Legal Marketing: Law Firm Growth Accelerator Training

Woman carrying papers in an office

How to Build a High-Impact Legal Marketing Department

One in three people turn to the internet to look up law firms before they ever consult their family or friends. Do you know why?

People are more self-empowered than ever to find solutions on their own. Chances are even if you ask your friends and family, they will tell you they discovered their preferred attorneys online.

The days of hunting for law firms in giant phone number directories are long gone. Now, you can simply Google your legal issue and specify your local area to get a list of the top lawyers specializing in those cases around you.

The question becomes – will your law firm’s name turn up at the top of the results, or will it be lost in the middle or (even worse) buried at the bottom? The answer to that question requires knowing the answer to this one – how effective is your legal marketing?

Man reading a graph in a conference room

Here’s what high-impact legal marketing can do for your law firm:

  • Attract new clients
  • Take your firm’s reputation to the next level
  • Improve your search engine rankings
  • Regularly collect user data to optimize your marketing strategies

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Legal marketing has become a lot more proactive today than in the past. Everyone has access to a variety of tools and channels to connect with their audience. So, the onus of building and maintaining your brand is on you!

You need to level up your firm’s reputation and make it easy for prospective clients to find you and make them feel secure.

If you feel you have a knack for it and have enough time to do it yourself, then maybe you can lead your firm’s marketing strategy. This is easier to pull off for self-driven, small firm owners. However, you can also consider hiring a legal marketing agency to free you from this work and allow you to focus on actual lawyer work.

Key Considerations for Legal Marketers

How do you build a digital strategy for your law firm that actually delivers conversions? By applying ideas grounded in real-life challenges faced by you and your clients.

Connecting with clients through marketing is a different job from practicing the law, so stop thinking like a lawyer and step into the shoes of your clients. Clients don’t know legal jargon, and they don’t understand the details of your job as an attorney. All they want to know is that you understand their pain and that your services can help them solve their issues.

You need to embrace the simplicity of a “value-first” approach to all your marketing ideas and communications. Are you able to pin down their problem in the first sentence? Can you give them a simple solution in the next sentence? If yes, then you’re on the right track to creating content that inspires action.

Here are the essential steps you need to take to create actionable content for your audience:

·        Research your target audience – Make a list of all the struggles and requests your clients regularly approach you with. Use existing customer data to create a profile of your average client. Now that you know who this content is meant for, you can customize it accordingly.

·        Create specific and measurable goals – What is your marketing objective? Attracting more leads? Or improving your brand reputation? You still need to be more specific about how you want to achieve these goals. Be specific about the marketing methods, channels, and timeline you would like to achieve these goals. You can only succeed once your goals are clear and measurable for your team to execute.

·        Fix the marketing budget – It’s important to allocate a clear marketing budget for the campaigns you want to run. You must do this while fixing your marketing goals so that you know what you’ll have to pull off to justify the expenditure.

Many firms also find a lot of success with collaborative marketing. By collaborating with other lawyers, you can increase each other’s brand visibility and develop a stronger network. It helps both sides fill in their skill gaps and cut costs by sharing their marketing budget.

Collaborative marketing group meeting around a table

Every law firm possesses its own specializations and skills. What legal skills or services can your firms provide each other to benefit mutually? How can you meet the needs of your audiences more impactfully? And most importantly, how can you keep your unique selling point (USP) clear and visible throughout this collaboration?

Every lawyer has unique expertise and perspectives that can be used to create a compelling brand narrative. Let’s say you own an environmental law firm. You can run a collaborative marketing campaign in the lead-up to Earth Day.

You can host conferences, contests, shared ad campaigns, and referral campaigns.

Highlight the groundbreaking cases and specialties of each other’s firms. When you take the initiative to rub shoulders with other industry leaders, you become one yourself eventually.

The power of diversity as an asset to your brand authority is often overlooked. Think about it. There are so many cases of bias and prejudice filed by people from so many cultures and ethnicities. These victims are seeking comfort from someone who understands their struggles and the impact they have on their personal lives.

Many of them speak broken English or are not comfortable using any other language except their mother tongue. You need more than a simple icebreaker conversation in such cases.

You need to practice as you preach by embracing diversity and inclusion in your law firm. It sends a powerful message to potential clients who value representation and the ability to be understood without any cultural or language barriers.

So, you should highlight your team’s diversity in your marketing materials. It helps give clients from different backgrounds more faith in the wide range of perspectives and experiences within your firm.

The Ideal Law Firm Marketing Department

The ideal marketing department must be able to easily align with your law firm's strategic plan. Your goals and resources should determine the roles and responsibilities of your marketing team.  

