The 7 Most Common Reasons Law Firm Marketing Fails

When it comes to marketing a law firm, the cold hard truth is that the majority of law firms fail.

The failure doesn’t always derive the most obvious places. Here are the 7 most common reasons that we have found working with law firms over the last 10 years as to why they just can’t get traction

One: Can’t Define the Problem

The problem that first rears its head in the context of lead generation isn’t always the real problem.  Slowing file-opens doesn’t necessarily always point to a traditional marketing (or lack of marketing) issue.  It can simply be that your firm has enjoyed success from referral sources, but for some reason, those referral sources are drying up. It may be there has been an influx of competition into your practice niche, or a new, young incumbent that is literally pounding the pavement, doing traditional business development and consequently, you’re feeling the pinch.

The point being that don’t rush to quickly to conclude that your firm has a marketing problem and now you’re going to spend buckets of money on Google Ads.

This article here will assist you in defining the real problem.

Two: There Is No Strategy

It may be the case that you have no law firm marketing strategy.  In other words, no clearly defined approach to generating leads, nurturing and converting them, as well, of course, a range of marketing and business development strategies that strengthen existing referral sources and grow others.

Three: They Haven’t Got Capacity

Law firm marketing requires lots of heavy lifting and not surprisingly not everyone in the firm wants to lift. It’s for this reason, among others that at Fast Firms we have a team of lawyers who write content for the majority of our clients.  We also do podcasting and video production for law firms as well, because it’s highly effective, but covertly if your lawyers are comfortable with these mediums, it’s a no-sweat way of generating content.  Bluntly put, with no content, your inbound marketing just stalls.

Four: They Haven’t Got the Budget

Marketing has become very complex.  At Fast Firms we demarcate what we do into four areas, brand, design, marketing and technology and under each is an array of things we do day in and day out.  Not necessarily because we want to do it, but in our experience, because we must do it because the market demands it.  According to the Marketing research company, Bynder 58.7% of the people they researched prefer video as the best way to engage them and assist in a buying decision.  But effective video production isn’t easy and it goes without saying we warn law firms of the risk to their brand if they’re wanting to shoot on their iPhone.  (More about Video marketing for your law firm here)

Notwithstanding this, the rigour of effective law firm marketing requires numerous functions that in unison drive leads. For any one law firm, we can find that we’re doing, web design, SEO, AdWords, content writing, podcasting, video production, email marketing and have integrated a CRM, chatbots and smart forms.

If you’re trying to better understand all this, we recommend reading our article on Funnels.

Five: Lack of Consensus in the Law Firm

No surprise here for law firms! We’ve been around plenty of board room tables at partner’s meeting and when the topic of marketing is raised, you can cut the air with a knife. A lack of both consensus and collective commitment considerably undermines effectively marketing a firm. At times, antiquated beliefs and perceptions by certain members of the management group weigh heavily, influencing others and ultimately leading to a complete stand-still and it’s not always age-related. Conversely, young partners can be fixated on social, in particular, vanity metrics (likes, views etc) that don’t necessarily drive leads.

Six: They Suffer From Analysis Paralysis

The curse of lawyers…or some lawyers! We can find ourselves in a holding pattern because a particular lawyer is stuck on the detail. In the words of marketing guru Seth Godin, “you have to ship.” That’s not to say of course that your marketing should be haphazard and go out unchecked but remember the objective.  It’s not pleadings or a 14-page legal opinion, it’s information (whatever the medium) that is to engage, inform and call to action a potential client.

Seven: They Delegate to the Wrong People

Practically speaking we have no problem ceasing to work with law firms when the marketing and/or business development reigns are passed to the wrong people. That might appear to be a big call, but nothing will derail a law firm’s brand and marketing objectives more than delegating important oversight to people that are in over their heads.  The take-home message is that ensure that roles are clearly defined between your law firm’s internal marketing and business development personnel and the agency you’re working with.  We enjoy working with plenty of internal marketing and BD teams but it’s on the premise that each of us understands our unique roles and that’s not to say there isn’t dissent at times, because there is and it’s healthy.

Bonus: They Work with the Wrong Agency or Agencies.

Understanding the real problem that you’re trying to solve can minimise the risk of getting caught working with the wrong agency. Read Number One Above. 

When it comes to marketing your firm, as discussed there is so much complexity with lots of moving parts that all need to move in unison to set your firm in the right direction. Having too many agencies involved becomes a nightmare and having not the right agency can similarly be issue-ridden.

Ideally, your choice is primarily based on identifying agencies that have a proven track record of law firm marketing. Whilst a little self-serving, we cannot underline the importance of working with an agency that brings to the table deep insight into both the shifts occurring in the legal industry but more importantly the wisdom of knowing what’s working and what isn’t for law firms in lead generation and nurture.

What Should Our Law Firm Do Next?

Minimising the risk of your law firm failing with its marketing objective by becoming aware of these common issues that we see is a great start. Next step, if you need help with any of this, is to reach out and talk with us, regardless of where your law firm is located in the World.


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