Law Firm Advertising – The Basics to Getting Clients Online

Frank Olivo

Frank Olivo is the founder of Sagapixel. Frank is our resident authority on SEO and PPC advertising and is a frequent contributor to a number of blogs.

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Law Firm Advertising…

Right now you may be looking into advertising your law firm and you’re feeling overwhelmed with options. This post is going to help you to identify the marketing channels that are most likely to give you the results you want while taking into consideration your area of practice and the clients you wish to represent.

You already know that effective advertising can be transformative for your law firm. You’ve seen other lawyers execute effective advertising strategies that took them from struggling and having a pipeline of new clients—now you’re looking to do the same.

You probably also know there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to advertising. That’s why you’re researching and looking into the various options and what makes the most sense given your situation. This post is going to help you develop your legal marketing strategy.

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ABA Rules on Attorney Advertising

Before we get into the details of advertising your law firm, we need to talk about what you can and cannot state in your advertising. I wrote a post on attorney ethics and websites some time back, and much of what is applicable to a website is applicable to all attorney ads.

5 Ethics Rules You Should Know about Law Firm Advertising

If you can’t prove it, you can’t claim it. The kind of puffery that is allowed in other industries is not allowed in your law firm’s ads. Unless you can demonstrate that you actually are the best personal injury lawyer in your market, you can’t claim it.

You forbidden from comparing your firm to others. While you may be tempted to state that “no one will fight harder for you” or make some other similar statement, you may find yourself in hot water with the ethics board.

Do not imply that you will get a client similar results to your past settlements. While it is ok for you to list some of your past settlements, you should add a disclaimer that explains that just because you have gotten such settlements in the past doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to get them for the prospect.

Some states require that you register your website and advertisements with the state. Look into whether this is the case in your state.

Understand the Buyer’s Journey for Your Area of Practice

Every client goes through a process starting with recognizing that they need your services and hopefully ending with them sending you referrals. Marketers refer to it as “the buyer’s journey” and it looks something like this graphic:

Law Firm Advertising - The Basics to Getting Clients Online
courtesy of Aweber

You need to start by understanding this journey and how each of your marketing tactics will address each step. The following sections will guide you through them.

How do clients find attorneys in your area of practice? (Awareness)

Do clients that need attorneys like you turn to Google?

The answer is “probably.”

If you take a look at Google Trends, searches for “lawyer near me” have been skyrocketing since 2015:

Do they have questions about your area of practice that you are uniquely qualified to answer?

Do they actually write down and call the phone number of the practice they see on the billboard every day on their way to work?

Chances are that Google plays a part of your client’s awareness phase. This may mean that they hire an attorney that they find when they explicitly look for an attorney. It may mean that they end up on your website when they’re looking for information about their case.

Getting Clients Through SEO is More Complex Than You Imagine (Which Presents Great Opportunity)

The average attorney thinks that SEO simply consists of getting a website to show up for “workers compensation lawyer in NJ.” That is a long-term goal of SEO for lawyers, but there are many other keywords you can target that will drive clients to your website.

First, “head terms” like “auto accident attorney near me” account for a minority of the searches that could drive clients to your website and they are the most competitive to rank for.

The majority of the searches that could potentially drive clients to your site are what are called “long-tail keywords.” Long-tail keywords account for anywhere from 75% to 92% of searches, with “head terms” like “divorce lawyer near me” accounting for the remainder. Here are some examples of long-tail keywords:

  • female divorce lawyers in Philadelphia
  • what happens when the beneficiary of a life insurance policy is changed right before someone dies?
  • can you get rid of medical bills if you declare bankruptcy?

Long-tail keywords demonstrate an implied need for your services and are much easier to rank for than head terms like “personal injury lawyer.”

By producing tons of content that answer the questions that people have about your area of practice, you will get the opportunity to pitch these searchers with your services. Let’s take a look at an example:

Example of a long-tail keyword driving a lead

Joe is a cashier in a department store in Cherry Hill, NJ. He was on his way to Wawa to pick up lunch for himself. As he was leaving, he asked everyone in the break room if they wanted him to pick something up for them and his boss asked if he could pick up a bottle of water. On his way there, he was seriously injured and will be out of work for several months. To make matters worse, he has been denied workers comp because he was injured while he was on break.

