Law Firm Marketing Strategies: How to Create a Marketing Plan

Chapter 1 of this three-part guide introduced the basics of law firm marketing, covering some major techniques. In this chapter, we'll explain how to build these techniques into law firm marketing strategies and create a marketing plan for your firm.

  Law Firm Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Practice  

Chapter 2

Law Firm Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Practice

In this chapter, we'll explain how to build these techniques into law firm marketing strategies and create a marketing plan for your firm. We'll follow up in Chapter 3 by sharing top marketing ideas for law firms.

We’ll follow up in Chapter 3 by sharing top marketing ideas for law firms.

In this chapter, we will answer the following questions:

  • What is a law firm marketing strategy?
  • How do I create a law firm marketing plan?
  • What should I include in a law firm marketing plan?

Let’s dive in:

Law Firm Marketing Strategies vs. Plans vs. Tactics

Before we begin, let’s define the difference between law firm marketing strategies, plans, and tactics. These distinctions will help clarify what a legal marketing strategy is and what components go into a successful marketing strategy for law firms.

  • law firm marketing strategy is a set of goals identifying what you will do to achieve your practice’s promotional objectives. It provides a high-level view of how your firm plans to reach prospective clients and turn them into new clients. It includes your firm’s value proposition, which sums up which benefits you offer clients.
  • law firm marketing plan lays out a roadmap for achieving your strategic goals. It builds on your overall marketing strategy by developing a detailed outline of how you will execute your strategy. For example, how you will reach your target audience, carry out marketing campaigns over a designated period, and measure the success of your marketing efforts.
  • law firm marketing tactic is a specific activity you implement to execute your marketing plan. It consists of concrete methods and procedures which put your plan into effect.

To illustrate, let’s say your firm has decided to adopt a strategy of attracting more clients by positioning your partners as thought leaders in your legal niche. To achieve this strategic goal, you develop a plan to publish a specific amount of digital content per month to communicate your expertise to more prospects. Tactics you will use to implement this plan include blogging, social media posts, video marketing, and email marketing.

How To Create a Law Firm Marketing Strategy

How to Create a Law Firm Marketing Strategy


To lay a foundation for an effective law firm marketing strategy, you need to perform five essential tasks:

1. Understand your target audience

2. Map your client’s journey

3. Define your value proposition

4. Differentiate your brand

5. Evaluate your competition

Let’s look at what each of these steps involves:

1. Understand Your Target Audience

There are different areas of law for a reason, so it makes sense that the audiences law firms market will follow suit. For example, a business litigation firm and a pharmaceutical mass tort firm aren’t targeting the same audience. Each audience has different specific needs that will attract them to their respective legal services. Defining your firm’s target audience is one of the most critical steps in developing your marketing strategy. If you’re not reaching the right people in the right way, your efforts will almost always fall short.

Understand who your clients are and their needs, and use this information to create a profile of your ideal client. Ask yourself, are you marketing to:

  • Past clients?
  • Current clients?
  • Industry contacts?
  • Other lawyers?

Expand your answers by considering the characteristics of your target client, such as:

  • Location
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Income
  • Industry
  • Job title
  • Preferred communication channels
  • Interests
  • Needs

This information can help you identify your clients, where they are, how to reach them, and what type of message will appeal to them.

In many cases, your target audience can be divided into multiple segments. In this case, you’ll want to create more than one ideal buyer profile. You can then prioritize the segments representing your most profitable opportunities and customize your marketing campaigns for different parts of your client base.

2. Map Your Client Journey

A client journey consists of your clients’ steps as they progress from potential clients to paying, satisfied clients who refer others to your firm. The beginning of the legal client journey can be divided into three main stages:

1. Awareness Stage

In the awareness stage, prospective clients become conscious of your brand. For example, they may hear about your firm from a friend, see your ad on TV, or stumble across your website. At this stage, they may not necessarily even be looking for legal assistance, but you’re on their radar, making them more likely to think of you if they do need a lawyer.

2. Consideration Stage

In the consideration stage, prospects become actively interested in learning more about your firm as they entertain the possibility of hiring you. They may take steps such as browsing your website, subscribing to your social media following and email lists, and reading your firm’s online reviews. If all goes well, this stage culminates with the prospect scheduling an initial consultation.

3. Decision Stage

In the decision stage, clients evaluate the pros and cons of hiring you and decide whether or not your fee is worth it. If they choose to hire you, this stage concludes with the client signing a representation agreement.

