9 min read
Updated: June 24, 2021

5 Common Mistakes Lawyers Make in Marketing

Today we’re going to talk about the five most common mistakes law firms make in their marketing and how to fix them. And these are big mistakes. They’re not just big because of how much money they waste, they’re big because they end up costing law firms dozens and hundreds of potential clients, resulting in millions and millions of dollars opportunity cost each year. 2017 Department of Labor Statistics research showed the median income of only $119,000 a year for lawyers in the U.S. Across the board. Yet, there are those high-earners who make a million or more. What’s the core difference? High-earners do not make these common mistakes.

#1: Not showing up where and when prospective clients look for a law firm

Most attorneys don’t show up when and where prospective clients are looking.

Back in the day people used Yellow Pages to find a lawyer, or they asked for a referral from friends, family, or other lawyers.

Today, people use Google.

Not showing up where and when prospective clients look for a law firm

They may still ask for a referral, but an overwhelming number of people turn to Google for convenience and privacy (who wants to spend the time explaining why they need a lawyer?!).

So,being on Google when and where they look is essential, yet, most law firms don’t show up.

“Being on Google” is about more than showing up “somewhere” in search results. The overwhelming majority (75%) of traffic goes to page-one search results, so if you aren’t on page one, you they will not find you.

At most, there are a dozen law firms that show up consistently on page one when you search for services in your practice area. What are they doing right? And how do you right this wrong for your law firm?

The solution

A lot of this comes down to SEO (search engine optimization) for lawyers, but SEO for lawyers is about more than filling your website with keywords. SEO for law firms comes down to Google recognizing you as an authority in your practice areas and metro, and it can be done strategically.

This kind of marketing generally requires the help of a high-performance marketing and web development agency equipped with the knowledge and experience to deliver results for you.

It’s this kind of marketing that will get you higher rankings on Google, and will get you right in front of prospective clients searching for your services. Big problem solved.

#2: Poor-performing website

Law firm websites generally convert 2% of their visitors into leads/calls. A high-performance website can get 10% of visitors to convert.

Poor-performing website

If prospective clients visit your website, but you are not getting as many calls as you should, you have a poor-performing website. Just imagine your website converting four or five times the visitors it’s converting now. Your client pipeline would go through the roof.

A poor-performing site can literally cost you millions of dollars in lost opportunities.

The solution

Your prospects search for two things:

  1. before they are ready to talk to an attorney, they are looking for answers to their questions regarding the legal challenge
  2. when they are ready to engage an attorney, they are searching for the attorney they’d feel comfortable and confident to hire

Your website must provide the answers and information they’re looking for.

Answers and Information - Criminal Law QA

Give prospects the confidence that your firm can solve their legal strife. This can be done through dynamic blog content with added-value resources built as lead magnets.

We could get into the weeds on this one, so to learn more, read our article about how your law firm website blog can be the most powerful business developer you have.

#3: Not budgeting enough to accomplish your financial goals

We often meet attorneys who have ambitious goals, but invest less than 3% of their expected revenue into accomplishing these goals. Then they are surprised that their competitors – who are spending 8-12% – get much more business.

It comes down to the numbers. If you want to break $5 million in revenue but are only investing $30,000 in marketing, underbudgeting is a problem you need to fix.

The solution

You need to invest 6-10% of the expected revenue in the marketing to make your goals work. Unless you have a ton of recurring business, keeping your client pipeline lubed with savvy marketing and proven strategies is the only way to grow your business. But, don’t forget to spend 1-1.5% on marketing to your past clients. Maintaining old relationships produces great ROI.

Not budgeting enough to accomplish your financial goals

Talk to a digital marketing company that worked with other lawyers, and discuss your goals to determine how much your law firm should invest in marketing to get there.

#4: Having a million-dollar receptionist

Ever called a service provider’s office (doctor, accountant, lawyer, dentist) to ask some questions before scheduling a meeting, only to talk to a receptionist who couldn’t provide you the right answers. Crappy experiences leads to crappy outcomes.

Often, such an underperforming receptionist will miss a number of opportunities to schedule appointments for the attorney; or, prospect will not show up because they had a more positive experience with a receptionist at another firm.

A couple missed opportunities per week, lead to a 100+ lost opportunities per year, if each of those opportunities were worth $5,000, that’s $500,000 out the window.

Having a million-dollar receptionist

The solution

Your receptionist will cost you millions unless you align their performance standards with the service and sales you want your law firm to live up to. For example: 80% of all prospect calls must result in appointments, and a 90% show-up rate is expected.

To get to the heart of the problem, you can have your  marketing agency set up a service that records calls so you can listen the recordings and understand if your receptionist is just costing you that $40,000-$50,000 salary or if they’re costing you millions.

If they underperform, coach or look at hiring a real A-team player. RoberHalf.com also has some great high-level considerations when looking at your receptionist’s performance.

#5: Not giving prospects a reason to choose you over every other lawyer

So, prospects are calling in, and you’re having the necessary conversations. Why aren’t they choosing your law firm over your competitors?

We see all too often that attorneys aren’t giving their prospects a reason to choose them over their competitors.

The solution

Come up with a solid reason why prospects should choose you. How does your service directly meet their needs? What kind of information and education do you provide quicker than the next lawyer on their list? How do you solve their problems more aggressively or effectively?

Once you have your reason, tell them. Then tell them again. Your reason should be focused on prospective clients and their problems or needs, not on you.

Not giving prospects a reason to choose you over every other lawyer

And once you’ve told prospects why they should choose you, deliver on that promise. There are hundreds or even thousands of lawyers in your area that do what you do, so get this essential sales language in place and communicate it to everyone in your office for a single and more compelling voice.

Need a high-performance website for your law firm?
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Comrade is a Chicago based digital marketing company that specializes in website design and marketing for attorneys. Read more about our content marketing service for law firms.

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

If you would like to discuss your project, reach out to our specialists.

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About the Author
Sasha Berson
Sasha serves as Managing Partner and VP of Client Solutions for Comrade Digital Marketing, a Chicago-based marketing agency dedicated to solving client’s most pressing digital challenges.
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