You want to get more clients. You’ve heard online mar­ket­ing works, but you’re not sure where to start. Between Google, Face­book, PPC, SEO, and online reviews, there’s a lot to consider—and there are plen­ty of con­sul­tants who will claim that their solu­tion is best.

How do you know what law firm mar­ket­ing tac­tics will work for you? How do you know what to invest in and what to ignore?

Ask­ing oth­er lawyers what’s worked for them is a great place to start. That’s exact­ly what Jonathan Schmidt of Nazette, Marn­er, Nathanson & Shea, LLP did, via a dis­cus­sion in Clio’s Advo­cates com­mu­ni­ty. He asked:

I’m curi­ous to know what every­one thinks is important/essential for online mar­ket­ing … What do you do? How effec­tive has it been? Are there oth­er things that you have done that have improved your organ­ic traffic/leads?
Plen­ty of lawyers have respond­ed with accounts of what worked and what didn’t for their firms.

With per­mis­sion, we’ve repub­lished a few of their respons­es here in the form of tips you can use for your law firm. We hope you find them use­ful.

1. Take advan­tage of free law firm mar­ket­ing options

I think you should max­i­mize your free mar­ket­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties before spend­ing a lot of mon­ey on mar­ket­ing. For exam­ple, claim­ing your list­ings, get­ting a 10.0 Avvo rat­ing, etc.”

– Heather Megli­no, Man­ag­ing Part­ner and Own­er at Megli­no Morse Law

2. Posi­tion your­self as a thought leader

For us, (and I work in dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing as well as law) it’s all about inter­nal and exter­nal SEO, and inbound mar­ket­ing. The con­tent (whether it’s videos on your site, month­ly newslet­ters, etc.) will depend on your ideal/target clients. Set­ting your­self up as a sub­ject mat­ter expert through inbound is the most cost-effec­tive lead gen­er­a­tion tool out there!”

– Mandy Wood­land, Own­er at Mandy Wood­land Law, PLC Inc.

3. Cre­ate edu­ca­tion­al con­tent and pro­mote it in the right places

For our law firm, we have found that we gain the most trac­tion through writ­ing time­ly edu­ca­tion­al arti­cles about estate plan­ning-relat­ed issues. While we post these arti­cles to our firm’s web­site and social media sites, we have found the most imme­di­ate results from post­ing to LinkedIn.”

– Matthew J. Tuller, Prin­ci­pal Attor­ney and Own­er at the Law Office of Matthew J. Tuller

4. Build mean­ing­ful rela­tion­ships with clients

We are locat­ed in a very small, con­ser­v­a­tive resort town. Busi­ness is still based on relationships—who you know and how you are per­ceived as con­tribut­ing to the com­mu­ni­ty. A web­site is essen­tial for cred­i­bil­i­ty and gen­er­al info, but net­work­ing and rela­tion­ships are key.

It will be inter­est­ing to see how this changes as the cur­rent face-to-face gen­er­a­tion phas­es out and the face-to-phone gen­er­a­tion phas­es in.”

– Karen Klukiewicz, COO at Patrick Neale & Asso­ciates

5. Focus on secur­ing refer­rals

I have a refer­ral-based prac­tice. It’s impor­tant that my web­site be mod­ern, clean, and work on both desk­top and mobile.”

– Danielle Hunt­ley, Prin­ci­pal at Hunt­ley Inc.

We do a lot of cross refer­rals and have a very strong refer­ral net­work. We also blog, speak at sym­po­siums, teach, and are reg­u­lar guests on talk radio.”

– Leslie Lelii, Office Man­ag­er at Vir­tus Law, PLLC

6. Take steps to mul­ti­ply your refer­rals

[T]ry to cat­e­go­rize the best groups your refer­rals come from and hone in on them. Devel­op rela­tion­ships with your refer­ral sources. Reach out, thank them, rec­og­nize their con­tri­bu­tions. The refer­rals will not only keep com­ing, but will mul­ti­ply.”

– Sean Robichaud, Lead Coun­sel at Robichaud’s

7. Don’t under­es­ti­mate the pow­er of word-of-mouth

The best mar­ket­ing is word-of-mouth. I still get about half of my clients from word-of-mouth. Past clients are the best source of get­ting new clients!”

– Jonathan G. Stein, own­er, Law Offices of Jonathan G. Stein

8. Pri­or­i­tize online reviews

Our paid and free pro­files on Avvo actu­al­ly seem to be the best return on invest­ment, com­bined with the intense lev­el of effort that we have put into build­ing our web­site and newslet­ters into a real library of resources for peo­ple who are try­ing to learn more about estate plan­ning. SEO of our web­site and mak­ing sure the many, many, many direc­to­ries that are out there have accu­rate list­ings for us seem to be the next most use­ful steps.

We have been blessed with a ton of great reviews, and I hear all the time that the reviews were one rea­son even peo­ple who were actu­al­ly referred by anoth­er client or a pro­fes­sion­al advis­er made their appoint­ments.”

– Loraine DiS­al­vo, Part­ner at Mor­gan & DiS­al­vo, P.C.

My free pro­file with Avvo has … been a tru­ly great mar­ket­ing tool. I have received so many inquiries for legal help and many have become clients. I also uti­lize a strong refer­ral net­work, and I am very involved in my state and local bar asso­ci­a­tions as well as the ABA where I have speak­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties. I’m still work­ing on my web­site.”

– Kari Petrasek, Attor­ney at Petrasek Law, PLLC

9. Claim your pres­ence online, but also focus on your com­mu­ni­ty

I do every­thing I can to claim my online pres­ence with web­sites, direc­to­ries, and assort­ed pro­files. I do get sev­er­al calls from hav­ing a good Avvo pro­file and a pre­mi­um (paid) pro­file.

