You know that you need to invest a good chunk of change in your marketing budget, but you may not know where to place that investment. Spending in the right areas of the infamous marketing funnel can profoundly impact your potential clients and their decision to choose your law firm to represent them. The marketing funnel can be just as relevant to small law firms and solo attorneys as it is to nationwide law practices with seemingly unlimited resources. Let’s explore more about what the marketing funnel is and how your small law firm can use it to find success.
What Is the Marketing Funnel for Small Law Firms?
The law firm marketing funnel, also sometimes referred to as purchase funnels, can help you identify the most important elements of a potential client’s journey from considering hiring you, to choosing you to represent them. In identifying these stages of the marketing funnel, you can then customize your marketing strategy to each stage. If you do this correctly, each marketing strategy in each step will drive your potential client from one stage to the next until they decide to hire your law firm.
When you envision a funnel, it is broad at the top, narrowing down as you make your way towards the bottom. The marketing funnel gets its name from the idea of using a broad marketing strategy to reach a large initial audience, then focusing on your marketing efforts to the people who are more likely to be in need of an attorney. The further you go down the law firm marketing funnel, the more likely your consumer is to hire your law firm.
There are traditionally three stages to the marketing funnel: awareness, consideration, and conversion. But for small law firms and other relevant industries, more modern marketing funnels also include certain retention factors such as loyalty and advocacy. These additional stages can more accurately depict the relationship with your clients from start to finish, which better allows you to tailor your marketing strategies to meet their needs.
Marketing Funnel Stages
Your future clients are each at different stages of the small law firm marketing funnel at any given time. Some may only be thinking about how to deal with a legal issue. Others are ready to hire an attorney, they just want to make sure they’ve found the right one before reaching out. For this reason, your marketing strategy needs to target prospective clients in each stage of the marketing funnel.
The Awareness stage is at the top of the marketing funnel. Here, you should be marketing your law firm to the largest audience of potential clients. You want people to become aware of your law firm and what practice areas you focus on. Start by identifying your target audience, and then figure out how you get their attention. For example, you might focus on search engine optimization (SEO) for law firms to start.
Your law firm can utilize content marketing by creating blog posts that are localized, targeted, and optimized to address the needs of the clients you would like to bring in. As a bonus, high-quality and unique content also adds credibility to your law firm and authority to your website. Once you’ve caught your target client’s attention, this will then drive them down the marketing funnel and into the next stage: consideration.
Once your future client reaches the Consideration stage, they are ready to contact your law firm for help. If you have a contact form on your website, as any reputable law firm should, when someone fills out your contact form, they are in the consideration stage. These are your leads. The entire purpose of marketing is to generate leads, so this stage is particularly critical.
One way law firms can reach ideal clients in the consideration stage is to focus on retargeting ads. These ads are only shown to people who have previously visited your website (aka the clients who read the blog post you posted to your website for people in the awareness stage). These ads should be clear and direct. They should tell potential clients what services you offer and why your services are going to better serve them than your competitors. Once someone in the consideration stage becomes a lead, it’s on to the conversion stage of the law firm marketing funnel.
The Conversion stage is where you set up a consultation with your prospective client and potentially take on their case. The struggle at this stage is getting your audience to schedule the consultation. If they’ve submitted your contact form or called your office, it’s up to you to eliminate their concerns. If you’re a personal injury lawyer, for example, your potential client might be worried that the cost of hiring a lawyer is too high. Explaining that you work on contingency could alleviate those fears and have them agree to hire you to advocate for their interests.
This is the end of the traditional marketing funnel. Once you’ve been hired by a client, the “transaction” is complete. However, it is equally as important to maintain these relationships with your clients once their case is resolved through the loyalty and advocacy stages, which is why modern marketing funnel models include these additional elements.
After you’ve converted leads into clients, now you have to get them to remain loyal to your law firm. This can help ensure that if they need legal assistance again in the future, they immediately know who to call and who they can trust. Client retention is key for many small law firms.
One excellent way to accomplish this goal is to send out newsletters. Keep your former clients, peers, and prospective clients informed when you hire new lawyers, launch a new website design, earn a notable achievement, participate in community events, and other exciting news you can share.
Clients in the advocacy stage of the law firm marketing funnel are willing to advocate for you and what your law firm offers. They may be ready to head to Google and leave you a five-star review, recommend your law firm to their friends, family, and colleagues, and could be willing to provide you with testimonials you can use in future marketing efforts. Many law firms will start a referral program in order to keep their clients in the advocacy stage of the marketing funnel. This request for referrals can be easily inserted into an existing email campaign or social media postings if the law firm has existing clients as followers.
Martindale-Avvo regularly surveys and interviews consumers of legal services as part of our continuing effort to gather knowledge regarding their attorney selection process. Click here to learn more and download Mapping the Legal Consumer Journey, which digs deeper into some of the key steps outlined by Meranda Veira in this blog post.