law firm content marketing

Marketing Automation 101: A Guide for Law Firms

by Vondrae McCoy • April 5th, 2021 • Marketing Technology | Blog

marketing automation for law firmsAs digital marketing evolves, there are more and more channels for law firms to manage. Email, social media, paid advertising, content delivery…there is a never-ending list of activities to perform in order to gain and nurture leads. Marketing automation can help with that.  Learn about how marketing automation can help law firms to engage with potential clients more efficiently and effectively. 

How Does Marketing Automation Work? 

Simply put, marketing automation tools automate certain marketing activities and perform day-to-day marketing functions. The great thing about these systems is that they can be as complex as you need them to be. 

At a macro level, marketing automation platforms are able to create campaigns that send specific, pre-determined content to leads based on certain behaviors and data. When individuals engage with your law firm in some way, it will trigger a sequence of events that you have set up. In this way, you can discover leads as soon as they come in, and then nurture them with targeted communications and content.

As an example, if you send out an email invitation for an upcoming webinar, your marketing automation tool can then segment responses. People who register can be added to a sequence that includes a thank-you message and an option to download a white paper on the webinar topic. Then, people who download the white paper can be emailed a related blog, and so on. 

Related: What are Lead Nurturing Campaigns and Why do Law Firms Need Them? 

Obstacles to Marketing Automation Success

Though marketing automation can be a tremendous tool for savvy firms, it’s important to implement and use the system correctly. Some hurdles to effectiveness:

Data decay

You’ve heard “garbage in, garbage out”. That’s an unfortunate reality since 27% of business leaders are unsure of their data’s accuracy. Incorrect data will diminish your results over time. 

Partial profiling

It’s important to keep forms short so that people actually complete them. Incomplete fields mean you don’t have enough information to create robust campaigns. 

Lack of personalized content

The ability to target strategically is one of the benefits of marketing automation. If you’re not sending content that is relevant to the recipient, you are missing opportunities. 

Delays in connecting

Automation works best when triggered activities happen immediately after the triggering event. Being too slow with the sequence of events can hinder their impact. 

Making the Most of Marketing Automation

There are a few things that can help you realize a strong ROI on your marketing automation efforts.

✓  Work from goals and KPIs

Before you even draft your first email, you should determine what exactly you hope to accomplish. Are you planning to generate leads? Nurture them? Or are you looking for more profitable engagements? Create goals around these objectives, and make sure they are specific. Then determine which KPIs will measure those goals. 

✓  Choose the right tool

Not all marketing automation software is created equal. Once you know your goals, it will be easier to pick the right marketing automation tools. Three critical areas to consider are the feature set you need, usability, and the support offered. 

✓  Engage the right team

For large law firms especially, the correct staff needs to be involved from the beginning. Even if you have one point person on the marketing automation implementation, they need to seek the buy-in and support of a larger group. A collaborative approach should include email marketing specialists, CRM specialists, business development professionals, and content developers. 

✓  Prioritize business development and marketing alignment

As part of the larger team involvement mentioned, make sure that your business development professionals and those who ultimately execute marketing are in communication. Marketo released a study stating that 80% of marketing leads are ignored by business development teams. There’s no point generating more leads if they won’t be followed up on. Business development and marketing need to work together to determine how a lead is qualified and the best ways to nurture one.

Invest in training

Often a forgotten about or ignored last step, training is essential for getting what you want out of almost any technology. Many platforms require a pricey investment. It makes sense to invest a little more to get the best training and support so that you can take advantage of all the features and functionality. Don’t be too frugal in this area; it will only cost you in the long run.

Focus on data quality

To combat the issue of incomplete or inaccurate information, make data hygiene a priority. Establish a process early on for obtaining and cleaning data.

Related: Top 7 Marketing Automation Tools for Law Firms


Marketing automation is truly a game-changer for digitally-focused law firms. It can help you to nurture leads more efficiently and create a cohesive communications experience – all with less manual work on your marketing staff’s part. However, it’s crucial that you make the initial resource investments to properly implement the software and create meaningful workflows. If you are not sure where to start, let us know. We work with firms to evaluate systems, implement software, and train their people to make the most of marketing automation.


Are you ready to get started generating new, qualified leads?

Contact us to get started and let us help you energize your digital marketing and business development efforts.

Contact Us