A comprehensive 2023 digital marketing strategy for law firms
For a law firm willing to move forward with your digital marketing strategy, to stay relevant and make the most of what digital offers, to move ahead of the competition: this article is for you.
What can you do OTHER than Google advertising to bring in legal clients?
Nearly everyone needs a solicitor or lawyer at some point in their lives. But while brand awareness is important, few of us pay heed to the traditional marketing efforts of law firms (eg newspaper adverts).
You can’t track your ROI properly, you can’t drive traffic to your website where data can be captured, you can’t make a connection.
But if you invest in your law firm’s digital marketing then you can do all this and more.
Reach your target audience
You need to be online but how do you reach your target audience?
How do you manage your marketing efforts, WITHOUT putting ALL your budget into Google Ads and trying to compete with every law firm out there doing the same thing?
We believe that people will only look for a lawyer when they need them? Right?
So Google Ads is the answer (well, yes it is) but what do you need to be doing as well as your Google/Microsoft Ads advertising?
What ELSE could you be doing to bring people to your door?
It comes down to understanding how and why people make decisions.
You want prospective clients to make the decision to use your law firm and your legal services, so here’s how you use digital marketing and your social media presence to persuade them.
How do people choose a law firm to work with?
We know that the majority of people (this includes people working for businesses they want to find representation for) will use a solicitor or lawyer based on word of mouth.
According to the most recent global advertising study by Nielsen, 88% of respondents most trust recommendations from people they know.
So a good law firm marketing strategy will be based around customer first and this should be what permeates everything: not just your law firm website and your PPC advertising, but your social media marketing efforts and your email marketing too.
Word of mouth marketing is online marketing
So WHY don’t more solicitors and lawyers jump on word-of-mouth marketing?
Most other good businesses out there make the most of reviews and expose themselves to receive them.
Why not solicitors?
Because it can be hard.
Asking for, and receiving reviews can cause problems, and can take time to deal with.
BUT if a law firm doesn’t show it is willing to receive reviews, and doesn’t ask for them, it makes prospective clients feel more removed.
There is no trust being built.
If we don’t trust, we don’t buy.
So what can you do to overcome this?
How to deal with reviews as part of your law firm marketing effort
Reviews don’t need to be something to be feared; they should be seen as an opportunity.
Yes, everyone reads the bad ones, so make your responses better than the rest.
Sills & Betteridge are near the top on the Reviewsolicitors.co.uk website.
I can’t find many poor reviews for them.
While this sounds great, we tend to trust business with a mix of good and poorer reviews over a business that has only good ones.
So Sills & Betteridge look amazing if I’m someone who has taken the time to find reviewsolicitors.co.uk while I’m looking for a law firm to work with.
Should you turn off Facebook reviews?
I’m a Facebook user, so I check Sills & Betteridge on Facebook, looking for their reviews.
Reviews have been turned them off…
How do you think that makes me feel?
As someone who likes to check out reviews before I use a service, I am now feeling some distrust.
So then I go to Google to check the company out there.
And then I’m happier: there are a lot of positive reviews on Google, mixed with some negatives.
Sadly, there isn’t much response going on though, from the firm.
I checked out the Sills & Betteridge Nottingham office on Google, and while some positive reviewees had been thanked, the negatives have been left.
Happily, there are hardly any negative past clients comments but just a note to say:
“We’re so sorry you had this experience, please call and ask for xx and we will do our best to help” will make a huge difference to how a potential client feels about the way you do business.
So what’s the verdict?
The jury is out for me on Reviewsolicitors.co.uk: I can see that’s a great way to collect reviews the company can work with to improve their law firm’s website, to help attract new clients and is great content, too.
What I’m a bit unclear about is how impartial the reviews are.
There are no Facebook reviews, but Facebook reviews can be prone to spam so as someone who understands that, they’ve still got me interested thanks to their Google reviews.
Their social media posts come across as human, and kind, which also helps win me over.
Overall, I’m feeling pretty positive about using this firm: all my online research has added up to me feeling confident to get in touch with them.
