Rachel is the marketing operations specialist at LeadingResponse. Before joining the company in February 2021, she spent 5 ½ years as the marketing director for a West Coast probate and trust litigation firm and consulting for multiple firms across the nation. Rachel earned a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy Law and Society from the University of California, Riverside, graduating Cum Laude. Before earning her BA, Rachel obtained her Associate Degree as a Paralegal at Central Carolina Community College with honors. She also holds many certifications in marketing and analytics.
Like all business owners, solo practitioners and owners of small law firms want to increase their caseloads and revenue. An essential first step toward achieving this goal is adopting a marketing strategy that fuels practice growth. Our law firm marketing strategy is written with this in mind.
Over the years, the team at LeadingResponse has helped hundreds of law firms acquire new clients. Now, we’ve compiled our knowledge and experiences into a law firm marketing strategy guide packed with actionable items. If you follow it, you’ll save yourself (and your intake team) time, frustration, and marketing dollars.
Evaluating and selecting a CRM
For many attorneys, choosing a customer relationship management (CRM) platform is a real challenge. That’s because most CRMs don’t integrate smoothly with legal practice management (PM) software.
As a result, many practices must cobble together multiple software programs to create something that works to meet their business and client needs. But a functional CRM integrated with practice management software is a key element of any law firm’s growth strategy.
As the marketing director of a small firm in California, I went through this process creating my law firm marketing strategy. I spent months making phone calls, viewing demos, talking to reps from CRM companies, attending conferences, and talking to attorneys and marketing professionals at other law offices across the nation.
The purpose was to gain insight into what they use, what they tried in the past, and how different software programs worked for them, before implementing solutions where I worked and for firms where I did marketing consulting.
Here’s what I found:
- Big players in the CRM space are Keap (formerly Infusion Soft), Clio (which acquired Lexicata in 2018), HubSpot, and Marketo (acquired by Adobe in 2018).
- Prominent companies in the practice management space are Abacus, Practice Panther, GoldMine, and Needles.
Often, an attorney makes a decision based on two factors: the cost, and if there’s someone on their staff who can manage it.
Here is a list of options and prices I think you’ll find helpful when evaluating a CRM. If you are unsure if you need a CRM, here is a great article talking about the benefits of using a CRM and how much time and energy this can free up for you and your staff.
Setting up a lead tracking process
Law firms typically spend a lot of time evaluating and tracking lead sources. Unless you have marketing staff, you’ll need to do it yourself. It’s critical to a successful small firm strategy to know how to acquire the best leads and avoid waste.
Many companies vying for a small firm’s budget dollars claim to help bring in leads, and it can be overwhelming for a firm to choose where to invest their resources. Tracking is the one way to ensure you know what works and what doesn’t.
However, before you delve into tracking, you need to define your key performance indicators (KPIs). KPIs are not standard across all firms. Therefore, you need to tailor your KPIs to what you do and what metrics matter to your firm.
Start by asking yourself these key questions:
- What kind of cases do I want to bring in?
- Where did we get the “A cases” we currently have?
- How big of a firm do I want?
- How many cases do I want to manage at any one time?
- What is the average length of a case?
- How much time is my team spending doing intakes?
- What is an “A case” for your firm? How many “A cases” do you have now? How many do you need to decrease taking on “B cases” or even “C cases”?
Armed with the answers, you can shape your growth strategy and budget.
Reviewing this information allows you to look deeper into marketing spending and what source is providing leads that convert into cases. It also helps you identify if the cases that convert from a marketing source. Are they “A cases” or undesirable cases that take up your energy, and your marketing dollars that could be bringing in more “A cases”?
Gathering client information for a law firm marketing strategy
All business owners need reliable data to make good decisions. One way to get information from clients is to add a survey to the first packet of information you send them after they sign a retainer with your firm.
Whether it is an attorney, a paralegal, another employee, or a third-party service, whoever manages your intake process should be asking how someone found you. This is key to gathering accurate data to help you maximize your ad spends.
If you or your staff are uncomfortable asking this question, which is pretty common at first, you should practice adding it into a routine part of your discussion. Explaining the retainer agreement process is a fairly regular part of the intake conversation, so adding the question here helps make it more routine for staff.
