For years, appellate attorneys were happy to attract clients the old-fashioned ways – through networking and referrals from other attorneys and business owners.
Times are changing, and appellate lawyers are being left behind.
The old ways of signing up new cases are not working as well as they used, and the competition for clients is as fierce as it’s ever been.
The reason is not just the internet.
I mean, the internet has been around for more than two decades.
What has changed is the digital marketing by more aggressive first-movers, such as personal injury and bankruptcy lawyers. This change in marketing is now catching up with appellate attorneys, and they are taking notice.
If you know anything about how the manufacturing industry operates, this won’t come as a surprise. Things related to marketing and sales happen at a much slower pace in the manufacturing space than in other industries.
Marketing an appellate law practice in many ways has paralleled the trajectory of manufacturing businesses who have come later to the marketing game.
As an appellate lawyer, you now have to compete in ways you never had to before if you want to find those ever-elusive clients who need a lawyer to guide them through the appeals process for the cases they lost in the lower courts.
“Prospective clients’ searches for appellate counsel are often led by their trial counsel, who are looking for someone with the specific expertise to meet their clients’ need help at the appellate level,” Steven Ruth, a San Francisco attorney with an appellate practice said.
In this article, I will walk you through the digital marketing challenges appellate lawyers face and what to do about them:
- The Biggest Challenge in Promoting an Appellate Law Practice
- How to Get Your Message Across Loud and Clear
- The Unique Needs of Appellate Lawyers MUST DRIVE Digital Marketing Strategies
- Search Engine Optimization
- Content Marketing
- Website Design, Development, and Hosting
- Social Media
- Pay-Per-Click Advertising
- Are You Ready to Get More Clients?
The Biggest Challenge in Promoting an Appellate Law Practice
This may come as a shocker, but as an appellate lawyer, your job is to practice appellate law.
This means you probably have very little time to study and implement effective marketing strategies to attract more clients.
You would probably have to quit appellate law just to get your marketing up and running effectively!
Your time as a lawyer is usually better spent working on actual cases.
This is why most lawyers outsource their marketing to an agency so they can keep their focus on legal issues and winning cases.
But there is a major problem with outsourcing – i.e., finding the right resource.
If you go online and look for a marketing agency or consultant specializing in promoting appellate attorneys, you will be sincerely disappointed.
Marketing agencies don’t hyper-specialize in specific areas of law except for those “first-movers” I mentioned above.
Your field of law puts you in a weird place that requires a unique marketing approach that most marketing agencies don’t understand.
The last thing you want to do is just hire your local marketing agency.
When it comes to appellate marketing, your target audience may be divided between potential clients and local trial lawyers. Every client you represent will change from case to case.
So how can you promote yourself as an expert in one area of law when your next appeals case might involve an entirely different subject area?
How to Get Your Message Across Loud and Clear
The first step to promoting the fact that you can handle appeals cases is to work with someone that has experience promoting appellate law practices.
The marketing agency you choose to work with should be as unique as your own practice.
Here’s one of the hidden secrets most marketing agencies don’t like to reveal…
Most agencies are not subject matter experts – because, most of the time, they don’t need to be.
We can usually apply the same strategies from one industry to another and experience the same levels of success.
But not with promoting an appellate law practice – because it’s too specialized.
We’ve said it before, and it’s worth repeating now.
Most marketing agencies – especially digital agencies, even those geared towards lawyers – don’t have the experience to understand the unique nature of appellate law practice.
These agencies or marketing consultants don’t even understand the firm’s unique audiences should be trying to target.
Between creating content that speaks to very different audiences (of non-lawyer clients and trial lawyers looking to make a referral) and finding the right keywords to include in that content, it’s just not easy to adapt generic strategies to your situation.
The Unique Needs of Appellate Lawyers MUST DRIVE Digital Marketing Strategies
If you want more clients, you need to fine-tune your marketing, and the first step is to understand how an appellate lawyer must approach digital marketing differently.
There are countless marketing firms focused on helping lawyers get more clients, but only at Get Visible do we understand that you are not just another lawyer.
For a successful marketing campaign, the marketing team needs to understand who their target audience is and the unique ways appellate lawyers get clients.
Here are some ways Get Visible has been able to implement successful and unique marketing campaigns for appellate lawyers;
Search Engine Optimization
According to a recent Moz’s study, 77% of people use Google three or more times a day.
There are 3.5 billion searches on Google every day, and every month there are tens of thousands of inquiries related to “appellate law” or lawyers and attorneys.
Clearly, people, including clients and local trial lawyers alike, are turning to the internet to find a professional attorney for their appeal.
If you want future clients and other local lawyers to find you, you need to make it easy. Today, most lawyers are found online through a simple Google search.
The problem is that people rarely look past the first page or even the first results. If your website is not on the first page of Google, your chances of being found are almost non-existent.
The fact that appellate law is such a niche industry is both a blessing and a curse.
For one, you will potentially have less competition than other areas of law, and this means you may have less competition when it comes to those top listings in search results.
On the other hand, you need to be sure you are implementing an SEO strategy that will capture the attention of future clients and trial lawyers.
To do this, you will need to focus on the right set of keywords, and your basic keyword research just won’t cut it. You need to go in-depth and gather data. Figure out what keywords your competitors are using AND what keywords your specific audiences are using.
Remember, you may end up with two sets of targeted keywords since you have two different target audiences.