Should my law firm marketing include collecting Facebook reviews?
It is hard for potential clients to find a solicitor or law firm that has Facebook reviews as part of their social media marketing efforts.
And I get it: Facebook reviews are so easily accessible and shareable that it can feel exposing and they are also linked to a person’s personal profile so that person is also giving away some information about themselves.
I’d turn them off too unless I was an independent solicitor with strong relationships with my clients.
BUT, if I turned off reviews on Facebook, I’d also mitigate the effects of doing that by having a pinned post to say why they’re not on.
A confident pinned post to say
“Thank you for visiting our Facebook page. You may notice that we have turned reviews off. While we’d love to be able to collect them, we aren’t comfortable with the fact that reviews are linked to a person’s personal profile.
We do however have a lot of reviews on Google [add the link] and Trust Pilot [add link] if you’d like to check us out before getting in touch.”
If you decide to use Instagram as part of your law firm marketing efforts, you could also have a pinned post there to say something similar.
As Instagram can’t collect reviews, directing people to your reviews in your bio and on a pinned post would work well to help build confidence and trust.
How to deal with a negative review about my law firm
Collecting reviews can help your search rankings as part of your marketing strategy.
Google reviews help, of course, and Facebook and Trustpilot both feed into Google too.
If you do receive a negative review, show you care, show you’re professional, take the conversation offline and sort things out for your client to make them as happy as they can be.
That client is going to tell a lot of people about their experience.
A few minutes spent on making their experience better will be well worth the time investment.
The cost of replacing that client to find another one can be high.
The cost of trying to change the mind of all the people they may have spoken to about their experience is going to be much higher.
If you’re going to impress and do this properly, you should consider having reviews on
- Facebook (see note above about this)
- Reviews.io or Trustpilot
- Reviewsolicitors.co.uk (reviews are monitored so could be perceived as less independent. However this is a space that understands the legal implications of reviews and so is potentially more understanding about what legally can and can’t be said online.)
Which law firms are doing a good job of their digital marketing?
Let’s look at Allen & Overy.
One of the ‘world’s top law firms’.
I went straight to their reviews on Google: they have 131. Great! Or so I thought.
Well, as the first 10 reviews are about the catering and the location, I am already put off.
Who is leaving these reviews and why is no one from the firm responding to them?
Also on Google are the Questions & Answers section: if people have asked questions, anyone can answer them about your firm.
The first word that comes up here is ‘scam’: this immediately sets alarm bells ringing.
But why don’t they care about their Google reviews?
Why haven’t they encouraged more people to ask questions to eliminate the word ‘scam’ from their preview?
What are their other marketing efforts and what do their search engine rankings look like?
We need to look more closely at their online marketing.
How to see what OTHER lawyers and solicitors are doing in terms of legal marketing
There are some great ways to get good ideas about what other law firms are doing.
Yes, you can look at a law firm website to get an idea. But this doesn’t tend to reveal much.
You want to know about how search engines rank their website, what their law firm SEO strategy is, their inbound marketing, and their other marketing efforts to attract new clients.
So, what kind of advertising are they doing? How do they market their legal services online? How do they find legal clients?
If they are B2C, they are likely to be running social ads on Facebook/Instagram to try to win new business.
There is a handy way to check out their digital marketing efforts on social media:
Go to the About Section, Page Transparency, and then go to Ad library.
How to see what your competitors are advertising on LinkedIn
Just like Facebook, you can also investigate your competitors on LinkedIn to determine what they are advertising.
- Go to their Linkedin Profile.
- Click on Posts
- Click on Ads
And any sponsored content from the last 6 months will be shown, even recently active ads which are no longer running.
Marketing for law firms – how else to see what your competitors are doing
One of the best ways to market your law firm is to invest in an SEO campaign.
Your law firm marketing efforts should include research on local SEO, high quality backlinks and other law firm marketing strategies.
A marketing budget should include the use of search engine tools such as SurferSEO and Semrush.
These can deliver some really useful information about the effectiveness of another law firm’s website.
