Online Marketing Tips for Small Law Firms and Startups

Written By: Travis Hise, CEO James Attorney Marketing

Small law firms and startups face many challenges that larger firms may not have to consider. Among those challenges, the most poignant may be a smaller marketing budget. While larger firms may have seemingly infinite marketing resources, small firms can still compete with targeted marketing techniques and proven advertising methods.

In order to optimize your resources, you can focus on online promotion of your business. Although many firms still use traditional advertising on billboards and phone books, online marketing can provide you with an effective and efficient method of promoting your business. This article will present several online marketing tips for small law firms and startups who seek to grow their business while providing high quality service to clients.

Focus Your Business on a Target Service

Online Marketing Tips-Law Firm 500Most successful online marketing provides targeted information that focuses on specific needs of potential clients. Although you may have a general practice operation, you should focus your online marketing on a select few practice areas. This allows you to create information for specific audiences and target the locations you want to serve.

You may focus your online marketing with the following techniques:

  • Select a domain name (or URL) that includes your city and main practice area
  • Create content for your website that discusses your main practice area and related subtopics
  • Include your geographic locations on your website
  • Get links to your website from local organizations and agencies

When you target a specific location and promote a main practice area, people near you will gain confidence that you are an authority in your field of work.

Prioritize Online Marketing Efforts

Although many law firms continue to use offline marketing methods, such as billboards and flyers, online marketing has much more potential than traditional marketing. You can reach a large number of people in a short period of time. You can provide more information in electronic format than you can offline. You can also target your message to specific individuals instead of plastering physical ads for all to see.

When considering what types of online advertising will work best for your small firm, consider your audience. The majority of people begin their search for a lawyer online, and it is possible to track the words they are using to seek legal assistance. By utilizing online tools, we can determine the types of online marketing methods that might work best for your specific practice areas and geographic location.

Common online marketing methods include:

  • A robust website with extensive content
  • SEO that focuses on organic and local search
  • Pay per click advertising
  • Email blasts to potential clients, colleagues, and selected organizations
  • Legal directory listings
  • Reviews from past clients on targeted websites

A lot of research is necessary to determine which of these online marketing methods is best for your small law firm or startup. People in different geographic areas and those searching for various types of attorneys often use different methods to find services. Thus, it is important to focus on the online techniques that will work for you, specifically.

Developing an Online Marketing Plan for Your Small Business

When you opened your small business, you likely developed a business plan that considered your ongoing focus. You should do the same with your online marketing goals. Here are some things you should consider adding to your online marketing plan:

Website Focused on Conversions

Your website should provide informational content that is also transactional. That means, it is focused on converting the readers into clients. This involves an interaction between effective SEO, high-quality content, and skilled design. It can be difficult for a small law firm to integrate all necessary elements in a website, so working with an online marketing company is often the best option for developing an effective site.

The following elements are important in a successful legal website:

  • WordPress – This is a website platform (CMS) that provides comprehensive development abilities. Avoid other platforms, such as Squarespace or Findlaw, which can limit your online presence.
  • Fast loading time – You can use Google Pagespeed Insights to test the loading speed of your pages. It should rate 80/100 or higher to be fully optimized for viewing.
  • Multi-platform – Your website should be viewable on multiple platforms, including computer, phone, and tablet. All lists and buttons should be responsive across platforms.
  • Security – Your website should be secure, with an SSL Certificate, otherwise viewers may get errors as they browse.
  • Yoast SEO – This is a plugin for WordPress that will aid you with optimizing your content.
  • Google Analytics – You should be tracking your traffic and conversions, which can be easily done with GA and goal tracking.
  • Dedicated hosting – Your website should exist on a dedicated and fast hosting platform.
  • Effective design – Good website design is visually appealing, but quick to load. Also, focus on navigation and structure of pages.
  • Unique content – Every page should have content that targets the needs of readers; however, you may be penalized for keyword stuffing and duplicate content.
  • Client testimonials and case results – Your potential clients want to hear how you have served others through testimonials and actual case results.
  • Avoid errors – When you delete or move a page or blog, you can create an error on your website that will confuse readers and make them navigate away from your website.

Use Keyword Research to Create Amazing Content

Online Marketing Tips for Small and Solo Law Firms - Law Firm 500 Conference

One of the most important elements of your marketing plan will be effective keyword research and content that converts readers. The first step is to find out what your audience is searching. By using tools like Ahrefs, SEMRush, and Google Keyword Planner, you can develop lists of keywords that you will want to include on your website. Your ultimate goal is to show up in a Google search result for those keywords through effective content creation.

You can make a list of keywords you want to rank by drawing from the following:

  • Record common questions from current clients.
  • Complete a Google search for your practice areas and look at related search terms
  • Review FindLaw articles and subtopics
  • Review competitors’ websites

Amazing content should be structured around the keywords that you find are commonly searched in your location area by people searching for attorneys in your practice areas. Although you should not “keyword stuff,” or artificially place keywords throughout content, good content should naturally discuss the topics you found in your research. Include keywords as organically as possible.

Claim Your Google My Business Listing

Most businesses are 

already listed on Google My Business (GMB); however, those listings may not be opt


ed with complete information. It’s important to claim your listing or create one if it does not already exist. You should include all relevant information requested by Google to complete your listing and provide potential clients with information about your small law firm or s


Make sure you include the following in your GMB listing:

  • Full address, including suite number
  • Complete phone number
  • Photos of your location and any signage
  • A link to your website

Completing your GMB lis

ting is essential to showing up in the top three pack, or “map pack,” which appears just below the map in a Google search. Aside from ads, this is the highest possible ranking after a Google search.

Complete Your Profile on Business and Legal Directories

There are a number of business directories and legal resources that list attorney firms and provide potential clients with information. It’s important to make sure your business information is accurate on the following resources:

  • Yelp
  • Avvo
  • Justia
  • FindLaw
  • Yellow Pages

Your city, county, and state may also have business listings that you take advantage of. It’s important to keep these listings up to date.

Track Your Success Online

It’s important to track the success of your website and other online marketing methods to determine what works for you and your business. Although you can complete preliminary research to determine what should work for your law firm, sometimes the only indicator of true success is time and actual results. You should track your website traffic, conversions, ranking, and more through Google Analytics, Callrail, Gravity Forms, and other online tracking platforms.

Work with an Online Legal Marketing Agency to Boost Success

As a small law firm or startup business, you can promote yourself online to establish a reputation and reach potential clients. However, the online marketing landscape can be complex. Often, working with an online marketing agency can be an effective way to utilize your resources wisely.


James Attorney Marketing provides brand reputation management and lead generation services to clients throughout the United States. To find out what we can do for you, contact us at 714-918-1848 or use our online contact form to send us a message.


Travis Hise is a featured speaker at the 3rd Annual 2018 Law Firm 500 FAST & PROFITABLE GROWTH Conference for small and solo law firm owners - get your tickets here. 


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