Marketing can be different depending on the size of the law firm. The sad truth is that larger law firms have far more time, resources, and experience to market meaningfully. That doesn’t mean small businesses can’t compete, though. In fact, small businesses can capitalize on specific tactics to create a successful and sustainable marketing plan. Here’s what you need to know about marketing for small law firms.
What are the marketing challenges for small businesses?
Marketing is often more difficult for companies that are not as well established. It makes sense – small businesses simply cannot do what large organizations can. Specifically, smaller law firms tend to experience:
- A lack of resources – Small businesses may not have an in-house marketer or full-time employee. Effective marketing requires time, technology, and careful attention to campaign budgets and performance. Without these resources, new businesses are at a disadvantage.
- Reduced budgets – Traditionally, small businesses have a tighter budget to stick to. When it comes to digital marketing, many lawyers aren’t as familiar with the tactics and don’t want to experiment using their limited dollars.
- Competition from large companies – Chances are your small business will be up against bigger companies that have greater brand recognition and a more authoritative digital presence. This can make it difficult to discover on digital channels.
Steps for Small Law Firm Marketing
Since budgets are limited and your small business must be particularly demanding on resources, it is important to be thoughtful and intentional in your marketing. Here are the things to do before you start running campaigns:
1. Understand your audience
Don’t pay money to reach an audience you haven’t researched. You need to think about who your ideal customers are and what motivates them. Create customer personas that will become the foundation of your marketing strategy.
Learn how to create an ideal customer profile with this guide.
2. Expand your messaging
You need a polished, impactful message that clearly explains to your target audience how your service meets their needs. Consider how to educate future customers, show value and display expertise.
3. Calculate your budget
Marketing will quickly become expensive if you don’t strategize and prioritize early on. Think about what you are willing to spend and what you want to spend money on before you start.
4. Determine analyzes
Before you start leveraging real tactics, you need to know what success looks like. Determine how you will monitor and measure your business and its effectiveness. In particular, ensure that Google Analytics and Google Search Console are properly configured and used.
Effective marketing channels for small businesses
The most important part of your marketing strategy is determining which channels can have the most impact for your business. These are the ones that most often make sense at startup.
1. Content Marketing
Without great content, any additional tactics won’t be as effective. Content includes everything from your web copy to blogs, social media posts, or anything that potential customers can interact with.
Check out this free content marketing eBook for more tips.
2. Search Engine Optimization
The process of optimizing your website to appear in organic searches is absolutely crucial. Good SEO is multidisciplinary and focuses on both on-page and off-page SEO, but well-researched keywords are the foundation. Local SEO is especially important for small businesses.
Check out this on-demand webinar: SEO Basics in an Hour for a full breakdown of how to create an SEO strategy.
3. Online reputation management
Like SEO, managing your online reputation is essential. Building and monitoring your reputation on popular review sites, as well as encouraging customer reviews, testimonials, and case studies, is essentially free. Make getting positive reviews at the end of an engagement part of your customer service model and nurture them where necessary.
4. Pay per click
PPC is the process of advertising on another publisher’s platform or search engine and paying a fee each time someone clicks on your ad. Since you only pay when someone interacts with your ad, you can work within a budget and get the most out of your resources. It’s important to research keywords and create compelling ads before launching a campaign.
Here is a blog explaining how to use PPC effectively.
5. Email Marketing
It takes time to build a list of prospects, contacts, subscribers and past customers. Once you’ve done that, email marketing is a great way to reach your database. Again, the costs are low, so a powerful return on investment is possible. Segmentation and automation can go further and allow you to better reach your customers and prospects.
Tips for your most effective marketing
Finally, let’s cover some of the common misconceptions that can benefit small businesses the most.
- Always balance your paid channels with organic SEO. Remember that paid channels work when campaigns are running. SEO and other reputation management tactics work all the time.
- Use retargeting on PPC platforms. Options like Google Ads and Facebook allow you to retarget audiences that have already engaged with your business, resulting in a better return on investment.
- Use blog content to target long-tail keywords. Adding a blog to your web content is a game changer. You can expand the reach of your business by researching keywords and including them in blog content that you can promote through other channels.
- Analyze and optimize. Most things will take a few tries to get right. That’s why it’s important that you have analytics set up correctly, so you can see how things work, test options, and try again.
Marketing for small law firms is a complex and ever-changing landscape, and it can be daunting to venture into new channels as a small firm. However, there are many things you can do to maximize results with a small team or a small budget. If you don’t know where to start, it’s always a good idea to ask for help.