Online Marketing for Law Firms
30 Actionable Digital Marketing Strategies for Lawyers & Law Firms
Online marketing can be an intimidating task for law firms, especially those that are new to the game.
This article contains 30 online marketing strategies which have been proven to effectively generate new clients for our law firm clientele.
The biggest firms who have the most resources may find themselves investing in most of these areas, but don’t worry, you can still generate new business by identifying what online marketing strategies work best for your firm, and then focusing your limited time in those areas. Below I’ve organized each strategy into different categories to make it easier to digest:
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Local SEO Strategies for Law Firms
Local SEO is essential for law firms that focus in a specific geographic area, and it’s an especially effective channel when paired with a narrow legal practice. The more granular you can be, the more authority you can build on a particular subject matter.
Google is the #1 search engine in the world and everyone is competing for a top spot in the rankings. Local SEO can help you get there.
1. Get Ranked in the Google Local 3 Pack
The 3 pack is the elephant in the room. If you want your business to succeed in the world’s most popular search engine you need to do things the right way.
To market successfully in the 3 pack I recommend you read my blog post “How to perform the ultimate local SEO audit” to get an idea of how to do everything from start to finish. But in case you’re looking for the shorter version here are the steps you should take:
- If you don’t already have a free listing make sure to create one. You can create a Google My Business Listing Here. Make sure to follow all of Google’s guidelines and use your unique office address, phone number, and website. Don’t spam or create fake business listings. Once it’s verified it will be live on Google.
- Fill out the profile 100% completely and accurately.
- Add photos of the interior, exterior, and of your staff.
- Optimize the website you connect to your Google My Business Page for your location and primary practice areas. Typically this involves adding your Location and Practice Area in the title tags and page content. It also involves adding relevant content, alt tags to images, office pictures and more.
- Markup your local business Name, Address, & Phone Number using our free SCHEMA Generator here. This should be on the landing and contact pages of your website.
- Build the top citations for your business (more on this below). Citations are your business name, address, and phone number listed on third party websites.
2. Build singular, accurate, and relevant citations to your firm
What are citations in Local SEO? Local SEO citations are mentions of your businesses name, address, phone number, and website on online directories.
For example, a listing on yelp.com or yellowpages.com that matches your Google My Business name, address, phone number, and website will count as a citation for your business. See an example of a Yelp Citation below:
Many people use niche specific directories for searches, online yellow pages, and review type websites to locate the best law firm to help them. Being listed on these helps your Local SEO, keeps your data accurate, and increases your visibility to new audiences who may not have seen you otherwise.
To build citations you can take an automated or manual approach, although I suggest doing manual or at least a mixture of both.
- For manual submissions check out my guide on finding and building citations like an agency.
- For automated submissions consider using MozLocal and Yext. These will build the top 50+ listings at a fast pace and get you submitted to the data aggregators. Keep in mind though these do not include legal directories. We no longer recommend Yext as a citation building platform.
3: Get Your Law Firm Listed On Bing Places for Business
Just like Google, Bing displays local results in their search results. These come from Bing Places For Business. Many people will get started on Google and forget Bing altogether which is a huge mistake.
You can create a free listing here to get listed in Bing’s local results. Make sure you fill it out 100% to get the biggest benefit for your law firm. Bing also gets data from Yelp.
4. Develop A Review Strategy: Reviews are Important for Attorneys
Failing to have an online review strategy is one of the biggest mistakes a business can make in 2018. The reality is that many people turn to the web for reviews and they research what’s out there. In fact, according to a recent study, “93% of millennial’s say they rely on consumer reviews before making a purchase”. That’s incredible.
To have a proper review strategy you need to identify the places online that are most important for your business. For law firms, I recommend Google, Facebook, Avvo, and Findlaw as the primary sources. You can always expand your sources from there but remember that Facebook, Avvo, and Findlaw typically rank for popular “city + lawyer” keywords in the Google.
Reviews are hard to get in general because people don’t want to leave them. To get the best results make sure to tie reviews into your firm’s processes. Towards the end of a client engagement, you should have the person who has worked with them most call the potential reviewer and be very friendly.
They should ask how everything went working with the firm and if it was positive while letting them know that their personal job performance at the firm is tied to positive reviews. At that point, you can ask if they would be willing to leave one for you. You can follow this up with an email that includes direct links to where they should leave the review.
Here are the websites you can focus on for reviews:
Yelp is the trickiest review platform out there because stringent review requirements. On top of this, you’re not allowed to solicit them directly. Also, Yelp reviews from Elite Yelp reviewers will carry more weight while those with new or inactive Yelp accounts might be filtered and disappear altogether.
