If you’re like most attorneys that market their practice online, you know just how competitive Internet marketing is in the legal space. Especially when it comes to personal injury law firm marketing, criminal attorney marketing, family law and employment law (or pretty much any consumer focused area of law). Below are 22 law firm marketing ideas & tips to help you generate more business for your firm in 2021.
The first tip is an obvious one, but it still needs to be said because it’s such a common problem among law firms today. Far too many law firms hire a marketing agency or SEO person that is incapable of getting top organic rankings on Google in a competitive market. If that’s the case with your law firm, you are probably wasting your money and potentially damaging your reputation with Google (which means it will take even longer to get the results you want). With hundreds of marketing companies claiming they can get you amazing results, how do you know who is the real deal? That’s not easy to know for most people. The best way to know if a company is good is to check their results in ultra competitive markets. Here at iLawyerMarketing, we have software that we developed that tracks the performance of almost every legal marketing vendor in the industry, as well as the performance of thousands of websites, over many years. This is based on a formula we developed called the ARC (Average Ranking Consistency) score, which analyzes a websites rankings on Google for commonly targeted keywords. Using this data, we know which companies perform poorly and which ones are the strongest when it comes to organic SEO. Our data, which is driven by organic Google ranking performance, shows that we are ranked #1 among all legal marketing vendors. For example, at the time of this writing, we can show you #1 results on Google for some of the most competitive searches in the country. No other company has results like these in ultra competitive markets:
All this being said, while the data shows we are the very best when it comes to SEO in the industry, there are still other legal marketing vendors that do a great job of SEO. If you are working with one of these companies, make sure you give them enough time to do their job. SEO does take time. In certain markets where competition is especially competitive, it can take over one year to get results like these. If you are wondering if you currently working with a vendor and you want to know what our data shows in order to find out if they are capable of getting the results you are looking for, feel free to reach out to us at anytime.
In 2021, adding fresh to your website is extremely important for many reasons. For one, it can help improve the level of trust you have with Google, which means improved rankings. Second, some content may be useful in attracting more links to your website when used together with outreach (or even organically, without even asking for a link) which also can mean improved rankings. Third, the more content you add to your site, the greater the number of potential keywords you can be found for by potential clients which usually means more leads will be generated.
However, keep in mind that not all content is good content in the eyes of the Google gods. Low quality bog posts, thin content, competing content or over-optimized pages can actually have a negative impact on your Google rankings. This is why it’s important to have highly experienced SEO experts overseeing what content gets added to your site each month and to ensure that the content you add is of high quality.
Adding content on a frequent basis is one of the smartest investments you can make if you want to generate more leads for your firm. The best law firm marketers are adding multiple pages of content to their website consistently, every single month.
Your law firm’s website is a direct reflection of your firm and that reflection (bad or good) is perceived by prospective clients who visit your site. A modern, cutting edge website sends a message that your firm is itself on the cutting edge of technology. An outdated website will send the message that your firm is not (whether that is true or not!) and can ultimately end up chasing a visitor away from your site and on to your competitors. If your website hasn’t been redesigned in 2 years or more, odds are that your site looks outdated. The Internet (and how consumers user and interact with websites) constantly evolves. We know from 15 years experience handling law firm marketing that design absolutely plays a part in how consumers research lawyers online. Remember, consumers are comparing you to multiple other firms when they are doing their research. In order to maximize conversions and generate more leads, your website needs to be better than your competition. Not only does great website design usually increase the number of leads you get, but it also improves the quality of the leads you get.
Do not underestimate the importance of having a great website design. Your website is the foundation of your marketing campaign! This is not something you want to go cheap on because that will only end up costing you business. If you think a new website is expensive (which of course it can be), the cost is NOT upgrading your website is much higher if you are losing potential clients because your website is not up to par.
Video is a very powerful way to improve your law firm’s internet marketing campaigns. Here at iLawyer, the goal of every video we produce is to increase the level of trust visitors have for your firm so that you can generate more leads and cases, and ultimately increase your profitability. This is where all the consumer research we conduct comes in extremely handy, so that we know how to best present that firm to website visitors to increase conversion rates.
Just like websites, there are great ones, average ones, poor ones, etc. While many law firms do have video on their sites, that doesn’t mean that these videos do a great job of “selling” the firm. In fact some have the exact opposite effect! Again, here’s another example where you don’t want to go with a low cost provider because you won’t end up with a product that helps you maximize conversion rate and increase quality of the leads you get.