Oth­er­wise, I pay lit­tle for adver­tis­ing. We instead cul­ti­vate a good rep­u­ta­tion in the com­mu­ni­ty by sponsoring/supporting com­mu­ni­ty events and orga­ni­za­tions, per­son­al­ly net­work­ing with­in the com­mu­ni­ty, and send­ing care pack­ages to refer­ral sources and oth­ers who seek to help us. We try to be very gen­uine in our approach and it has always worked for us.”

– Ruth Gold­ner, Attor­ney & Coun­selor at Gold­ner Deeg PLLC

10. Build a qual­i­ty web­site that con­vinces vis­i­tors to choose you

I’ve found that the best leads come straight from my web­site. Peo­ple Google “Kingston crim­i­nal defence lawyer” and I come up in the top three results. I think I have a good web­site com­pared to the oth­er peo­ple who also come up on the first page and it draws peo­ple in to con­tact me. By this time they’ve already checked me out and, I think, like what they’ve seen. I’ve found these clients are easy to land, even on the first phone call, with no fol­low up.

I’ve found that refer­rals from lead gen­er­at­ing sites are less com­mit­ted. They’re often shop­ping around or are just look­ing for free legal advice, it seems.”

– Simon Borys, Prin­ci­pal lawyer at Simon Borys

11. Invest in SEO

For online mar­ket­ing there are two pri­ma­ry prin­ci­ples: Have a valu­able web­site, and cre­ate valu­able con­tent. If you demon­strate your val­ue instead of describ­ing it, poten­tial clients will flock to you.

At our firm, Palace Law, we have tak­en steps to build our inter­nal SEO and exter­nal SEO. We have videos on our web­site intro­duc­ing who we are and offer­ing free infor­ma­tion to poten­tial clients. The lat­ter (often called freemi­um ser­vices) is one of the most impor­tant things lawyers can do. Offer up valu­able infor­ma­tion to poten­tial clients for free, form con­tracts, legal research, and instruc­tion­al videos, and you’ll find that this not only increas­es your SEO, but also draws in a lot of clients. We also adver­tise and main­tain pro­files on paid and free sites.

– Jor­dan Couch, Attor­ney at Palace Law

12. … But know that it’s a long game

I like SEO mar­ket­ing, in that it helps keep you top of mind for peo­ple for when they need you, but I find the issue with that is tim­ing.

Peo­ple only retain a lawyer when they need a lawyer. [Legal ser­vices are] not an impulse buy item. So unless your SEO mar­ket­ing is catch­ing [poten­tial clients] just when they need you, it doesn’t seem to gen­er­ate a lot of imme­di­ate, direct ROI.

I think when peo­ple need a lawyer, they either think of you because you’re top of mind because of your pre­vi­ous SEO mar­ket­ing, or they just Google you, which is why I think my web­site is the best tool.”

– Simon Borys, Prin­ci­pal lawyer at Simon Borys

13. Tar­get local prospects with dig­i­tal ad cam­paigns

Our firm is cur­rent­ly run­ning a Google Ad cam­paign for our sur­round­ing counties—any time some­one per­forms a Google search for fam­i­ly law attor­neys in our coun­ty, they see our web­site. It has pro­duced a huge surge in new client intakes.”

– Ebony Ander­son, Para­le­gal at McCabe Rus­sell

14. Try QR codes

One fun thing we have had suc­cess with is run­ning tra­di­tion­al print ads with scannable QR Codes [that lead] to our web­site … After each of our ads, we always seem to get busi­ness through the QR link.”

– Seth Kruse, Asso­ciate Attor­ney at Kasper & Asso­ciates, PLLC

15. Get onto social media

Social media mar­ket­ing is the future for lawyers. Most peo­ple per­form research on their smart­phones. I get one to two sig­nif­i­cant cas­es per year from paid mar­ket­ing efforts on Face­book for a min­i­mal invest­ment.”

– Bar­ry Walk­er, Man­ag­ing Part­ner at Walk­er Law

16. Con­sid­er your prac­tice area

[Ques­tions about mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy] real­ly can’t be answered mean­ing­ful­ly with­out know­ing what areas you prac­tice in, and with­out think­ing about how your clients find lawyers. My prac­tice is lim­it­ed to rep­re­sent­ing oth­er lawyers—90% or more of my busi­ness comes from refer­rals. A good web­site, occa­sion­al blog­ging, some Twit­ter use—these may be help­ful, but you still need to dif­fer­en­ti­ate your­self from all the oth­er lawyers buy­ing Adwords, send­ing out email newslet­ters, etc. What works for a lawyer in one prac­tice area may not work for some­one with a dif­fer­ent prac­tice.”

– Eric Coop­er­stein, Attor­ney at the Law Office of Eric T. Coop­er­stein, PLLC

When it comes to law firm mar­ket­ing, find what works for you

Invest­ing in mar­ket­ing can get your law firm plen­ty of new clients—but it needs to be done right. Con­sid­er your prac­tice area and your clients, and what works best for them (and you) before spend­ing your time and mon­ey on any law firm mar­ket­ing efforts.

To con­clude, here are a few over­ar­ch­ing themes from everyone’s advice above:

  • Invest in your online pres­ence. A well-designed web­site and strong online reviews can help poten­tial clients find you and choose to hire you.
  • Invest in SEO. Invest­ing in SEO for your law firm web­site can do a lot to help peo­ple find you.
  • Build your refer­ral net­works. Build rela­tion­ships with your refer­ral sources, and be active in your com­mu­ni­ty to help gain more refer­rals.