So take our example of Allen & Overy.
We can see that the reason perhaps they don’t worry so much about Google, is because they have invested heavily in an SEO campaign.
If we run their URL through SEMrush, we can see they rank well for domain authority at 62, and we can also see that they have 599k backlinks.
Wow so many backlinks! But how do they do it? Where does their marketing budget go?
Let’s look into those backlinks for clues…
It seems some of that marketing budget is going to tools such as ibacklink.com which is a backlink service.
So it’s really interesting and useful, when you’re investigating marketing for law firms and how they target clients, to use a powerful marketing tool like this.
They help make your life easier and help sell your law firm marketing strategy to the people you need to convince.
Most law firms will have people within them that you need to persuade of the budget you need to compete with other law firms.
Using business development tools will help inform you of what other law firm marketing is going on in your sector.
How do people make decisions about law firms?
According to psychologist and cognitive scientist Dr. Susan Weinschenk, ALL the decisions we make are based on emotions.
So you can give people all the facts with which they need to make their decision: be the best at what you do, look the best, but in most cases, decisions will be based on unconscious acknowledgments.
Knowing how to influence people online is going to be the key to your success.
And you do that through your brand positioning and approach.
B2B marketing for law firms?
At the heart of your strategy should be the findings of the Ehrenbeg-Berg Institute for the Science of marketing.
They discovered the 95-5 rule, which states that only 5% of B2B buyers are in the market for goods and services at any one time, and that it’s all about creating ‘memory links’ so that when someone is ready or considering learning more, they turn to you.
And in social media terms, this means creating a social media presence that people are happy to keep in their newsfeed, whichever social platform you are on.
Be findable when they’re looking (Google Ads/PPC) and be visible when they’re not looking, but are interested.
So we’re talking noticeable blogs, and interviews and social posts, and adverts which offer much-needed information and seminars and all the online and offline marketing that makes up your whole marketing presence.
Personally, I prefer the more disruptive blogs and headlines over anything else: we see so much online so you need to stand out and be different from the rest to get noticed.
Law firm marketing strategies – Google ads
Google Ads for law firms: these are important to have running and you can have great success finding paying clients by appearing in a search engine via Google Ads, for example.
You know that your ad is likely to appear when someone types in the keywords/s you’re bidding on (as long as your bid is high enough)
But there is little point in competing with other law firm ads when you’re not making an effort to look like you care about it.
For instance, these ads are running on Google but the second ad hasn’t filled in the very important content line properly: people read this!
You need to give prospective clients a reason to get in touch: we don’t want to see ‘Meet the team’, ‘Browse News’ – you need to give us a reason to get in touch with your law firm.
Google Ads for Solicitors; PPC for Law Firms in the UK
And when considering your marketing budget for Google ads, you should ensure that, to find paying clients, you’re including local search terms, adding local keyword data, as well as general ones.
‘Divorce lawyer near me’ is going to cost less than ‘Divorce lawyer UK’ for example.
When people are dealing with something complex, or something that they feel is going to need some handholding, they are likely to want to find someone near them; someone they can go and see.
So make sure your business location is clear and you add local keyword data.
You also need to ensure that your Google Ads are coinciding with the searches at different times of the year.
In terms of business development, and strategising your law firm’s marketing plan, the New Year is a good time for tackling corporate legal issues for example.
Why? Because it comes down to our human need to take on challenges once we feel ready.
So often, after a break such as summer or Christmas, we feel energised, ready to tackle the harder stuff and get it sorted out.
So if you’re a law firm in the B2B sector, the New year would be a good time to investigate the increase in searches within search engines, related to your professional services.
And social media advertising must be timely too.
Marketing of law firms – Social media advertising
Law firm marketing efforts on social media to find potential clients MUST be relatable.
Potential clients will take note of social media ads that mean something to them.
Your law firm marketing plan needs to acknowledge that to be seen and noticed on social media, you need to be highly visual, highly human (so less corporate) and ideally, incorporate something clever or amusing.
It can be hard to do but that’s where creativity and clever marketing comes in.