He googles “can you get workers comp in nj if you were on a break” and clicks on the first result:

Law Firm Advertising - The Basics to Getting Clients Online

After reading the article, he realizes that his workers’ comp claim denial falls into a gray area because he was on break, but picking something up for his boss. He sees the phone number for the office and gives Phil a call.

Instead of battling it out for “workers’ comp lawyer,” Phil got a lead from simply answering a question that enough people were searching for, but that wasn’t super competitive. Usually, you need an experienced SEO content strategist to find these topics, though we have done posts that explain some basics of how to do keyword research yourself:

How to Get New Law Firm Clients to Call or Fill Out Your Contact Form (Consideration & Conversion)

Just because you got someone on your site does not mean they will contact you.

As a matter of fact, according to Wordstream, only 2.93% of clicks on paid ads on Google result in a client contact in the legal industry. At the same time, our attorney PPC campaigns regularly convert at 10%-30%.

Law Firm Advertising - The Basics to Getting Clients Online

Why do our clients’ get so many more calls for their ads than the average?

Effective, clear messaging and clean design

A Website with Unclear Messaging

Law Firm Advertising - The Basics to Getting Clients Online

What does this attorney do? I think he’s a divorce lawyer because the navigation says “family law,” but there’s an image of a fender bender in the hero section.

If he’s located in NJ, why is there an image of the Philadelphia skyline in the header?

Why would you place the phone number in maroon lettering against the skyline?

Is “reliable and experienced” actually a differentiator that’s going to convince people to contact this office?

All in all, this is extremely common with attorney websites. If a visitor doesn’t know what you do, why he should hire you, or even where you are located, how could you expect him to contact you?

A Website with Clear Messaging

life insurance lawyers

You know exactly what this firm does. The phone number is easy to find. The image speaks to the benefits of obtaining representation (young family looking out with hope to tomorrow, rather than a stack of insurance forms or a gavel).

As you visit the site, you get a clear message: this is what we do—> this is why you should hire us—> contact us now.

Optimize Your Landing Page Through A/B Testing

As much as you may love the website design that you approved, there is almost always room for improvement.

Using tools such as Google Optimize, you can test different versions of your site to see what messaging and layouts best drive new leads. By testing the messaging, images, and layout of your landing page, you can develop a page that gets clients on the phone and in your inbox.

Have Very Clear Calls to Action

Visitors need to be told what to do, especially if your clients are

Cultivate and Protect Your Reputation (Consideration and Conversion)

If you managed to get the client on the phone, you can count on her Googling you.

Make sure that you have positive reviews on a number of websites on pages 1 and 2 of Google. Make sure you’ve claimed your Google My Business listing. Work with a company like ours to develop a review acquisition process so that when you do get an occasional bad or fake Google review, it can be offset by dozens of good ones.

Any attorney should have a complete, regularly maintained profile on the following sites:

When someone searches for you by name, they should see your profile on a number of sites and you should have countless reviews on each.

But how do you get reviews?

At the very least, you should have a template email that you send out after sucessfully representing a client. This should include a link that will open a review box on your Google My Business profile. Simply sending a link to your result is likely to lose a lot of your possible reviews; learn how to get the stars box to open up automatically.

Get a reputation management subscription

If you really want to cultivate reviews in volume, you should probably look into buying a reputations management software.

In a nutshell, these services send out an email to your customers after your engagement has ended. The email asks the recipient to rate your practice; if you receive a high enough rating, it forwards him to a page where he can leave a review. If he’s unhappy, it redirects to a page where he can express why he was unhappy with your firm.

This is beneficial for a number of reasons.

First, it gives unhappy customers a low-profile place to share their thoughts about your practice. It is preferable that they do so in a place other than your Facebook or Google Profile. Second, collecting complaints can often help you to improve aspects of your practice and your client satisfaction.

Advertising a Law Firm Doesn’t Have to be Nerve-Wracking.

If you need some guidance, feel free to reach out. At the very least, we can help you figure out the channels that are most likely to deliver results given your competitive landscape.

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