5 Tips to Succeed with Legal Marketing in 2023

marketing professional working on legal site

I don’t think it’s any secret that digital marketing in the legal space, especially the personal injury space, is extremely challenging. 

A few weeks ago, I had the chance to sit down with Jim Christy, who is the president of a digital marketing agency for lawyers called Postali. Jim’s team has been working on my firm’s websites since 2020, so I thought having him as a guest on my podcast would be a great way to share some of the expertise he and his team provide to me with you. 

Below, I’ve highlighted five key insights from my talk with Jim that I think are the most important for other personal injury lawyers to hear right now. If you want to learn more, you can also watch Jim and I discuss legal SEO, paid ads, and Google’s new Search Generative Experience on YouTube:


What Lawyers Need to Know About Digital Marketing in 2023

1. Give Your Strategy Enough Time to Take Effect

We’re lawyers; we like results. But when it comes to results from your marketing, you should know that it can take some time to see the fruits of your labor. Your content needs to be indexed by search engines, you need to see how users respond to it, you need to give search engines time to account for how users are responding to it… It can take a while.

“You definitely need more than a year,” Jim said when discussing how long it takes to see the full impact of your SEO and digital marketing efforts. And, the more competitive an area you’re in, the more time you’ll need. 

“If you’re an injury lawyer in LA or New York or Chicago or something like that, I would say two years is probably the minimum,” Jim said. 

Don’t make the mistake of jumping from SEO firm to SEO firm, trying to get quick results. Once you have an informed SEO strategy in place, give it the time it needs to have an impact for your firm.

2. Budget for Marketing Efforts Realistically

The way I see most lawyers determine their marketing budget is by asking other lawyers what they pay for marketing. But what one firm spends on marketing isn’t necessarily going to be what’s right or realistic for your firm. 

Jim recommends firms look at the websites of their primary competitors and build their marketing budget around what it will take for them to displace those websites in the first 10 search engine results. This involves accounting for design updates, SEO content, paid ads, improving user experience, etc. It’s not cheap. 

In major metro areas where competition among law firms is high, the cost of good digital legal marketing can range anywhere from $45,000 to $60,000 per month. If you can budget and plan for that, you’ll save yourself a lot of future headaches trying to figure out why your cheaper marketing plan isn’t getting you the results you want.

3. Understand That Local Search Ads Don’t Guarantee Visibility

If you aren’t already familiar with Local Search Ads (LSAs), they’re the location-style listings you can pay Google to promote on Maps and Search. However, in major cities and highly competitive markets, using LSAs doesn’t necessarily mean your ads are going to be shown to everyone searching for a personal injury lawyer in your area. 

“You can’t force visibility with LSAs right now in the Atlanta metro,” Jim said. “There are probably 80 firms that want to be in those top two [paid positions] and Google is somehow shuffling them through based on the factors that they’re saying [publicly affect LSAs] and factors that they’re not saying.”

While using LSAs is still a good, and even necessary, marketing tool in your toolkit, don’t rely on them solely to drive leads for your firm. 

4. Build Your Marketing Team—You Can’t Do It All Yourself

To have your digital marketing really work for your law firm, someone needs to be constantly monitoring and optimizing your materials, whether that be your website, your Google Business Profiles, your social media, etc. Someone needs to have a pulse on your campaigns almost constantly. 

I see a lot of lawyers wanting to throw money at their ads or website design or content, expecting to then be able to brush their hands of the project as the leads start rolling in. That’s just not going to happen. 

You need to either build an in-house team capable of handling your marketing efforts, hire an external partner agency to manage all of that for you, or do what my team has done and use a combination of both. And, Jim says, most firms need this kind of support about a year or two before they think they do. 

5. Expect Search Generative Experience to Shake Up Your Leads

No matter how many leads you currently bring in each month, expect to see that number fluctuate in the near future. Google’s new Search Generative Experience (SGE) is likely to have significant impacts on all businesses, including law firms. 

“[Google] essentially repackaged the Search experience to make it a little bit more chat friendly,” Jim said, noting that the format of the search results page looks different with SGE. The content is a bit more dynamic, and users can feel more like they’re generating their own journey in a way that contrasts the very static feel of traditional search result pages. 

“They want to keep people in their search page,” Jim said. “They really don’t like clickthroughs. So, when you type something into this generative display, they’re trying to pull even more information from websites without giving them credit and then having that displayed.”

Of course, this could affect how many people actually click into your firm’s site and, thus, how many leads you’re able to track and collect. 

“I hope that they make it much more dynamic,” Jim said, “to where, if you have something broad like ‘Who should I hire for my personal injury case?’ it’ll give you kind of what you’re typically seeing now. But if you say something more precise like, ‘I want someone with the best winning percentage’ or something that could actually be empirically proven, I’d love to see them do that, where users can really go down a path and Google can start to gather more information that they’re not getting now.”

While we can’t be sure exactly how SGE is going to change marketing for lawyers, it seems certain that change is going to happen. 

Digital Marketing for Lawyers Remains Incredibly Important

While many law firms still employ print marketing tactics to some extent, it’s the digital landscape that is going to keep our firms growing. I hope the tips we’ve shared here and on the podcast are helpful! 

If there are other SEO or marketing-related topics you want us to cover in a future episode, let us know!

About the Author

Darl Champion is an award-winning personal injury lawyer serving the greater Metro Atlanta area. He is passionate about ensuring his clients are fully compensated when they are harmed by someone’s negligence. Learn more about Darl here.