Would you walk into court or a client meeting without a plan? Of course not. You serve your clients best when you have prepared in advance. Doesn’t your marketing plan deserve the same level of care and consideration?
If your firm has a digital marketing plan for 2021, we encourage you to read on to make sure you’ve covered all your bases. If you’re still thinking about your law firm marketing plan, it’s not too late to enhance it for the upcoming year.
Post-Pandemic COVID-19 Marketing
COVID-19 has impacted every aspect of modern life, which means your firm’s marketing strategies must shift as well. With lockdowns in effect and more people staying at home, it is more critical than ever to focus on your digital marketing efforts. Everyone is online now in unprecedented numbers — including your potential clients — and you need to be where they are.
According to Datareportal.com, the percentage of internet users aged 16-64 has increased dramatically, due to COVID-19:
- Smartphone or mobile phone usage is up 70%
- Laptop computer usage is up 47%
- PC or desktop computer usage is up 33%
- Tablet or iPad usage is up 23%
- Online searches for a product or service are up 81%
Given the significance of these numbers, the only path to generating more leads, more clients, and more profits for your firm begins with a strategic digital marketing plan.
Understanding The Sales Funnel in Digital Marketing: Awareness, Consideration, Purchase, Retention, Advocacy
Before you can create a strategic, results-driven digital marketing plan, you must understand The sales funnel and how it works. An effective model you can employ to examine the process of turning potential clients into repeat clients, the sales funnel contains 5 phases.
- Awareness – in the awareness phase, your goal is to make potential clients aware of your firm and help them remember it when they need a lawyer. SEO and digital marketing reign supreme in this phase—more so now than ever before. Pre COVID-19 pandemic, potential clients may have seen your firm’s representatives at community events or on a little league field banner. With COVID-19 impacting all activities, your firm needs to build awareness on the web and social media.
- Consideration – once your potential clients know about your firm, they can discover more about the services you offer and what makes your firm unique in your specific area of law. Compelling, SEO-optimized content on your website and social media channels will give your potential clients something to consider.
- Purchase – if your law firm makes a persuasive case, your potential clients will choose to make a purchase by retaining your services.
- Retention – once you have retained a client, you want to instill loyalty by providing excellent representation and customer service – which begins from their initial contact with your firm. From the receptionist to the paralegals to the attorneys, their experience with every member of your staff should match the expectations they have of your brand, based on your online presence.
- Advocate – when your law firm’s performance fulfills the promise of its marketing, your client will be happy with your knowledge, skills, customer service, and experience. They will then become your advocate by telling others who are seeking legal representation in your practice area. These advocates will market on your behalf via word-of-mouth, social media, or online reviews. Their advocacy helps build your brand awareness, completing the sales funnel.
SEO Strategies Make the Crucial Difference in Your Clients’ Ability to Easily Find Your Firm Online
Now that you understand the sales funnel, let’s talk about search engine optimization (SEO). An SEO strategy is vital to your digital marketing plan’s success. Why? Your SEO efforts will drive visitors to your website organically, transforming these web visits into leads, then paying clients.
Your law firm’s website must appear on the first page for relevant Google search terms, such as “YOUR CITY attorney”—and SEO is the best way to accomplish that. When most people search for a lawyer online, they don’t look past the first page of results. Therefore, if your law firm appears on the fourth page, it’s virtually invisible to most potential clients.
One great way to improve your SEO is to write a series of blogs to share information about the type of legal services your firm provides.
Through your experience with clients, you know the types of questions people ask before retaining your services. If you address some of these issues in blog form, you not only highlight your legal knowledge, but you can also begin to build a rapport with potential clients before your first meeting.
Remember: your potential clients will also need to find these blog posts on Google, so be sure to optimize them as well
Expand Consideration and Brand Awareness with PPC Ads
Social media and pay-per-click or PPC ads offer a potent combination of law firm marketing tools, helping to move potential clients from consideration to conversion.
First, you need to decide which potential clients you are trying to reach. Are you looking for business owners? Young couples looking to buy their first house? People who are thinking about estate planning? Once you determine your target market, you can choose the social media channel with the best chance of reaching them.
Next, PPC display ads focus on your potential clients, customizing the advertising experience to their unique needs. These ads work to build awareness and firm recognition on Google and Facebook, even if the user is not actively searching for your services at that moment.
PPC ads can also retarget potential clients and encourage them to convert. If someone visits your website to learn about your estate planning services, your firm’s ad will pop up next time they’re on social media.
Putting Your 2021 Digital Marketing Plan Together
While it may appear daunting to put your 2021 marketing plan together, it is easier to create than you think. Begin with the end in mind. Decide where you want to be in 3 or 5 years, then work backward, incorporating the elements I described above. Leveraging technology for your success begins with defining your goals, your firm, and your ideal (qualified) clients.
Consider the following:
- How does your law firm distinguish itself from your competitors? To put it another way, what are your law firm’s strengths? How does it stand apart from others that practice the same area(s) of law? Why should a client choose your firm instead of the one down the street? What is your Unique Selling Proposition “USP”?
- Who is your ideal client? Describe this profile with as much detail as possible because you will build your entire marketing and advertising strategy around these characteristics as you determine the most effective methods of reaching this type of client online. In the short- and long-term success of your law firm, a thorough understanding of your ideal client is imperative.
- How will your ideal clients attain the Awareness and Consideration phases of The Sales Funnel? Consider the steps you’re taking to develop and augment your firm’s branding. What marketing channels are most effective in reaching your audience? To answer this question, you should think about factors like ROI, consumer behavior patterns, technology, and industry trends, for starters.
- Define Your Short- and Long-Term Business Objectives – ask yourself, “What are my short-term objectives? What are my long-term objectives?” Take the time to reflect on these questions because, without clearly defined goals, it’s hard to create the necessary action plan to achieve them. Know what you want to achieve, write it down, and then formulate a concrete action plan – the more detailed, the better. Then, follow through every single day.
No marketing strategy would be complete without financial considerations – first and foremost, your marketing budget. How do you figure out how much money to allocate to it? While it varies depending on the industry, it’s usually based on a percentage of your overall revenue (or projected revenue). The average law firm spends just under 3% of their income on marketing, however, a recent study jointly conducted by Bloomberg and the Lawyer Marketing Association suggests that it should be just under 7% of revenue or fee income. This is much more aligned with what the U.S. Small Business Administration recommends spending, which is between 7 and 8 percent of your gross revenue on marketing if your firm generates less than $5 million a year.
However, for a personal injury law firm, that number is typically between 15 and 20% and can be as high as 30 percent for super aggressive Personal Injury Firms. For best results, base your marketing budget off projected revenues. You can always make adjustments as you monitor your success in terms of increased calls and contacts, and your conversion ratio from potential clients to satisfied clients that become your advocates.
Need Help with Your 2021 Marketing Plan?
If you’re looking forward to a successful 2021, but need some professional assistance putting a strategic marketing plan together, Law Firm Marketing Pros can help. We have the tools and the team to help, including a templated plan and budget, keyword analysis tools, and even an automated budget and ROI calculator. We have a proven track record of increasing online visibility and qualified leads for law firms of all sizes. We’ll get to know you and your firm so that we can tailor a unique digital marketing plan for your needs and budget. With our team’s 30 years of combined experience, you can rest assured you will receive the expertise and the full range of innovative and advanced digital marketing services your law firm needs to exceed your goals in 2021. Contact us at 561-948-5001 to schedule your strategy session today.
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