When it comes to family law such as divorce, wills and probate for example or conveyancing, why not lead with testimonials from satisfied clients.
Your target audience is possibly feeling emotional about something, so show you understand.
For example, no one wants to have to deal with divorce: how can you make it easier? How can you help take the burden from them?
A free consultation or webinar (assuring people that their details will remain private) can work for your target audience in these cases. And can hugely assist your lead generation.
Facebook groups – the untapped ‘trust’ mine!
I’ve seen a lot of free webinars run by solicitors/law firms and it saddens me that there is very little presence in all the wonderful Facebook groups that could be so relevant to them.
For instance, I came across a free webinar recently for parents needing to know how to appeal against and EHCP decision.
But although I am in a lot of Facebook groups relating to autism and SEND, I never see anyone talking about this free resource.
It could be down to rules of the groups, but also, why not start your own group?
It takes some running but I’ve also seen, for example, a group about caring for elderly relatives, run by a solicitor who seems to do ALL the probate and issues around this subject for people in the group: she gives advice where she can and people develop a trust for her.
So she’s the obvious person to turn to when they need her help more officially.
The group is also regularly referred to from OTHER facebook groups, as a trusted resource for people to find out more information during what is usually a very tough time for everyone involved.
The solicitors in the group have developed relationships with the owners of the other Facebook groups to enable this to happen.
They are always very polite and careful about directing people to their own group and open who they are and what it’s for, too.
Which law firm markets family law well on social media?
I searched Google for ‘Top family law’ and Perduco called themselves ‘the best’.
So I thought ‘Great! They’ll have some good examples of social media ads.’
BUT this is what I found.
A Facebook page that hasn’t been updated for well over a year (with a far too salesy post coming up) … the wrong website URL and no ads.
The best social advertising by UK lawyers
Some of the best social media advertising I’ve seen for a law firm is Rocket Lawyer
They are human, real, they use testimonials really well. And they are relatable.
Also they clearly understand social media advertising as you need several different visuals to help sell your professional services.
It makes sense that they’re good at social media advertising because they offer an online legal service.
It’s great to feed information into your law firm marketing plan by looking at law firm marketing like this: you don’t need to reinvent the wheel with your law firm’s advertising but you do need to get some best practices in.
I had a look at personal injury solicitors too. They are usually all over social media.
Personal injury law firm marketing efforts should include testimonials from clients you have helped. Along with images of real people.
Tip: any claims made in your advertising can usually be allowed through Facebook’s advertising filters if the claims are in quote marks and clearly attributed to a real person.
A word to the wise: a law firm website and social media should refrain from the dreaded library images with fakes smiles!
Your potential clients are well past the time when we kind of accepted them. Now we want to see genuine people, real smiles.
Content marketing for your law firm
In order to appeal to potential clients when they are in need of your professional services and to help your law firm grow, you need to stay relevant and answer most-asked questions.
To increase your client intake, and keep your sales funnel growing, you need to ensure that your content marketing is spot on.
So it goes without saying that understanding your audience (ie most humans over the age of 18) is hugely important.
Covering relevant marketing channels and developing your content strategy so you can be found by any search engines is all going to contribute to your overall law firm SEO.
So to begin with, how do you research the most-asked questions?
You can use sources such as:
- Google Ads keywords
Another great way to come up with great content is to look at the blogs or pages other law firm websites have created.
See what performs well for them (using some SEO research tools) and then create something similar for your own law firm.
SurferSEO has a great tool for blog writing which helps you add your competitors’ content, then create your own, with a guide to how to increase your SEO keywords to rank more highly.
Not only should this help your onsite SEO, it should help your search engine results pages, too.
How can you help with my law firm marketing strategy?
We’ve been involved with the law firm marketing for about 8 years. Helping drive leads, advising on strategy, helping to persuade the people who need persuading, about the importance of a strong digital presence for a law firm.
We can create a law firm website, run social media and design create and implement advertising campaigns for law firms.
If you’d like more information about how we can help your law firm, please get in touch.