What Does Your Law Firm’s Marketing Funnel Look Like?
Ask anyone in marketing how many visual representations of funnels they’ve seen. They’ll have lost count somewhere around their sixth week on the job. If “Always Be Closing” is the mantra of top-tier salespeople, marketers are always trying to move prospects down the funnel. This metaphor exists in many forms and different industries have their own takes on the concept, but no matter the specifics, the marketing funnel applies to almost every business.
That’s because there is a path that basically every consumer takes. It starts wide, and narrows to the point of purchase. When illustrated, everyone can easily understand this process. Everyone also wants their business to be at the bottom of it. Law firms are no different, and neither are their challenges in making that happen.
You see, not every prospect enters the funnel at the same point. They don’t all move through it at the same rate, either. And as you well know, they certainly don’t all choose to hire an attorney, even when it’s in their best interests.
Why your law firm needs to know the marketing funnel
It’s important for law firms and attorneys to understand the marketing funnel themselves because it’s an incredibly useful way to structure your marketing activities. There are as many ways to promote a law firm as there are dollars to spend doing it. But without a broad strategy that works to move prospects closer to hiring them, lawyers are effectively throwing tactics at the wall and seeing which will stick.
Bring a little order to this chaos, however, and attorneys start to see where they should be investing their time and money. You may, for example, discover that the key to your law firm’s sustainability lies in reaching as broad of an audience as possible. Another firm in your town might be frustrated at the low volume of contacts they’re receiving and decide to invest in bottom-of-the-funnel activities.
Disclaimer: There are many, many ways to structure and label a marketing funnel. It’s also important to note that the divisions in the marketing funnel are rarely as stark as they appear here. But for the purposes of this conversation, I’m going to speak in generalities about some of the tactics that support three different levels.
Starting at the Top
At this stage of the marketing funnel, legal consumers are just discovering that they have a legal need. Whether facing injury, pursuing adoption or starting a business, consumers in this stage are just getting started. As such, the marketing that reaches them most effectively will focus on exposure of your brand. Think about websites in general, legal directories, pay-per-click campaigns and the like. The things you do at the top level should be designed to attract the attention of legal consumers that are relevant to your law firm. When most attorneys think of online marketing, they think of these sorts of activities.
Moving to the Middle
Once people have been convinced they have a legal need, they’re going to quickly begin searching for someone who can help them address it. At this stage consumers evaluate their options. For television shoppers, it may be screen size, resolution, and online reviews. For your clients, think expertise, confidence, convenience and yes, online reviews. Your activity here needs to engage consumers in a way that positions you as the right attorney for them. This can be done with testimonials and reputation management activities, but it might also be achieved through compelling content or social media outreach – to name just a few.
The Bottom of the Funnel
At the lowest level of the marketing funnel, it’s all about making it easy for people to connect with your firm. That might mean employing conversion tools like around-the-clock web chat clients. Other law firms choose to deploy an intake management tool that helps them keep a grip on those contacts they’ve worked so hard to achieve. Even website content can contribute at this stage through compelling calls to action or easy-to-find contact forms. Tactics like these are worth it because a prospective client that has made it this far down the funnel is likely to be very engaged and once a client makes the choice to contact your firm, they’re practically yours to lose. So don’t dismiss the importance of this stage. It’s where a lot of attorneys drop the ball.
Now, I know that this reads like a laundry list of tactics. And I know that most small law firms have limited budgets, resources and expertise to work with. The lesson here isn’t that you have to do everything at every level of the marketing funnel. But keep this concept in mind going forward. Whether you’re trying something new or checking in on a tactic that has worked for years, ask yourself which stage of the funnel you’re addressing and let that guide your next move.