When I was a TV reporter and anchor, the crew at the assignment desk loved it when solo attorneys would contact them with a great story. The media-savvy lawyers in South Florida made our job easy by lining up an interview with them, their client, and supplying video or images to help us tell the story.
Unfortunately, not enough lawyers at small firms understand this amazing way of earning free publicity. Hopefully, this article will help. But instead of teaching you how to act as your own publicist or how to hire a public relations agency like Media Maven, let’s start with the basics of having a strong website and marketing plan.
Website Design and Marketing for Small Law Firms
In this guide, I will go over some key considerations and steps to help you create or update a professional, effective website for your law firm. Then, I will break down a plan for creating or tweaking your current marketing strategy.
Website Design for Small Law Firms
1. Determine your goals and target audience
Before you start designing or making changes to your website, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what you want to achieve with your website and who your target audience is.
For example, are you looking to attract new clients to your law firm? Do you want to provide information about your services and expertise to potential clients? Or do you want to establish your law firm as a thought leader in a specific area of law? (It should be all of the above.)
Your target audience will also be a key factor in determining the design and content of your website.
For example, are you targeting individuals or businesses? Are you focusing on a specific geographic area or a particular practice area?
2. Choose a domain name and hosting provider
Your domain name is the web address that people will use to find your website, so it’s important to choose a domain name that is easy to remember and reflects your law firm’s branding.
Ideally, your domain name should be short and memorable, and it should contain your law firm’s name or a keyword related to your practice area.
Once you have chosen a domain name, you’ll need to find a hosting provider to store your website on the internet. I use Siteground and think their customer service is better than most other hosts.
There are many hosting providers to choose from, and the right one for you will depend on your needs and budget. Some hosting providers offer basic hosting plans for small firm websites, while others offer more advanced plans with additional features and support.
3. Design your website’s layout and structure
Now that you have a clear understanding of your goals and target audience and have chosen a domain name and hosting provider, it’s time to start designing your website.
One of the first things to consider is the layout and structure of your website. This includes deciding how many pages your website will have, what information will go on each page, and how the pages will be linked together.
Before I get to the layout and structure, I highly recommend reading and/or hiring someone who is well-versed in Building a StoryBrand. A StoryBrand Certified Guide is someone trained and licensed by StoryBrand to create marketing collateral for their customers using the StoryBrand Messaging Framework and Marketing Made Simple Framework.
The StoryBrand 7-Part (SB7) Framework
- Make your audience the hero. You are not the hero of your brand story.
- Define your audience’s problems.
- Be a guide with a solution.
- Create a clear plan.
- Include a clear call to action.
- Discuss the potential for failure.
- End your story with success.
This framework is essential in creating a website. If yours is already created, you may have some editing to do.
Here is more to consider for designing your website’s layout and structure for a positive user experience.
Your homepage is the first page that visitors to your website will see, so it’s important to make a good first impression. Consider including a brief overview of your law firm, your services, and your expertise on your homepage. This is a perfect place for the StoryBrand Framework.
You also want to include a call to action, such as a button that invites visitors to learn more about your services or contact you for a consultation. Tip: Don’t say “learn more”. Be more specific as to what the person visiting your website will gain, like: Click here to get access to 16 top websites accepting contributors now!
An “About us” page is a great opportunity to tell your law firm’s story and introduce your team. Consider including information about your history, your values, and your approach to client service.
Besides your homepage, this will most likely be the most visited page on your site, so make it different and stand out. Here is a link to the about page on my lifestyle blog that I love.
A “Services” page is a great place to detail the specific legal practice services that your law firm offers. Consider organizing your services by practice area and including a brief overview of each service.
Depending on your goals, you might want to include a “Resources” page on your website. This could be a place to share blog posts, articles, or other educational materials related to your practice areas.
I can’t emphasize enough the importance of having a blog that sets you up as an expert in your industry. Also, don’t blog for the sake of blogging. Be sure to do SEO keyword research before you start writing to drive traffic to your blog. If you need help with this, let’s set up a time to chat.
Another resource should be a lead magnet or a freebie. This gives your potential clients something of value in exchange for their email. Once they’re on your email list, you can send them content every week, every other week, or once a month to build trust.
As an example, many of my clients want to be seen in the media without spending money on ads, so I created a PDF with 16 popular websites accepting contributors with access to the website, article ideas, and contact information. Click here to view the landing page.
