How a Law Firm Split Affects Your Digital Marketing (and What to Do About It)
Written by Leigh Ebrom
Law firms can split for many reasons. Regardless of the breakup’s cause, it can be challenging to rename, rebrand, and preserve the digital integrity of your original website and other marketing initiatives.
At LaFleur, we specialize in legal digital marketing and have helped our clients navigate the difficult period during and after a firm’s dissolution. In this blog, we explore some of the tactics you can use to overcome these initial challenges and methods for protecting your digital marketing efforts and website health in the future.
Step 1: Decide What to Do With Your Old Website’s Assets
You and your partners collectively own the law firm’s intellectual property. During a split, we recommend that parting attorneys negotiate how they’re going to divide their digital marketing assets so you can rebrand and reuse them when possible. These can include:
- Images and logos, including headshots and other photography
- The website domain and social media profiles
- Email automation platforms and their databases of leads, referral sources, and clients
- Blogs and other content
Some assets, like an email drip campaign, may be usable by multiple people. However, website content, images, domains, and other published assets are harder to share. For example, if several attorneys publish the same blog on their websites, the pages may be flagged as duplicate content – which can negatively impact its organic performance.
If possible, try to retain possession of as many assets as possible; it will save you time and money down the road. It’s more cost-effective and efficient to edit your existing content and assets after a breakup than it is to re-create them.
If you and your firm’s negotiations do not let you retain possession of your digital content, you should consider working with a team that understands legal digital marketing. A marketing partner can help you create new content that aligns with your new firm’s goals, builds brand awareness, and engages your ideal clients, freeing up your time to tend to your clients and develop your practice.
Step 2: Create a New Digital Marketing Strategy to Get Back on Track
After a split, your digital marketing strategy should reflect your new goals. This could mean pursuing leads in the most profitable area of your business to offset startup costs or emphasizing new services you didn’t offer before the split. There are a few methods you can implement to help streamline this process:
Craft Your New Brand
While the heart of your law firm’s brand is your unique perspective and approach, its name, logo, colors, fonts, and other elements help convey your firm’s identity to potential clients. After a split, you may be able to retain the use of brand elements, like your colors and fonts. However, in many cases, you’ll need to create new logos, letterheads, and other collateral. When you need to make changes, it’s a good time to reevaluate your brand to make sure it reflects your mission and culture.
Rebuild Your Digital Presence
Many law firms do not realize that after a split, they may need to rebuild or rebrand a lot of their existing digital presence. This can include rerouting an old website to a new domain and claiming social media and Google My Business profiles. These technical housekeeping matters may seem minor, but they’re essential to building brand awareness. Don’t let them slip through the cracks while you’re busy transitioning your practice.
Create a Content Strategy That Drives Organic Traffic
Changing your URL or creating a new website can cause a dip in traffic that can be hard to recover from without a dedicated content strategy. To help offset the effects of renaming your website, populate it with newly branded and optimized content. Publishing four high-quality, content-rich blogs per month is a tried-and-true way to help Google’s algorithms recognize and rank your site as quickly as possible.
Invest in a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising Campaign
For an immediate boost in traffic and brand recognition, pay-per-click and programmatic campaigns can help searchers in your area find your site, even if it’s not ranking highly yet. Through these campaigns, you can deliver targeted advertising to people who are searching for specific keywords.
Step 3: If You’re Changing Your URL, Prepare for a Dip in Your Organic Ranking
Your URL (uniform resource locator) is your website’s address. For example, our homepage’s URL is https://lafleur.marketing. Just like your physical location, you’ll need to deal with your digital address during a law firm breakup.
Normally, we don’t advise that businesses or firms change their URLs unless it’s absolutely necessary. A law firm split, however, is a good reason to change your URL.
However, Google tends to rank older and well-established sites more highly in search results. When you change your URL, that change can cause dips in your traffic, simply because Google’s algorithms prefer older websites that have an extensive catalog of content (like blogs), links to and from other high-value websites, and plenty of traffic. After you change a URL, your website will likely rank lower in Google search results for a little while, but this is normal. If you continue to follow digital marketing best practices, your new website will recover over time.
When you’re creating a new URL, choose one that represents your new firm, rather than opting for a keyword-laden address. Unlike on-page content, Google doesn’t take keywords in the URL into account when they organically rank your pages, so it won’t help your site rank higher in search.
For example, it’s best to call your site “atticusfinchlaw.com,” rather than “grandrapidsmitruckwrecklawyer.com.” Besides, if another firm uses the URL “grandrapidsmitruckwrecklawyers.com,” it could take away from traffic to your site.
Step 4: Remove Departing Partners in Compliance With the Rules of Professional Conduct
After a law firm split, the Rules of Professional Conduct typically insist that you immediately remove references to a departing lawyer from your advertising. This includes deleting their bios and associated content from the website, including their name from blogs, calls to action, or news about awards they may have received.
Additionally, if your law firm’s name or URL includes the departing partner’s name, you should quickly change all logos, domain names, business cards, and letterhead.
A Digital Marketing Partner Can Make the Transition Easier
Transitioning your practice after breaking with an old partner is a tremendous amount of work — and many attorneys simply don’t have the capacity to handle it themselves. Working with a digital marketing partner that understands the legal industry can help you create an effective strategy that will help your new firm thrive.
For example, when one of our clients’ firms dissolved, they needed to quickly edit their website’s content to reflect the change. Fortunately, they retained control of their past firm’s blogs, brand elements, and website. We worked together to rename the firm, create a new logo, rewrite content, and focus on the future. We also helped our client develop a targeted ad campaign to help them obtain cases in their most profitable practice area, estate planning, to ensure they had a steady, manageable caseload during an otherwise difficult time.
LaFleur: Your Go-To Legal Marketing Partner
At LaFleur, we know legal marketing inside and out, and we’re proud of the results we get for our clients nationwide. When you work with LaFleur, we align our goals with your law firm’s needs, so we can earn your trust while helping you build your business. If you have questions about how LaFleur can help your firm through a transition or you have other digital marketing needs you’d like to discuss, don’t hesitate to reach out! We’d love to hear from you at (888) 222-1512 or through our simple online contact form.