As we’re stepping into 2024, it’s important to take stock of what marketing strategies worked best for your firm last year, and which methods should be a thing of the past. Perhaps you saw major payoffs from Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but few results from email marketing. Or, maybe you doubled-down on Social and pulled away from Paid. Now’s the time to incorporate these learnings into your 2024 marketing plan!
We have a few ideas. In this article, we’ll describe the methods that worked best for law firms in 2023 and should be carried over to see massive growth in 2024. So, if you’re ready for more traffic, more leads, and more clients, give this guide a read!
1. Optimize (and redesign) your law firm website
If your law firm website needs a makeover, this can be a great first step going into the new year. It’s an opportunity to not only refresh your website’s design, but also optimize your platform to generate more traffic.
Here are a few signs your website might need a redesign:
- It’s outdated. If your website looks “old” compared to current design trends, it might give the impression that your firm is behind the times.
- It’s difficult to navigate. High bounce rates or client complaints about navigation issues might suggest that people are struggling to navigate your website.
- It’s hard to use on mobile devices. Your site’s inability to adapt to mobile devices (mainly, smartphones) could result in fewer website visitors and negatively impact your organic search rankings.
- It loads slowly. Visitors tend to leave a website if it takes too long to load. Slow speeds can harm user experience and impact SEO. Cache plugins can help with that.
- Your content is out of date. Outdated or irrelevant content might indicate a need for a refresh, which could include updating your services or better aligning website copy to appeal to clients’ needs.
- It doesn’t include SEO. If your website is not optimized for (or is poorly optimized for) organic search, you’re going to miss out on additional site traffic and clients.
- It doesn’t stand out from your competitors. If your competitors have more modern, user-friendly websites, this might entice potential clients to work with them instead of you.
For more growth (in terms of traffic and clients) in 2024, consider optimizing and/or redesigning your website. A fresh look can help you stand out from your competitors and updated SEO will help you drive more organic traffic and leads. If you’ve been thinking about redesigning your law firm website for a while, now’s the time to do it!
2. Leverage organic search engine marketing
While Google is obviously the most popular search engine, it’s not the only one. There are several search-driven platforms that can help your law firm get more traffic and leads.
One such platform is YouTube, which connects users with content (videos) when they search for topics (keywords). You can capitalize on this traffic potential by creating your own videos related to legal topics, and by optimizing your videos according to YouTube SEO best practices, such as including keywords in your title, adding an eye-catching thumbnail, and drafting detailed video descriptions.
LinkedIn is another surprising search engine platform, using degree of Connections, hashtags, engagement, and keywords to surface content. Legal professionals can use LinkedIn to build Connections, post content, interact with users, and generate leads.
SEO for Google, Bing, and other search engines is perhaps the most effective way for law firms to drive more organic traffic. Law firm SEO involves optimizing your website with target keywords, maximizing site speed and performance, updating your directory listings (like your Google Business Profile), earning positive online reviews, and optimizing for local search.
3. Build (or grow) your referral network
Many of the best lawyer-client relationships are built on trust. That’s what makes referrals such a valuable source of leads for law firms; if another business (or past client) can vouch for your services, a prospective client is more likely to work with you.
But simply waiting for new referrals to come in is not a “strategy”. It takes effort to build a valuable and extensive referral network. Here’s how you do that:
- Use LinkedIn, social media, and networking meetups to connect with fellow attorneys, legal professionals, and related service providers. You can also connect via bar associations, legal societies, and industry events.
- Build positive relationships with existing and past clients. Happy clients can be an excellent source of referrals!
- Attend legal conferences and seminars. Active participation in professional events can help you meet potential referral partners, share your expertise, and even attract clients.
- Reach out to new and existing contacts via social media or email. Suggest a structured referral program, outlining the terms and benefits for both parties. You might suggest sending referrals their way in return.
- Stay in touch with your referral network and check in regularly. Let your referral partners know when you’ve closed on a new client they’ve sent your way — and express gratitude for their support.
Referral partners can extend beyond legal professionals as well. You can also collaborate with complementary businesses to offer bundled services or joint packages. For example, partnering with a financial planning firm or an insurance agency could create cross-referral opportunities for you and the other business.
4. Demonstrate thought leadership through content
For many law firms, their content strategy consists of putting service pages up on their website and calling it a day. This is a good start, but it doesn’t take full advantage of all the benefits that great content marketing has to offer.
Consider all the different content formats out there, and the potential benefits of each…
- Blog posts: Great for providing in-depth information, sharing insights, publishing case studies, and improving SEO through keywords.
- Whitepapers/ebooks: Ideal for presenting research findings, detailed guides, or in-depth analysis, positioning your firm as an authority in your field.
- Infographics: Visually appealing and shareable, infographics help you convey complex information in a digestible format, making it easier to understand by potential clients.
