You have a law practice and you are looking for an inbound marketing guide for your lawfirm?
Great because this is it!
As a marketer that primarily works with law firms, I find it a fascinating industry compared to many other local businesses that advertise online.
One reason relates to how competitive it is and just how much money lawyers are willing to invest in their online, inbound marketing strategies. If there is such a trend for these attorneys to be spending massive amounts on inbound marketing tactics for lawfirms, then there must be some method behind the madness.
Indeed there is and I intend to pull back the curtains inbound legal marketing. Additionally, we’ll discuss a popular strategy that’s worked extremely effectively for years and will continue to for many more. In this article, we’re going to look at:
- Why inbound marketing is so effective for law firms
- What is inbound marketing and what should lawyers focus on
- How to create content that attracts ideal visitors and prospective clients
- How to convert your law practice’s website traffic visitors into leads
That seems like a lot of information to go over – and it is. Below, we’re going to pass over the broad strokes in each section so that you have a strong, introductory understanding of the effectiveness and application of inbound marketing for law firms.
Why Inbound Marketing Is So Effective For Lawyers?
In order to explain this, let’s look at a contrasting example. Household brands tend to be products and services that are marketed on massive levels, usually at a national or international scale with the budgets to match.
This tends to be the way that they gain traction and capture market share. These are things that consumers either purchase or interact with on fairly short-term cycles.
When it comes to law firms, they fall into a very different category.
Like many other local, service-based businesses, these tend not to be household brands. As consumers, we don’t tend to interact with them on a frequent basis.
Typically, when we need their services, many people don’t know who to call, since these aren’t household names.
This is true if you need an HVAC specialist, plumber or landscaper.
Sure, there are well-known local names, but many people still won’t think of that brand or company when they need it.
Instead, in years past, people in need of a service, such as the aforementioned, would turn to the phonebook and look up the section in the yellow pages for that specific service.
What is Inbound Marketing?
The phonebook, coincidentally, is an excellent way of thinking about inbound marketing. Certainly, the many business listings and advertisements were there, sitting in their respective categories in that phonebook.
However, people were only presented with those advertisements and listings when they were searching for that particular business at that time of need.
Essentially, this is highly effective as you’re only advertising and marketing to a small segment of the population – one that is much more likely to be in need of services that you provide.
On the other hand, there is outbound marketing, which is analogous to the banner ads you see on the internet and TV commercials that are broadcasted to the masses. Many law firms advertise on television.
While these outbound ads may still target specific demographics and consumer segments, the percentage of them that are likely to call a lawyer is much lower than those that view an ad for a lawyer in the phone book when they’re seeking a list of law firms to call.
What Type of Inbound Marketing Should Law Firms Focus On?
The phonebook example is great for illustrating the idea. However, physical phonebooks have lost their utility in lieu of the internet. Now, when people are searching for a lawyer or any other local service provider, they will usually start that journey through a search engine like Google or Bing.
If you’re hesitant about this, you may be surprised to learn that a study from 2013 found that 96% of people seeking legal advice use search engines and 38% of people use the internet to hire an attorney. Therefore, leveraging the potential of online search should be a critical part of your law firm’s marketing strategy. This is a form of inbound marketing more broadly known as search engine marketing.
Search engine marketing (SEM) comprises both paid and organic methods for driving traffic and leads. This is a rich format for inbound marketing. Cost per click bids are very high for law firms since it can be so effective for driving new leads and clients. There’s a lot of business to be captured from using paid SEM ads such as Google AdWords for law firms.
We’ll discuss this briefly and its role in inbound marketing below, but focus more on driving relevant, high-quality traffic organically without having to pay for visitors and prospective clients.
How Law Firms Can Implement a Successful Inbound Marketing Strategy
The two statistics mentioned above serve as an ideal starting point for planning an effective inbound marketing strategy for your law firm.
First, nearly 4 out of 10 people are searching for a lawyer online. In other words, when they’re performing a search it’s based on the intent of finding the right lawyer to call about their potential case. This is usually out of urgency or near-immediate demand for a lawyer; Also known as ready to buy or the bottom of a business’ marketing funnel.
For search engine marketing, this category of searches represents the most competitive segment of inbound search marketing as a number of firms are competing to appear for these associated keywords and search results. It’s achievable but more difficult, costly and typically takes longer to rank organically in these search results. AdWords campaigns focus their attention on generating clicks on these keywords as well since they have the ability to generate business almost immediately.
The second group exists at the other end of the funnel – the top of the marketing funnel. This is where people are actively researching and seeking information regarding their legal matters. They’re not necessarily in need of a lawyer at that moment. Instead, they’re attempting to determine the seriousness and implications of their legal issues, which may later result in them needing a lawyer. As cited earlier, one study found 96% of people seek legal advice and information through search engines.
This part of the funnel is less competitive. There is a vast number of searches to appear for due to a much larger number of questions and queries consumers may search for pertaining to their legal matters. This is where most law firms serious about inbound marketing should focus their efforts on organic search (at least to begin with).
Create Content that Attracts Prospective Legal Clients
While the statistic stipulates that people are seeking legal advice, it’s never recommended to give legal advice online.
