The Right Tool for the Marketing Job blog post graphic

The Right Tool for the Marketing Job

The Importance of Pairing the Right Channels With Each Stage of the Marketing Funnel


Tools of the Marketing Trade

Marketing attribution models

Marketing attribution models are “framework[s] for analyzing which touchpoints, or marketing channels, receive credit for a conversion” (Foy, AgencyAnalytics), and there is an overwhelming number of them for digital marketers to choose from. From the first-touch model (one of the simplest) to the W-shaped model (one of the most complex), each model has its pros and cons, and which one is the right choice depends on your industry, your customer journey map, and the marketing channels you utilize.

Customer Journey and Marketing Attribution Models graphic


For example, a small-town, brick-and-mortar florist running online radio and paid search ads exclusively isn’t going to employ a complex attribution model; they’re most likely going to use the last-touch attribution model and simply ask their customers what brought them in. Was it an online radio ad, a paid search ad, a referral, or was it simply driving/walking by their shop?

On the other hand, a multistate law firm running online radio, billboard, traditional radio, connected TV (CTV), linear TV, paid search, display, and paid social ads makes use of too many marketing channels to utilize a simple marketing attribution model. Connected TV, paid search, display, and paid social ad platforms (e.g., Amazon Ads, Google Ads, AdRoll, and Meta Ads Manager) all have their own way of tracking conversions that result from their ads but—more often than not—are very tough to integrate together into a single attribution model.


Think critically about your customer journey map

Your customer journey map “is not something to assume or predict based on your internal perspective. A customer journey is very specific to the physical experiences your customers have” (Agius, HubSpot). It can be deceivingly easy to think—because you see bits and pieces of it in your work—that you know what your customer journey map looks like, and you might! But often, mapping your customer journey (the complete experience that a customer has with your business) is more difficult than you’d think.

Think of all the ways you found the brands that you are now loyal to. Maybe you saw one of their ads on social media, one of their billboards on your way to work, or one of their products in a movie or TV show. Maybe a friend recommended them to you. Or maybe you even dug through three pages of Google search results before you finally found that perfect t-shirt, laptop, or car. The vast majority of your customers’ journeys—when you are successful in converting them—will probably end in roughly the same destination. The places they begin, however, are numerous and diverse.

When mapping your customer journey (an important step in choosing the right marketing attribution model for your business), think critically and creatively about your brand’s online, physical, and even intangible presence. Word-of-mouth marketing is exceptionally impactful in service industries, so it’s very possible that the last customer your lead intake team spoke to had never seen (or at least noticed) anything actually created by your business. As a result, when analyzing conversions that came in through paid search (or any other source), think about where else those converting customers could have been before they clicked on your paid search ad.


The power of brand awareness & recognition

Don’t get us wrong, paid search is an indispensable part of any digital marketing strategy; without it, there is not much of a point in engaging in digital marketing at all. Nonetheless, if you wish to build brand awareness and increase brand recognition, paid search alone isn’t going to cut it (even if the vast majority of your conversions are currently coming in through it).

Brand Awareness

Brand awareness “describes how familiar (aware) consumers are with a brand or its products” (Bynder). In other words, you build brand awareness the more consumers become aware of your brand’s existence.

Example: Alyssa mentions to her friend Carmen that she wants to get in touch with a personal injury attorney regarding a serious injury she recently sustained in a car accident. Carmen tells her that she knows of a local personal injury law firm, Rogers & Hoff, P.C. (R&H), and that she remembers from a billboard ad of the firm’s that it specializes in car accidents. In doing so, Carmen demonstrates brand awareness of R&H.

Brand Recognition

Brand recognition, on the other hand, “refers to the ability of consumers to recognize and identify a specific brand” (Bynder). To rephrase, you increase brand recognition the more consumers recognize the visual and/or auditory traits of your brand’s identity.

Example: While driving down the highway, Ajay glances at a billboard and sees a photo of two men in business suits on a black, white, and orange background. Because he’s seen a handful of R&H ads before, Ajay is familiar with the colors and faces of the law firm’s brand, so he knows without even reading the ad copy on the billboard that the ad is one of the firm’s. In doing so, Ajay demonstrates brand recognition of R&H.

