Attorney Marketing Plan and Strategy: Step-By-Step Guide (2024)
Law Firm Marketing Strategy » Attorney Marketing Plan and Strategy: Step-By-Step Guide (2024)
Have ideas for growing your law firm and making a dent in the legal industry?
If you can think it, you can make it — but only if you document it into a detailed attorney marketing plan.
We put together this step-by-step guide on how to build a marketing plan that will bring your goals to fruition. We’ll guide you through specific steps, like conducting competitor research, outlining your legal services, pinning down your marketing budget, and so on.
But first, a quick introduction.
What is a Law Firm Marketing Strategy?
In simple terms, a law firm marketing strategy defines your desired goals, target audience, and core messaging behind your campaign.
The main purpose of a marketing strategy is to guide your decision-making throughout key marketing activities. This includes branding, content marketing, campaign budget management, and marketing analytics.
Benefits of Law Firm Marketing
Building a detailed and, ideally, documented law firm marketing strategy comes with the following benefits:
- Reach the right audience. Your marketing strategy lets you pull in the right kind of leads through your marketing efforts. Without highlighting a target audience in your marketing strategy, you may end up wasting money on people with zero chances of becoming actual paying clients.
- Manage your marketing budget. A marketing strategy makes sure your efforts don’t compromise your law firm’s cash flow. The goal is to procure enough funds for marketing tools, high-quality content creation, promotions, advertising, and partnerships.
- Increase marketing ROI. Following a detailed marketing strategy from a budget perspective will help maximize the ROI of your campaigns. It lets you save money on ineffective channels, improve the efficiency of marketing tasks, and focus on high-ROI channels.
- Track and enhance your marketing results. Your law firm marketing strategy should define the metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) you’ll use to measure the performance of your marketing efforts. This will help you iron out the creases and scale your strategy over time.
- Build a consistent brand. The lack of a goal-oriented marketing strategy may lead to mixed or inconsistent messaging across different channels. To make the most out of your marketing, you need a solid brand-building directive that improves your firm’s reputation and hireability in the eyes of prospective clients.
While a marketing strategy lays the essential foundations, your marketing plan provides a roadmap that will get you to your goals.
Legal Marketing Strategy Vs. Plan
In the business world, marketing strategy and marketing plan are sometimes mistakenly used interchangeably. And while they seem similar at first, they have significant differences in terms of scope and function.
Your legal marketing strategy addresses the “whys” behind marketing tactics and establishes long-term, overarching guidelines for campaigns. Marketing plans, on the other hand, outline the specific steps your law firm should take in order to achieve your marketing objectives.
How to Build Your Law Firm Marketing Plan
Every legal marketing strategy needs a marketing plan that turns ideas into actionable steps.
Let’s get started:
1. Identify Your Marketing Goals
First things first, you need to underline the main reasons why you need a marketing plan.
Do you need to generate law firm leads through Google Search? Are you looking to establish a community-driven company and raise brand awareness through local events?
The more specific your goals, the better. As a rule of thumb, make sure that your goals are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) and well-documented to make them useful for decision-making.
For example, here’s what a SMART goal for law firms should look like:
“The goal is to increase our personal injury leads by 200% through a combination of offline and online marketing strategies targeting New York and New Jersey areas in the next 60 days.”
Apart from empowering your legal marketing decision-making, setting clear goals is also statistically proven to improve your chances of success. CoSchedule’s 2022 Trend Report on Marketing Strategy shows that brands that set clear marketing goals are 377% more likely to succeed than their peers.
Defining your goals will help you determine the tools, talents, and channels you need to get results. It’s also the key to identifying which metrics and KPIs to track in order to measure performance.
2. Outline Your Legal Services
You should already know the legal services your law firm offers, be it estate planning, criminal defense, or DUI. It’s time to spice them up and repackage them specifically for the marketing plan you’ll carry out.