Let’s say your law firm specializes in corporate law. Now, your marketing department will determine your average client profile. Since corporate clients actively use LinkedIn, you can target your social media campaign on that platform and network with them. You can even host virtual webinars or in-person conferences to bring their legal needs into focus.

Overall, your marketing department should be structured to deliver all these four competencies:

  • Business development
  • Marketing communications
  • Marketing technology
  • Client services

No matter how many people you hire for your legal marketing services, each of them should have their own role and the measurable outcomes they’re responsible for.

As long as your marketing department has the right staff to deliver these skills, it’s easy to adapt to changing marketing priorities. You may need to take a heavy advertisement and event-planning approach for a while. At other times, you may want to focus primarily on blogs, videos, and adding new testimonials.

Your marketing department is the bridge between clients and your brand. And the only way to bring them together is through effective communication and listening skills. You have to make sure both sides have a strong voice.  

A good communicator can easily understand and adapt to your client and your law firm’s evolving needs.

Regularly communicating with lawyers will help your marketing team spot new trends and developments in your practice area. At the same time, they’ll also be glued to your client’s feedback and demands to understand what issues they need help for. By actively listening to both sides, you can proactively develop strategies that work in everyone’s best interests.

Woman carrying papers in an office

It’s possible that small law firm owners may be able to fulfill their marketing needs with just one or two professionals. However, mid-sized to large firms should definitely prioritize hiring a quality Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). You need strategic leadership to strengthen collaboration within your marketing department and keep growing your law firm. It’s best to hire a CMO with a deep understanding of the legal industry and a history of proven marketing campaigns.

They must STAY updated with the latest legal marketing trends and use expertise from other industries to give you a competitive edge. Their goal should be to give your lawyers the opportunity to create stronger client relationships.  


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The Role of Technology in Law Firm Marketing

Nearly 90 percent of lawyers reported a significant improvement in their law firm’s productivity by proactively integrating tech solutions. The days of a law firm website looking like an old college dorm banner are long gone.

Your website needs to be dynamic and give visitors the feeling of being warmly welcomed into your office. It needs to provide the right kind of content and interaction channels through an intuitive interface that even your grandma could navigate easily.

For instance, a well-designed law firm website must provide features like live chat and virtual meeting calendars. This allows you to close the gap in response time, which is critical considering most of your clients are stressed and come in with a sense of great urgency. You can also set up free step-by-step guides and FAQs to answer their common legal concerns and demonstrate your expertise.

From generating leads to automating mundane tasks, technology is the key to greater efficiency in your law firm. And if it isn't delivering efficiency, there’s no point in retaining that technology. The only way to scale up your case volume without compromising your quality of service is by using the right tools.

Here are the main advantages that technology can give your law firm:

Automating repetitive tasks – AI is not meant to replace lawyers but to help them become more free and focused than ever before. Lawyers waste 40% of their working hours trying to keep up with small administrative tasks that scatter their focus. Sure, it only takes a few minutes to process invoices and log your billable hours. But imagine how quickly time adds up when you have to repeat them throughout the day. You can easily streamline workflows by using tools for automating your billing, invoicing, and document processing and verification work.

Faster and more accurate legal research – Separating the evidence from a mountain of information often feels like finding a needle in a haystack. Research is easily the most time-consuming exercise of being a lawyer. However, there’s no substitute for it. You can make legal research a lot more organized and efficient though. You can adopt enhanced research tools to accurately retrieve relevant documents and access them across multiple devices. Some of them also allow you to automate certain research processes.

Minimizing risks and errors – You need to handle a ton of sensitive client documentation when you take up a case. You also have to prepare the necessary paperwork for every stage of the case. It’s only human to slip up while handling this responsibility once in a while. However, it can slow down or hurt your case progress. Productivity tools can double up as virtual assistants to secure and organize this data in a systematic way. They’ll ensure your risking clouded judgment or misinterpretations.

Transparency – Most clients stay in the dark about their cases, which makes them uneasy. Risking money when you’re already struggling to recover your losses is a tough call, especially when you’re unclear about what you’re paying for. You can help mitigate this by using tools that allow you to be more transparent with them. You must be able to clearly present the output you’re providing for every step of the case to justify your fees. Some law firms build a digital case file for each client. They create a personalized dashboard where the client can check their case progress transparently. You can also build a tool to make their lawyer selection process more intuitive. Once they’ve shared their needs in your forms, you can give them a quick overview of the most experienced lawyers in that practice area on your team.

