As an attorney, you and your law firm commit valuable resources—including time and money—on a variety of marketing efforts. Each month you most likely get a bill for advertising, web searches, and print services. You spend thousands of dollars on billboard ads, radio commercials, PPC ads, and SEO.
But can you determine if each of these marketing efforts is effective?
Do you and your firm have a sense of which of your marketing channels is working, converting leads into clients … and which ones are working against one another or with each other?
Marketing Channel Basics
A marketing channel is the types of marketing you use to get leads and generate business for your firm. There are three basic types of marketing channels: offline, online and in-person.
Offline marketing is what people typically think of when it comes to legal marketing; the attorney billboard or personal injury commercial with a memorable tagline. Your business cards could even fit into this channel since potential clients or referrals can hand these out without your presence.
Online marketing is everything from your website to online reviews and profiles. It includes SEO, PPC, email marketing, content marketing, social media, social ads, and more. Online marketing has become increasingly important over the years, in coordination with offline and in-person marketing efforts.
In-person marketing relates to every time you go to lunch with a referring colleague or attend a networking event. Events are another in-person marketing channel a law firm could use; a local wedding fair could be an interesting marketing method for a family lawyer looking to boost their prenup business.
How to Leverage Your Marketing Channels
While most law firms can check the boxes and know that they are doing several types of marketing and perhaps in multiple marketing channels, few understand the return that each channel brings.
To be certain that your marketing dollars are working —and you’re getting the biggest “bang for the buck”—you need to track every banner ad, every mailer, and every radio or TV spot to which you commit dollars. If you don’t, you have no idea whether a campaign is successful and to what extent.
You first need to consider your ideal clients. What’s their profile? Are they car accident victims, bank executives, or companies with regulatory issues. You should understand your client profile, and that it can be identified by their background, activities, and interactions. Your client profile should describe individuals in certain careers, certain income levels, age groups, and other common characteristics and behaviors. Those law firms targeting companies should consider industries, organization size, annual revenue, and other business features. These kinds of attributes can help you identify how your potential clients receive information and their preferences for consuming content.
The Value of Marketing Channels
Before choosing which marketing channels are ideal for your law firm, you need to understand the underlying role of channels in marketing strategy. Marketing channels influence:
- The relationship between the attorneys and clients/prospects;
- The firm’s bill structure and pricing strategy; and
- The overall strategy for the firm’s legal services, including branding and image.
By partnering with a consultant who knows and understands all aspects of legal marketing, your firm can choose the optimal marketing channels—those that have proven successful in the past. From there, a tailored message and fine-tuning can help target the ideal clients for your firm.
The choice of marketing channel is one of the most important decisions that a law firm can make. It impacts all other forms of the marketing mix. The selection of channels is based on various factors related to the law firm’s services. Further, customer desires, behaviors, and preferences also determine the choice of marketing channels. The choice of marketing channel is also dependent on the firm’s goal for its target client. Typically, the objective is to get your ideal clients to schedule a meeting.
The DIY Conflict
Do-it-yourself marketing isn’t typically the best choice for bigger budget plaintiff’s attorneys. It lacks the strategy and preparation that a through and completely tailored marketing plan provides a firm to attract and close ideal clients. That, and what practicing lawyer has the time, resources, and respective core competencies required to run a full-scale marketing strategy that would rival your competitive law firms?
You want to work with someone whose core competency is partnering with law firms to work with the most appropriate marketing channels, to leverage the best intermediaries, and monitor channel performance.
The most important part of marketing is understanding where your leads are coming from and the return on your investment or return on brand investment.
- Custom phone numbers or campaign-based Vanity Numbers
- A system like CallRail is beneficial for tracking the variety of phone numbers that you are using on individual marketing campaigns.
- Vanity phone numbers are great for tracking a specific campaign success. For instance, if your law firm is running more than one message or all to action at a time; for example, one billboard says, “We Fight For You” while another says, “We Get You Settlements,” you will want a different vanity number for those messages to rack which one resonates more with potential clients. This will help you define your marketing messaging and content over time.
- Vanity URLs and shortened URLs or QR Codes
- Vanity URLs can have a different purpose than vanity phone numbers. Vanity URLs are great for leads to easily memorize and search or type into their browser. They can also be used in the same was as vanity numbers were mentioned above, by tracking which URL is getting more traffic.
- Shortened URLs are things like bit.ly and can help reduce clutter in social media posts or simply help potential leads remember the URL more easily.
- QR codes may be less effective for law firm usage but could still be a tool to try, in addition to a phone number or website. If you aren’t familiar with how QR codes work, this is a great intro article.
- Custom Landing Pages and UTM Parameters
- It is very important to create custom landing pages that harken back to your particular campaigns for messaging consistency.
- UTM parameters are another great tracking method, as long as they integrate with your CRM and lead forms. UTMs are great for tracking individual posts, pages, and shared items online.
- Custom Discount Codes, Coupons, or Code Words
- Discount codes and coupons are less applicable to practice areas like criminal defense and personal injury 9can you imagine a lawyer who uses 2-for-1 DUI Defense coupons? Probably not a great idea.) but could be something to consider if you have a transactional practice and want to promote an in-person appearance or webinar.
- Ask Your Clients
- Your online forms and in-person client intake should always include the standard “How Did You Hear About Us?” question. Feel free to play with the wording to see what works best for your firm but make sure you are asking clients how they came across your law firm. They may not remember but if they do, that information is gold!
- Leverage Social Media– Social Media can be a great tool that is often underutilized or used incorrectly by lawyers. Treating your Facebook or Instagram as an online billboard is not the tactic to use. Here are a few tips to make your social media more trackable:
- Track your brand mentions and impressions after launching a new commercial or offline campaign. This allows you to see the impression offline marketing has on brand awareness.
- If you have commercial or print advertising, make sure to share it across your social media as well or use still shots and photos from the materials as repurposed content.
- Use UTM parameters for every share; instead of putting the link into the post, integrate UTMs into the link and then share (shorten the URL first).
- Try a multi-link bio integration like Tap.Bio or Linktr.ee to make your single bio and profile link more engaging.
This marketing channel stuff sounds like a lot of work.
It’s much easier to pay for a TV spot and be done with it, right?
Not necessarily. If that commercial isn’t reaching your target audience and doesn’t mesh with your other marketing efforts, it will most likely be a waste of money. Your firm will have channel conflict and realize little for its marketing efforts. Partner with companies who understand tracking your offline marketing strategies as well as online, and vice versa.
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