The Biggest Legal Marketing Pain Points (and How to Overcome Them)

The Biggest Legal Marketing Pain Points (and How to Overcome Them)

As the legal field keeps changing and evolving, it is becoming more important than ever for law firms to think carefully about how they market themselves. Good legal marketing is all about finding effective ways to connect with potential clients, by identifying customer pain points and communicating how your services will address them. However, to do this, your firm may need to overcome some pain points of its own.

Today's law firms face a common question: how do law firms attract clients in this digital age? Gone are the days when traditional methods alone could fill your client roster. Digital marketing has become essential and must blend with traditional methods to address the modern customer's needs. However, mastering digital marketing can be complicated and highly technical, particularly when factoring in the stringent standards regulating the legal sector. Additionally, with so many other firms also vying for clients' attention in the same space, the competition is fiercer than ever.

As such, any firms that are looking to make an impact will need to honestly assess their legal marketing issues, come to an understanding of why they are experiencing these problems, and develop holistic solutions for how to tackle them.

In this blog post, we'll explore some of the key pain points that law firms face in their marketing strategies, to empower your firm with the knowledge and tools you'll need to transform these challenges into opportunities for growth and client satisfaction.

How do law firms attract clients?

No law firm can succeed without a thoughtful approach to attracting clients. Many firms will rely on tried-and-tested strategies that have served them well for many years; however, best practices in this area have evolved significantly in recent years, and any firm seeking to achieve success today will need to adjust its methods accordingly. As such, understanding how to find the right mix of traditional and modern methods is central to effective marketing.

Historically, law firms have relied heavily on a few key methods to bring in business:

  • Referrals and word-of-mouth: this has been the gold standard for legal firms. Happy clients and professional contacts referring new clients to your firm can be a powerful way to gain trustworthy leads.
  • Networking and events: attending industry events, local business gatherings, and other networking opportunities has traditionally been a reliable way for lawyers to meet potential clients and referral sources.
  • Print advertising: this includes advertisements in newspapers, magazines, billboards, and direct mail campaigns. While not as dominant as they used to be, these advertisements still play a role in local markets and specific demographic segments.
  • Directory listings: listings in legal directories or local business directories can help potential clients find your firm when they're searching for legal assistance.
  • Claims management companies (CMCs): many law firms have traditionally relied on CMCs to generate leads. These companies market directly to potential claimants, and then pass these leads to law firms for a fee, providing a steady flow of clients - albeit at a high cost, and with varying degrees of lead quality.

The digital age has introduced new methods that law firms must adopt to stay competitive and meet potential clients where they spend most of their time: online.

  • Website and search engine optimisation (SEO): a well-designed website acts as your firm's online hub. Combined with SEO, it helps your firm appear in search results when potential clients are looking for legal services you offer.
  • Content marketing: providing valuable content like blog posts, guides, and videos can attract potential clients by answering their questions and establishing your firm as an authority in your field.
  • Social media: platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter/X, and Facebook offer ways to engage with your community, share your content, and connect with potential clients.
  • Email marketing: sending newsletters, legal updates, and other valuable information can keep your firm top-of-mind for when recipients need legal services.
  • Online reviews and testimonials: positive reviews on platforms like Google My Business and Trustpilot can enhance your firm's credibility and attract new clients.
  • Pay-per-click advertising (PPC): using PPC campaigns, law firms can appear at the top of search results for specific keywords, which instantly boosts their visibility.

The best approach for how to market a law firm usually involves a mix of traditional and digital methods. The exact blend will depend on your specific target audience, practice areas, and local market conditions. While digital methods offer measurable, cost-effective ways to reach a wider audience, traditional methods still hold value for establishing local presence and personal connections.

When considering how much your law firm should spend on marketing, think about the return on investment (ROI) each channel can offer and align this with your firm's growth goals and budget. By combining the strengths of both traditional and digital marketing, law firms can create a comprehensive strategy that meets prospective clients at different stages of their decision-making process, effectively addressing their pain points and leading them to choose your firm's services.

What are the key pain points for law firms to overcome in their marketing strategy?

Every law firm faces challenges when crafting and implementing an effective marketing strategy. Identifying these key pain points is essential for success in today's competitive legal market, as this will allow your firm to develop strategies to overcome them, enhance your marketing efforts and ultimately attract more clients.