Improved customer interactions – Client relationships are your biggest marketing asset. The more user data you gather through your interactions, the faster you should be able to provide them with what they’re looking for. However, there’s a lot of data to comb through spread across different channels. You need to factor in the data you gathered during client onboarding, social media interactions, emails, and invoicing details. A customer relationship management (CRM) tool can help you store and access all this critical data on one platform. These case management platforms will help you give accurate personalized responses to your clients.

Here are the most popular use cases for adopting technology in empowering law firms:

·        Case management

·        Invoicing and tracking tools

·        Calendar management

·        Legal research

·        eDiscovery and digital evidence

·        e-filing

·        Document management

·        Payment solutions

·        Password recovery

·        Customer relationship management

Frequently Asked Questions

What is law firm marketing?

Law firm marketing involves promoting and branding a law firm to attract new clients and maintain its reputation. Your marketing strategy must fill the gap between your client’s needs and your firm’s expertise.

How has legal marketing evolved over time?

There was a time when most legal firms had a ‘fix it and forget it’ approach to marketing. In fact, it wasn’t unusual to see many of them run comfortably without a marketing department too.  Legal marketing began as a reactive function, responding to requests from lawyers and clients, but has evolved into a proactive and strategic function.

Back then, you only had to worry about occasionally dealing with some media requests and partnering with some firms to host some conferences. Clients mainly relied on local word-of-mouth marketing, phone directories, newspapers, and billboard ads to find an attorney. So lawyers could afford to be more passive.

There were hardly any channels for clients to actively engage with law firms on a day-to-day basis. Lawyers have to step up their game and become a lot more proactive today. Your clients have a ton of channels to approach you through, which means you need to do a lot more work to maintain a positive brand presence in all these places.

Why is building and maintaining a brand important in law firm marketing?

A strong brand enhances a law firm’s reputation and gives it a significant competitive edge. The main objectives of legal brand building are attracting new clients, improving brand reputation, optimizing search engine rankings, and using client data to optimize marketing strategies.

What are the key considerations for legal marketers?

Here are three key considerations for legal marketing professionals to pay attention to:

  •       Create substantive ideas to target new clients – Avoid using any irrelevant or confusing legal while communicating with clients. Be simple, precise, and value-focused in all your communications. Show them that you fully understand their pains and are ready with the necessary legal remedy to help them. Identify your target audience, set clear and measurable goals, and set up your marketing budget.

  •       Collaborate with lawyers – Identify the firms you can partner with to help cover each other’s skill gaps and open up a broader base of case leads. At the same time, ensure your USP is clear in your marketing communications. You can take collaborative marketing initiatives like hosting conferences, contests, shared ad campaigns, and referral campaigns.

  •       Embracing and showcasing diversity – Highlight your team’s diversity in your brand communications. It’ll help people from different cultures and ethnicities feel more comfortable and minimize language barriers. Your team will be able to draw better insights when they have a broad range of perspectives and experiences to tap into.

What is the ideal law firm marketing department?

The ideal law firm’s marketing department should have a proper balance of talent that can cover business development, marketing communications, marketing technology, and client services.

Your team should easily align with the firm's strategic plan, with the flexibility to adapt to changing priorities, and have strong leadership to supervise it all.

What role does technology play in law firm marketing?

Technology plays a significant role in law firm marketing, including the evolution of law firm websites and the utilization of digital marketing tools.

Here are some of the important benefits you gain by adopting the right tools in your firm:

·       Automating repetitive tasks

·       Faster and more accurate legal research

·       Minimizing risks and errors

·       Transparency

·       Improved customer interactions

What is the future outlook for law marketing professionals?

The future for law marketing professionals is bright, as law firms increasingly recognize the competitive pressures they face and the need for trained marketing professionals to differentiate themselves in a generic profession.

Here are some important trends in the legal marketing domain that will continue to rise over the next few years:

  •       Personalized interactions – Clients expect more than generic and vague legal advice. Luckily, all that client data you’re gathering will allow you to tailor content and interactions that suit their needs.

  •       Data-driven decision-making – With more user behavior insights, you’ll be able to manage your resources, measure your success, and optimize marketing strategies.
  •       Optimizing user experience – Create fast and intuitive interfaces that function smoothly across all devices.

  •       Embrace automation tools – Look out for AI tools that can minimize your administrative work and empower your lawyers to focus on actual case work.
  •       Prioritize rich visual and storytelling content – Branch out to include more videos and podcasts as part of your content production strategy. Create relatable case studies showcasing your success with clients from your target audience.


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