How Law Firms Can Take The Lead In Online Marketing

Jameson Pitts
Managing Director
October 31, 2022

Many experienced attorneys reflexively blanch at the idea of self-promotion. After all, prestigious law firms have long relied on word-of-mouth referrals to advance their business—but in today’s world, with so much of life lived online, a firm’s digital presence can make or break its reputation. Neglecting your firm’s online presence can atrophy a stature that’s been decades in the making.

Coldwell Bowes, LLP faced the same obstacle when they came to Sangfroid! for a website redesign. And while the relationship started with a simple ask—create a website that reflected the immaculate opinion of their peers, clients, and competitors—it flourished into a growth-oriented partnership that helped them envision and fulfill new ambitions as a firm.

Their case is a glowing example of how creative agencies should work for their legal clients. When you partner with a bespoke, hands-on digital agency, marketing is an extension of business development, and your work gets to speak for itself.

Coldwell Bowes, LLC: A Central Texas Divorce & Family Law Firm

A law firm based in Austin, TX, Coldwell Bowes, LLP, had provided Texas households with compassionate counseling and dispute settlement for over a decade. And while several of their attorneys had been experts in their field for over 40 years, the firm’s online presence didn’t match the caliber of service they offered.

When Coldwell Bowes initially came to Sangfoid!, they had one goal: a website overhaul. But in auditing their existing site, we diagnosed three main obstacles to meeting their objectives:

  1. Website – Despite their level of sophistication, Coldwell Bowes’ digital home base looked dated, visually clunky, and it was unintuitive to operate. In our eyes, any web rebrand had to be executed in conjunction with a marketing strategy that could support a scaling business.
  1. Growth marketing strategy – Coldwell Bowes wanted to greet clients with a beautiful website—but they needed to update their approach to drawing new leads. Traditionally, attorneys’ main line of client acquisition is word-of-mouth, but today those conversations are happening online. If the firm embraced growth marketing techniques, they’d be able to attract, analyze, and convert new, high-quality clients.
  1. Client experience – Given Coldwell Bowes’ impressive foothold in Texas, there was no question the firm had strong relationships with their existing clientele. Moreover, the sensitivity of family law made it crucial to improve client experience without overtaxing staff or budget.

Agile marketing techniques had the potential to integrate Coldwell Bowes’ workflow and improve client relationships in unison. These improvements would open even more bandwidth for client acquisition. They could have chosen a giant marketing group to leaven some generic tactics into their business development plan. But after we delivered an intuitive, beautifully crafted website, they saw a version of what their firm could be—and decided to work with us as a long-term growth and strategic partner.

As a result of partnering with our agency, Coldwell Bowes didn’t just make good on their original goal of a visually refined and user-friendly web presence —they were able to envision new ambitions, and we’ve been helping them lay the groundwork for business growth ever since. 

Representing Attorney Services: 5 Things Law Firms Can Do to Yield Growth

Law firms looking to grow - whether prestigious and established or new and ambitious —can’t simply rely on word-of-mouth referrals. There are five key components to achieving sustainable growth. 

#1 Varnish Your Digital Presence

Until recently, law firms have always been a strictly brick-and-mortar enterprise, which means many firms regard their websites as an afterthought. 

From a creative agency’s perspective, many law groups’ online presence falls into two camps:

  • Solicitous, leaving a pandering or “sales-y” impression on site visitors. Not only does this reflect poorly on the firm, but it can leave current clients feeling incredulous or repel leads in need of experienced legal providers.
  • Dated, because websites are treated as sheerly functional. This causes firms to miss out on opportunities to grow their client base, and it can degrade (however unnecessarily) the prestige they’ve devoted years to establishing.

In other words: When you’re in the representation business, it’s critical to showcase that you know how to represent yourself. Even with a veteran team of attorneys or a competitive track record, a low-grade website can blunt existing relationships and hamper growth.

As a full-service creative marketing agency, Sangfroid! Broadened efforts beyond Coldwell Bowes’ website to deliver a full-scale refurbishment that included:

  • A website rebrand
  • Professional headshots
  • New business cards
  • New firm logo
  • Social media headers
  • Letterheads
  • Email signatures
  • Coldwell Bowes branded merchandise

Each of these elements may seem superficial, but executed in unison, they create a cohesive brand identity that shored up their Central Texas reputation and the values they’ve long adhered to as a firm.

#2 Implemented Agile Marketing Strategies

Digital marketing should be treated as an extension of a law firm’s business development plan. On average, attorneys spend as much as a third of their professional hours growing their business. By automating these operations, they can save immense reserves of non-billable time and work.

Agile growth marketing is a project management approach that uses incremental frameworks to develop, launch, and assiduously track each marketing tactic deployed. Running campaigns and evaluating them in stages gives businesses greater control over both work and performance, as well as transparency with their marketing partners.

