The Future of Legal Marketing: 8 Trends For 2024
Since the pandemic, lawyers and attorneys are more open to using non-traditional tactics for promoting their law firms nowadays. But now that the legal industry has finally caught up with marketing and technology, what are the potential changes in store for the future?
I’ve compiled legal marketing trends you should watch out for. By preparing for these future challenges, your law firm can remain relevant–if not strengthen its position–in the industry, paving the way for more leads and clients. Let’s start with the first trend, shall we?
1. Building a Brand For Your Firm is Paramount
The legal industry continues to grow, with a projected annual revenue of $348.32 billion in 2024 (up from $344.06 billion in 2023). That means more law firms want to take a lion’s share of that pie and will do whatever it takes to do so.
To stay one step ahead of the competition, you must develop your brand as a lawyer or attorney. Your brand helps distinguish what services or industries you specialize in, It allows you to differentiate your practice from others in the industry and, in the process, attract the right leads.
Branding for your law firm can be tricky because you must align your brand with your employees’ collective experience, values, and culture. The type of brand your firm establishes its overall business development, allowing you to build its reputation from there.
You can build a brand as an individual or for your law firm in many ways. But to effectively increase your online presence with your brand, you must earn your audience’s and search engines’ trust.
E-E-A-T For Attorneys Grows in Importance
In search engine optimization (SEO), Google refers to E-E-A-T (experience, expertise, authority, and trust) as a component of its Search Quality Rater Guidelines. The more evident the E-E-A-T is on a brand or website, the higher its likelihood of ranking on search results.
As a lawyer, you must use the experience and expertise acquired through the years to potentially rank higher on SERPs and establish your online brand and reputation. Your first-hand experience in the legal industry serves as a bridge that connects you to prospects looking for law firms that they can trust.
By observing E-E-A-T for your brand, you can also build real expertise that potential clients look for before hiring a law firm. Leveraging customer reviews as trust signals to establish your brand can help you generate more clients. By responding to all reviews (positive or negative), 34% of people are most likely to hire you as their legal representative, according to BrightLocal’s Local Consumer Review Survey 2023.
Ultimately, E-E-A-T allows you to tap into your marketing strategy’s human and brand elements. By letting your customers glowingly speak on your behalf, you can win the trust of people who share similar issues with your clients, giving your law firm a distinct advantage over your competitors.
2. Marketing is Now Mostly Digital
Promoting your business requires a full-scale law firm marketing strategy. Traditional marketing tactics like event sponsorships (44%), print (24%), and direct mail (11%) are still some of the most effective techniques in getting more people to know about your brand, according to the American Bar Association’s 2023 Profile of the Legal Profession.
However, digital channels comprise most of the tactics legal businesses use to promote their business. From the screenshot above, you can see that LinkedIn (51%), email (40%), and Facebook (27%) help law firms connect with potential clients and generate more cases.
Therefore, focusing on growing your engagement and lead generation on online platforms will be most beneficial for your business.
But before you launch a full-blown digital marketing strategy, you must set up a website, which will be the central online hub for your business. By designing a site that aligns with your brand and creating compelling content that resonates with your audience’s pain points, you strengthen the foundation of your online presence, from which your other channels will draw strength.
3. Increased Use of AI Tools to Automate Tedious Tasks
According to Litifiy’s State of AI 2023 Report, 62% of legal professionals don’t use artificial intelligence (AI) like ChatGPT, and 60% don’t believe the industry is ready. But for those using AI, 95% of them save more time weekly from legal work.
Most law firms use AI for reviewing and summarizing documents (15%), while drafting documents (14%) isn’t far behind. Both take a large chunk of time law firms could use to develop case strategies and prepare for depositions.
NetDocuments is an AI tool that streamlines your document management process. It helps securely organize all your documents on the cloud and easily find them online in seconds. You can also collaborate with team members on a document you’re working on simultaneously to improve productivity.
Preparing legal research memos is legal professionals’ third most time-consuming task (9%). The ABA survey above agrees that lawyers spend a fifth of their time at work (17%) on legal research. But with an AI tool like CaseText, they can free up more time during the day to complete other important tasks for the case.
Despite AI’s benefits to your legal business, it also has drawbacks. For instance, USC researchers found bias in 38.6% of facts stated by AI software in their tests by favoring and disfavoring people by ethnicity, gender, religion, and others. Relying solely on AI for legal research and predictive analytics can undermine objectivity and fairness.
Therefore, walking the tightrope concerning AI usage for your law firm will determine how efficient and productive your business will be moving forward.
