You’re running a law firm, and you’re really, really good at what you do. Tortes and contracts? No problem. Courtroom procedures? It’s like second nature.
The only place you are falling short is attracting prospective clients with your digital marketing efforts. It’s frustrating! You’re putting all this work into building an online reputation and presence that people needing your legal services should be flocking to, but it’s yet to happen.
So, what’s the deal?
The truth is that digital marketing is a beast of its own, with constantly changing algorithms and seemingly infinite platforms on which you need to manage your law firm’s brand. Without the right marketing know-how, it’s perilously easy for many lawyers to fall into expensive traps that get you nowhere fast.
We’ve watched it happen– law firms like yours make decisions that feel right at the time but end up costing them time and money with no growth to show for all that work.
It’s not all bad news, though.
If you can get a handle on creating a solid online presence through reputation management and intelligent digital marketing strategies, you’ll have new clients ringing the phone off the hook. But first, you need to figure out where you’ve gone wrong so we can show you how to do it right.
Today, we’re talking about five of the biggest digital marketing mistakes common to the legal industry and giving you the pro’s perspective on why they happen and what you can do to prevent them.
Law Firm Digital Marketing Mistakes #1: Ignoring Keyword Research
Even if you’re the most talented attorney in your field with the best legal expertise jurisprudence has to offer, your digital marketing initiatives won’t take you very far if your potential clients can’t find your law firm online.
If you want folks to see your name pop up on the first page of Google— and we promise that’s absolutely something you want– you have to start with keyword research, the most fundamental component of SEO (search engine optimization).
Why Keyword Research Should Matter to You
Keyword research involves identifying the terms and phrases your target audience is typing into search engines when looking for law firms offering the legal services they need.
One of the most common mistakes we see most law firms make is that they assume they know what people are looking for, so they focus on these extremely broad terms based on their practice areas, firm’s name, etc.
Unfortunately, that marketing plan won’t take you very far, especially for small law firms facing a lot of competition within their legal niche. Instead, you need highly targeted marketing if you want your law firm’s online presence to beat out all the other guys who do the same thing you do.
It’s hard to know exactly what your target audience is searching for unless your marketing efforts include a plan for digging deep into the most relevant keywords and then leveraging today’s digital avenues and social media platforms to get your name in front of potential clients wherever they’re looking for what you have to offer.
Let’s look at an example from the perspective of your potential clients:
Jim is searching for attorneys who specialize in business law and, like 34% of people, begins with social media platforms and search engines. He searches for answers to his questions, using search terms like “how to deal with workplace harassment” and “legal help for wrongful termination.”
Unfortunately, your law firm focuses its entire digital and social media marketing strategies on branded keywords like “Johnson, Benson, and Eliot law” and legal jargon like “employee contract litigation attorney.
See the problem? Many lawyers fail in their marketing efforts for the same reason, while those focusing on creating client-centric educational content that answers the real questions folks are asking tend to rise to the top.
Now, consider this more positive outcome:
A small tax law firm in Minneapolis decided to invest in Google Ads using generic terms like “tax attorney.” It took only a short time before their ad costs were astronomical without the satisfied clients to show for it. The competition was fierce because many law firms shared the same target audience and practice area.
After doing some research using the Google Analytics marketing tool, they shifted their focus to more specific terms like “IRS dispute lawyer MN” and “Minneapolis tax relief services.”.
These “long-tail” keywords drastically reduced competition and increased their chances of reaching potential clients already prepared to seek their legal services. It was a brilliant strategic pivot to their marketing efforts that saw a 38% increase in online engagement and a 22% uptick in legitimate leads.
There’s less competition when you’re marketing strategy centers on precise keywords that other law firms likely aren’t targeting. Track what terms make you appear in search engines and create a marketing campaign centered on those keywords to reach more potential clients.
Law Firm Digital Marketing Mistakes #2: Underestimating the Budget
When you’re trying to create a strong online presence for your law firm, pinching pennies doesn’t pay. That’s why the next digital marketing mistake we want to warn you about is failing to allocate enough budget to their campaigns.
