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How to Determine What Marketing Channels Your Law Firm Should Use

Marketing channels are different delivery methods for putting out messages about your firm to target customers. Common channels include video, email, article/blog content, print methods such as newspaper ads and signs, social media, and online text or display advertising.

The marketing options available for law firms may seem endless, especially for startup companies. Instead of doing a little bit of everything, you should be selective with the channels you choose. There is no magic formula for a marketing plan that will get you the best referrals or leads because each and every firm requires a different approach based on region, practice areas, size, etc.

Relevance is one factor to consider when deciding on your marketing channels. Some channels will be more relevant than others. In fact, some channels may be completely irrelevant due to the behaviors of your ideal client. For example, if your firm focuses on corporate tax law, there’s a good chance that your ideal client would be a C-Suite executive from a corporate accounting agency. He or she is more likely to seek legal answers from professional publications versus social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. The research you have done on your client profile should provide a good indication of where target customers are going for answers to their legal problems.

What is your goal when it comes to marketing? Do you want leads to opt-in for more information? Are you hoping for phone calls that lead to an initial meeting? Or are you trying to increase the overall number of inquiries over a specific period of time? These three examples can all be achieved through different marketing methods.

Another factor to consider when it comes to choosing marketing channels is your budget. Typically, spending at least 2.5 percent of gross revenues is considered the norm for marketing efforts. If you are a startup firm, use your business plan forecast to determine how much to put aside for marketing. Once you have this figure in mind, choosing a few marketing channels may be straightforward if you have to eliminate options that require more budget such as TV commercials or print ads.

Choosing channels based on the firm’s practice area may be an effective way to launch your marketing efforts. Here are some common marketing channels based on practice areas:


Family Law

Family law firms tend to face a lot of competition, but it is versatile when it comes to marketing strategies. Because family issues can be complex and cause significant tension, most individuals tend to do some research online as their primary course of action. This would make online marketing efforts such as a blog, SEO, and display advertising good options.

Personal Injury and Employment

Personal injury and employment lawyers rely on a high volume of cases compared to other practice areas. In order to garner the maximum number of leads, the best personal injury or employment channels include pay-per-click advertising, and radio, TV, and print ads in order to reach the most prospects possible.

Real Estate and Business

Real estate and business attorneys who focus their efforts on relationship-building strategies are more likely to cultivate long-term clients. Referrals from current clients and professional networks are strategies these firms can focus on right away. High-quality, relevant content is also a channel to utilize, as individuals looking for real estate or business attorneys are likely to do research online before taking serious action with their legal situation.

Criminal Defense

Criminal defense firms tend to have some of the most desperate clients – those that need legal representation, and quickly! These clients will usually do research online based on the charges against them. If they are already detained, their friends or family will likely do some online research to get them help as soon as possible. Combining pay-per-click advertising with SEO and a good website can help your firm stand out from the competition.

Once you get started with your legal marketing efforts, you’ll have to decide which strategies to keep or replace based on performance. Here are some tips to keep in mind when using various channels:

  • You can’t market your business properly if you have not identified your target client profile. Your research should indicate the kinds of jobs they do, where they shop, how they select products and services, salary range, age range, etc.
  • Next, before you start putting the majority of your budget into one or two specific channels, see what your competitors are doing. Conduct some competitive research and identify the channels that are being used by others in your practice areas. While you may need to utilize the same channels, your team should brainstorm ways to differentiate your firm from others. Be straightforward about what makes you different.
  • Whether you use radio, TV, digital, or email channels, you must create an actionable call-to-action that is relevant to your target clients. Examples include, “Call today for a free consultation,” “Click here to get a call back from one of our lawyers,” “Solve your legal troubles by visiting our office.”
  • Make sure you set up location targeting in Adwords. This makes it more likely that people who are searching for a lawyer within your prime location will find you.
  • Hire a 24/7 answering service where customer reps can follow a script, including waking up the on-call attorney if a client/prospect has an urgent matter that needs to be addressed immediately.
  • Consider keeping an online chat system available during business hours. Some people may be uncomfortable with calling a law firm and prefer to initiate contact by a chat system.
  • It is natural for every firm to go through discovery stages when analyzing their marketing efforts. But the only way to do so successfully is to track every action, and then optimize or discard based on performance. Figuring out what works and what doesn’t may cost some money upfront, but once you see where your leads are coming from, or which keywords are most successful, you can apply them across all channels.