4. SEO Will Still Power Lead Generation
There’s a reason why SEO in the legal industry is even more competitive now. It is the second most popular way law firms generate leads for their business, with TV advertising taking the top spot.
The key to generating high-quality leads from Google to your law firm website starts with keyword research. Find search queries people use to find your business and determine why people search for them–are they looking for answers to their questions or surveying different legal services? Then, develop a content creation campaign optimized for its keyword intent.
By providing content people want to see from the keyword they searched for, your firm can effectively bring them to your marketing funnel and eventually convert them into new clients.
5. Omni Channel Marketing
Not one online channel can propel your law firm to marketing success. For instance, if you depend solely on social media for generating leads, remember that only 24% of customers visit a company’s social media page before purchasing from said company.
You must launch a strategy that uses multiple marketing channels as touchpoints to engage with your target audience, allowing your law firm to land more cases. Use webinars, email marketing, chatbots, video marketing, and content marketing on top of your social media marketing efforts to increase your brand’s visibility.
Omnichannel marketing is more than just tapping into different channels. Gartner developed its five-level multi-channel maturity model that determines how well your law firm leverages data to determine which channels to use and your marketing approach.
You can refer to the description for each level below that best describes which level your law firm is currently in.
- Level 1 – Doesn’t organize data for its reactive (or non-existent) strategy.
- Level 2 – Develops personas to design a marketing strategy focused on awareness and conversion.
- Level 3 – Gathers data through automation to deliver personalized content to their customer segments.
- Level 4 – Uses data-driven insights to strengthen its personalized efforts and retain clients through customer advocacy.
- Level 5 – Aligns marketing teams with customer segments to find innovative ways to use multi-channels.
You must know which level you are in the model above and find a way to scale up to the next level to grow your law firm.
6. More B2B Partnerships
Returning to omnichannel marketing, you must consider partnering with relevant businesses for referrals. Setting up a B2B referral system means incentivizing referrers, following up on referrals, and analyzing referral data, among others. If done correctly, these can be a boon for your law firm–it has almost a 50% usage rate and over 40% efficacy among affiliates.
You should also explore cross-promotion as another type of B2B partnership. Personal injury lawyers can partner with osteopathic and rehabilitation doctors whose patients may have legitimate personal injury claims. These doctors can refer them to these firms for potential legal action. You will then have to reward these doctors for every successful referral they make for their troubles.
Pace Law’s referral program encourages people to forward potential physical injury clients its way. For every successful referral, the law firm will pay the referrer the amount aligned with the Law Society’s standards.
If people can prove to Pace Law that they can refer them to highly qualified prospects, regardless of their profession, they should get into the program without any problems.
7. Integration of Content Authenticity Tech
Too much dependence on AI in content creation may risk law firms deceiving their audience. Aside from generating robotic-sounding and impersonalized content, AI may sometimes hallucinate and produce content that makes people question their perception. In fact, it has already misled 77% of users.
That’s why you must put measures like content authenticity in place to prevent producing deceptive content on your site. The process lets you verify if the content you will publish under your brand was created with the assistance of AI. If so, you can ensure the content is unique and accurate before publishing it on your site.
8. A Mix of In-House Marketing Professionals and Outside Consultants
Having an in-house marketing team develop your strategies lets you save costs and maximize revenue. But if your campaign results reach a plateau and your business growth reaches a standstill, you must consider getting outside help. 88% of law firms outsource their marketing activities mostly to consultants and agencies, allowing them to focus on what they’re good at.
A marketing agency, consultant, and freelancer can see your campaign and performance with a fresh set of eyes. Their insights enable you and your team to see things you couldn’t catch before, ideally allowing your law firm to develop a better-performing marketing plan.
Working with in-house and outsourced marketing teams shows your law firm’s maturity. Having both lets you be agile with your marketing campaigns and scale accordingly. Organizations with medium to high SEO maturity take the hybrid approach in their SEO resourcing strategy.
Hire a Forward-Looking Marketing Partner
When it comes to outside agencies, you can’t go wrong with On The Map Marketing. We have helped hundreds of law firms in various practice areas launch marketing campaigns proven to bring your firm more leads and clients now and in the future. Reach out to us to receive a free consultation. If we’re a fit, we’ll conduct a free website marketing audit for you.
Article by Christopher Jan Benitez
Chris has 15+ years of experience providing top-notch content for agencies and consultants across various industries. He has expertly weathered through and adapted to the ever-changing demands of client content creation. Outside work, he has a healthy Nintendo Switch obsession and plays terrible guitar.
Table of Contents