Transforming Your Practice: Strategic Marketing for Small Law Firms
Agency Management

Transforming your practice: Strategic marketing for small law firms

Brenda Barron
Brenda Barron

Getting established online can be especially difficult for smaller law firms juggling the process of building a reputation while trying to figure out digital marketing. It's all about getting your brand to appeal to the people who need your help the most. All while making sure you stand out for the right reasons.

It seems like a lot on the surface, but you can manage it – one step at a time.

Here’s a time-tested process to market your small law firm and transform your practice for the better.

A strong legal brand goes beyond aesthetics. It requires that you create a connection with your target audience through shared values and a clear promise of what makes your firm the go-to choice for their legal needs.

Here are a few ways you can build your brand from the ground up: 

  • Understand your audience and market your position: Knowing your target audience is a must. Are you aiming to serve small businesses, corporations, individuals facing personal legal challenges, or another specific group? Pin down who you’d like to appeal to and adjust your brand's messaging to meet their needs. Research your competitors to see what they’re doing and identify gaps in the market that your firm can fill.
  • Define your law firm's core values and mission: What drives your firm? Is it a commitment to justice? A passion for helping people navigate complex legal challenges? Or something else? Your firm's core values and mission statement should reflect the essence of why you do what you do.
  • Craft your unique value proposition (UVP): Your UVP sets you apart from competitors and highlights the unique benefits clients gain by choosing your firm. This might relate to your specialized expertise, the personalized service you offer, or some other attribute.
  • Get professional branding help: Getting the help of a branding expert or agency can elevate your firm's brand from good to great. These professionals can assist in creating a cohesive visual identity, developing a brand voice, and ensuring consistency across all channels.

Build a website optimized for user engagement and conversion

Building a well-optimized website is another thing you need to do before your small law firm can make a significant impact online. A well-crafted website is often the first thing prospects will see related to your practice. It should invite potential clients to learn more about what you offer and encourage them to take the next steps.

Here’s a quick look at how you can create a website that reflects your brand identity and serves to convert visitors into clients.

1. Design with your brand identity in mind

First, your website's colors, appearance, and core messaging need to be in sync with your brand identity. This cohesion ensures that visitors have a consistent experience, reinforcing your firm's values and professional image. From the logo to the font and color schemes, every element should contribute to a recognizable brand presence​​.

2. Create landing pages for each practice area

For law firms offering services in multiple practice areas, it's beneficial to create specific landing pages for each. This approach helps with SEO and makes it easier for potential clients to find information relevant to their specific legal needs. A well-structured services page can act as a hub, directing visitors to detailed pages that showcase your expertise in each area​​.

3. Showcase your expertise

Speaking of, highlighting your firm's expertise is key to building trust with potential clients. Incorporate elements like:

  • Client reviews
  • Recognition badges
  • Industry awards
  • Case studies

Doing so can demonstrate your track record of success. These elements act as social proof, reassuring visitors of your capabilities and experience​​.

4. Strategically place CTA buttons

The placement of call-to-action (CTA) buttons matters a lot, too, especially in guiding visitors through your website and prompting them to take action. Whether it's to schedule a consultation call, contact your firm, or download a resource, CTA buttons should be visible and accessible throughout your site.

Some law firms have found success by placing clickable phone numbers at the top of their sites as a prominent CTA. Others may find a contact form on the homepage (above the fold) most effective​​.

Boost law firm awareness and website traffic

Another thing you need to do is bring more attention to your legal firm and its associated website. To do this, you’ll need to combine a few strategies to get as many eyes on your firm as possible. These strategies include:

  • SEO 
  • PPC 
  • Social media 
  • Video marketing and content

Here's a breakdown to guide you through this process:

SEO marketing

First, you need to get your SEO in order. This means making it so that when people search for terms related to legal practice or they are looking for a law firm on Google, they’ll be able to find your website.

1. Keyword research

To begin, you’ll need to do some keyword research to figure out what’s performing well in the major search engines.

Use tools like Ahrefs to tackle this head-on, identifying terms relevant to your services and your potential clients (buyer personas).

You’ll want to focus on keywords that your top industry competitors are ranking for and create a list of those most applicable to your law firm​​​​.

