who come to your business for free. These may be people who visit your website on their own accord, who drive past a billboard and give you a call, or who see a post shared by one of their friends on social media.
Organic acquisition is the natural, free, word-of-mouth advertising created by the value of the content you develop: videos, blog posts, social posts, and more.
Social media, content marketing, and SEO contribute to organic acquisition efforts, ensuring that your law firm’s messaging is visible online and the people you want to reach are engaging with it.
Your firm’s organic marketing experts should focus on developing a consistent content strategy with a balance of keyword-focused content and content pieces for various stages of the buyer’s journey. There are five steps in the modern legal buyer’s journey you need to be aware of:
- Awareness: This first stage is all about catching a prospect’s attention. At this point, they may not be aware they have a problem that can be solved. Emotional appeals are most important at this stage.
- Consideration: Also called the Interest stage, this is the phase of the buyer’s journey where your prospect is aware they need to hire an attorney, but aren’t necessarily sure which one will meet their needs. Story-focused messaging that appeals to both logic and emotion is necessary.
- Evaluation: This is the phase right before your prospect makes the decision to hire you or to hire one of your competitors. They’ve narrowed down their options and are weighing which makes the most sense for their needs. Logical messaging is critical at the Evaluation stage.
- Decision: In this phase, your prospect is ready to pull the trigger but needs affirmation that they’re making the right move. This is the time and place for final logic-based messaging that reinforces their decision to sign on. Everything that influences decision-making must reinforce and justify the emotional connection your prospect feels toward your firm.
- Loyalty: Once your prospect has become your client, the work isn’t done. You should continue to deliver excellent service and marketing messaging that reiterates the fact that they made the right choice and should continue to come to you for future legal needs (and refer their family and friends who might need legal representation in the future).
Each step is driven by different levels of emotion and logic, and potential clients at each stage are looking for different types of information. A good organic acquisition specialist will understand these differences and strategize a balance of communication and marketing tactics.
Legal marketing team roles: paid acquisition
Paid acquisition is just what it sounds like, and comprises those paid campaigns that drive your firm’s brand awareness and put you in contact with prospective clients.
Digital advertising on Google and Facebook, as well as several other online channels, gives your firm targeting abilities that organic efforts simply do not achieve.
Rather than casting a wide net and hoping for the best, you’re able to cast a smaller net to a more specific, targeted group.
For example, a LinkedIn ad (like the one below from The Crone Law Firm) might be a great way for a law firm to serve content to potential clients and referral sources based on job title, industry, and company size:
More educational videos, like the one below from Berry Law Firm, help to inform potential clients about their legal rights as well as massively increase awareness of the firm:
When looking for paid media experts, you should seek out individuals who are experienced in both search and social channels and have demonstrated knowledge of these channels through certifications and experience. If you’re looking to train up your existing team members to handle paid acquisition, these are the proficiencies you’ll want to equip them with.
Paid media experts should also have a solid understanding of organic content marketing so that they can make determinations on pieces of content that might serve well as assets for a paid campaign or boosted social media post.
Acquisition is about attracting new prospects for your law firm, while monetization is about turning those prospects into clients. While paid acquisition experts should have an ROI focus, their primary contribution is at the top of the buyer’s journey.
In general, paid media doesn’t play into deeper decision-making as much as more targeted, specialized content and personal connection. For this reason, lead nurture and retention is often a shared responsibility between marketing and sales.
Legal marketing team roles: lead nurture
It’s not enough to simply acquire leads and hope they sign on with your firm, especially considering most people are not immediately in need of legal representation and should be nurtured continuously through brand awareness efforts.
A lead nurturing expert works to move your firm’s contacts down the funnel toward conversion. They also work with current clients to build brand loyalty.
Your prospective clients typically require many personalized touch points (on average, eight touches before making a purchase decision). With a high-stress decision like choosing a law firm, a lead may require even more touches than other industries.
In the world of lead nurturing, you have two core functions to consider: promotion and retention. Promotion is about getting your name in front of new potential clients, while retention is the practice of keeping your old ones engaged and loyal.
Promotion tactics most commonly include email drip campaigns, newsletters, and in-person events. Retention tactics are fairly similar, but use a voice that speaks more to clients who have already used your services once and may have other legal needs.