At this point, your prospect has become a client, and they enter a new leg of their client journey. Satisfied clients may become loyal, long-term clients and refer you to others, starting the marketing cycle again by bringing new clients into your door.

To optimize your client journey and promote the conversion of prospects into clients, you can create a map of your client journey that identifies desired outcomes for each stage and what procedures you will follow to achieve those outcomes. A client journey map allows you to develop procedures that align with your marketing objectives.

For example, your client journey map should outline your client intake procedures, which are pivotal in persuading new prospects to become clients. Your intake procedures include:

  • The actions you take upon initially meeting a new prospect.
  • The questions you ask to evaluate the prospect’s needs.
  • The follow-up actions you take to convince the prospect to hire you.

Many firms fall short in failing to follow up consistently on initial contacts. A client journey map can help you avoid this oversight and develop effective follow-up procedures which increase prospect conversion rates.

3. Define Your Value Proposition

Your value proposition defines what you can offer your clients to motivate them to choose your law firm over another firm. It forms the heart of the marketing message you seek to communicate to prospects and clients over their client journey.

A strong value proposition should include several core elements:

  • What you offer clients
  • Why they should want what you offer
  • Why they should want it from you instead of another law firm

Your value proposition should be concise enough to deliver over all the media you use to communicate with clients and serve as an effective marketing tool. Think about a statement you could deliver between floors of an elevator or in a tweet on Twitter. Aiming for 90 words or less is a good rule of thumb.

4. Differentiate Your Brand

One purpose of your value proposition is to differentiate your brand from competitors, which is essential for effective marketing. Branding and marketing are the first steps to bolstering your firm’s reputation. It takes planning, time, and a clear vision. You know your firm’s brand and the clients you want. Brand yourself. Good branding starts with you differentiating yourself from your competitors. Focus on what services or personal styles are unique to you and your firm.

Your brand identity should resonate consistently throughout your marketing materials, including your law firm’s website, logo, letterhead, business card, social media profile, and anywhere else you interact with prospects and clients. Creating and documenting formal brand guideline policies and procedures for your marketing team to follow will help you present a consistent image to your target audience, distinguishing your brand from competing firms.

5. Evaluate Your Competition

You need to understand your competitors and their marketing strategies to differentiate your brand from the competition. Analyze who your competitors are, their actions to attract clients, and where their SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) lie.

Evaluating your competition starts by identifying who your main competitors are. Once you’ve done this, you can gather information on them from sources such as their digital properties and client reviews. Use this information to analyze your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. Determine where you can gain a competitive advantage and what you should emphasize in your value proposition and marketing campaigns.


What to Include in a Law Firm Marketing Plan

Once you’ve performed the preliminary steps above to develop your marketing strategy, you can begin building your law firm marketing plan using these five steps:

1. Define the goals of your marketing campaigns

2. Craft your marketing message

3. Establish your marketing budget

4. Determine which marketing channels you will use

5. Measure your performance

Let’s break down each of these steps:

1. Define the Goals of Your Marketing Campaigns

Clear goals should guide a winning marketing campaign. Common objectives include:

  • Building brand awareness among your target market and its various segments
  • Generating leads through engagement with prospects
  • Client acquisition which converts prospects into clients
  • Increasing customer lifetime value by developing sales strategies that promote higher-value services, repeat business, and referrals

Use Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to make your goals measurable for the best results. For example, suppose your goal is to build brand awareness. In that case, you might define this as increasing your website traffic to a specified level or adding a specific number of social media followers.

2. Craft Your Marketing Message

To achieve your marketing goals, you’ll need an effective marketing message. To develop a compelling message:

  • Identify your audience’s needs
  • Present a solution to their needs
  • Present results your solution has produced for other clients
  • Explain what separates you from your competitors

Your message is encapsulated in your value proposition, as discussed earlier. Reinforce and expand upon your value proposition in your various marketing materials, including digital content, traditional media, and in-person interactions.

3. Establish Your Marketing Budget

Distributing your marketing message through channels that reach your target audience will require a budget. Establishing your budget will help you determine what you can afford to spend on your campaigns and where you should allocate your priorities.