- Videos: You can clarify complex legal concepts in an engaging way, and generate traffic in the process.
- Webinars/Live Streams: Webinars and live-streams can help you establish authority, conduct educational sessions, and interact with your audience in real-time.
- Podcasts: Offer the convenience of on-the-go learning, discussions, and interviews regarding your practice areas and services.
- Social media posts: Amplify your reach and engagement by posting on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and X.
- Email newsletters: Maintain regular communication, share updates or case studies, and provide valuable insights directly to your subscribers
You can experiment with different content types, topics, and posting platforms to generate even more traffic. Why depend on only one platform (your website) to be the traffic generator? If you want to see growth in 2024, thought leadership content is the way to go!
5. Integrate new technology and legal software
Perhaps you’ve heard the saying, “Work smarter, not harder”. But, as a lawyer, you might be like, “Impossible! All my work is hard!”. And man, do we feel that. So, how can law firms work “smarter” when client work demands the trusted expertise of real, human lawyers?
We’re not suggesting you cut corners here. But, there are many tools you can use to streamline repetitive and menial tasks in your business. These tasks might include: new client intake, sending documents, filing documents, sending invoices, sending invoice reminders, managing your books, posting on social media content, or scheduling meetings, just to name a few.
Here are a few examples of legal software tools that can be used to economize or otherwise streamline these tasks:
- Clio Grow can simplify the new client onboarding process by collecting client information, generating documents, and sending docs for e-signature.
- PandaDoc allows you to create proposal templates, optimize agreement workflows, and even collect payment.
- Online invoicing and bookkeeping software like Quickbooks make it easy to send, duplicate, track, and follow up on invoices in just a few clicks.
- Hootsuite is a social media marketing and management tool that can automate posting, track engagement and clicks, and surface new content ideas.
- Calendly offers a simple call-booking platform that allows users to schedule consultations, can send automated reminders for meetings, and can collect and save user information for better lead management.
One of the biggest ways that law firms will see growth is by adopting new, efficient technology. Implementing legal tech solutions can enhance client service delivery, improve efficiency, save on costs, and help your firm stand out from slow-moving competitors.
6. Gather client reviews and social proof
The best reference for your amazing work is reviews from happy clients. While your website copy may herald your expertise, case studies, etc., potential clients often put a lot more stock in testimonials from past clients.
Earning (and highlighting) positive reviews should be a priority for law firms this year. This might include implementing an email follow-up prompting past clients to leave a review on Google, screen-grabbing client praise from social media, or requesting video testimonials from your most enthusiastic clients.
Many times, clients will be happy to leave reviews on multiple channels. You just need to give them the opportunity. Include links to your Google Business Profile, Facebook, Lawyers.com, Yelp, or wherever you have an online listing.
Positive feedback from past clients can build credibility and influence potential clients' decisions to choose your firm. It can also be used and repurposed in your other marketing content, like social media posts or blog articles.
7. Update your Client Relationship Management (CRM) system
A Client Relationship Management (CRM) system refers to any process and/or software used to collect, manage, report on, and retain client information.
A common low-tech method is to simply record client information in a file during phone intake. However, this can be tedious, often lacks security protocol, and is often susceptible to human error. CRM software presents an easier, error-free solution to tracking leading, saving client information, and nurturing client relationships.
A well-organized CRM system – such as Clio, Zoho, or HubSpot – can improve client communication, increase retention rates, and help your team identify opportunities for upselling or cross-selling your services. These tools also track the success (or failure) of your closing techniques; you can see how often you close new clients, the revenue value of said clients, and the retention rate of existing clients. The data provided by CRM tools will help you make better decisions regarding your law firm growth strategy and finances.
8. Invest in team training and development
There’s no better investment than investing in your team. No amount of money spent on ads, CRM tools, or software will make up for having an inexperienced team. One noble goal for 2024 is to set your team up for success with supportive training, materials, coaching, and tools.
Team training first starts the philosophy and culture of your business. Does your business foster a culture of continuous learning? Are team members free to ask questions, and are provided with attentive answers? Does your team feel supported in providing constructive feedback?
Investing in team development also means equipping your team with the materials and tools they need to be successful. Do you encourage lawyers and staff to pursue additional certifications? Attend industry conferences? Participate in workshops? Do you stay up to date with technology that could make their jobs easier, more efficient, and more rewarding?
Last (but not least), investment in your team also means providing practical and financial encouragement. Are they fairly compensated for their work? Are there financial incentives to take on more clients, suggest marketing initiatives, etc.? Do you conduct regular check-ins to provide feedback, discuss new research and trends, or provide coaching?
This exact process will look different for every firm, but it’s a process that’s often overlooked, especially when the focus tends to be on marketing and profitability. Investing in your team will lead to more value provided to clients, greater client satisfaction, better closing rates, and better results overall. Now that’s real growth.
What growth initiatives are important to your law firm in 2024?