Lead nurture experts will be able to build customizable workflows for your specific needs, outlining various personal touchpoints that a prospect should receive and in what order. Workflows should account for a variety of behaviors and offer personalized content based on user actions:
When hiring a lead nurture expert, look for someone who has a solid grasp on the varying needs of each stage of your client’s journey. You should also look for someone with a keen eye for targeting and detailed knowledge of automation tools and client data regulations to ensure that your marketing remains at the forefront of best practices and potential snags.
Legal marketing team roles: content and creative
Creating content that’s visually appealing and speaks in your brand voice requires a balanced understanding of art, psychology, and digital marketing best practices.
Working with a copywriter and graphic designer will help you ensure that your content presents a consistent voice and image across platforms. Your content and creative team will be able to work with strategists in every phase of acquisition and monetization to ensure that leads are getting content that’s consistent and appealing to their specific needs.
Before you implement any paid or organic acquisition efforts, your content and creative team should do the work upfront to define your brand voice, key marketing messages, and visual identity including fonts, colors, and iconography.
When it comes to establishing your brand, video goes a long way not only for your prospective clients, but also for your creative team to get a clear sense of your voice and visual identity.
Copywriters should work closely with your content marketers to define audience personas, which designers should then use to guide their decisions about how information is presented. Video is a great opportunity for creative specialists to collaborate to present a unified product that can be used on multiple channels.
If your creative team has developed brand guidelines, there should be no confusion about what each campaign looks like, who it’s reaching, and what it’s communicating. A standard set of brand guidelines, in essence, functions as the key process document that guides all of your ongoing print and digital efforts.
Legal marketing team roles: strategy and operations
Your strategy and operations team sees the big picture of your overall marketing needs, ensuring that all functional teams work together. You create a more personalized experience if the paid team already knows a potential client’s story because it has been shared by the organic acquisition team.
The strategy team helps the lead nurture team to know why the acquisition team attracted someone, so they can best position the firm as someone who can solve the problem that the person has.
It’s also essential for the creative team to have a thought-out brief that maps the pieces they’re creating back to the journey your prospective clients take. The strategy and operations team is responsible for compiling the needs of various specialists, including specific requests and subject matter expert knowledge, into these briefs.
The operations team will also work hard to ensure that your marketing team’s time is spent effectively. Keeping your projects on-time and on-budget is critical, as is maintaining a sustainable workload for the marketing experts creating your content and maintaining your campaigns.
Types of Marketing Teams
There are three main types of marketing teams. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to consider your law firm’s specific needs.
In-House Marketing Team:
The in-house team is hired by you and works only for you. You have the advantage of a team that is working full-time for your business; communication is simple and the marketing team knows your culture and offerings.
However, you have to hire a lot of specialists to get the well-rounded marketing approach you need, and you have to deal with under-performance and turnover. Creative marketers may get tired of working on the same brand over the long term.
Hiring an agency means hiring professionals. This team has worked in a variety of industries, including yours, and knows the marketing industry inside and out. They have specialists in every discipline.
What they don’t have is a personal connection to your particular brand the way an in-house team might.
Hybrid Marketing Team:
You might hire an agency, freelancer, or other outside marketers to take care of certain marketing pieces and in-house professionals to take care of the rest. This allows you a close connection with someone who knows your brand while you take advantage of additional offerings the agency can provide.
One challenge in a hybrid model can be communication between your in-house marketers and the outside resources they collaborate with to ensure a consistent message. The shift in hiring responsibility can be a blessing, as using external resources give you access to a more specialized talent pool. However, these marketing experts may not have the subject matter expertise when it comes to law firm marketing specifically.
At Crisp, we have years of experience in the legal industry, and we pride ourselves on embedding ourselves within your business operations. We have both the legal and marketing knowledge to collaborate with you and your in-house marketing team to provide a united message on every channel.
The key to a great marketing team is making sure that each team works together toward the same goal. With specific needs of law firms, having an in-house or hybrid team is the easiest way to ensure that your content is accurate, but might not afford you the best options for creative and execution.
In short, your ideal marketing team is well-rounded, understands your business, communicates with you and among themselves, and knows how to reach your audience and turn them into clients.
For law firms who want to empower their own in-house or hybrid marketing teams with the tools and skills they need to truly contribute to the growth of the firm, you need Crisp Academy.
With Crisp Academy, your team will learn how to hire top talent to match your company culture, how to develop a message that aligns your team and stands out from the competition, and best practices for conversion. Crisp Academy is available by invitation only, so we invite you to apply today.