Building brand awareness and increasing brand recognition are crucial to getting consumers to think about giving you their business during the consideration stage of the customer journey, or when “the potential customer is a little familiar with your product or service, and is evaluating [their] problem,” and “your goal is to show them all the ways their problem can be solved, how beneficial it will be for them and how you and your product can help” (Shuteyev,

In short, during the consideration stage, potential customers are assessing their options, and it’s your job as a marketer to ensure that your brand is not only among those options but among the best of those options.


Choosing the Right Tools

If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail

Pairing the right channel(s) with each stage of your customer journey and marketing funnel is a bit like pairing the right wines with each course of a full-course meal; just because a channel/wine is generally good, doesn’t mean that it works well with the stage/course with which you’ve paired it. In fact, it might work so poorly with the stage/course that it defeats the purpose of the stage/ruins the taste of the course.

The law of the instrument, aka Maslow’s hammer (after American psychologist Abraham Maslow), is a type of cognitive bias involving over-reliance on a familiar tool.

“I suppose it is tempting,” Maslow wrote in his The Psychology of Science: A Reconnaissance in 1966, “if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.”

If the only marketing channel your business has ever deployed is paid search, then you might think that you can use paid search to accomplish any marketing goal your business sets for itself. But, although paid search is an absolutely essential part of any law firm marketing strategy aimed at driving conversions, it is not the be-all and end-all of marketing (or even digital marketing)—no one channel is.

In order to avoid falling into the trap of Maslow’s hammer, it’s important to familiarize yourself with a wide variety of marketing channels, tactics, attribution models, and methods of data analysis. The more tools you have in your marketing tool belt (even if you do not yet plan to utilize them), the more prepared you will be to tackle any marketing challenge that comes your way. Take the time to learn about different channels and to think about where and how well they might fit into your customer journey map and marketing funnel. The following diagram shows which stage of the marketing funnel some of the most popular marketing channels pair best with:

A graphic of a law firm marketing funnel with related marketing tactic examples

Choosing your marketing attribution model

When it comes time to actually choose the marketing attribution model by which your organization will attribute credit to its various marketing channels, think back to your customer journey map (which you should have a firm grasp on before proceeding) and look forward to your marketing goals. If, like some of Élan’s clients, your business is a personal injury law firm, chances are you’ll be employing a first-touch, last-touch, or linear attribution model. (A linear attribution model splits conversion credit equally among all known brand touchpoints.) This is especially true if the conversion event you’re attributing credit for is a lower-funnel conversion event like a customer signing on to work with your firm on their case.

Which marketing attribution models are even available to you depend on your organization’s conversion tracking capabilities. If your business engages only in traditional (as opposed to digital) marketing, then you’ll be lucky to get away with employing a multi-touch attribution model like linear attribution, let alone time-decay attribution or position-based attribution. It is important to note, however, that this is not necessarily a bad thing. As the old saying goes, perfect is the enemy of good. An elementary model like first- or last-touch attribution can be more than sufficient for the purposes of a law firm or other business utilizing only traditional marketing channels.

On the other hand, if your business engages heavily in digital marketing and has a website on which it can place a web analytics tag such as the Google tag, then you’ll be able to employ a much more sophisticated attribution model. While complex models like W-shaped attribution are often overkill for non-ecommerce businesses, middle-of-the-road models (like time-decay attribution and position-based—also known as U-shaped—attribution) can be very practical for law firms and other such businesses when they’re utilizing more than a couple of digital marketing channels.


Need help navigating your customer journey?

Élan’s team of marketing pros includes experts in paid search, display, paid social, traditional marketing, and more. We help businesses in the legal and healthcare industries optimize their marketing budgets by putting each dollar to its best use, and we would love to do the same for your business. 

Contact us today to learn how a free marketing audit by Élan could help your business take its digital and traditional marketing to the next level.

4 Ways to Cultivate a Positive Brand Image for Your Law Firm

4 Ways to Cultivate a Positive Brand Image for Your Law Firm


In any service industry, a brand image can make or break a business’s success. Painting a positive brand image can be the deciding factor for potential clients to choose to do business with you. Like many businesses, law firms have long grappled with how to position their brand in a positive way. According to last year’s Honesty/Ethics in Professions poll from Gallup, 21% of Americans consider the honesty and ethical standards of lawyers to be high or very high. So, why aren’t these numbers higher, and how can the legal industry pump these numbers up?

