Stop us if you’ve heard this one: if you want your law firm to compete for more prospective clients, you can’t afford to ignore your digital marketing. More and more legal consumers are choosing to look online for legal advice, choose a firm, or even attempt to handle the early portion of their case on their own. If you don’t have a solid online marketing strategy, chances are those legal consumers are going to be choosing your competitors over you when they finally realize they need legal services.
Now, we’ve got some good news and some bad news.
The good news is that there are tons of great tools out there that can help law firms market themselves faster, more efficiently, and more intelligently. Today’s DIY marketer has access to the kind of sophisticated data and software that pros could only dream of 20 years ago.
The bad news, however, is that there are a lot of bad tools out there, too—or at the very least, tools that work great for certain kinds of business, but may not be the right fit for your law firm marketing plan.
So which digital marketing tools should you choose? That depends on your firm’s business goals, marketing budget, level of marketing expertise, ideal clients, and many other factors. But to get you headed in the right direction, we’ve curated a list of 22 handy tools that the LaFleur team recommends (which use themselves) to promote your law firm online.
Let’s get to it!
Content marketing and ideation tools for law firms
Over the past several years, the search engine algorithms have become more discerning. If you want to rank for competitive legal keywords, you need to ground your content in research and take the time to write comprehensive, authoritative information.
Here are a few of our favorite tools when you’re trying to maximize your website’s content and other digital media.
There are a lot of solid SEO tools out there, but SEMrush is one of our favorites. It’s an extremely powerful and versatile tool that can help you at multiple stages of your law firm marketing strategy—link building, technical SEO, competitive research, analytics—so we’ll be revisiting it again later in this post. But for now, let’s talk briefly about using SEMrush for content marketing.
Almost every content marketer experiences this: After you have your pillar pieces of content in place, and get a few blog posts on site, it starts becoming very difficult to come up with new topics to write about. That’s where SEMrush’s powerful keyword research tool comes in.
Enter almost any search term—something simple and related to one of your core legal services (like personal injury or criminal law) or the type of problems your clients are experiencing (rear-end car crash or bicycle accident)—and you’ll see how many times that keyword gets searched per month, the current top 10 pages for the keyword, and an estimate of how hard it would be to rank for that keyword with a new piece of content.
You’ll also be able to quickly review lists of similar and related keywords, including longer-tail keywords and common questions. Maybe the keyword you first typed in isn’t the best choice to target with a new blog post right now, but scanning through the list of related keywords might help you find something that’s more closely focused on your ideal new clients—and easier to rank for.
Picking the right keywords to target is, of course, only the first step. Now, you have to write content that will rank for that keyword. So, does the blog post you just wrote have a realistic chance to ascend to top of the search rankings, or is doomed to languish in obscurity?
A content optimization tool like Clearscope can help you answer that question.
Just enter the search term you want to rank for, and Clearscope’s AI will analyze the top-performing pages and tell you what you should write about, what keywords you should use, and even the length and reading level you should shoot for if you want to compete. You can even write your content inside Clearscope’s content editor and get your content scored for SEO in real time.
While you’ll certainly still need your content to be well written and client-focused, Clearscope helps you ensure that your content provides the specific information that legal consumers are looking for when they search a term.
Looking for free content marketing tools? Check out some of our favorites
Not every firm has the budget to invest in SEO and content marketing tools. While none of these platforms are as powerful as the paid options we listed above, we still use (and love) them.
- Google Trends: Google Trends can help you monitor the popularity of both developing and established keywords. While it won’t give you monthly search volumes, the tool will let you see (in relative terms) how popular a keyword is at a national, statewide, or regional level.
- Keyword Surfer: We’re fans of the Surfer’s paid version, but smaller firms and business can take advantage of the company’s free Chrome extension, Keyword Surfer. The handy tool will share monthly search volumes for your selected (and similar) keywords, helping you target the right terms.
- Moz Title Tag Checker: When your title tags are too long, Google will abbreviate them for you—and you might not like the results. Moz offers a free Title Tag Checker that lets you see how your draft title will look on the web.
- MozBar: Another helpful Chrome extension, MozBar reports a website’s domain authority, page authority, and other helpful metrics. This is a great tool when you’re doing competitor research. (There is a paid version if you want even more information and tools.)
Content may be king, but to be effective, that content needs to be presented in a way that’s attractive, easy to navigate, and consistent with your law firm’s brand identity. Here are a few great design tools to try.
Figma offers a whole new level of collaboration for designers. It’s a collaborative interface design tool that allows teams and coworkers to come together on an asset or project. Figma also provides interactive design elements and prototypes for websites, apps, and graphics.