The vast majority of our clients in the legal world chalk up skimpy budgets to being cautious because they don’t want to toss a ton of money at something that might not even work.
It’s understandable, but it’s not the reality of digital marketing.
The Real Cost of Cutting Corners
A limited budget limits your reach.
Not only are you directly impacting how often your ads appear when people search for queries relevant to your firm, but you’re diminishing the quality of your online presence. You’ll end up with lower search rankings and a weaker impact on social media, which means your ideal clients might never even know you exist, let alone consider hiring you.
The best way to make the most out of a limited budget is to base any decision about your marketing plan on evidence pulled from your metrics data, which means you have to track those metrics.
We’ll talk a lot more about metrics in Mistake #4, but there are a couple worth mentioning now because of their massive impact on your budget allocations:
- Click-through rates (CTR) measure how many people click on an ad, link, search result, social media post, etc. It’s an excellent tool for measuring how engaging your content is to folks with legal concerns. The more clicks you get on something, the more likely it is that it satisfies potential clients’ needs.
- Conversion rate is about how many of those people take the action you want, like filling out a contact form or making a phone call. This metric is the real “money maker” and proves that your online marketing efforts are compelling enough to encourage your target audience to make the next move.
To truly understand how effective your online marketing is at bringing in new clients, you need to analyze what percent of the CTR converts. Tools like Google Analytics are built for this exact purpose: tracking user behavior and seeing where you’re losing potential clients in your funnel.
Then, once you know your CTR and conversion rates, you can work backward to figure out the most reasonable spend for the ROI you’re trying to achieve.
Start with the average customer value, then use your conversion rate to determine how many leads you need to generate that value. From there, you can determine how much you should spend on digital marketing to hit those numbers.
Underestimating your online marketing budget means leaving growth opportunities for your competitors to grab. Instead, use your CTR and conversion rates to work backward to calculate your ROI and figure out what you need to spend to get the results you want.
Law Firm Digital Marketing Mistakes #3: Overspending Without a Strategic Focus
We know that we just talked about spending less money, but many law firms fail on the flip side of the coin, spending far too much on online marketing efforts that aren’t getting them the flood of potential clients they hoped for.
How do you figure out how much is enough without going overboard?
First, eliminate the idea that you must swerve hard to the left and spend a ton of cash just to beat other businesses. Sure, it might help more potential customers see you, but you’re throwing cash at a problem that would better benefit from a little strategic thinking.
Stop Spending on Limited-Volume Keywords
If you’re into fishing, imagine spending your entire day casting off in a lake with a piddly population of underwater life. You’re completely wasting your effort, resources, and precious days out of the office trying to pull to get the catch of a lifetime when there are plenty of other, more active bodies of water you could angle in.
The same goes for your keyword marketing strategy.
It’s not uncommon for law firms to pour a large portion of their marketing budget into targeting specific keywords, only to be dreadfully disappointed when the search volume isn’t there to justify the expense. That’s why we can’t reiterate enough the importance of using tools like Google’s Keyword Planner to gather data about how many people are searching for specific keywords before deciding which ones you want to invest in.
You also have to be willing to change course if it turns out that what you’re doing now has stopped working. Sometimes, your primary keywords will “fall out of fashion,” meaning it’s time for you to branch out into related or adjacent subject areas, usually the long-tail keywords we discussed in terms of Mistake #1.
Instead of putting all your budget into a handful of high-competition or low-volume keywords, diversify across a broader range relevant to your areas of expertise. Not only will you be able to capture more of your target audience, but you’ll also mitigate the risk of relying too heavily on just a few search terms in case one loses traction.
Overspending on digital marketing without analyzing search traffic volume means wasting resources. Diversify their keyword strategy and explore related areas to optimize spending.
Law Firm Digital Marketing Mistakes #4: Failing to Track Marketing Data Effectively
There’s not really a point in law firms kicking off marketing strategies if they’re unwilling to spend a fair amount of time doing something with all the rich, precious data. It tells you what’s working, what’s not, and where your potential customers will most likely engage with you online.