Another element of your small firm strategy should be tracking who visits your website. This will show you if clients are coming directly there, via a search engine, or after browsing digital ads or social media sites. We will discuss the need to set up Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and Google My Business a little later.
Incorporating marketing automation
A crucial way to save time and energy is with a marketing automation system.
In my experience, legal conversions need 5 to 7 points of contact before signing a retainer. If you have marketing automation software, when a prospective client submits a form requesting more information, it triggers emails to educate and engage the prospect.
Marketing automation allows you to increase the discussions you have with the prospective client to multiple emails on a topic through an email drip campaign, and will enable you to answer frequently asked questions. This way, you don’t have to spend time responding to individual emails or phone calls. You can even record a video and include the link in an email.
These options allow the prospect to feel they have a better connection to the attorney without the attorney having to do a Zoom call to answer FAQs.
Many of our attorney clients at LeadingResponse use our cloud-based Lead Management System. It includes customizable email and SMS/text templates to nurture your leads until they’re ready to sign a retainer.
Because most people are gravitating to text messages, having the ability to communicate with prospects on their phone is a great way to stand out from other firms. Incorporate it into your law firm marketing strategy.
Choosing online marketing channels
Attorneys often wonder about social media posts and ads and their effectiveness in the legal space. Both effectively drive traffic to law firm websites and should be part of a law firm marketing strategy. However, attorneys do not use social media to build relationships with consumers and promote their practices often, because they feel they cannot track the information or see tangible results from their efforts. This is a huge, missed opportunity.
The larger your internet footprint, the more likely people are to find you. Remember that with the growth of social media, prospective clients will look to see what kind of social proof is out there for a business.
If you do not build a presence online on social media, it will keep you from ranking highly, because your firm name does not have as many places pushing your domain authority. In addition, it makes prospects wonder what company in 2021 does not use Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms.
One other thing to keep in mind is that if they are not clearly tracking leads and website visitors, marketers do not always realize the sources of the visitors. Wouldn’t you rather they find posts and ads from you instead of your competitors?
Setting Up Your Google Access
We mentioned earlier the importance of tracking visitors to your website. If you’re using Google Analytics, great. But if this is all new to you and you are trying to set things up, then here’s how to get started.
Read up on how Google search visibility affects your firm’s ranking and what you can do about it here. Spending your ad dollars where it can best benefit a small firm is very important. Therefore, taking advantage of free options can help you grow your business.
A significant development in search results was the split between Google Organic Search and Google Local. The three-pack of maps is an important piece of real estate on the Search Results page. Google My Business (GMB) is the top ranking factor for showing up in the Google Local map listing.
If you do not post often – Google recommends once every 7 days as a minimum – you lose the opportunity to rank well in this area. Not claiming your GMB page and not posting weekly means you will not show up as often as another law firm nearby that is posting more frequently.
Don’t miss out on all the opportunities for you to brand your firm’s search result page with your information and images. If your practice is not already set up on GMB, I strongly encourage you to do it now.
Also, make sure to set up your Google Search Console. This is something your website company should have established and provided you with access to. Here, you can view the last 1,000 search terms people typed in, along with where you showed up in that list of results the person saw. You can inform your content creation choices from this list.
Learn more about using Google Search Console here.
Most consumers turn to Google when they want to research attorneys and law firms. Claiming your GMB page will strengthen your search engine optimization (SEO). And that, in turn, will improve your chances of being found.
Solo practitioners and owners of small practices thrive by increasing their cases and income. Using the basics in this law firm marketing guide will help you tap into your firm’s potential.
These are just some of the steps you can take. There is much more you can do to grow your firm. If you execute these actionable items, you’ll spend more time with your clients and maximize your marketing results and budget.
It’s critical to track where your “A cases” come from and use that data to help allocate marketing dollars to increase not only the number of cases, but the case quality as well. There are many ways to gather data that leads to clear actions that increase conversions, but it starts with getting these critical pieces in place.
If you’re like most attorneys and feel the intake process is overwhelming your staff, then reach out to LeadingResponse.
We work with law practices of all sizes and help connect them with qualified prospects, which reduces their intake time. Contact us at (877) 577-9505 to learn more about how we partner with attorneys to broaden their marketing reach and grow their businesses.