How A Strong Online Presence Can Help Law Firms Retain Cases
Jun 17 2021
There are more than 1.3 million lawyers in the U.S., each facing a familiar marketing challenge: attracting new business in a competitive industry. While company websites, sponsorships, seminars, and more traditional marketing are perceived as the best tools to acquire new clients, digital channels offer law firms more effective ways to understand and target specific audiences. When used correctly, a strong online presence can be a game-changer for firms looking to maximize their budget while increasing the amount of retained cases.
Here’s how your firm can make the most out of its digital efforts.
Do Clients Really Find Firms Online?
Per attorneys, most clients prefer to stay local and discover firms within a 10-mile radius. Consumer data agrees with the importance of proximity to a law firm, as 78% of potential clients say it’s important to hire a “local lawyer” within 24 miles, and 76% report looking for an attorney online.
Attorneys and law firms dedicated to properly wielding the powerful tools a working digital strategy offers can better compete for prime digital real estate through sponsored posts, search results and paid social ads rewards. 31% of lawyers say they retained a case through digital means — and for people in search of legal counsel, online resources provide access to key information about local attorneys, including who they are, their case history, and their reputation. The average customer reports reading 10 reviews before deciding who will handle their case.
Many legal partners acknowledge the need to more fully invest in digital strategies to take advantage of these figures, but the familiarity of traditional advertising and complexity of a constantly-evolving online marketplace can make it difficult to get effective campaigns off the ground.
Effective Online Tools You Should Be Using
Legal firms looking to market themselves digitally must establish clearly-defined goals. The more on-target firms are with their initial campaign setup, the faster they’ll see retained cases and optimal performance. Using available data to understand a firm’s market, audience and geography will help strike the proper balance between brand awareness and lower funnel strategies.
There are several approaches to effective social content attorneys can deploy. Here are some of the biggest client acquisition drivers:
Search: Geography is critical, making “near me” searches along with DMA, county, city, and zip targeting a worthy investment — but search can do more than cast a broad net. Long-tail search terms are less common (and therefore less competitive) and can be just as effective at driving upper-funnel searches to your website.
Brand Awareness: The legal vertical is notorious for spending big on traditional advertising methods, with little control over the intended audience or insight into a prospective customer’s progress through the sales funnel. Social media’s ability to target vast audiences of more qualified users gives firms more insight into audience behavior, lowers CPMs and increases brand reach — not to mention putting ad frequency and the ability to share a complete narrative fully in the hands of the advertiser.
Retargeting: Retargeting is one of the most powerful tools available to marketers across social channels. retargeting keeps potential customers in the conversion funnel and can dynamically target those customers on a case-by-case basis. Retargeting helps tell your firm’s story and offer specific examples of how you can help, allowing you to resonate with a highly-qualified audience.
Social Media: Video, carousel ads, static — all forms of social media creative can work and drive users toward different goals and objectives. Structure creative around the story you’re telling and combine with retargeting to stay top-of-mind.
Programmatic Display: Display can account for the path most customers take on their journey to seeking legal counsel. Identifying behavior indicating a likely need for an attorney before a specific search for a lawyer or firm is made can help refine targeting and create efficiencies across platforms.
CTV: CTV is a game-changer for a previously TV-heavy industry. Video ads on the largest screen in the room can verify a 100% completed view and identify that someone watched the content and was a unique visitor or impression. Even better, CTV campaigns can track whether that impression resonated with a user who later landed on a firm’s site or who filled out a form. Viewers can then be retargeted across devices with additional messaging, prompting action.
Tracking Campaign Success with Retained Cases
For legal digital marketers, performance goes beyond simple lead generation. Effective digital ads focus not only on impressions and clicks, but also on retained cases and cost-per-retained case.
One of the biggest advantages to digital campaigns compared to traditional offline advertising is the ability to more precisely measure the impact of each marketing dollar. By properly attributing results to campaign efforts exercised months or even years beforehand, digital ad success offers an accurate gauge of campaign effectiveness compared to law firms still stuck solely on traditional methods — plus a host of optimization options to improve performance.
By more clearly understanding what drives users to take action, which messages resonate with audiences, and the behaviors leading up to retaining a lawyer, campaigns can become more efficient. When cases are retained following precise digital efforts, the cost-per-case decreases, creating more ROAS. Digital marketing allows legal teams to not only better define their audiences, but get a more thorough understanding of their path through data.