The best ways to start getting Yelp Reviews are these two methods:
– Existing Client Reviews
Assuming you already have a Yelp account and an existing former clients list you should review this list. Isolate everyone you think might have been a happy client and import them into your contacts list in Yelp by email address. This will show you their individual profiles and you can see what “influencers” or Elite members had a positive experience with your firm. You can then use the calling procedure mentioned above.
– Contact Clients Once Their Case Is Closed
The best way to continue to get reviews is to implement it into your law firm’s process. Sign up for a service like Get Five Stars which can automate the process of alerting clients and asking for reviews.
- Google My Business Reviews
Google is probably the most important place you want to focus on reviews. Google is putting more weight into these and just having 1 review now will trigger the five gold stars in the 3 pack. Focus on getting reviews here and you can directly ask clients for reviews as far as Google is concerned. To do this, simply email the client a link that will take them direct to the review box.
This strategy only works for those who have a Gmail Account but it will give you the best results. You can generate the review link on our website by using this handy tool.
- Avvo.com Reviews
Although in my professional opinion Avvo rankings carry no real weight or meaning, client reviews do. Clients who are researching a lawyer will typically Google your name. When that happens Avvo is likely to show up. Focusing on reviews here is easy. You can do so from Avvo.com by following these steps:1. Login to your Avvo account On your Dashboard, under the “Profile Completeness” bar, click the “Request Reviews” link.2. On the Request Reviews page, you’ll have the ability to enter up to 50 email addresses of current and former contacts and personalize your message, asking them to leave feedback on Avvo.
[2019 Update: Avvo has been bought by Martindale]
5: Paid Aids in The Local Pack
Since Google likes to make money you can always shortcut the local SEO and pay per click. Earlier this year Google started showing ads in the 3 pack and local finder where you can pay per click. These are managed through Google Adwords and Google location extensions.
I recommend this approach if the cost per clicks are good for your industry and if you already have strong reviews. If you have no reviews or bad reviews you may be paying for no conversions. You can set this up from https://google.com/adwords.
6. Create Local Listings on Important Local Directories Where Actual Clients Are Looking
Consider doing a few Google Searches in your city and see what localized directories show up in the search results.
Do they get traffic and rank well? If so you should get listed on these local directories. Chamber of commerce websites are a great example that can produce a small number of leads every year just by signing up.
While most legal directories don’t get a lot of traffic, local business directories do. If you list your firm in a local online directory for your town you’re likely to generate some business from that.
7. Get Listed On Apple Maps
It seems that Apple maps still pulls data from Yelp.com, but if you’re not listed in Apple Maps you’re missing a huge opportunity. Did you know that Apple Maps now gets over 5 billion requests a week?
If you think about the power of that and Siri it’s a no brainer that you should be listed here and own your listing.
To sign up simply visit mapsconnect.apple.com and sign in with your Apple ID. From here you can create or claim your listing. Make sure you fill it out 100%.
Organic SEO Strategies
Organic SEO is still the primary traffic driver for law firms and the best source of new business for our clients. Organic SEO represents the free clicks you get from search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Since Google is the biggest we typically align our efforts to be the most aligned with their requirements. Below is an example of a search with two standard Google Organic results:
Content is an important piece of the puzzle and the creation of it can be a hassle. One tactical tip to create content easier and better is to identify the subject you’re writing on and think of all of the sub-topics or related questions.
You can write those down and then have someone ask you in an interview format. If you do this you can then get that transcribed & edited and produce content quicker and easier in your own voice.
8. Online Website Content & Content Marketing for Your Firm
When we’re talking about organic SEO the importance of website content cannot be overlooked. The problem I run into most often is that clients want content on their website but they don’t want to put in the effort to make it as good as it should be. If you’re concerned about ranking in Google for important keywords you need to ask yourself “Is my content better than everyone else’s”? If not, you will have a problem.
If you’re creating practice area pages, for example, a potential client does not want to read a 200 word summary of what type of law it is. They probably already know. On the other hand, they probably do want to know things like, “how long will my case take”, or “how many cases have you won”. That type of information on your website will help connect with potential clients much better.
Think of each page of your website as serving a purpose around a topic and be very thorough when writing it. Put yourself in the client’s shoes and ask if you’re creating content that answers your potential client’s questions in a way that’s easy to read?
If not, you may need to make a change. Start by creating strong FAQ pages to common questions based on actual keyword volumes. Use SEMRush.com to make the keyword research a bit easier and write on topics with recorded search volumes.