When lawyers fail to leverage that information to improve their firm’s reputation and rankings, they give clients away to competitors who take advantage of the information.
Turning Data Into Actionable Insights
Marketing data interpretation is also the most foolproof way of deciding how to allocate your budget.
Are your ads getting significant clicks that aren’t converting once folks land on your contact form? Then, continuing to spend money on paid search ads is akin to setting your wallet on fire while you watch it burn. You need to do something to fix the problem, or it will continue to be a problem.
The smart move is taking those insights as a hint that it’s time to stop running the ads and shift your focus to fixing whatever’s going wrong in the conversion funnel, whether it’s an issue with your outdated website not being mobile responsive or a setting that stops form submissions from coming through to your email.
Similarly, a high conversion rate page tells you everything you need to know about what your audience wants to see more of:
A bankruptcy attorney wasn’t seeing the expected results from their online marketing efforts, so she started regularly reviewing their analytics. After a few weeks, she figured out that her highest converting traffic was coming from a series of informative articles on debt relief. She decided that it was worth shifting her focus to content marketing and created several more blog pieces that drastically increased the amount of customer interaction she saw from organic search.
Neglecting to track and analyze your marketing data will leave your law firm’s digital marketing initiatives directionless and far less effective. Use your evidence to make smart, strategic moves that skyrocket your online presence.
Law Firm Digital Marketing Mistakes #5: Lacking a Clear Capture Strategy
The last of our common mistakes is when law firms nail their PPC, email campaigns, print ads, and whatever other marketing they’re paying for but fail to follow through with a clearly defined capture strategy.
First impressions matter, but it’s the follow-through that turns past clients into ongoing clients and internet searches into hot leads.
Your Website Is the Most Powerful Tool in Your Marketing Efforts
When future clients land on your site, they need to feel welcome and engaged. They must experience as little friction as possible from point A to point B. They need to find well-written, valuable content that shows them you’re a trustworthy source of legal prowess for the exact issues they’re trying to solve.
There’s a lot that goes into using your site as a lynchpin phase of your lead capture strategy, but a few highlights include:
- Compelling calls to action (CTAs) that are direct and easy to find. Think “Contact Us” buttons on every page and “Call Us Today!” paragraphs at the end of every blog post.
- Functional contact forms that deliver straight into your inbox so you never miss a lead.
- Easy-to-digest information made for Joe Everyguy, free of complicated jargon that confuses people.
- FAQs and pillar pages that are easy to navigate from the homepage so visitors can get quick access to critical information.
- Consistent law firm branding across the site, social media, etc.
- Positive reviews and testimonials to increase trust.
- Intuitive contact pages with helpful functionalities like clickable phone numbers and Google Maps directions to your firm.
It’s a significant undertaking, but going through this process can net you huge gains in your online traction:
A corporate attorney found that their website was getting a lot of traffic from social media posts and positive reviews in legal directories, but their conversion rate was dismal. After checking their metrics, they realized the most likely culprit was their jargon-heavy content marketing that lacked a CTA and poor website design that didn’t have an easily-visible contact form.
They placed a bold “Get Your Free Case Evaluation” button at the top of each page, resulting in a 25% increase in consultation requests. They also compeltely redid their FAQ section based on long-tail keyword research to answer the questions their future clients were asking, and landed some of the coveted spots in Google’s “People Also Ask” feature.
Your website shouldn’t feel like an advertising brochure. It must be a valuable and dynamic tool, so your clients see that you value their time, not just the potential payout.
Let the Experts Take It From Here
Feeling a little overwhelmed? Totally understandable. You’re a busy attorney with a lot on your plate, and it’s hard to funnel attention into analysis, site updates, content creation, and everything else required of a successful marketing campaign.
So, let NATIV3 handle it for you. We’ll come in with the expertise and experience in digital marketing, become an extension of your team, and work side-by-side with you to give you a continuously evolving, undeniably successful online presence that keeps the leads pouring in.