Let’s say your firm’s legal practice areas include intellectual property law. What you should do is highlight the reasons why new leads should choose your law firm over competitors.
What specific infringement claims do you handle? Do you have a proven track record or total amount recovered from won cases? Perhaps your firm will only charge clients if you win?
Answering these questions lets you create a more compelling core message, which will be reflected in your marketing content. This includes your print advertising materials and law firm’s website pages.
Here’s another tip: When building pages for your legal services, sprinkle them with client reviews and essential contact information.
3. Research Your Target Audience
Researching your target audience’s background, pain points, goals, and demographics will have a profound effect on your marketing plan. It will help you craft stronger copy for ads and marketing campaigns — as well as the most effective ways to deliver your message to potential clients.
Some of the best ways to research your target audience are conducting interviews, reviewing client testimonials, running surveys, reading legal market reports, and checking website traffic data with Google Analytics.
Compile everything you know about your target audience and past clients into a buyer persona. This is a mock profile of your ideal client, helping your marketing team fine-tune your firm’s messaging, content strategy, and promotion tactics.
4. Define What Your Law Firm’s Brand Stands For
The next step is to develop and instill a value proposition into your overall marketing strategy.
Think about the vision that drives your law firm forward. It should also briefly summarize the advantages of working with you and who your services are for.
Check out these examples:
- “We help business owners overcome and grow past legal issues with our personalized service.”
- “Helping the American worker get back on their feet with battle-tested injury law services.”
- “Protecting the future of hard-working New Yorkers facing bankruptcy challenges.”
Value propositions are often used to highlight a Call-To-Action or CTA. This is best done with an opt-in offer, like a free consultation or online course delivered via your email list.
While value propositions are short, they are essential to a law firm’s brand identity and marketing. A well-written value proposition will also enable you to connect with your target audience on a more personal and emotional level.
Your value proposition — or the main keywords in it — must be consistent across different marketing channels. This will keep your branding consistent and recognizable, helping you stand out among the competition and win the trust of your target clients.
5. Conduct Competitor Research and Try to Find a Market Gap
To launch an effective marketing campaign, you need to know who you’re up against.
Scout out the competition and try to locate gaps in their offline and digital marketing strategies. This pertains to underutilized marketing channels in your niche that could put your firm at the top of your audience’s mind.
Competitor research is also a great way to discover proven marketing tactics that will boost your local and online presence.
Suppose you’re a family law attorney based in San Diego. An easy starting point is to analyze the top results on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
You may notice that all of your top competitors run active blogs, but none of them leverage local events or video marketing for lead generation. While legal blogging should definitely be a part of your strategy, make it your priority to fill marketing gaps and rise from the competition.
Dissecting your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses will help you concoct aggressive marketing plans that get results. But it’s still important to experiment with other marketing channels to discover what works best for your law practice.
6. Identify the Best Marketing Channels For Your Law Practice
Law firms can utilize a number of marketing channels — online or offline — to win more business. Use the information you’ve gathered about your audience and competitors when choosing the best marketing channels for your campaign.
Below are ideas you can explore:
- Social media marketing (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.)
- Event marketing
- Email marketing campaigns
- Referral marketing (verbal or through backlinks)
- Legal directories (Avvo, Service Direct, Google My Business, etc.)
- Direct mail marketing
- Organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Local SEO
- Local services advertising
- Google Ads and other Pay-Per-Click (PPC) platforms
Of course, you should also consider your budget when finalizing the channels for your marketing plan.
Certain channels like direct mail, webinars, podcasts, and event marketing are more expensive than others, but they usually have higher ROI potential when executed effectively. There are also cost-effective channels capable of quick results, like social media platforms and local search ads.
7. Arrive at Your Marketing Budget
Sooner or later, you need to think about the costs associated with your marketing plan.
Setting a marketing budget ensures you don’t go overboard with your spending. It will help you allocate funds strategically over multiple marketing techniques and channels. More importantly, it lets you calculate the ROI of your marketing efforts.