When writing content I suggest aiming for 1,500 words. I’m a bit crazy, but if you do a better job you’re going to see better results.
If you’re looking for an exhaustive example of content marketing for attorneys check out this free guide we wrote especially for you.
Remember that producing content is only half of the battle. You must share it with interested parties to get traction.
9. Boost Your Law Firm’s Visibility Through Blogging
Do lawyers need to blog? Yes. If you need to know how to start a blog for your law firm check out our law firm blogging guide here.
Blogging is a great way to increase your exposure and create content your audience is interested in. Don’t ever write a blog without a purpose or because “Google likes fresh content”. Write it with a purpose in mind.
10. Send Out a Press Release
Although I don’t do many press releases anymore they still provide a function and are a great way to increase your exposure in local news. Tying a press release with a community facing campaign and utilizing social media to expand upon this can create a lot of local media pickup and even earning links.
Here is an example of a community event were involved in that got local news pickup (even without the press release).
In 2019 many SEO agencies will tell you that press releases are dead. The fact is that I have been able to measure increases from using press releases on occasion while everyone is avoiding them like the plague.
10. Law Firm Link Building
Link building and earning links must still be a major part of your online marketing strategy if you want your website to beat your competition. Google still uses links to judge the authority and relevance of a website. Having links from
Google still uses links to judge the authority and relevance of a website. Having links from high-quality websites going back to your website is still the biggest ranking factor if you have everything else under control. Here are 21 ideas for lawyer link building for you to check out.
In addition of the organic and local SEO benefit, you will get from authoritative links, you can also bring in relevant traffic. If you’re rated as top attorney for example on a local news website and they link back to your website, you will get visitors who found you on the news website and clicked through to yours.
The links that are going to have the most effect on your local and organic rankings are links that fall into one of these categories:
- Local links from business websites located in your city or state
- Relevant links. As a law firm links from law schools can be relevant.
Try to stay away from links such as:
- Paid links. Google actively penalizes law firms who engage in paid link building
- Nonrelevant links. These seem to have been de-prioritized by Google.
Social Media Strategies
One of the top ways that lawyers get more business is from referrals. Some of the most successful law firms I have spoken with have a strong social media presence.
Although I don’t recommend getting into social media without a strategy, there is a common one I see from successful law firms which involves just being community oriented.
By posting content relevant to your local audience you can stay on the top of your followers minds.
A friend of mine recently got a multi million dollar settlement from just being visible at the right place at the right time. This approach is really about getting you in front of potential clients and staying relevant.
When using Social Media make sure to share your content with relevant and interested parties for more exposure and engagement. Be thoughtful about what you share and why you’re sharing it. Don’t share crap. You should also utilize hashtags which use the # symbol for your content. For example, If I’m sharing a local community event in my hometown of Denver I might add the hashtags #denver or #denverevents. This allows people to easily find content by searching for those hashtags. You should also never just share your own content and self-promote. That’s a great way for people to lose interest unless you’re doing something amazing.
Social media is also a great place to share any community information such as awards, events your sponsoring, or free advice you’re giving.
If you can compile great info at once and you want to automate it I suggest tools like Buffer and Hootsuite which can automate your posting.
Here are the networks I recommend along with simple strategies you can use:
11. Consider Using Twitter for Online Marketing or Outreach
Twitter is where you communicate when you have a message of 140 characters or less. Before starting on Twitter decide if your brand and your attorneys are going to have an account and make a purpose for each. To get started stick with a simple strategy of sharing relevant content to build your audiences.
One way to do this is to think of your own voice. What are you passionate about in your community? It may not be your practice of law. Maybe it’s silly lawyer mistakes. You could research articles related to silly mistakes and regularly post the best ones on your feed. You can tie this into a best of post on your own blog and share that as well.
If you do share something that you have written feel free to reach out to influencers with more followers in your locale or niche and ask them to share it. What’s the worst that can happen?
Also, you can use Twitter to reach influencers who might be willing to share the content you’re writing about. Share it with them and see what they say.
12. Use Facebook for Paid Ads
Currently, Facebook is surpassing 1.23 billion active monthly users. Chances are your friends, family, and potential clients are there. If you setup a Facebook business page you’re unlikely to attract followers unless you pay for them or offer very fun and social consistency which makes your page worth following.
Unfortunately for several years now, Facebook’s organic reach has been seriously diluted. The best way to use Facebook in 2019 is to boost posts with paid ads to highly relevant audiences. You can also take advantage of geofencing which allows personal injury law firms to only show ads around a hospital for example.
