Standing out in today's legal market is crucial but challenging. Digital marketing is difficult to master, advertising is expensive, and competition is fierce. Clients increasingly make decisions based on search rankings instead of legal acumen, and many lawyers are feeling increasingly lost about how to get noticed. If this sounds familiar, read on to learn how Clearway can help you broaden your reach, grow your legal brand, and rank among the best lawyers in Canada.
Gone are the days of Yellowpage listings and bus bench advertisements to attract new clients. The internet has ushered in a new era of legal marketing that is digital-first, leaving many lawyers puzzled about how to stand out in the crowd. Blogs, social media, digital advertising, and search engines have completely upended traditional legal marketing and created a confusing landscape that's difficult to navigate. If you're feeling lost, you're not alone. Clearway is here to help.
Many lawyers are investing considerable effort to master legal marketing in an increasingly digital world and finding the process to be a frustrating consumer of time and money. Few firms have a coherent strategy or the resources and digital marketing know-how to transform their marketing investments into an impactful result. Trying bubble up to the first page on Google? Struggling to build a following on social media? Confused by pay-per-click advertising? Unsure how or where to source your clients on the internet? Each of these challenges are confronting the majority of lawyers today. Unless you're lucky enough to be skilled in the dark arts of internet marketing (and few are), you probably need some help to make sure your marketing investments are yielding tangible results and a healthy flow of new business. This is where Clearway can help. The following guide is designed to be a helpful primer about how to tackle the challenge of growing your digital legal brand:
First, let's get the obligatory Clearway plug out of the way. Claim your Clearway profile. There's no reason not to. It's free, easy to get going, and an excellent way to increase your exposure to the tens of thousands of prospective clients that visit Clearway every month. Clearway profiles also often have top rankings on Google and other search engines. Claiming your profile means you can control what prospective legal clients learn about you and your legal expertise. Most importantly, Clearway has been purpose-built to solve two major gaps in the legal industry: 1. Access to justice is a huge problem, and most prospective legal consumers find it overwhelming to source quality legal representation. 2. Lawyers across Canada struggle to grow their brand and recruit new clients in an increasingly digitized world. Clearway exists to help clients find great legal representation, and to help lawyers get discovered. How do we do this? We've brought together deep knowledge of the legal industry and web-based marketing in order to create an authoritative resource that helps to connect lawyers with consumers in need of legal representation. A major contributor to the justice gap is that most legal consumers have no idea how to access the legal system or find a qualified lawyer. Our mission is to help get more of the underserved legal demand into the hands of Canada's many excellent legal professionals. To do this, we're trying to do our part to better educate legal consumers, and to make the legal marketplace easier to navigate (i.e. find your profile).
Ready to get started with Clearway? Start by locating your profile here. Clearway will take you through the steps to setup your account and enrich your profile to help you connect with more clients. Also, check out our subscriptions in the event you want to unlock any features not covered by our Basic (Free) tier.
After you've claimed your Clearway profile, its wise to turn your attention to your broader digital marketing strategy. While there are no silver bullets that will rocket you to the top of search enging rankings overnight, investing consistent effort over a variety of channels is sure to yield positive results over time. The trick is to keep at it, and make sure your efforts are informed by a coherent strategy. A flurry of blog or social media activity followed by long gaps will not inspire a following. Similarly a single month of Google Adwords spend on broad terms will not yield the same result as a sustained campaign targeting specific search traffic.
A good place to start is by getting clear about what you're trying to acheive. It's not enough to simply drive more generic traffic to your web presence (yes, you do need a website), you'll want to ensure you're speaking to the correct audience and targeting your messaging in a way that is relevant to your domain of expertise. Examine what your competitors are doing, and spend some time understanding what the most prominent lawyers in your field are doing to develop their following. Where are they posting? How frequently? What terminology are they using to describe themselves? If you spot their advertisements, what terms caused them to rank in your search? What descriptors might prospective clients use to locate lawyers in your field? What would you most want your clients to read about you if they discovered your profile? What sets you apart from the competition? Spending some time getting clear on your approach and messaging will help to ensure that each of your marketing efforts are contributing to a coherent narrative that's reflective of your brand.