To develop your budget:

  • Determine your current marketing spend to establish a baseline
  • Measure the effectiveness of your marketing spend by identifying which campaigns are performing and what isn’t working
  • Optimize your marketing efforts by replicating effective strategies, eliminating wasteful campaigns, and testing campaign adjustments

You can set your marketing budget as a percentage of your gross revenue. Legal practice management consultants typically recommend spending 2% to 5% of gross revenue on marketing, but this can vary by factors such as your firm’s size, geographic location, and target market. Smaller firms generally spend more than larger firms to generate sustainable revenue. On average, firms spend between 6% and 20% of their gross revenue on marketing.

4. Determine What Marketing Channels You Will Use

Another critical step is determining which marketing channels to conduct your campaigns. As previously mentioned, you have to define your audience and understand where they are. For a business litigation firm, their audience is likely on LinkedIn. This type of firm will want to focus on building a solid presence on LinkedIn through tactics such as ads, circulating thought leadership pieces, and employee engagement. Facebook is another platform that other practice areas, such as mass tort, will find success in reaching their target audience.

Your appropriate mix of channels depends on various factors, including:

  • Your law firm’s specialties
  • The services you’re promoting
  • Your target audience’s demographics
  • The geographic area you serve
  • What are your marketing goals are
  • Your budget

At the outset, you won’t know your optimal marketing channel mix. You can improve your efficiency over time by tracking which channels deliver the best results and prioritizing these.

5. Measure Your Performance

Performance measurement is a final critical ingredient of an effective marketing plan. Every firm’s goals for marketing are different, but one thing remains the same — having clear goals tied to data and a time frame. It’s easy to generalize goals and say, for instance, “I want to generate more leads.” Lead generation is a common goal for many firms, but it’s missing metrics that will later help you determine the success of this goal.

To determine which metrics you will use:

1. Begin with the end in mind.

2. Create an attainable goal, such as increasing brand awareness or generating leads, and project how long it will take to achieve it.

3. Identify KPIs which correspond to your goal to establish how you will measure the success of your marketing efforts.

Common marketing performance metrics include:

  • Lead Conversion Rate: how many of your prospects become clients?
  • Return on Investment (ROI): how much revenue does your marketing dollar earn?
  • Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): what do you have to spend to gain a new client?
  • Cost Per Lead (CPL): what does it cost to gain a new lead?
  • Marketing-Qualified Lead (MQL) to Sales-Qualified Lead (SQL) ratio: how many of your leads are qualified by your sales team?

There are several other marketing KPIs you can use. Work with your marketing and financial planning teams to develop KPIs appropriate to your firm’s business goals.

Strengthen Your Marketing Strategy with Law Firm Management Software

In today’s digital economy, an effective marketing plan depends on support from the right technology. Legal practice management software supports your marketing efforts by maximizing your efficiency through automation and reducing friction during client onboarding. Don’t let your marketing efforts go to waste due to a lack of resources to manage new leads.

Lead Capture and Lead Management

An issue some firms find themselves in is a lack of resources to manage new leads. If your marketing strategy is performing, odds are you have a flow of leads or new business that you weren’t previously receiving, and you will need to use a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool.

The best way to convert incoming leads is to have seamless, self-service tools. PracticePanther’s custom intake forms are great for managing your marketing efforts because they do the work for you. There is no paper and client handwriting to decipher — clients simply input the data through your firm’s custom form. Automating your intake forms will help your firm handle new leads and show prospective clients that your firm is modern, tech-savvy, and values their privacy.

Keep Leads from Going Cold

The more “set it and forget it” style processes you bake into your marketing strategy, the better. It’s one thing to capture new leads via automated intake, but the follow-up is just as necessary as closing on new business. With PracticePanther, you can create custom workflows that assign tasks to team members and send reminders. A standardized process will make onboarding new clients easier, limit confusion amongst your team, and keep leads from going cold.

Put Your Law Firm Marketing Plan into Practice

In this chapter, we’ve shared five of the most important keys to building a law firm marketing strategy and five essential elements to include in a law firm marketing plan. The right technology can help you put your plan into practice, allowing you to execute your strategy with automated efficiency. Read Chapter 3 to learn about the best marketing ideas for law firm teams.

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Access 40+ pages of proven marketing tactics to create a strategic law firm marketing plan!

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Download the Law Firm Marketing Guide PDF Download the Law Firm Marketing Guide PDF

Download the Law Firm Marketing Guide PDF

Access 40+ pages of proven marketing tactics to create a strategic law firm marketing plan!


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