Using these keywords and implementing a technical SEO strategy appropriate for your niche practice, your goal should be focused on getting your website in local search engine rankings – THIS is where your most valuable leads will come from.
We have a saying in marketing – “Content is King.”
This refers to the idea that high-quality, relevant content is the backbone of what drives a brand or company’s success.
If you want to compete effectively to win local search rankings, you need to create valuable web pages and blog posts and infuse them with SEO best practices.
You will be able to use this content to connect with your distinctive audiences and build your website’s authority.
With the right content, we know you will attract more leads and rank higher in Google.
As pointed out in the article “The How and Why of Law Blogs,” published in the American Bar Association (ABA) Journal, Nicole Black states:
…publishing a legal blog is one of the best ways to create a memorable and search-engine-friendly online presence [and] … are a great way for lawyers to showcase legal expertise while increasing their firms’ search engine optimization—all while helping them to stay on top of changes in their areas of practice by writing about them on their firm’s blog.
Creating content is crucial to your marketing strategy, but often this can be a long and tedious task to keep up long-term. And it’s only successful when done right. Most lawyers don’t have the time nor expertise to get the most out of creating their own content.
By incorporating SEO and the keywords you’ve developed into every piece of content created, you can make it easier for future clients to find you, no matter how niche your industry may be.
You must speak directly to those prospective clients and local trial lawyers by using carefully crafted content to engage with them before they ever reach out to you.
Website Design, Development and Hosting
Most law firm websites appear outdated because they were often created just to tell current clients they had a web presence.
However, this approach could turn off prospective clients by giving the [wrong] impression that your law practice is not very successful.
When I was growing up, my dad (also a lawyer) said he drove a Cadillac because it subtly let his clients know he was successful. Today, maybe that car should be a Tesla.
The point is that your website needs to make you look like a worthy adversary if you want to get hired by people that don’t know you personally.
It should reflect who you are and what you can bring to an appellate case. It needs to convey your expertise and experience as a lawyer who wins appeals cases.
The experienced web designer will understand the nuances of your clients’ specific needs and concerns and relay them visually through the right combination of layout, images, and text.
You need more than a competent graphic designer, though.
You also need an SEO expert who understands the optimization elements that Google will be looking for so that your website is properly set up to rank higher in the search engines.
These two factors are the essential components of our “Transcendent Marketing” approach, which moves you past your competitors.
What do you think will happen if your website is just thrown together without considering SEO opportunities or the unique nature of what it means to be an appellate lawyer?
It will likely fail to capture the right attention, no matter how nice and modern it looks.
When someone lands on your website, you want them to see your professionalism and feel confident you are the right appellate lawyer for the job.
Going through the appeals process can be stressful and intimidating for a person or business owner that already lost the case at the trial level.
Your job is to convince this prospect that you can get this “lost” case won on appeal.
You can take it to the bank that the design, development, and even hosting setup play significant roles in getting you more clients.
Over the years, the number of lawyers using social media to attract clients has also materially risen.
Though 80% of lawyers use social media as part of their marketing strategy, according to a 2019 tech report by the American Bar Association, most of them fail to use it effectively.
It is especially difficult for appellate lawyers to implement social media marketing campaigns because their cases are fairly inconsistent.
Most potential clients don’t yet look to social media to find a lawyer to appeal their case.
While you want to target potential clients in your social media strategy, they may not always be your primary focus. These people are more likely to turn to Google for this need.
There is, though, a ripe, active target market you can reach through social media – fellow lawyers, who tend to make the best referrals.
This is an excellent opportunity to use blogs, videos, and articles to showcase your reputation for winning cases, get in front of people, and build a network of other lawyers.
Your name should be synonymous with appellate law in your region, so when a trial lawyer needs an appellate lawyer, your name and reputation should be top of mind.
If you are not utilizing social media effectively, it could be a missed opportunity to attract potential clients and trial lawyers.
Your posts on Linkedin, Facebook, and Instagram can surprisingly do an excellent job of helping you to build brand awareness, engage with the right audience, and gain more potential clients.
You can also integrate your social media efforts with SEO tactics to further improve your search engine rankings.
How thrilled would you be if you could buy more clicks for less cost per click (CPC) than your competitors?
We have bidding and conversion strategies that literally stretch your ad dollars so you can rank higher in the ad slots, even while paying less than other bidders.
You can optimize your ad budgets by targeting people and keywords more efficiently.
Don’t spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on ads that are ineffective and leave you scratching your head wondering where those ad dollars have disappeared to.
Agencies continue to fail to create successful PPC campaigns when they don’t understand their clients at a deeper root level.
We’ve learned that the keywords used in typical law firm marketing campaigns don’t necessarily work for appellate lawyers.
Our PPC team is composed of people that have spent years researching and testing keyword data on thousands of campaigns.
They know how to create ads that your potential clients and local lawyers in your area will respond to.
Are You Ready to Get More Clients?
If you made it this far, then you understand that you need a team that has what it takes to create and implement a successful marketing campaign that will make your law firm more visible.
Get ready to take your law practice to the next level so you won’t have to think twice when buying the Tesla.
Reach out and contact us for an online marketing assessment.
Let’s discuss how we can help you get more clients by overcoming your biggest online marketing challenges.
After all, you can’t let personal injury lawyers have all the fun, right?