Marketing for Attorneys: Why Your Practice Isn’t Growing (And What To Do Instead)
10–12 minutes to read
Are you frustrated with a lack of growth in your law firm? Ready to stop pounding your head on your desk and actually do something about it?
When it comes to scaling a legal business, there can be several factors holding you back — failure to accurately calculate billable hours, not looking at your firm as a business, lack of clear goals, and outdated marketing strategies, to name a few.
Your first step should always be to ensure you are leveraging your time properly. For example, are senior partners completing tasks that are better left to paralegals or other support staff?
Are you using marketing methods that don’t work? If so, there is a good chance you are wasting time and money, and (if you’re like most attorneys) you don’t have enough of either.
When it comes to marketing your law firm, you need strategies that are going to help you sign more clients — not earn you the #1 on Google.
Here are the top three marketing mistakes law firms make — and what you should be doing instead.
- Relying on costly traditional marketing methods
- Trying to build your social following organically
- Not paying attention to what clients actually care about when hiring a lawyer
Marketing Mistake #1: You Are Still Relying on Costly Traditional Marketing Methods
For years, lawyers have relied on traditional forms of marketing — like radio, television, and newspaper ads — and ignored the digital shift.
Why fix it if it isn’t broken, right?
If your firm isn’t growing, however, it is time to face the fact that traditional marketing may not be the most effective use of your marketing dollars.
Consider this — to reach 2,000 prospective clients, you will likely spend $150 to run a local radio ad, $500 to run a magazine ad, or around $900 to run a direct mail campaign.
But, 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 ad targeting.
And when it comes to TV ads, the cost differential is even more startling:
It costs 20x as much to reach twice as many people with TV ads as it does with Facebook ads:
Here’s the thing — most law firms are still not fully invested in online marketing, which gives those who do invest a competitive edge.
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, including keeping up with changes and convincing leadership to make the change.
Here’s what you need to know about digital marketing to help convince management to make the shift.
Traditional marketing uses a “spray and pray” approach. You get an ad out there and aim to reach as many people as possible, regardless of whether they fit the persona of your ideal client.
Now, if you’re only targeting the 3% of people that need a lawyer right now, it’s super competitive — and expensive.
If you target the 97% that don’t currently need a lawyer, you’re taking a much more cost-effective, long-term strategy that invests in building big brand equity and name recognition.
But, if you are broadly targeting everyone, you are wasting money.
With digital marketing, you can target clients who have searched for a lawyer, visited your website, or are located in your geographical area.
Additionally, 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.
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.
Now, we’re not saying 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 of growth that is holding you back.
What to Do Instead: Video Marketing for Attorneys
A good marketing video will change the way your firm’s prospective clients see you.
A good video can turn “just another attorney” into an attorney with a name, personality, and reason they practice.
Here’s an example of a great legal brand video from the LaBovick Law Group:
- Including a high-quality brand video on your website has been shown to increase your legal caseload by 300%.
- Using videos on landing pages (such as “contact us” or “book a consultation” pages) can increase information submission by 86%.
- Webpages with video are 53x more likely to rank on Google’s first page.
How to get clients with video marketing:
- Film a high-quality brand video: A 3-4 minute brand video can tell your story more effectively than any other campaign. It introduces you to your prospective clients and communicates everything that sets you apart from your legal competitors.
- Publish your complete brand video on your website: There’s no better way to introduce yourself to your prospective clients when they arrive on your site than with a professional brand video. Video is also a difference-maker — a strategy few of your competitors will be taking advantage of.
- Cut the brand video into segments: Alongside the full video, you want social-optimized clips for Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
- Create video ad campaigns on social media: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn are incredible platforms for your firm to reach its target market: unparalleled targeting capabilities and a low cost-per click give you the opportunity to reach your audience, drive awareness, and start turning strangers into clients.
If this all sounds overwhelming, consider hiring a professional and award-winning team like Crisp to manage your firm’s legal marketing campaigns.