At LaFleur, our designers use Figma to review, edit, and package layouts and sitemaps quickly and efficiently before sending the assets off to the development team. Different users can have different levels of access—for example, content writers can only edit text to avoid accidental design mistakes.
Adobe Creative Cloud
Adobe Creative Cloud (CC) Suite includes more than just photo touch-up abilities with Photoshop. You also get essential tools for graphic design, animation, web wireframing and prototyping, web development, video and photo editing and processing, and much more.
One app we’d like to spotlight here is Adobe XD (pictured above). The designers at LaFleur rely on this tool to quickly design click-through wireframes and prototypes of new websites we’re working on. Clients can then give direct feedback on the wireframes, designs can be updated quickly and easily, and once everyone is satisfied, the finished site can be built exactly to specifications. It’s a huge time and effort saver and helps ensure that clients are truly happy with the finished product!
Overall, the Adobe CC Suite is a must-have for any business that plans on doing design work in-house.
Social media and PPC ads
Want to take some of the hassle and guesswork out of your social media and paid advertising strategies in 2020? Take a look at these tools.
A successful social media strategy requires planning, organization, and consistency. Social media marketing and management tools like Hootsuite, Sprout, and Buffer offer slightly different capabilities, but all of them allow businesses to manage and schedule posts across multiple platforms to create a seamless posting plan. Hootsuite is our favorite because it allows administrators to create and schedule content, measure ROI, run ads, and more.
Facebook Business and Ad Managers
We don’t have to tell you that Facebook is one of the most popular social platforms, and the most critical for many businesses’ social media strategies (including law firms). Facebook Business allows companies to manage multiple pages, share account access with agencies, and build custom audiences for advertising. Facebook also offers Ad Manager, a tool that helps organizations create, manage, and review the performance of ad campaigns.
Google Ads lets companies get their business in front of potential customers or clients within the Google Search Network and Google Display Network. Google ads are fully targetable, controllable, measurable, and manageable. This control gives your business the ability to maximize your budget by targeting only your most valuable potential customers and measuring the results to optimize future ad campaigns.
Google Keyword Planner
This keyword research tool helps your law firm find keywords that can help you reach more potential leads. Google Keyword Planner also displays the past, current, and projected popularity of each keyword. Your business can use the results in a variety of ways, such as in paid campaigns or as inspiration for new blog post topics.
Less well-known than some other tools on this list, Spyfu allows businesses to see what keywords their competitors rank highly for in search or are bidding for on Google. In other words, you could search Spyfu for a specific competitor’s top organic and paid keywords, look for strengths and weaknesses, and then design your own campaigns to target vulnerable or highly desirable keywords.
Email management and marketing automation tools
You don’t have time to respond personally to every lead and send individual messages that nurture your relationships with prospective clients, existing clients, and brand ambassadors. That’s why so many firms turn to automation platforms—they streamline your lead nurturing efforts and offer a remarkable ROI.
While there are many email and marketing automation platforms on the market, these are some of our absolute favorites.
SharpSpring is a powerful email management and marketing automation platform. However, it does more than automatically send out drip and lead nurturing campaigns; SharpSpring can also help you gauge your leads’ interest in your services and understand their buyer’s journey.
Once you’ve collected someone’s contact information, you can track their browsing behavior on your website and see when they open and engage with your email campaigns. This can help you tailor their user experience and increase your chances of converting them into a client.
We’re such big fans of SharpSpring that we’ve earned its coveted Platinum Partner status.
If you’re looking for an even more powerful platform, consider HubSpot. In addition to email management, marketing automation capabilities, and social media tools, HubSpot also offers a variety of website design and tracking features. Of course, the added features come with costs, but this all-in-one solution might replace several different digital marketing tools.
(And if you’re not sure how to get the most out of HubSpot’s CRM (customer relationship management) software, reach out to LaFleur. We’re also a certified HubSpot Solutions Partner.)
Unlike the other marketing automation tools on this list, Filevine is case management software designed specifically for law firms. Filevine can house all your documents and notes, client data, and tasks in one place. Features include:
- Comprehensive lead management, including custom intake forms, automated reminders and follow-up, and automatically generating and sending contracts.
- Streamlined document management, including generation of custom demand letters, contracts, firm reports, and more. (This is a massive time-saver!)
- Customizable and powerful reporting tools that can track and report on everything from case details to staff productivity to marketing performance.
- Automated time-tracking, expense tracking, and billing.