LinkedIn was recently acquired by Microsoft and overall I think they’ve been doing a great job. Linkedin is a great tool for business to business relationships. If you’re a business lawyer you can use this as a strong tool in many ways.
First, you can import your prior clients and connect with them to make your network bigger.
If they’re in your feed when you make a post they will see it. LinkedIn also has some paid advertising options as well but the bigger goldmines are segmenting your typical clients and connecting with them. If you can share something of value such as an eBook or tool that will help overcome a common pain point you can get in the door. They also have groups that you can connect with.
You can also take advantage of LinkedIn paid ads and end up directly in your clients inbox if you have a very targeted ad.
15. Share Content & Discuss on Reddit.com
Reddit is a website where I spend a lot of my time. That’s because there are over 542 million monthly users on the website speaking about very passionate topics. This is a great place to engage with potential clients, build your expertise, and promote your content.
To do this simply check out Reddit.com and search for relevant subreddits. Here is a couple I found after a quick search:
Start participating in discussions, answer questions, and when the time is appropriate you can share your content with the most appropriate audience. It’s a great way to get shares, links, and comments.
16. Consider Using Periscope
Recently I spoke with a lawyer who had a huge social following that used Periscope to host a live legal broadcast to over 1,000 participants. The results were added trust being built from potential clients which turned into more business.
While I have not heard of anyone else doing this successfully it may be a missed opportunity.
Answering Legal Questions Online
When potential clients are looking to hire an attorney they commonly find themselves in a situation they have no experience with. This is a point in their journey where they may turn online for answers.
While your website is the best place to answer common questions that your potential clients ask your front desk staff or your attorneys, there is another untapped market. These networks are legal websites such as Avvo and question-based websites where people can ask their question.
By participating in these discussions you can showcase your expertise and get in front of a potential client and showcase your expertise. After all, the more you give the more you get.
17. Answer Legal Questions on Avvo
Avvo has a few opportunities for this by either creating free legal guides or by answering questions from potential clients. While I would save writing a legal guide or article for after you have already answered the questions on your website, I would say that the Q&A is a good opportunity.
Here is where people submit questions: https://www.avvo.com/ask-a-lawyer. You can answer them by logging into your avvo.com profile.
Avvo does rank for many of these FAQ queries in Google Search Results. The key is to always be where potential clients are clicking. This is just another example.
18. Answer Legal Questions on Quora
If you haven’t heard of Quora you must not be one of their 100 million active monthly users. This powerhouse Q&A website has been growing big. Quora is a community where people can ask questions and the best answers are the ones that are usually the most detailed and have the most upvotes. Below is a sample Quora question:
To participate simply create an account on Quora.com and start following relevant threads like this one.
You can respond with your profile and even provide a link back to your website. While the link is a nofollow, it can still generate referral traffic.
19. Online Marketing in Forums
Contrary to popular belief, forums are not dead. Forums are still thriving on the internet and people are turning to them for discussions and to get answers to questions. This is where getting creative will really pay off. One option is to monitor legal forums like these:
But another option is to monitor forums where your clients hang out. For example, if you’re a bankruptcy lawyer you may want to hang out on financial advice forums. The options are limitless and you can find them by simply searching Google for a topic you’re interested in + “forum”.
I find that Q&A and social media are easier if you set up alerts for new responses or if you just set a dedicated time to look at them all, like one hour a week.
Paid Search Strategies
Paid search is the quickest way to start generating new leads. If you’re willing to pay per click in Google’s ad network you can start generating clicks today. The issue is that you will always pay for these clicks and the prices will go up as the competition gets stiffer.
That being said you can also see higher conversion rates by participating in both organic SEO and pay per click at the same time if you have more search share.
Here are some of the methods and strategies we use for our clients in paid environments.
20. General Retargeting
Retargeting involves setting up a small script on your website that tracks the visitors who have come to your website. Once they leave they will see banner ads for your company on other websites they visit for a set period of time, typically 30 days. You can sign up for this through Google’s ad network.
Have you ever looked at a product or service and then wondered why you started seeing ads for it all over the internet? That’s why.
Google has cracked down on this for some law firms. They are now limiting some attorneys from having ads.
21. Social Retargeting
Social retargeting is the same as retargeting but geared towards social networks. We use this through Facebook’s Ad Manager.
If a potential client visits your website you can serve an ad to them when they go back to Facebook.
22. Google Ads (Formerly called Adwords)
If you’re looking for website visitors that you don’t already have, Google Adwords is a great way to start paying for clicks. The top search results in any Google Search are ads and they rotate out depending on who’s paying for them.