You can also use videos to run video ads on on various platforms, including YouTube, Facebook and Instagram (more on these later).
Below is an example of a video we shot and produced for a client.
If you are not currently running retargeting campaigns for your law firm, most likely it’s because someone has not explained it to you properly. Every single law firm that runs search engine optimization campaigns or paid search campaigns should be utilizing retargeting as part of their campaign strategy. Most visitors do not make the decision to contact a lawyer on their first visit to your site so you need to remind them that you exist and bring them back to your website so they contact your firm. While many firms are indeed running retargeting campaigns on 3rd party websites, most firms are not yet runnning Facebook retargeting ads. Since nearly 70% of all U.S. adults use Facebook, this makes it an obvious platform to advertise on. Especially when you can target those people who have already been on your website.
Speaking of Facebook, retargeting ads are not the only types of ads you should consider running on the Facebook platform. Facebook offers many different ad formats, including photo ads, video ads, carousel ads, story ads, slideshows (and more). With Facebook, you can target by demographics (age, sex, income, interests, etc.) and geographically (country, state, city, zip code, address) so it certainly makes sense for many different types of law firms going after specific types of cases. We’ve managed many highly successful ad campaigns on Facebook, so we speak here from experience. Of course, you still need someone that knows what they are doing when it comes to managing Facebook ad campaigns. Just like with Google Ads, it’s very easy to waste a lot of money if you don’t know exactly what you are doing.
Facebook owns Instagram, so you can retarget your audience (or advertise to people who have not ever been to your website) on Instagram as well if you are using the Facebook pixel on your website. With 130 million users in the United States who spend around 30 minutes per active session, it certainly is not a platform to completely ignore. We have clients who use Instagram to generate leads every single month, so it can absolutely work.
As Google explains, Local Services ads “help you connect with people who search on Google for the services you offer. Your ads will show up for customers in your service area, and you only pay if a customer calls you directly through the ad.” If you’re not familiar with LSAs, these are the ads that appear at the top of many consumer law searches. Running these does require a screening process and background check that usually takes several days. These ads go take the visitor directly to a profile page on Google, and not your website like the traditional text ads. The great thing about LSAs is you only pay for the leads you receive (as opposed to being charged for a click). The cost is rapidly increasing however and it will continue to go up, but for now it’s something you should consider utilizing to market your practice.
Considering that Google Text Ads still appear at the very top of the search results (or when LSAs show up, just below those ads), they are still highly visible and get lot of click activity. There are many firms around the country spending hundreds of thousands of dollars every single month on text ads. They wouldn’t spend this kind of money if it didn’t work, so you should absolutely consider it yourself. Especially if you need business right away. Unlike SEO, which can take a long time to see the fruits of the labor, with text ads you can start receiving leads within 24-48 hours.
It’s important to remember, if you have tried Google Text Ads in the past and it didn’t work for you, that does not mean it doesn’t work! Usually campaigns don’t work because of poor landing pages, inefficiently managed campaigns or a budget that is not realistic for the market you are targeting. We take over PPC campaigns all too often where we see at least one of these issues. In order to have your Google ads campaign work, you need landing pages that convert and highly experienced experts that know what they are doing running your campaign.
Considering that having a budget too small is one of the main reasons campaigns fail, you need to increase budget to give yourself a better chance of generating more leads and ultimately having success. Take Google PPC for example where the cost per click can get extremely high in the legal vertical (especially for personal injury lawyers). If your budget is $2,000/month and the cost per click is $100, I don’t think you need to be a math whiz to figure out that’s total 20 clicks you can receive for the entire month. That’s not going to generate enough leads for you to generate cases on a consistent basis. And yes, click charges can be expensive, but when one single case has the potential to be 6 or 7 figures, it’s obvious why some law firms are aggressively spending on paid ads. While you don’t need to spend hundreds of thousands each month like some of the “big boys” do, you at least need to have a large enough budget for the market you are competing in. You can talk to our law firm PPC specialists if you would like to learn more or if you have questions about what kind of budget you need for your market.
Here’s another retargeting avenue that most law firms miss out on, and that’s through running ads on YouTube. Of course, you need video to run video ads on YouTube, but this can be a powerful way to bring visitors back to your site and even increase the level of trust they have for your firm before they contact you. Nearly 73% of U.S. adults use YouTube, so most of your potential clients are using the platform. For these reasons, it make a lot of sense to run retargeting ads on YouTube
How does getting some free branding and awareness on YouTube sound? Well, kind of free. One of our favorite types of ads here is the skippable instream ads, which are ads shown at the beginning (or middle) of a YouTube video that allow the user to skip after 5 seconds. If the user skips your ad before 30 seconds, you don’t pay for that at all. Pretty awesome, right? Other benefits to running YouTube ads include the ability to increase trust an reputation (if the videos are good) and the ability to demographically target. I think anyone who is (or is considering) running TV ads should think twice and look at running YouTube ads.