A “Contact” page is essential for any website, as it provides visitors with a way to get in touch with you. Consider including your law firm’s address, phone number, and email address, as well as a contact form that visitors can use to send you a message or request a consultation.
Marketing for Small Law Firms
Now that we’ve got the basics of the website covered, it’s time to jump into some marketing so people have a reason to visit your website to learn more about you and take the next step in doing business with you and your law firm.
1. Define your target audience
Before you start marketing your law firm, it’s important to have a clear understanding of your target audience. Who are your ideal clients? Are you targeting individuals or businesses? Are you focusing on a specific practice area or geographic region? Just like I mentioned regarding website design, understanding your target audience will help you create marketing efforts that are more targeted and effective.
2. Create a marketing plan
Once you have a clear understanding of your target audience, the next step is to create a marketing plan. A marketing plan is a document that outlines your marketing strategy and tactics, and it should include specific goals and objectives, a budget, and a timeline.
Your marketing plan should include a mix of traditional and digital marketing tactics, depending on your target audience and budget. Some marketing tactics to consider include:
Content marketing is a strategy that involves creating and sharing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience. In the legal industry, content marketing could include writing blog posts, creating educational videos, or sharing articles on social media.
This is the best way to set yourself up as a credible expert in your industry as well as drive traffic to your website if you focus on SEO…
Search engine optimization (SEO)
SEO is a set of strategies that help your website rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). By optimizing your website for specific keywords related to your practice areas, you can increase the chances of attracting prospective clients who are searching for legal services online.
Showing up organically in search results is something that takes time to see results and is not easy, so be sure you are working with someone who is well versed in the two aspects of SEO that move the needle – tech and creative.
Social media marketing
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn can be powerful tools for reaching potential clients and engaging with your audience. Consider creating a presence on relevant social media platforms and sharing content that is relevant to your target audience.
I suggest picking one platform where your audience is active and going all in on it. If you just do a little on a few platforms, you’re not going to get very far.
Email marketing can be an effective way to stay in touch with potential clients and keep them informed about your law firm’s services and expertise. Consider creating a newsletter or email list and sending regular updates to your subscribers.
Remember, to get new leads on your email list, a lead magnet is key.
3. Create a strong online presence
In today’s digital age, it’s important for small law firms to have a strong online presence to stand out from larger firms. This includes having a professional, well-designed website that is optimized for search engines and mobile devices.
If you skipped down to this part, scroll back up and see what is written about legal websites.
Your new website should include information about your law firm, your services, and your team, as well as a way for potential clients to contact you. Consider including a blog on your website, as this can help attract traffic and demonstrate your expertise in your practice areas.
In addition to your website, consider creating profiles on relevant business directories and review sites, such as Google My Business and Yelp. These platforms can help potential clients find your law firm online and read reviews from past clients.
4. Network and build relationships
Marketing your small law firm is not just about creating an online presence. It’s also about building relationships with potential clients and referral sources. Consider joining local business organizations or networking groups, and attend events and conferences related to your practice areas.
5. Earn attention for free
You can also build relationships by offering to speak at local events or writing articles for industry publications. These activities can help you establish yourself as a thought leader in your field and attract potential clients.
Obviously, this is my favorite one on the list (along with content marketing). If you want to establish yourself as an authority, then earning exposure is key. This could be local TV interviews about a newsworthy case, contributing to a popular website with your expertise, or being a guest on top podcasts potential clients listen to.
You could even start your own podcast like I did! Click here to subscribe to Become a Media Maven on your podcast app.
6. Monitor and measure your marketing efforts
Finally, it’s important to regularly monitor and measure your marketing efforts to see what’s working and what’s not. There are many tools available to help you track the success of your marketing efforts, such as Google Analytics for your website, and social media analytics tools for your social media accounts.
By tracking the performance of your marketing efforts, you can identify what’s working and what’s not, and make adjustments as needed.
Now ask yourself which of these best practices are you currently executing. Do you need to add some to attract new visitors with organic traffic? Maybe add a live chat or content writing to your list of things to add to your current website?
Whatever your next step is, pick one marketing tool to send people to your new, great website. As I said, a great way to do this is through content creation and public relations efforts. You don’t need to worry about having a big budget for advertising spend and you can build authority and credibility by earning organic coverage.
For more on how Media Maven can help you with this, click here to book a call.