Each time someone clicks on an ad you will be charged what you agreed upon to pay.
A good adwords campaign involves proper keyword research and regular monitoring to make sure that you’re not paying for clicks that won’t turn into more business. This can be setup through Google’s ad Manager.
The biggest problem with PPC is the cost per click. For personal injury attorneys this can get to hundreds of dollars per click.
23. Paid Social
Paid social is just like Google Adwords but on social networks like Facebook or Twitter. Facebook is really cool because you can segment audiences on very targeted demographics such as age, location, or interests.
Paid social campaigns should be undertaken on a case by case basis with the content you create and geared towards promoting it towards the most relevant audience.
24. Paid Video
YouTube.com offers paid video placement for your own video ads which will play before YouTube videos. This is a great way to get your video message across.
YouTube.com is the world’s second largest search engine.
25. Monthly Email Marketing Campaigns
I commonly am shocked to hear how many attorneys are not involved in email marketing. Email marketing is a great way to build your audience and stay relevant. A year ago I met with an attorney who used email marketing to generate a multi-million dollar case just off of a monthly newsletter with a low subscriber amount.
The trick to doing good email marketing is to email your list with relevant causes. You can share accident safety tips if you’re a PI Lawyer or common mistakes that lead to bankruptcy if you’re a bankruptcy attorney. You can email your subscribers monthly and give them something to be happy about.
This will also keep you in minds of your clients and can generate case referrals easily. If you don’t have a way of growing your email list make sure to sign up for SUMOME and use their email collection box. If you’re getting website visitors you’re going to grow your list month over month, just by using this plugin.
Email Markeitng is also great because you control your audience. Even if your website was ever demoted by Google you would still have your email list.
26. Video Content Marketing
Video Marketing is generally underutilized by most attorneys. While video used to be cost prohibitive, any attorney with a cell phone and a quick microphone setup can create a high-quality video.
I do want to stress that quality videos are going to perform better than cheaper ones so spending a couple of hundred bucks to get the right setup with sound can go a long distance.
The strategy here is to create videos for your firm based on frequently asked questions. Ask your legal assistants and intake staff what questions they get the most and then turn those into FAQ videos. These videos can be shared on YouTube.com or Vimeo.com as well as posted on your own website and social media channels.
As an added benefit, you’ll build trust with potential clients.
27. Get Listed In Important Legal Directories
It’s no secret that Google has been rewarding legal directions with higher search visibility. If you’re not listed on these directories you’re missing search share. You need to be listed on the ones that are most relevant. For the most part these are the ones I recommend:
- Findlaw: You can create a free listing on Findlaw.com If you want a low volume of leads you can pay for their subscription services.
- Avvo: You have a free profile here. Optimize this according to my guide and get a 10.0 rating which will place you higher on the page. I don’t recommend Avvo Pro.
- Justia: Create a free listing here.
- NOLO: Nolo sells leads as well as offers a lawyer directory.
- Lawyers.com: Lawyers.com has a paid listing service. Results are so-so. Superlawyers: If you can get nominated for SuperLawyers I highly recommend a listing here.
There are many other legal directories out there. Don’t sign up for one unless you’re clear about it’s purpose and effect as either an authoritative link source or traffic driver.
28. Host a Webinar
Webinars are not for every area of law, but Business Law is one area that would be a good one. By holding a free online webinar you can showcase your expertise on a topic relevant to your audience. One example would be a webinar geared towards “How to cut your corporate tax in 2017”. The goal of the webinar is to share useful nuggets of information so that you can generate new clients by looking like the expert.
Consider partnering with your local bar association to help promote the event to their members in exchange for a membership plug.
29. Host Community Classes
Just like you can offer an online webinar you can do this offline and still get an online benefit. Host a meetup at your office on a relevant topic and submit the event to the city website, chamber of commerce, and other interested groups. You can get free promotion by providing a community service and you’ll come across as the authority on the subject with proper preparation.
30. Write an eBook
One strategy we use for our clients commonly is to make them look like the authority in their field by having them write an eBook. Sharing knowledge can help people trust you and want to hire you. Once you write it you can sell it on Amazon and other platforms as well as generate customer reviews of your book.
Whatever Strategies you Pursue, Focus on Quality and Grow Your Firm Online
I plan on keeping this list growing and adding more ideas over time. One major takeaway I would like you to have though is to remember that anything worth doing, is worth doing right. While it’s probably not feasible to participate execute all of these online marketing strategies by yourself, you can and should focus on a few and make them consistent and high quality. Doing this will result in more business for your firm and help establish your place in the community.
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