Not knowing who your ideal client is

One of the significant challenges facing law firms in their marketing strategies is not knowing who their ideal client is. This lack of clarity can lead to unfocused marketing efforts, wasted resources and missed opportunities. Not identifying your ideal client can result in several issues:

  • Inefficient use of budget: marketing funds may be spent on broad or irrelevant campaigns that fail to attract the right prospects.
  • Lower conversion rates: if your marketing doesn't speak directly to the needs and concerns of a specific group, fewer prospects will engage with your firm.
  • Misaligned content: content marketing is less effective if it doesn't address the specific legal and financial pain points, questions or interests of your prospective clients.
  • Difficulty in standing out: without a clear target, it's hard to differentiate your firm from competitors and capture the attention of potential clients.

The solution

Addressing this pain point involves several key steps:

  • Conduct customer research: conduct research to understand the demographics, needs and behaviours of the clients you serve best.
  • Create client personas: based on your research, develop detailed client personas for your ideal clients. Include information such as their age, job, legal challenges and where they look for information. This will aid you in addressing customer pain points, understanding their decision-making process, and positioning your services to address their specific needs.
  • Segment your audience: recognise that you may have more than one type of ideal client. Segment your audience accordingly, and tailor your marketing strategies to address the unique needs of each segment.
  • Refine your messaging: use the insights from your client personas to craft marketing messages that speak directly to the needs and concerns of your ideal clients. Highlight how your services solve their specific problems and what sets your firm apart.
  • Choose the right channels: based on where your ideal clients spend their time, decide which marketing channels are most effective for reaching them. This might include specific social media sites, legal directories or targeted email campaigns.
  • Monitor and adjust: continuously monitor the performance of your marketing efforts and gather feedback from clients. Use this information to refine your understanding of your ideal client and make necessary adjustments to your strategy.

By taking the time to identify and understand your ideal client, your law firm can create more targeted, effective marketing campaigns. This can lead to better use of your marketing budget, higher conversion rates, and ultimately, a more successful practice.

The rapid rate of change in the digital marketing space

The digital marketing landscape is constantly evolving, with new technologies, platforms and strategies emerging at a rapid pace. For law firms, keeping up with these changes can create significant challenges, especially when legal professionals are already stretched thin with their existing caseloads and responsibilities:

  • Outdated practices: firms that fail to keep up may continue to use outdated tactics that are no longer effective, wasting time and resources.
  • Missed opportunities: new platforms and tools can offer innovative ways to reach and engage potential clients. Not keeping pace means missing out on these opportunities.
  • Skill gaps: as digital platforms evolve, so do the skills required to use them effectively. Firms may find they lack the necessary in-house expertise.
  • Inconsistent online presence: without regular updates and adaptations, a firm’s online presence can become inconsistent or irrelevant, diminishing its ability to attract clients.

The solution

Overcoming the challenges of rapid digital change involves a proactive approach:

  • Dedicate resources for learning and development: allocate time and budget for ongoing learning and development. This could involve subscribing to marketing newsletters, attending webinars and providing training for your team.
  • Adopt a flexible marketing strategy: create a marketing plan that is flexible and adaptable to change. Set regular intervals to review and adjust your strategy based on the latest digital marketing trends and the performance of your current efforts.
  • Leverage analytics and feedback: use analytics tools to track the performance of your digital marketing efforts. Regular analysis can help you identify what’s working, what’s not, and where adjustments need to be made.
  • Engage with your audience: use social media and other digital platforms not just for broadcasting but for engaging with your audience. Feedback and interactions can provide insights into changing client needs and preferences.
  • Innovate and experiment: don’t be afraid to try new platforms, tools or approaches. While not every trend will be right for your firm, experimentation can lead to valuable discoveries and keep your marketing efforts fresh.
  • Hire or consult with experts: if your firm lacks the in-house expertise, consider hiring a digital marketing specialist, or consulting with an agency that understands the legal market and current digital trends.

By adopting these strategies, your law firm can better manage the fast pace of change in digital marketing. Staying informed, flexible and proactive will help you maintain an effective online presence, attract more clients, and keep your firm competitive in the evolving digital landscape.