2. Optimize your website 

Next, adjust your website's landing pages to incorporate your focus keywords, ensuring that they are optimized for both search engines and user experience. Your focus here should be on keywords aimed at buying intent (like law firms in New Jersey, business lawyers, etc.) versus those with an educational intent (like how-tos). Save the educational keywords for your business blog instead.

But beyond keyword usage, your optimization efforts should include several other tasks as well, including:

  • Create proper headings and subheadings: This goes for all of your content (landing pages and blog posts). These headings should include your focus keywords. Taking this extra step makes it easier for site visitors to see what the page is about at a glance.
  • Keep an eye on the site speed: Slow-loading pages can drive visitors away, increasing your bounce rate and telling search engines your site might not be the best result to show. Tools like Google PageSpeed Insights can be invaluable in identifying areas for improvement.
  • Optimize landing pages for mobile devices: With more than half of web traffic coming from mobile devices, it's essential to ensure your landing pages are mobile-friendly. This means fast loading times, easy-to-use navigation, and a responsive design that looks great on any screen size.
  • Get familiar with Google’s Core Web Vitals: Google's Core Web Vitals offer a set of metrics related to page speed, responsiveness, and visual stability, which contribute to the overall user experience. Regularly auditing your site with tools like Lighthouse or the Web Vitals Chrome extension can keep you on top of these factors.

Start adding both internal and external links for your core landing pages. Incorporating this all throughout your content can be super helpful. Internal linking helps distribute page authority throughout your site, while backlinks from reputable external sites to your website signal to search engines that your content is valuable and trustworthy​​​​.

4. Optimize for local SEO

As a law firm, you’re doing business in a specific area or region. So you’ll want to make sure the traffic you receive is targeted and from those in your area. You can ensure this by optimizing for local SEO.

To do this, you can create a Google Business profile. Fill it with your contact info and relevant keywords, including your practice areas and business location. Encourage your current clients to leave positive reviews as well. Google will then use these as signals to gauge your business's prominence​​.

You should also aim to get your firm listed on local directories like Yelp and YellowPages. These listings improve your local SEO and provide additional pathways for potential clients to find you​​.

Why Elorus is the ideal business software for legal firms?

PPC marketing

Buying ads is another great way to market your law firm strategically. To begin, you’ll need to set up a Google Ads account. Then, target keywords with buying intent.

You can do this by starting a small campaign targeting keywords closely related to your services and adjusting your spending as you begin to see conversions.

Ensure your ads direct traffic to specific landing pages designed to convert visitors, such as booking a consultation​​.

Social media marketing

Your next step is to set up social media profiles on platforms where your target audience primarily engages.

Then spend some time there interacting with people. Engage with users, share relevant content, and promote your services in a way that resonates with the platform's audience​​. Your emphasis on these platforms should be on building brand awareness and user engagement rather than direct sales pitches. You want to get people familiar with your brand so it’ll be top-of-mind when they need your services.

Video marketing and content publishing

Another great small law firm marketing strategy is to create video and written content and share both on your website, on social media, and through dedicated outlets like YouTube.

For instance, you could create a video series with content related to your legal practice. This could significantly boost engagement and establish your firm as a thought leader on certain topics. Then, share these videos on your website and social media channels to increase reach​​.

You could also start a blog and share your industry insights regularly. Alternatively, contributing articles to media outlets relevant to legal practices can showcase your expertise and generate valuable backlinks to your website. This would enhance your SEO and help establish you as a thought leader in your industry.

Implementing these strategies requires time, effort, and possibly financial investment, but the returns in terms of increased visibility, website traffic, and potential client engagement can be significant. 

Generate qualified leads for your law firm

Generating qualified leads for your law firm involves a multi-channel approach, leveraging both digital marketing strategies and traditional networking.

Here are a few ways you can gather leads within your law firm marketing strategy:

1. Invest in content marketing

Content marketing, as we’ve already mentioned, is essential for establishing your law firm as a thought leader in your field.

High-quality, informative content boosts your SEO but also engages potential clients by answering their questions and addressing their concerns, ultimately moving them faster down the funnel.

Create a variety of content, including blog posts, ebooks, and legal guides, that is tailored to your target audience's needs and interests.

Directories such as Avvo, Clutch, FindLaw, and Attorney at Law Magazine are essential for enhancing your visibility online.

These platforms often have high buying intent among visitors, making them valuable for lead generation.

Ensure your profiles are complete and up-to-date, and actively seek reviews from satisfied clients to improve your firm's credibility and appeal​​​​​​.

