How to Get New Clients for a Law Firm: The Customer Lifecycle in Law Firm Marketing

law firm marketing customer lifecycle

Marketing may not be the reason you got into law—but when you’re trying to build a law firm, it’s critical to spend some time on law firm marketing.

By targeting your efforts to the specific needs a potential client has at every phase of the process, you can decide how and when to engage, nurture, and convert your clients to build a law firm with effective law firm marketing.

These are the phases of the law firm customer lifecycle—and the tactics you can use to build your law firm at every step.

Engage: How to attract clients to a law firm

In the first stage, you make contact with a new legal client.

Clients realize they need legal counsel during the engagement phase.

Whether a slip and fall accident causes someone to search for a worker’s compensation attorney, or a new regulation means a corporation needs to review tax law, this is when a potential client learns about your law firm.

Law firm marketing tactics in this stage are focused on attracting new legal clients and making first contact.

In the digital age, a Google search is often the first step a person takes when looking for a lawyer. Spending some time on search engine optimization (SEO) can help you appear to potential clients right as they are looking to hire you.

Once a potential client reaches your site, you can collect their contact information and start to build an understanding of their problem.

In areas of law where clients sign on very quickly, a simple contact form that lets visitors tell you about their problem—whether through a written response or radio buttons—may be enough to move directly to conversion.

In other areas with longer proposal times, building customized forms to collect email addresses can help you stay in touch and help move closer to a deal.

What if a potential client clicks away from your site without getting in touch?

Retargeting ads are an underrated law firm marketing tactic. With retargeting, you can set up ads that appear only for people who have already visited your site once—enticing them to come back.

Of course, offline marketing is an important part of many areas of law as well. Local ads are a commonly used tool to make people aware of how your law firm can help.

Class action lawsuits are one natural example—as due process often requires notifying class members.

Outside of class action lawsuits and other offline campaigns, a marketing plan for attorneys can rely heavily on referrals.

For someone with a legal issue, their engagement phase may begin when a colleague hands them your business card. Building a strong network of attorneys and related professionals can help attract clients to your law firm.

If you’ve successfully captured attention during the engagement phase, a prospective client will move to the nurture phase of legal marketing.

Recommended tactics to engage clients: SEO, retargeting, opt-in forms, local advertisements, business relationships

Nurture: How to market legal services successfully

It’s possible for a client to find out about you and immediately hire your law firm. But many clients will not, and most will do some research on their own before they come to a final decision.

The nurture stage is when effective law firm marketing can make a huge difference. Potential clients are going to do research and compare you to your competition—so staying in touch and top of mind can make a huge difference.

If you’re wondering how to get new legal clients, this is one of your biggest opportunities.

Too many law firms collect contact information and let new client leads go cold. What if you instead gave answers to a potential clients’ every question?

From your experience in law, you likely have a sense of the most common questions or challenges your clients deal with. If you combine content marketing and marketing automation, you could allay every concern—before a potential client ever has a chance to ask.

This type of follow up-sequence automatically nurtures your relationship with every potential client. Once it’s set up, it you can let it run; it will nurture your contacts without taking up any more of your time.

As you send answers to a potential client’s every question, you could even track their responses.

Do they open your emails? Are they coming back to your site? Automated lead scoring can combine with site tracking to show you which potential clients are most interested, and let you know when it’s time to follow up.

The nurture phase of law firm marketing ends when a potential client takes an action that shows they’re interested in retaining your services. In many areas of law, this is a simple conversation with one of your attorneys.

Once you’ve set up the initial consultation, your attention can turn to conversion.

Recommended tactics to nurture clients: Content marketing, email marketing, marketing automation, lead scoring

Convert: How to get new clients for a law firm

You’re in contact with a potential client, which means a big chunk of marketing is behind you. In the conversion phase, you want to drop the “potential”—and win business to build your law firm.

If a client signs on immediately, the conversion phase could begin at the very moment a consultation ends. In some areas of law, on the other hand, acquiring a new legal client could take multiple meetings and contract drafts.

The conversion phase includes actually signing on a new client, but it also extends beyond that to include the full experience a customer has with your law firm.

Especially in areas of law where legal retainers are common, client retention can be an important part of an effective law firm marketing plan.

Continuing your content marketing can help. If your clients have answers at their fingertips, before they need to raise an issue in a meeting, they’re less likely to get frustrated—and more likely to retain your services.

As an added bonus, a satisfied client is more likely to refer you to their friends, family, or colleagues. Once you’ve established a relationship, and depending on your area of law, encourage clients to pass along your information.

When you’ve walked a client through the entire customer lifecycle, creating a positive experience through smart content and personalized marketing, you can grow your client base—and build a law firm.

Recommended tactics to convert clients: Content marketing, exceptional client service, referral

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