Increased competition and market share challenges

The legal industry is becoming increasingly competitive, with more firms vying for the attention of potential clients. This heightened competition makes it harder to stand out, retain market share, and attract new clients. As a result, law firms must work harder and smarter to differentiate themselves and capture the interest of prospective customers.

Increased competition and challenges in maintaining or growing market share present several issues for law firms:

  • Visibility: with so many firms competing for attention, particularly online, it becomes challenging to ensure that your firm is noticed by potential clients.
  • Differentiation: distinguishing your services from those of other firms is more challenging but more critical than ever, especially when many firms offer similar services.
  • Pricing pressure: increased competition can create pressure to lower prices or offer more for less, and impact profitability.
  • Client loyalty: with more options available, clients may be more inclined to shop around, making it harder to retain them.

The solution

Addressing the challenges of increased competition and market share involves several strategic actions:

  • Identify and communicate your unique selling proposition (USP): clearly define what makes your firm different and better than others. This could relate to your expertise, service quality or pricing structure, or other ways that show how your firm can address customers' pain points more effectively than others. Ensure this USP is communicated clearly in all your marketing materials.
  • Understand your target audience: conduct thorough market research to understand the needs, behaviours, and preferences of your potential clients. Tailoring your services and marketing messages to meet these needs can help attract and retain clients more effectively.
  • Leverage content marketing: develop and share informative, engaging content that addresses the common pain points and questions of your target audience. This can help establish your firm as a thought leader in your area of expertise and build trust and credibility with potential clients.
  • Optimise your online presence: ensure your website is optimised for search engines and user experience. Engage actively on social media platforms where your prospective clients are present. Use online reviews and testimonials to build trust and encourage referrals.
  • Monitor your competitors: keep an eye on what your competitors are doing in terms of marketing and client service. This can help you identify opportunities to innovate and improve your own strategies.
  • Focus on client experience: provide exceptional service to your existing clients. Satisfied clients are more likely to return and refer others to your firm. Consider implementing client feedback mechanisms to continuously improve your service.
  • Invest in digital marketing: utilise SEO, PPC, email marketing, and social media to increase your firm's visibility online. Tailoring your digital marketing efforts to your target audience can enhance the effectiveness of your campaigns and help you stand out in a crowded market.

By addressing these areas, your law firm can better navigate the challenges of increased competition and market share. Focusing on differentiation, client understanding, and a strong online presence can help you attract new clients, retain existing ones, and secure your firm’s position in the competitive legal market.

Overreliance on CMCs

Many law firms have traditionally relied on CMCs to supply a steady flow of leads. While this can provide quick access to potential clients, overreliance on CMCs poses risks. It can lead to dependency, where firms find themselves tied to the leads supplied by these companies. This can affect their ability to pivot their approach and generate leads independently if they need to.

The issues associated with overreliance on CMCs include:

  • Cost: purchasing leads from CMCs can be expensive, which reduces the overall profitability of the cases acquired through these channels.
  • Control: relying on external sources for leads means you have less control over the lead quality and the types of clients being attracted.
  • Competition: leads from CMCs are often sold to multiple firms, which increases competition and reduces the likelihood of conversion.
  • Brand development: an overreliance on CMCs can stifle the firm's efforts to build its own brand and establish direct relationships with potential clients.

The solution

Reducing dependence on CMCs requires a multifaceted approach:

  • Develop an in-house marketing strategy: invest in building a comprehensive marketing strategy that includes digital marketing efforts like SEO, content marketing, and social media. This will help your firm attract leads organically.
  • Understand your audience: conduct research to understand the needs and behaviours of your potential clients. Use this information to tailor your marketing efforts and content to address their specific pain points and questions.
  • Improve your online presence: optimise your website for search engines and user experience. Ensure that your site effectively communicates your firm's values, expertise, and USPs.
  • Leverage content marketing: create and distribute valuable, relevant content that addresses your target audience's needs. This can establish your firm as a thought leader and attract clients looking for knowledgeable and trustworthy legal representation.
  • Monitor and measure: regularly review the performance of your marketing efforts. Use data and analytics to understand what's working and what's not, and adjust your strategies accordingly.

For more information on how to reduce your reliance on CMCs, take a look at our guide, "CMCs vs Online Leads: What’s Best for My Firm?".