Marketing Mistake #2: You’re Trying to Build Your Social Following Organically
Three and a half billion people use social media around the globe, and Facebook leads the pack. A recent report found that 68% of Americans use the platform. It’s an ideal place to reach just about any market— but it requires a bit of finesse.
If you are trying to build a following on Facebook by relying on organically posted funny memes or just re-sharing information about your industry, you may not see a ton of ROI on your time.
Here’s the thing — people go on Facebook to look at pictures of their grandkids, interact with their favorite Facebook groups, and maybe get caught up on the latest news. They don’t necessarily go to Facebook to look for a lawyer (though they might ask for recommendations for a lawyer from their friends).
This is not to say you can’t be successful on Facebook, but solely posting from your law firm website is not the most effective way to go.
What to Do Instead: Use Facebook Ads
More than any other industry, attorneys should be using Facebook ads.
The legal industry has the highest average Facebook ad click-through rate (1.61%).
That means when you create a Facebook ad that targets 1,000 people, 16 of them will click through on any given day.
When you’re only paying around $10 to reach those 1,000 people, this is a fantastic use of your marketing budget.
High-Quality Attorney Facebook Ad Example:
This ad includes a short video along which communicates the attorney’s reason for practicing as well as what sets them apart from competitors. It also introduces prospective clients to the attorney far more personally than text ever could.
There’s another reason why Facebook ads are so effective — you can target users based on location.
Most attorneys don’t have international businesses. You practice in your town, city, or county, not worldwide.
They don’t really 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 are 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:
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 is the variable that results in your standing out from competitors. This might be your life story, the number of years you’ve practiced, your ratio of winning cases, whatever.
Top Tip: 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).”
Marketing Mistake #3: You Aren’t Paying Attention to What Clients Actually Care About When Hiring a Lawyer
What matters most when it comes to hiring a lawyer? Are clients more concerned with the catchiest jingle, who has the most experience, who has the most online reviews, or something else?
The answer might surprise you.
It’s you. They hire the lawyer who connects most with them on a personal level.
What to Do Instead: Make a Personal Connection Through Video Testimonials
Your prospective clients aren’t looking just for someone to try their case. They’re looking for someone to help them in their hour of need — someone to care.
Here’s an impactful client testimonial example from the Elk and Elk legal team:
The emotional storytelling of this video will resonate with your prospective clients who may be going through something similar.
And the message — that this firm helped this woman and (even more) she was willing to talk about it to help other people get help — is a powerful one.
You already know the impact that a personal connection can have on your clients. That’s why you go to their homes, bring them to your offices, or close over the phone rather than a text message.
But you can’t speak with every one of your prospective clients face to face (especially if your Facebook ad campaigns are running well).
Instead, ask your previous clients to do it for you in the form of a video testimonial, work it into your law firm’s brand video and other video content, and promote it via Facebook and YouTube ads to make sure it gets in front of the right people.
Scaling a law firm requires looking at every aspect of your business — including what kinds of clients you are taking on, your marketing practices, and leveraging your time as a leader and maximizing the effectiveness of your team.
The plain truth is that digital marketing strategies (such as Facebook ads, video, and testimonials), are more effective at growing your law firm than traditional marketing strategies. Digital marketing enables you to reach a wider audience — to become the best-known law firm in your area. But not in a negative (and expensive) way, where your face is plastered over every other billboard and park bench.
Instead, the strategies we’ve recommended in this guide give you the power to build your brand awareness in a way that makes your prospective clients trust and respect what you do for your community — and positions your unique messaging in places your ideal audience is actually spending their time and attention.
The biggest change you can make to grow your law practice is to show the world who you are. And digital marketing (particularly through Facebook ads, video marketing, and client testimonials) is how to do it better than your competitors.
Are you ready to dive into the 21st century of marketing? We’ve got you covered.
To learn how to effectively incorporate legal video into your current marketing strategy, reach out to a Crisp Legal Marketing Strategist today for a free one-on-one strategy session.