Awards from reputable organizations like The Legal 500, IFLR1000, and Chambers not only bolster your firm's reputation but also improve your visibility. Winning or even being shortlisted for these awards can provide a significant boost in your branding and credibility, attracting potential clients and partners​​​​​​.

4. Attend networking events

Participating in both online and physical industry-related networking events can be a powerful way to generate leads. These events offer opportunities to meet potential clients and referral sources, build relationships, and establish your firm's presence in the legal community. Remember, networking is about relationship building, so focus on being personable and showing genuine interest in others​​.

5. Showcase success stories and testimonials

Publishing customer case studies and client testimonials on your website can help your firm attract new leads as well. These success stories provide social proof, assuring potential clients of your expertise and ability to handle cases similar to theirs effectively​​​​​​. To do this effectively, you’ll need to pick a few satisfied customers and then present their success stories in an engaging way. Text or video format is fine, but both would be even better.

6. Offer free consultations 

Free consultations are an excellent way to attract potential clients by providing them with value upfront. This approach allows you to showcase your expertise and how you can assist them with their legal issues, making it more likely for them to choose your firm for their legal needs​​​​​​. The free consultation phase is also an opportunity for legal firms to interact with prospects and ask and answer questions that directly address their needs.

These legal marketing tips can improve your law firm's lead generation efforts and help you attract more qualified leads to grow your client base.

How to get started as a small law firm

Starting a small law firm can seem like a lot because, honestly, it is. But with the right approach, it can be a rewarding venture.

Here's a roadmap to help you navigate this journey.

1. Start small and scale

Initially, it's wise to keep overhead low and increase your marketing budget as your legal firm grows. This pragmatic approach allows for flexibility and minimizes financial strain in the early stages.

Investing in a professional brand identity is a must from the outset. A branding expert can help create a compelling brand and a visually appealing, user-friendly website, too. Investing here is required for success later, as it sets the tone for your online presence and how potential clients perceive your firm​​​​.

Hiring a digital marketing expert early on also can significantly boost your online visibility. The ideal would be to hire a marketing generalist who has a well-rounded knowledge of core marketing aspects. They can manage your website, enhance your social media presence, and kickstart PPC marketing campaigns. Having someone who can create and execute a targeted law firm marketing plan ensures that your firm reaches potential clients effectively​​​​.

2. Expand your marketing resources as you grow

As your firm grows, consider hiring an external content creator to produce targeted content. This content should highlight your expertise and address the specific needs and concerns of your target audience. You can get content ideas from keyword research, social media, or even your blog’s comment section.

For further growth, partnering with a PR agency can amplify your reach. Getting involved in industry-related awards and features in publications raises your profile, which enhances credibility and attracts more leads.

3. Be mindful of how you allocate your budget 

Allocate your marketing budget wisely, focusing on niches where you can offer unique value. Use both paid and free channels to maximize business value. But make sure you're leveraging all available free channels first and try to balance them with paid campaigns to secure your ROI. On the paid side of things, PPC campaigns, in particular, can provide immediate traffic, while ongoing activities like SEO build a steady stream of leads over time​​​​.

4. Measure and adjust, always

Continuously measure the performance of each marketing channel and adjust your strategy accordingly. This iterative process ensures that you're investing in the most effective tactics to grow your firm​​​​.

If you prefer to focus on legal work rather than marketing, hiring a legal marketing firm might be a valuable investment. This allows you to rely on their expertise to grow your business while you concentrate on helping your clients​​​​. The primary benefit of hiring a legal marketing firm is their ability to handle all aspects of marketing with greater expertise, more quickly, and at a lower cost than what a law firm might incur by hiring 2 to 3 employees for the same tasks. The benefits of outsourcing all marketing are clear and well worth consideration.

Jumping into law firm marketing is a smart move for your legal firm. And it’s pretty much essential if you want to stand out. Start with the basics: get your branding right, and make sure your website doesn’t send people running.

Then, as you start to find your feet, invest in some digital marketing initiatives and maybe even some PPC to get folks knocking on your door. As you grow bigger, why not promote even more through a PR agency or by submitting your firm for award consideration?

Remember, it’s all about trying things out, seeing what works, and not being afraid to switch it up. Keep an eye on what brings in the business and go all in on that. Before you know it, your small law firm's marketing efforts will pay off. Good luck!

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