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What’s Your Purpose? Brand Awareness vs. Lead Generation for Law Firms

by Kevin Vermeulen • September 18th, 2018 • Digital Marketing | Blog

Law firm marketers are usually called upon to handle various different tasks and initiatives. Some of those tasks are focused on raising a firm’s brand awareness and enhancing the thought leadership position of the firm’s lawyers. Other tasks are focused on supporting business development and generating leads in order to acquire new clients.  Lead generation for law firms and building brand awareness are important goals, and both of these goals can be achieved with a sound digital marketing strategy the combines a robust web presence, social media marketing, content marketing and in some instances online advertising.

The question for many firms becomes whether lead generation is more important than brand awareness, if the priority is the other way around, or if you need to strike a balance between the two. In nearly every case, the key is finding a balance, but you still need to understand what brand awareness and lead generation entail and how they play a role in your digital marketing strategy.

Distinguishing Between the Two

Brand awareness campaigns essentially increase familiarity with your brand and your services. The goal of brand awareness is to make potential clients think of your law firm the next time they need a lawyer or if someone asks whether they know of one.

In comparison, lead generation campaigns will help your firm grow by identifying and bringing in visitors to your website, those interested in your services. In most cases, a lead generation campaign includes a call to action, whether it is signing up for your mailing list or retaining your law firm on a matter.

Comparing Pros and Cons of Each

Brand awareness and lead generation have unique primary goals, which leads to different pros and cons for each strategy.

  • Brand awareness, for example, will enhance the visibility of your law firm along with the demand for your services. This type of marketing strategy also sets you up to achieve effective lead generation. Even so, brand awareness will not directly generate leads; it just lays the foundation and generates website traffic. Additionally, brand awareness takes time and is challenging to measure the return on investment, making it hard to determine the effectiveness of your campaign and whether it is worth the effort.


  • By contrast, lead generation delivers results you can measure, as you can see analytics related to each lead. This type of campaign also acts quickly to identify prospects. Unfortunately, lead generation alone may not be successful unless you have enough brand awareness. There is also a risk that lead generation will create demand for content instead of the services you offer. In other words, lead generation may just bring people to your website to read your blog without any intention of hiring your lawyers.


Lead Generation and Brand Awareness Work Best Together

As mentioned, the best marketing strategy for your law firm will combine brand awareness and lead generation. After all, they both work towards the common goal of generating action and acquiring new clients. As outlined in the pros and cons above, both lead generation and brand awareness rely on the each other to maximize effectiveness. Increasing awareness of your brand makes it more likely that potential clients will become part of your lead generation campaign since they are already familiar with your law firm.

Finding the Balance for Your Firm

While all law firms should utilize both lead generation and brand awareness campaigns, the exact balance that you select will depend on your specific needs and goals. If you currently have a significant amount of traffic to your website and you are reaching your prospects online, then your focus should likely be on brand awareness to keep your firm top of mind with your targets. That way, they are more likely to use your services in the future, but not necessarily right away. If your firm is looking to acquire more clients at the moment and you want to improve the bottom line right away, focus more on lead generation, supplementing it with brand awareness.

Firms that introduce new practice areas or enter new geographic markets will likely want to focus primarily on brand awareness, but still, allocate plenty of resources to lead generation. Established firms that already have an established thought leadership position can allocate fewer resources for brand awareness since people are already aware of your firm.

Brand awareness or lead generation for law firms are both important digital marketing strategies. Therefore it is important to find the right balance between the two strategies for your law firm. The use of data and analytic tools can help you to glean actionable insights and help you to create a plan that matches your business objectives.

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