In our partnership with Coldwell Bowes, this looked like:

  • Competitive analysis – In Agile, a competitive matrix is a way of visualizing how several competing businesses compare to one another. We mapped out Coldwell Bowes’ position in relation to other divorce and family law firms in Central Texas, identifying weaknesses among their competitors (like clunky websites). In doing so, we were able to define the areas where Coldwell Bowes could distinguish itself.
  • Ongoing analysis – In Agile growth marketing, analyzing performance is just as vital as launching initiatives to draw and convert leads. Moreover, data isn’t treated as a discrete set of statistics—Agile creative agencies must understand how each metric functions in tandem with others.

For instance, it isn’t enough to activate a new marketing channel—like LinkedIn—to entice new leads. For Coldwell Bowes, we designed a concerted, self-sustaining marketing plan that would help them improve ROI and surpass larger objectives.

#3 Improve Lead Flow and Quality

Any focus on growth makes bolstering lead inflows a top priority. And if you’re not yet leveraging paid media tactics to draw new clients to your platform, you’re missing a key opportunity.

Here’s what you should focus on::

  • Paid ad creation – Here, you can activate previously untapped online channels to locate potential customers local to you who are searching for the services you offer. 
  • Ad optimization – Many attorneys rely on advertising to reach new clients, but 91% fail to track their ROI. To ensure your advertising remains robust, you need to optimize ads with relevant keywords and user queries, tracking performance regularly. This will ensure you direct new, higher-quality candidates to their client pipeline.
  • Network building – Word-of-mouth remains one of law firms’ primary means of onboarding new cases, and these networks must be paralleled online. By spotlighting contact portals and client reviews on Coldwell Bowes’ website, we reinforced and built new opportunities for strengthening community bonds.

By continuously optimizing lead flow and quality, you can eventually be in a position where lead flow is so voluminous that you can achieve growth while having the freedom to choose who you work with according to your business development goals. For instance, Coldwell Bowes’ business goals included increased lead flow, automating manual tasks/workflows, hiring more attorneys, and increasing brand position. 

#4 Launch Organic Digital Marketing Initiatives

When your record is as pristine as Coldwell Bowes’, your marketing should never read as self-promotional. Ultimately, attorneys measure their prosperity by human-centered metrics—their successes in court, their hard-won reputations, and their relationships with their clients.

For this reason, organic and content marketing is invaluable for bringing a human element to your firm’s online presence. For example, we workshopped with Coldwell Bowles’ to create an “insights” page complete with cogent, polished legal advice written by licensed attorneys.

A few of their well-received titles included:

  • “Should you add an infidelity clause to a prenup?”
  • “Virtual visitation and other child custody issues”
  • “Divorce can affect your mental health”

Content marketing isn’t solely the province of consumer brands promoting a product or service. Online users engage with search engines for all sorts of questions—legal advice included—and by furnishing your website, you can demonstrate your expertise, leverage SEO, and reward users looking for legal help.

#5 Give Back to Your Clients

Committed as Coldwell Bowes was to growth, its attorneys were equally devoted to giving back to their clients. After all, divorce and family law is a uniquely emotional field that often results in profound ongoing relationships with clients. Furthermore, it was because of those relationships that Coldwell Bowes had built their reputation state-wide.

Whatever field of law you practice, you can improve customer experience on several fronts:

  • Use call tracking software to gain insights into client experience, tracing client pathways from their introduction to the firm all the way to settlement.
  • Through software integration and optimization, you can make customer assistance more accessible, streamline client management, and reduce internal workloads business-wide
  • Consider creating high-end merchandise which can be sent as a token of your firm’s favor and gratitude 

For legal firms, marketing efforts shouldn’t limit themselves to enhancing visibility or netting new clients. Legal marketing must be equally concerned with honoring the relationships that helped build up your business in the first place.

Do Law Firms Need Digital Marketing?

Yes, the reason why comes down to global changes in consumer (and human) behavior.

Popular consensus holds that legal referrals are still the best way to connect with representation—but that doesn’t mean people don’t start their search for legal counseling online. Curating a presentable, accessible, and well-curated web portal for your legal firm is a necessary first step for building visibility and trust with future clients.

Furthermore, marketing is an invaluable tool for developing your business’ internal operations, case management, and client relationships. But one-size-fits-all marketing isn’t ideal for expanding local reach and repute—they tend to dim, rather than define, what makes a firm stand out in their region and community.

For this reason bespoke, Agile creative agencies that house strategy and creative under one roof are uniquely suited to help law firms realize their ambitions in a modern market. 

If your firm has even bolder ambitions for the future, then we want to represent you. Click below to schedule a free one on one conversation with our CEO. 

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