Lack of resources, time and in-house experience

Many law firms, especially smaller ones, struggle with limited resources, time, and in-house marketing expertise. These challenges can make it difficult to develop and maintain effective marketing strategies, which presents several issues:

  • Ineffective marketing: without the necessary resources and expertise, marketing efforts may be unfocused, outdated, or inefficient, and deliver poor return on investment.
  • Missed opportunities: limited time and expertise mean that firms may miss out on new marketing trends and platforms that could significantly benefit their business.
  • Stretched thin: legal professionals may find themselves trying to handle marketing tasks on top of their legal duties, leading to burnout and reduced effectiveness in both areas.
  • Knock-on costs: when core members of your team need to dedicate their time to handling your marketing strategy, it could mean they are unable to deliver as much of their own revenue-generating work, resulting in a tangible cost to the firm.

The solution

Addressing these challenges requires strategic planning and smart allocation of resources:

  • Prioritise and plan: identify the most critical marketing activities that could maximise your firm’s growth. Develop a clear, focused marketing plan that aligns with your firm’s goals and available resources.
  • Use time-saving tools and automation: invest in marketing automation tools for tasks like email marketing, social media posting, and lead tracking. This can free up time and make marketing efforts more consistent.
  • Educate and train: invest in training for your existing staff. Even basic digital marketing skills can make a significant difference. Online courses, webinars, and workshops can be cost-effective ways to improve in-house expertise.
  • Set realistic goals: set achievable marketing goals based on your resources. It’s better to execute a few strategies well than to spread your efforts too thin.
  • Monitor and adjust: regularly review the performance of your marketing activities. This will help you understand where to best allocate your resources for maximum impact.
  • Outsource wisely: if certain marketing activities are beyond your team’s skill set, consider outsourcing them. Working with a dedicated digital marketing specialist who understands the legal industry and your firm’s specific needs can have a transformative impact.

By addressing the lack of resources, time, and in-house expertise, law firms can create more effective, efficient marketing strategies.

How working with a digital marketing agency can help you

Partnering with a digital marketing agency can be a game-changer for law firms struggling with these common marketing process pain points. An experienced agency can bring the expertise, resources, and time your firm might be lacking, and drive your marketing efforts forward through the following means:

  • Expertise and experience: digital marketing agencies specialise in staying ahead of the latest trends, tools, and strategies. Their expertise can bridge the gap in your firm’s marketing knowledge, and they can apply industry best practices to help you achieve better results.
  • Resource allocation: by outsourcing your marketing efforts to an agency, your firm can free up internal resources and allow your legal team to focus on what they do best: serving your clients. This can lead to improved efficiency and productivity across the board.
  • Scalability: a digital marketing agency can scale its services to match your firm’s needs and growth ambitions. Whether you need to ramp up your efforts quickly or scale back due to unprecedented demand, an agency can adjust without the same constraints you might face internally.
  • Cost-effectiveness: while there is an upfront cost to hiring an agency, the long-term return on investment can be significant. Agencies work to optimise your marketing budget and focus on strategies that offer the best return. Plus, you avoid the overhead associated with hiring full-time employees.
  • Measurable results: agencies focus on metrics and measurable outcomes to ensure that your marketing efforts are result-oriented. They can provide regular reports and analytics to give you a clear picture of what’s working and where adjustments are needed.

When selecting a digital marketing agency, look for one with experience in the legal industry and a proven track record of success. Ask for case studies, client testimonials and clear explanations of how they measure success. Communication is key, so choose an agency that understands your goals and is committed to working closely with your team.

Dealing with marketing challenges and pain points is inevitable, but by obtaining the right support and expertise to overcome these obstacles, your firm can enhance its online presence, attract more clients, and ultimately achieve greater success and growth in today’s competitive legal market.

Looking to solve your legal marketing pain points? Get in touch!

If you are looking for ways to take your law firm's digital marketing strategy to the next level, get in touch with I-COM. We offer a comprehensive range of digital services through our large in-house team of specialists, including web design, web development, digital marketing, SEO, branding, content marketing, PR and outreach, social media marketing, and paid search marketing. We also have in-depth knowledge of the specifics of the legal sector - just take a look at our success stories to show how we've helped law firms evolve.

Call us on 0161 402 3170 or use the contact form to get in touch.