The next step is to invest in a modest amount of time getting educated in internet marketing. You don't need to be a digital marketing expert, but some fundamental knowledge can go a long way and prevent you from making wasteful investments. An excellent resource for anyone looking to learn more about digital marketing is Neil Patel's blog. It's possibly the most comprehensive and approachable tome of digital marketing insights available. Neil covers everything from search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising (i.e. Google Adwords), to blogging, social media, and most other channels for digital marketing. Regardless of what you're trying to acheive with your marketing efforts, the Neil Patel blog is an excellent resource for beginners and experts alike.
Decide where to focus your effort. There's a dizzying number of options where you can focus your marketing investments. In general, it's best to avoid a "boil the ocean" strategy where your time and marketing dollars are diffusely spread across every available channel. Limit your focus to 1-2 marketing channels and layer on additional properties as you acheive the desired impact, comfort and mastery. If you don't know what channel to pick, start by optimizing for Google (i.e. invest in SEO). Most legal consumers head to Google as their first resource in the lawyer discovery process, and this is a wise place to invest some effort growing your legal brand. Broadly speaking your Google ranking is influenced by how authoritative and useful Google's algorithms (smart computer programs) determine your web presence to be. Authority is often a function of how many other sites link to your publications, and is also influenced by how relevant your content to a particular search topic. For example, an intellectual property lawyer could reasonably expect to rank for topics in the context of patents or trademarks, but not for search terms pertinent to personal injury. Also, be intentional about the language you use in your content. Your odds of ranking for generic terms like "lawyer" is far more remote than ranking for something like "Victoria insurance litigation". The usefulness of the information you publish is another important input to your search ranking. This is a measure of how informative (and unique) Google interprets your content to be. If you have an uncommon set of skills or insights, be sure to highlight this in your content. A website or blog that simply details your experience and contact information will not be deemed as informative (or useful) as a similar site that provides thoughtful and distinctive information designed to educate legal consumers. When investing in your online presence, its crucial to devote some time and effort toward building out resources that are both informative and helpful. This will encourage more visits to your content, more references to your web presence, and likely boost your overall measure of authority and utility in the digital eyes of Google's algorithms.
Consider starting a blog. Blogging is an excellent way to highlight your unique legal expertise, and share information that is relevant to your target audience. The more active and engaging your blog topics, the more likely you'll be to secure inbound traffic from relevant searches and other sites your prospective clients may visit during their discovery process. 1-2 posts a month is often enough to build a following over time, and is a great way to both rank on Google and cement your authority as an expert in your chosen domain. Posting needn't be an unreasonable tax on your time, either. 250-500 words is ample to convey value to your audience. Just avoid a high degree of irregularity in your posts as this may send the wrong engagement signals to Google and your readers. If you don't already have one, setting up a blog is fairly straightforward. Most website hosts offer turn-key solutions such as Wordpress. Other services such as Medium are a great option to simplify the process of operating a blog, and may help to syndicate your content to relevant audiences. You may also want to consider contributing to the Clearway blog. We're always on the hunt for engaging topics that help to educate lawyers and the public on topics pertinent to the law and access to justice -- and it's a great way to leverage the Clearway traffic to grow your legal brand.
Build a presence on social media. While dance videos on TikTok are unlikely to attract your target audience, it's likely that your client demographic frequents one (or more) of the major social media sites. LinkedIn can be a great resource to connect with a more professionally oriented audience, while Facebook (Meta) may be the best choice to connect with a more general set of prospective legal customers. Alternatively, many lawyers choose to build a presence on Twitter for its simplicity and breadth of audience. Regardless of which platform(s) you elect to invest in, keep a few tips in mind as you work to develop a following: 1. Have a strategy and keep it in context. If you want to develop a reputation as an expert in your domain, be sure to emphasize this in your social media presence. Don't hesitate to showcase your personality and interests, but make sure your history isn't comprised of a confusing assortment of cat videos, memes and other irrelevant content. 2. Engage and be part of the conversation. Connect with your desired audience and contribute to topics where you have valuable insights and opinions to impart. Pay attention to trending topics and join in the discussion. 3. Keep it professional. Steer clear of unnecessary controversy; protect your duty to confidentiality; be courteous and respectful; and be mindful of rules regarding solicitation and legal advisory. Consider adopting a tool like Sprinklr, Buffer, or Hootsuite to monitor and contribute to multiple media sources or schedule posts.
