How to Get New Clients for a Law Firm
Getting New Clients for a Law Firm
Despite the increased importance of the internet, digital marketing and social media, today the way people look for lawyers is not that different to a hundred years ago. A 2015 study in the USA found that people generally still find a lawyer through existing relationships and recommendations. The study found that the most effective form of marketing for lawyers is still word-of-mouth.
This can make it hard for legal firms to adapt and reach out to younger generations or other demographics they have not served before.
However, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. We can also see from the survey that younger and wealthier clients are using the internet more to find legal representation. The two major exceptions to the results for for people aged 18 – 24 (with a potential lifetime of legal needs ahead of them) were much more likely to search online for a lawyer, with 17.8% of respondents in this category using the web to find and retain a lawyer.
Wealthier clients, those earning over $150,000 per year were also more likely to search the web for a lawyer than ask a friend. The survey asked people the question when you need to find a specialty lawyer how would you start your search?
Just look at this infographic put together by Moses & Rooth with data used from Google Consumer Surveys. Although the data is from 2015, in talking to clients and listening to call data, I felt it relevant to share. Take a look:
Infographic By the Orlando criminal defense attorneys at Moses & Rooth, Attorneys at Law.
As we can see face-to-face is still the preferred way to find a lawyer. However, search is now in at number two and it can still be tough to reach out to and attract these shifting demographics which are more likely to turn to the web to find their legal services. As such, getting the right digital marketing strategy in place can be crucial to securing these clients.
Digital Marketing Strategy for Lawyers
The first thing to understand is how did the client find you?
The most important factor for a customer looking for a law firm is trust. If they have come to you through family and friends they know they can trust you. If someone finds you by searching online, how do they know they can trust your firm and lawyers?
We also know that some online visits will come from word-of-mouth recommendations.
A 2014 study by law firms Beaton Global, found clients tend to be very loyal once they have found a lawyer or law firm they can trust. Getting and building that trust needs to tie into your digital strategy. Online trust is vital. Adverts, PPC and good SEO strategy can all help point people to your business but they do not establish trust.
We can see from studies the importance of trust in these relationships. So as a law firm, how can you build trust?
Content Builds Awareness and Trust
Editorial content on your site can help to build trust in your business and legal services. It has been found to be the only form of advertising which gains customers trust. You can see this displayed it the Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Report.
Professionally written content as well as high quality information which is displayed in an easy to digest and easy to navigate way on your website is incredibly important for building trust. To leverage this fully you need to create a content plan.
Writing a regular legal blog as well as engaging on social media platforms, discussing current events or types of cases (without specific detail) allows you to show of your expertise before fully engaging with the client. This type of content is trusted more as people feel they are not being sold to or asked to do anything.
In essence, they feel like they are getting something from you for free.
Think of your online content strategy as being similar to giving lectures or speaking at conferences. Both are designed to relay your expertise in a particular field. As in the real world, do in the online world.
Leverage Social Media
As we looked at, part of effectively engaging with people in the online sphere is to also use social media. A survey by Byfield Consultancy found that more than 50% of law firms have gained a client as a direct result of engaging on social media. It can be a simple yet potent way to quickly communicate with people across the country.
Even using a digital agency to manage your profiles, social media can still be an excellent return on investment.
The biggest barrier to using social media as a law firm is asking staff to have disclaimers on social media profiles and concerns around potential breaches of confidentiality online. Individuals might be better at using social media than firms on the whole.
Another issue in using social media as a law firm is establishing trust with potential and current clients.
Search Engine Ads and PPC
Paid-for adverts on search engines are one of the most trusted forms of online advertising, aside from professional content. The big downside as a lawyer is that there will be a lot of competition for these adverts and as such, they can be expensive.
Google and other search engines like Yahoo or Bing all offer Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising packages.
These appear when someone types in a specific keyword or phrase. Legal terms are some of the most competitive and expensive on all three platforms. Generic terms can cost hundreds of dollars to secure. Niche keywords and phrases might cost even more than these.
PPC ads can be successful for legal firms. It will place your advert right at the top or front of the page. You just need to find the right keywords for your business and specific legal services. Law firms can do better when they differentiate themselves and focus on niche key phrases or words.
Think about the service your offer and how a client might go about searching for that service.
These are the phrases you need to look at using.
A good overall digital marketing strategy will help you legal business reach out and find new clients.