Filevine’s law firm marketing tools are extremely robust and highly customizable. Forms, tasks, reports, and more can be adjusted to fit your firm’s needs, whether you’re in personal injury, mass tort, insurance, criminal law, government work, or other areas of the law. The learning curve can seem a little steep at first, but in our experience the effort is well worth it.
Tracking and analytics resources
Some of the most powerful and intriguing digital marketing tools focus not on creating content but on monitoring and analyzing the performance of content. Tracking the results from your strategies helps you determine what’s working, what’s not, and what to do next.
If you want to understand everything you can about the people who visit your law firm’s website—including how they got there and what they did on site—then Google Analytics is indispensable. (Unlike most other tools on this list, it’s also free, so you have no excuse not to set it up as soon as possible if you haven’t already.)
Here are just some of the things you can track automatically with Google Analytics:
- How many people visit your website
- Where they live (by country, state, city)
- How they got there (search engines, PPC ads, social media platforms, typing in the URL directly, etc.)
- Which platform and browser they’re using (desktop, mobile, Chrome, etc.)
- Which pages get the most visits
- How long visitors spend on the site (and each individual page)
- How many pages they viewed in their session before leaving the site
- How all these numbers grow (or shrink) over time, based on parameters you set
Simply put, Google Analytics will give you in-depth information about how your website and your content is performing and whether your current marketing campaigns are actually reaching the potential clients you’re trying to reach. It allows you to track progress in real time, identify strengths and weaknesses in your internet marketing strategy, and shift gears when things aren’t working.
Google Search Console
While Google Analytics keeps track of site visitor metrics and behaviors, Google Search Console (formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools) focuses on how your website appears in search results. (It’s also a free tool, so no excuses.)
Search Console shows which queries bring visitors to your website by analyzing impressions, clicks, and the position in which your site appears in the results. These functions can help you achieve SEO-related goals for your website.
It can also help you identify and troubleshoot errors that may be preventing Google from properly crawling and indexing your site and harming your site’s SEO performance.
We’ve already talked about how you can use SEMrush to do keyword research and build an effective content marketing plan for your law firm. But the tool can do a lot more than just help you do keyword research. Another big aspect of SEMrush is competitor analysis.
Type in any domain, and SEMrush will tell you which search keywords the site is ranking for (and what position), volume and difficulty scores for those keywords, and the percentage of the overall organic traffic to the website (i.e., traffic coming from search engines) that’s being driven by each keyword.
Type in your own URL, and you can see how your own visitors are finding your site, and discover important gaps in your search traffic. Type in a competitor’s URLs, and you may be able to reverse engineer some of their marketing strategy, “borrow” some of their good ideas, and identify weaknesses in their marketing efforts to zero in on.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The LaFleur team uses SEMrush to audit sites for errors, perform technical SEO work, plan and develop PPC advertising campaigns, and much more.
Google’s algorithm now considers your Core Web Vitals, which focus on user experience and web page speed. If your website loads too slowly, your competition might beat you for that coveted #1 spot.
Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool can help you assess your website’s performance, both on mobile and desktop devices. Simply input your website address and Google with give you a numeric score, ranging from 0 to 100. (And if you need help speeding up your website or improving its usability, or design and web development teams have practical solutions for you.)
Collaboration and strategy
Marketing campaigns have many moving parts—and you can’t afford to leave project management to chance. That’s why our team relies on the following collaborative tools.
As remote work becomes the norm, many firms and businesses are looking for ways to whiteboard and collaborate online. Miro is a great option, letting you create collaborative digital boards that you can use to brainstorm, plan, educate, and share information.
Plus, there’s a free option that will work well for most firms.
While we’ve used Slack and other messaging apps for years, they’ve become essential during hybrid and remote work. This platform lets you share information, workshop ideas, and provide updates in almost real time. There are also voice and video conferencing options.
Get better results from your digital marketing strategies when you partner with LaFleur
A well-rounded digital marketing strategy involves using a variety of digital tools for creating, automating, monitoring, and analyzing your digital content.
While some of these digital marketing tools are cheap (or free!) and very simple to set up and use, many of the best and most powerful ones require subscriptions and a high learning curve to get up and running. That may put them out of reach for a small law firm with a DIY digital marketing approach and marketers who must wear many hats.
At LaFleur, we have subscriptions for many of the tools listed in this article. We use our expertise to improve our clients’ digital marketing strategies and help them achieve their business goals. Contact us today to learn how quickly and easily you can get up and running with these digital tools. Just call us at 888-222-1512 or fill out our simple contact form to get started!