Hands down, the biggest issue we see with paid search campaigns that we take over are poor landing pages. It makes no sense to spend thousands of dollars each month on paid search but to then send those visitors to a “cheap” landing page. The thought process behind having a landing page built for $500 and running $10,000 a month in ad spend is seriously flawed. It’s worth spending an extra $1k-2k to help you get more and better leads, don’t you think? Landing pages are a critical component of the conversion funnel and to not invest in a quality landing page is simply bad marketing.
If you are targeting a certain geographic area, it may make sense to target additional neighboring cities, neighborhoods, or areas to enhance your SEO campaign. It’s a great way to increase traffic and the number of leads you receive. If you are going after a highly competitive city, it can also help you get some organic Google visibility as you wait for your main SEO campaign to start working.
It may be worth it to consider listing in directories like Findlaw, SuperLawyers, Expertise, etc. if they are ranking in the top 3 positions for the keywords you want to rank for. Of course this depends on the costs involved and the contract length, but is certainly worth considering.
Adding chat to your site is worth it in 2021. While most firms these days use Ngage or Apex chat, I’m a fan of smart chat bots that can control the flow of dialog between the visitor and the chat bot. It’s also a much more affordable option if your firm generates a good amount of leads every month.
If you don’t have great reviews (or even enough reviews), you will lose out on cases. In our latest study on how consumers hire lawyers online, 89% of participants said a law firm needs to have 4 stars or higher in order for them to consider hiring that firm. No matter how great your website is, your potential prospects will be researching your law firm and looking to see what other people have said about your law firm. They also consider the number of reviews you have in their decision of which firm to hire. If you have 10 reviews and your competitor has 75 and you both have 4-star average ratings, it’s much more likely for your competitor to be called first. Reviews are extremely important in 2021, so make that a top priority to get authentic client reviews and you will be rewarded.
Too many first just ignore leads for cases they don’t handle. Why not refer those cases out and receive a referral fee? Of course, check with your state bar rules to ensure it’s allowed in your state.
While most law firms use call tracking numbers, not everyone uses different call tracking numbers for all the different types of marketing campaigns they run. You should have unique call tracking numbers for your organic SEO campaign(s), Google Ads, Facebook Ads, YouTube ads, directory listings, retargeting ads (one for each if you retarget on different platforms), landing pages, etc. This way, you can tell which campaigns are performing well and which ones are not so that you can make better decisions on what to increase spend on or to lower or shut off. Ultimately, this will help you generate more leads this year if you allocate your budgets to whatever is producing the most for you.
Targeting a specific type of case or area of practice can be a smart way to differentiate yourself from your competitors. While most law firms simply create a page of content, sometimes it can be smart to create an entire website and marketing campaign going after a certain type of case. For example, here’s a website we created that targets aviation accidents. What do you think converts better, a single page on a website or an entire website dedicated to this area of law? From 15 years of experience, we can tell you that without question, specialty sites convert at a much higher rate.
Doing something in your local community can have multiple benefits. It can increase the perception of your law firm in the community, increase awareness of your firm, can sometimes lead to exposure in local media and can even help with generating links to your website in certain cases.
If you’ve never heard the term “OTT”, it’s time you learned if you want to stay ahead of your competitors. It stands for “Over-The-Top”, a reference to the way that these ads bypass traditional cable and satellite TV for delivering video content. When compared to traditional TV advertising, OTT ads are much more powerful in that you have the ability to target your audience based on thousands of factors, most commonly geographic location, sex, age, etc. This allows you to serve much more relevant ads and reduces ad waste.
For those law firms that have ever thought about about running TV commercials but were scared off by the large budgets typically required, running OTT ads for your law firm on streaming services may be the perfect way for you try running commercials without using up your entire marketing budget. The entry cost is not nearly as high with OTT ads, making video advertising an option for many law firms across the country. Over 150 million US adults now access streaming video with services like Hulu, Netflix, CBS All Access, Sling, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and other streaming services. An audience of this size shouldn’t be ignored. You can learn more about OTT ads here.