Legal digital marketing: a guide to setting reasonable expectations

As law firms sweep into the digital marketplace, many find it difficult to work out what to expect.

As law firms sweep into the digital marketplace, many find it difficult to work out what to expect.

One of the biggest problems is that every firm is different. It makes benchmarking your own marketing performance a struggle. What looks like fewer online enquiries might mean maximum capacity for others; what looks like going viral online for some is par for the course for others.

What reasonable expectations should your practice be setting?
 

Set a broad goal – to start with

Before you enter the digital marketplace, know what you want to get out of it.

Most professionals are familiar with SMART goals, starting with setting a specific goal. But in the world of online marketing, nailing down a specific can feel a bit tricky – where do you even start?

So, instead, begin with a broader goal.

Broad marketing goals might include:
  • Increase website traffic
  • New client acquisition
  • Raise company awareness
  • Highlight expertise and experience
  • Advertise new services
  • Enter new locations
 

Define performance measurements

You know well the importance of measuring performance – it’s the grease that oils the wheels of the firm. Once you have an idea of what you want to get out of your digital marketing, you want to find ways to track performance.

Luckily, there’s bags of data available online to help you.

If you’re trying to boost the number of visitors to your web, you’ll want to use a platform like Google Analytics to track web traffic. If you’re trying to up your email open rates, use sites like Mailchimp, which delivers insights into how recipients responded.

Know which tools you need for effective tracking.
 

Explore past data


Past data is invaluable, giving you a baseline to work from, for setting new, specific, attainable objectives. If your website visitors never peaked beyond 1,000 in a day, trying to reach 100,000 visitors a day over the course of three weeks likely isn’t going to happen.

Study where improvements can be made.

What type of content is resonating with readers? What kind of topics fire up your clients? What messaging gets clicks through paid ads? What websites and platforms are they using to find you?

One partner with The Law Superstore was trying to attract clients in a 30-mile radius of London – and wondered why they weren’t picking up many leads in a coverage area comprising millions of people.

Together, by analysing the data we identified a specific location that was attracting the majority of leads. By concentrating their coverage in this area, they were able to engage many more clients.

That’s just one example of how data can help power a law firm.

The information your firm holds will also reveal data about who your clients are. Use this to determine whether these are the right clients to take your business forward. If not, look to see what the data reveals about your ideal client – get into the heads of the people you really want to attract.

Remember, attracting new enquiries doesn’t mean alienating existing clients.



 

Identify platforms and value

There are two rules to the digital marketplace: know your ideal clients and go where they are.

A lot of firms go online because they know they’re supposed to – they can see digital is transforming the professional services. So, they build a website, join Twitter, create a YouTube account, then they wonder why enquiries don’t immediately come rolling in.

And few small- and medium-sized practices can afford to expend the resources required to maintaining all these channels. It’s better to concentrate resources.

As a simple example most law firms are already doing, if you work with private clients, you’ll want a strong presence on Facebook. For those working with business clients, LinkedIn may better serve your needs.
That’s not to say you should only be on those sites. It’s a rule of thumb. You know well how surprising clients can be.

While social media is important, don’t neglect other platforms and websites. Sites offering reviews are invaluable to legal firms. Often seen as a contentious issue for solicitors, online reviews are vital to attract new leads. Businesses with no reviews (or even suspiciously high reviews) will be shunned in favour of those that give the client a good sense of your practice.

Comparison sites, like The Law Superstore, have also seen a big increase in users, with the IRN Research’s UK Legal Services Consumer Research Report 2021 calling it ‘a watershed moment for digital comparison sites.’

Now is the ideal time to get your firms. The SRA and LSB are both keen to digitally transform the legal sector through review and comparison site schemes.

Look at any data you have – or experiment, if necessary – to find out where best to concentrate precious resources. As part of that, take time to understand the value of each online space.
 

Set a specific goal – finally

Equipped with a broad direction, information on past performance, and a variety of channels, it’s time to outline your core business objectives.

So, if business growth is a concern, focus on attracting, say, 10% more clients to your website through X, Y, and Z channels. Or you might want to engage the ABC1 demographic within a 10-mile radius of your office.
Whatever your goals, make them SMART.
  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

It is here where expectations should be set highest. Objectives will be data-fuelled and data-driven.
 

Setting marketing expectations for your law firm: a cheat-sheet for the digital marketplace



Your website

Why it’s important:
  • First impressions count
  • Increases search visibility and rankings
  • Showcases value, experience, and expertise

What to expect:
Average time spent online – 4 hours, 2 mins
Increase in local and ‘near me’ searches – 500%
Global mobile device web traffic – 54.8%
 
 

Email

Why it’s important:
  • Maintains open lines of communication
  • Most customers prefer email
  • Easy audience and message segmentation

What to expect:
Average open rates for professional services – 18.3%
Average click-through-rate for professional services – 2.80%
Average email marketing ROI – 4400%
 
 

Blogs

Why it’s important:
  • Increases search visibility and rankings
  • Builds trust and authority
  • Supports inexperienced clients

What to expect:
Average monthly increase in leads – 67%
Average time on a blog – 37 seconds
Average blog length – 2520 words
 
 

Social media

Why it’s important:
  • Drives website traffic
  • Offers immediate, less formal engagement
  • Increases brand awareness

What to expect:
Average all-industry Facebook engagement rate – 0.09%
% of people who use a company after following them – 89%
% of people who recommend a company after following them – 85%
 
 

Pay-per-click (PPC) ads

Why it’s important:
  • Targets specific users, intent, and location
  • Supports search engine rankings
  • Offers valuable data insights

What to expect:
Average Google display ad CTR for legal services – 0.59%
Average Facebook ad CTR – 1.11%
Average LinkedIn ad CTR – 0.22%
Average Twitter ad CTR – 0.86%
 
 

Review and comparison sites

Why it’s important:
  • Greater visibility
  • Broader client reach
  • Increases competitiveness

What to expect:
% of people who read online reviews before buying – 93%
% of users finding lawyers on review and comparison sites – 10%
% of customers who would use a lawyer anywhere in the country – 59%
 


Boost your online presence with The Law Superstore – the comparison site that connects you with people searching for legal services right now.



 
 
 
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Steve Clark

Steve creates helpful guides for The Law Superstore. He enjoys digging deep into new areas of the law, supporting partners, and translating legalese and jargon into plain English everyone can understand.

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