Unique Online Marketing Challenges for Lawyers

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Aug 10, 2022

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Online lawyer marketing is a challenge for any business, but lawyers face some additional challenges. These include:

Prohibitive and Sometimes Confusing Rules Governing Lawyer Advertising

Most businesses can say almost anything they want in their marketing efforts. Unfortunately that is not the case for lawyers. Law firms are limited in the ways they can position their firms, though guidelines vary from state to state.

For example, in some states, law firms are not able to use client testimonials (unless explicitly requested by a potential client) because testimonials often include claims about the firm that the lawyers in the firm could not otherwise make about themselves.

When you factor in the fact that technology changes faster than lawyer advertising rules adapt, law firms encounter gray areas that limit the types of lawyer marketing services they feel comfortable with.

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Online Lawyer Marketing can be Expensive

Unfortunately, lawyers are in an extremely competitive marketing environment, both online and offline. Most major markets have hundreds, possibly thousands, of lawyers, and they’re all competing for the same finite number of cases.

Further, the first page of Google lists only 10 organic search results. Many firms have been working, and spending, for years to move their websites towards the top of the search results. This means if you’re new to the online lawyer marketing world, or if you have a limited budget, you will have a hard time getting your site well ranked in Google search results.

To boost rankings, your firm, and hundreds like yours, work with online attorney marketing companies to help provide a short cut to the first page of search results. In short, there’s only a small amount of valuable online advertising space, and a huge demand for that space.

Lawyers are too busy to effectively nurture the leads that their marketing efforts generate

When you bill by the hour, it doesn’t seem advisable to spend a lot of time evaluating online marketing options or talking to potential clients looking for legal advice. Nevertheless, both can make a huge impact a firm’s marketing success.

Small firms and solo practitioners, in particular, have trouble paying sufficient attention to those tasks that can help them develop a client base. That reluctance is understandable. Between spending time in court and filling days with billable activities, you might not want to take the time at the end of the day to return a call from somebody who “just wanted to ask a couple legal questions.”

But, if you’re spending marketing dollars to generate clients, you need to pay attention to new client development. Every phone call or e-mail that goes unanswered could be the same as throwing away your money.

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