How much money should you set aside for marketing?
According to the 2023 CallRail Marketing Outlook for Law Firms, law firms spend 15% of their annual budget on marketing activities.
However, every law firm is different — and a 15% annual budget allocation may be too much for some firms’ marketing goals. If you’re planning a marketing plan for a small law firm, feel free to settle for a lower budget until you’re getting consistent monthly returns from your marketing.
8. Settle on Your Law Firm’s Pricing Point
With your marketing budget set, you’ll be able to calculate your average Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) — the amount you spend to convert a single lead into a paying client. You can do this using the formula below:
CAC = (cost of sales + cost of marketing) ÷ number of new clients
Getting this figure will help you adjust your pricing strategy for your firm’s legal services. Just be cautious when marking up your prices and think about your type of client’s buying power.
If your rates become substantially higher than competitors, look at other ways to reduce your CAC and secure a positive cash flow. You can scale down your marketing activities, invest in automation, optimize conversion rates, find more cost-effective, or use a combination of these to reduce costs.
9. Get the Right Team in Place
With your target marketing channels and budget set, the next step is to assemble the manpower to give your plans some legs.
You have two options here: build your own team or hire a law firm marketing agency.
The first option is more practical if you have budget constraints. To further reduce costs, hire freelancers as opposed to hiring full-time professionals. You’ll find experienced marketing freelancers on marketplaces like Upwork.
Some of the talents you need for law firm marketing are:
- Law firm SEO specialist
- Marketing strategist
- Media buyers
- Social media manager
But if budget is not a problem and you need reliable, measurable results, go with an agency with a proven track record with legal marketing services. This route lets you skip the tricky aspects of planning a marketing strategy and building a team.
Just be sure to look for positive reviews and case studies to see if the agency has verifiable results. It’s also a good idea to investigate if they share the same core beliefs with your firm in terms of business values, client success, and accountability.
10. Set up Marketing Attribution and Establish KPIs
Before wrapping up your marketing plan, ask yourself these questions:
What will success look like? How can I determine which strategies actually impact my bottom line?
To answer these questions, start by identifying KPIs that are relevant to your marketing efforts. In addition to CAC, here are additional KPI examples in law firm marketing campaigns:
- New clients by source — The number of new clients acquired from marketing channels (events, referrals, social media, landing page, etc.).
- Conversion rate — The percentage of leads who become clients after engaging with your marketing content (can also be used to measure user experience and website design performance).
- Return On Investment — A straightforward KPI that compares profits against the amount spent on a marketing campaign.
You can track these KPIs and set up marketing attribution using analytics tools and law firm Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms like Clio.
By monitoring KPIs, you’ll be able to pinpoint weaknesses in your marketing strategy. This allows you to continuously discover improvement opportunities, maximizing your chances of achieving or even exceeding your marketing goals.
Law Firm Marketing Plan Example
Putting together a cohesive marketing plan takes a lot of work. To get the ball rolling, let’s take a look at a law firm marketing plan example from Legal Expert Connections.
The plan starts with a list of priority marketing activities and their frequency. Each activity should come with a brief, actionable description.
The rest of the marketing plan requires you to specify important information, including your law firm’s marketing goals, areas of practice, target revenue, and an “elevator pitch” that encapsulates your firm’s value proposition and vision.
Remember, your marketing plan should be readable, accessible, and detailed. There’s no need to write an essay in any part of your plan — just be sure it’s clear enough for your marketing team to stay on the same page.
Kickstart Your Law Firm Marketing with Seasoned Professionals
Now it’s time to draft your law firm’s marketing plan. It is the embodiment of your entire marketing process, so build it carefully to position yourself for success.
If you need an expertly crafted blueprint for marketing success, we can build a tailor-made digital marketing plan for you if we’re a fit. Contact us sharing you business and marketing goals.
Next, read about the specific repeatable marketing tactics for attorneys.