Invest in paid advertising. The Google advertising model has redefined how many lawyers get ranked and discovered online. Perform any Google search and you'll probably note that the top search results are frequently paid advertisements. For a price (most often small, but sometimes significant) you too can appear among these top-ranked advertisements and shortcut the laborious brand-building effort required to rank organically. However, a paid advertising campaign is not something to be undertaken lightly. While it can be a powerful tool, it can also amount to a significant investment with disappointing yield if not managed judiciously. For this reason, you may want to hold off on launching a campaign until you've done your homework and gained traction in some of your more cost-effective marketing channels. When you're ready to dabble in pay-per-click marketing, be sure to seek guidance from some of the many reputable online resources describing how to operate an effective paid advertising campaign. As previously mentioned, Neil Patel's blog offers some excellent direction for novices and experts alike. To avoid falling victim to a runaway marketing expense, you'll want to follow a few important guidlines: 1. Do your research. Understand what search terms clients are using to find other experts in your field. Avoid competing in high-demand categories as these paid clicks are likely to quickly become expensive. 2. Set a modest budget and grow your spend over time as you begin to yield a positive result. 3. Monitor your results. Learn how to leverage Google Adsense to continually tune and optimize your results. You may also want to explore the paid advertising options offered by some of the leading social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Each of these can be an effective means of targeting your audience, but require their own investments of time, effort, and education.
Experiment with other forms of digital marketing. An email "drip" campaign can be an effective means to remain front-of-mind for your clients and stoke repeat business as well as referrals. Email can be a solid tool to nurture relationships, communicate news, make announcements, and provide firm updates. And these can be easily managed with cost-effective tools like Mail Chimp or Constant Contact. Video is also becoming an important tool for reaching new clients. From YouTube channels to TikTok, more and more consumers (especially younger audiences) are choosing video as their medium of choice. Competent legal marketers and leading law firms are increasingly adding video to their overall content strategyto connect with upcoming generations of video-first legal consumers. Lastly, explore options for display and affiliate paid advertising. If you've ever been to a website and seen an advertisement for an unrelated product or service, you've probably encountered some kind of affiliate advertising. These forms of marketing allow you to profile your ideal customer and display relevant advertising on the sites they frequent. Products like Google Adroll allow you to bid for placement on some of the most prominent sites on the internet, and they ensure your dollars are only being spent displaying ads to consumers that match your prescribed customer profile.
With so many competing ways to deploy your legal marketing spend, it's important to focus. An uncoordinated effort across a multitude of channels will only devour precious resources without any appreciable results. The most successful legal marketers often elect to target their investments in a few key areas rather than attempting to dominate all mediums equally.
Know where your customers spend their time, and target the forms of media that is most likely to resonate with their interests. A YouTube channel might be a wasteful investment for a wills & estates firm, whereas LinkedIn could be an ideal medium to select for an employment law practice. Your probability of running a successful digital marketing campaign is highly influenced by where you choose to devote your time and effort.
Understand that the medium matters. Not only in the context of digital marketing, but also in terms of how you elect to deliver your services. An adept digital marketing strategy will inevitably drive more customers to your door, but they may choose to place their business elsewhere if your operating model is not aligned with their expectations. For example, a firm that only offers in-person consultations and insists on payments by check might lose out on opportunities seeking virtual consultations and options to pay by credit card. Client expectations are shifting rapidly, and a coherent digital strategy needs to inform your operating model. Consider adopting a practice support tool like Clio in support of a broader digital strategy. Connecting virtually, transacting via text, issuing digital invoices, and receiving modern forms of payment can be a meaningful part of your competitive advantage. This will ensure you're able to service your customers on their terms and engage with them over their perferred medium.
Growing your practice takes grit, experimentation, and an informed strategy, but don't be intimidated. Driving more business is within reach. Start small, learn as you go, and grow your presence over time. If you stick with it your efforts will eventually result in a more prominent legal brand that fuels a healthy pipeline of new business. As always, if you get stuck or need advice, Clearway is here to help.