Mastering Your Home Turf: A Strategic Approach to Lawyer Digital Marketing

In the expansive world of law practice, there is a sentiment that often prevails – the call of manifest destiny. It is a calling from above that beckons lawyers to spread their wings and reach out to multiple markets simultaneously, overlooking the crucial foundation of their home market. Ironically, in our vast experience, we have observed this phenomenon seems to afflict lawyers more than anyone else.

A few years ago, we encountered a lawyer who was keen on improving his Google Ads performance. He was well-established in the northern part of his state, but the southern region was entirely untouched territory, with no office or any semblance of branding. Surprisingly, his Google Ads were running statewide, despite the significant population in the south where he had zero presence.

We took the opportunity to highlight what we considered an apparent inconsistency. With a significant chunk of his budget likely being consumed by the southern city where he was unknown, his conversion rates were, understandably, at a low. We advised him to consider refocusing his ad strategy towards regions where he was recognized.

Regrettably, this suggestion wasn’t well-received, and we never heard from him again. We like to ensure that we are the right fit for our clients, and perhaps this advice pricked at his ambitions. He might have felt slighted by the insinuation that he lacked the capacity to conquer new territories without adequately securing his existing realm.

This encounter underscores a prevalent misconception that can wreak havoc on a lawyer’s digital advertising budget. Either by the lawyer’s overambitious aspirations or an ad agency’s opportunistic strategy to tap into untouched markets, the original market where the lawyer has an existing footprint is often overlooked. It begs the question – why would an agency spur on a client to attempt to dominate an entire state?

The answer lies in the ad spend. The inclusion of more and more metropolitan areas, one after the other, swiftly depletes a monthly budget. But does it genuinely help the client? The answer is not always a resounding ‘yes’.

Now, is this a hard and fast rule for every single campaign, practice area, and situation? Absolutely not. This article serves as a cautionary note when you are deliberating over your digital ad spend. It’s a gentle reminder to ground your ambitions if an agency inflates your expectations, making you believe that you can concurrently conquer every metropolitan area in a state.

Remember, solidifying your presence in your home market before expanding your horizons can often yield a higher return on investment and build a more robust foundation for future growth. After all, it’s easier to strengthen a castle that’s already standing than to build new ones on unfamiliar land.

We’re certainly not advocating for stagnation or a restriction on growth. On the contrary, the essence of any successful practice lies in its capacity to expand, serve more people, and ultimately increase earnings. Our focus is rather on smart growth that centers on effective and efficient digital marketing strategies.

Consider this scenario: you’re part of a modest-sized firm with a handful of lawyers, fervently navigating the competitive terrain of your home market daily. If this rings true, diverting a substantial portion of your advertising budget to a region 500 miles away might not be the best strategic move. You’d be vying for visibility against an array of established lawyers, thereby thinning out your budget which could have otherwise been invested more profitably in an area where you already have a foothold.

Instead, a more measured approach could be to consolidate and deepen your imprint in your home market before venturing outwards. Not only does this allow for a stronger local presence, but it also provides a solid foundation upon which further growth can be built. Ensuring your castle is unshakeable at home before laying bricks in foreign lands will lead to a more stable and sustainable empire. Remember, expansion for the sake of expansion isn’t always the path to prosperity – strategic and calculated growth is.

William S. Campbell

With 15 years of marketing experience, William S. Campbell crafts effective and tailored strategies to help businesses succeed.

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