I’m sure almost any seasoned attorney would agree. Legal matters are typically unique to each client’s particular case and circumstances and should only be given advice by their own counsel. Instead, law firms that are considering to create content-rich inbound marketing should strive to publish legal information, rather than advice.
The purpose of this legal information is to better educate and inform prospective clients on legal topics they’re searching about, including how it will affect their case and personal circumstances.
Law firms have a unique advantage over many other local and service-based businesses. When someone is looking for an article or video regarding a plumbing or heating issue, the pipes in New York work relatively the same as the plumbing system (more or less) in California. There’s little to no unique value produced by local content creators in such a field.
However, the law is dynamic and changes from one jurisdiction to another. As a result, the legal industry is prime for creating valuable, localized content.
Therefore, firms should focus on writing information that is targeted toward their state and in some instances at the city and municipal levels.
What Format Should Content be Created In?
Usually, blog posts and evergreen article content is the way to go. There are some cases where podcasting and video content can also perform well, however, as a general rule of thumb, blogs will perform best for organic traffic originating from search engine results such as Google.
How to Create Content that Attracts Visitors and Clients
The majority of attorneys will have clear examples and topics eligible to write about at the state level. Let me point out that real estate and corporate law firms are two areas of law that can work extremely well for creating content at the city and municipal level. For instance, writing about building permits, zoning codes and so on will change at the municipal level and create even more specific and unique opportunities for locally relevant content.
The most important thing when creating content is ensuring that you only write content that people are searching for rather than what you want or feel like writing about. The golden rule here is the old marketing philosophy of WIIFM: What’s In It For Me?
Remember that this is inbound marketing, not influencer or follower marketing. If your law firm had a significant following, it probably wouldn’t need inbound marketing. In this false reality, people would just read your content for the pleasure of it and to stay current with your updates (as with influencer marketing).
Instead, you need to perform some keyword research and discover what content your firm should publish. Find out what questions and information your target audience and ideal client profile is looking for. This isn’t overly difficult. Start by typing in some of your target case topics, and areas of practice.
You can use search operators, such as the asterisk, to generate more ideas within the search bar. Once you perform a search, there are two areas of the search results page you will want to focus on:
- Related Searches
- People also asked section
It’s these questions that you want to focus on creating content around. Compile a list of article ideas and get to work. Finally, you want to make sure that your articles are better written and more in-depth than the other search results for that query.
Converting Visitors into Leads for your Law Firm
Ultimately, we arrive at the core purpose of creating this content and inbound marketing funnel; signing up new clients. Creating a high enough quantity of valuable content will drive a flood of new organic traffic to your law firm’s website. Now, we want to convert as many relevant visitors into clients as possible. First, we need to convert as much traffic from visitors into leads as possible.
A small number of visitors will want to contact your firm after reading your article. We can make this process as easy as possible for them by adding a call-to-action in several places. First, we can produce a compelling call-to-action at the end of the article. Readers who reach the end of the article may see this and act upon it.
However, some people may not read to the end. There may only be one or several relevant sections in the article for them to read. At this point, they may either be convinced to contact your firm or be ready to leave the page. We can try to optimize for this by including a sticky call to action on the page.
Here’s an example of a sticky CTA bar that is fixed at the bottom of the screen while readers scan the article. This is effective as we have an opportunity to convert the visitor into a lead whenever they feel compelled to take the desired action.
However, not everyone is going to be ready to contact your firm on the spot. Since we’re creating content for people higher in the funnel, we can expect a lower direct conversion rate than if we were targeting the bottom of the funnel.
At the top and middle segments of our inbound funnel, people may be days, weeks or even months away from converting into a lead. By that time, they may have forgotten about your firm and contacted another attorney. We want to maximize our conversion potential. There are several ways of achieving this. One highly effective method is through lead magnets.
A lead magnet is where we create a highly desirable piece of premium or gated content. This could be an exclusive podcast, PDF or ebook. This should be some form of ultimate resource, something that relevant visitors believe they can’t go without and could make all the difference in learning about and dealing with their legal matter.
In essence, we trade access to our law content lead magnet in exchange for some of their content information. Typically, this is their first name and email address. Don’t use too many form fields, the more information they give away, the fewer conversions you will acquire.
Now we can put these leads on an email list and use email marketing to keep them warm and convert them later on when they’re ready to contact a lawyer. With this, we can send them emails periodically to send them more, relevant content that they’re likely to gain value from. We can also include some call to actions within the email to increase our conversion rates.
Wrap-up on How Lawfirms can Benefit from Inbound Marketing
Content creation and inbound marketing is a phenomenal strategy to generate leads and new business for a number of businesses.
Especially for lawfirms.
As we discussed above, for several reasons, it’s a particularly good fit for law firms.
Once we create enough content that will generate our website a substantial volume of relevant traffic loaded with prospective clients, we can turn our attention towards converting as many visitors as possible into leads.
Keep in mind that at the stages of the funnel we discussed targeting in this article, far fewer people are going to be ready to contact a lawyer.
Instead, offer them some intermediary value in the form of a lead magnet to stay top of mind, keep them warm and convert them off the back-end via email marketing when they’re ready to call your office.