What the American Bar Association found

In 2001-02, the American Bar Association (ABA) commissioned two national surveys and ten focus groups in five U.S. markets for the purpose of better understanding public perceptions of lawyers. The ABA’s resulting 2002 report, Public Perceptions of Lawyers Consumer Research Findings, found some American consumers to hold perceptions of lawyers and the legal industry that were quite positive, including that:

  • “Lawyers are knowledgeable about the law, and can help clients navigate through difficult situations” and that “personal experiences with lawyers substantiate these positive beliefs.”
  • Lawyers “apply significant expertise and knowledge to their cases, identify practical solutions, and work hard on behalf of their clients.”
  • “Law is a good and even respectable career.”

Unfortunately, other American consumers were found to hold negative perceptions, such as:

  • “When it comes to hiring a lawyer, consumers feel uncertain about how to tell a good lawyer from a bad one.”
  • “Less than one in five (19%) of consumers say that they are ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ confident in the legal profession or lawyers.”

The question then is how lawyers and law firms can go about shifting the opinions of more Americans away from the negative ones that the ABA’s research discovered and toward the more positive ones that it found. To do so, lawyers must use every tool at their disposal, including their marketing, websites, and social media profiles to their advantage. So, how can lawyers utilize their marketing to cultivate positive brand images for their law firms?


1. Showcase your team, not just your law firm partners

Unless you’re a smaller law firm, it’s likely that your clients work with your legal secretaries, paralegals, staff attorneys, associate attorneys, and litigation attorneys more often than they work directly with your law firm partners, and potential clients may know this. Thus, while it’s important to show the face(s) behind the name(s) on your building/in your office, it’s also important to show the faces of your indispensable team—the people that your clients actually interact with on a consistent basis. 

Both your law firm partners and your hardworking records clerks, legal secretaries, paralegals, and other invaluable members of your team deserve to be recognized for their important contributions to your law firm.

The ABA’s findings & our recommendation

The ABA’s Public Perceptions of Lawyers report found that 57% of Americans agree that “most lawyers are more concerned with their own self-promotion than their client’s best interests.” In order to combat these negative perceptions of lawyers, Élan recommends that law firms showcase their team, not just their law firm partners, in their marketing whenever possible. 

It should be noted that “whenever possible” does not mean “all the time”; the names of the law firm partners typically adorn that of the law firm itself, so putting the law firm partners front and center is often (1) fitting and (2) helpful for building brand awareness and a good rapport with the community in which the law firm operates. 

That being said, turning the spotlight toward other members of your team is a great way to boost both employee buy-in and morale as well as to add a more human touch to your brand.


2. Give potential clients peace of mind by answering their questions before they even ask them

The average American’s knowledge of the American legal system is unlikely to extend beyond surface level, and pop culture doesn’t exactly help to accurately educate them on it. As a result, Americans may feel uneasy about placing their trust in somebody they’ve never met before to handle their case. According to the Public Perceptions of Lawyers report from the ABA:

  •  “Consumers… say that it is often unclear exactly what the lawyer will do for them and how much the lawyer will charge.”
  • 40% of Americans agree that “lawyers do not keep their clients informed on the progress of their case.”

In other words, Americans often feel lost when beginning the legal process and could use a lawyer who makes them feel comfortable with the process and confident in their collective ability to navigate it together. 

Seize the opportunity to educate potential clients

The lawyer-client relationship is one that demands a tremendous amount of trust from the client, and that trust is more easily built if the client has a good idea of what’s going on. Therefore, Élan recommends that law firms utilize their social media, website, and other platforms to supply educational organic content to their followers, viewers, and other potential clients. 

Organic content is defined as “any unpaid marketing content that potential and existing customers can find naturally” and, rather than being paid for (like advertisements), is created by marketers at no cost for the purpose of reaching customers (Indeed Editorial Team, 2022).

Your law firm’s organic content is the best place to educate potential clients on the basics of the American legal system. You should be posting on social media at least once a week and to your blog at least twice a month; posting that often should give you enough space to cover all the bases that you wish to cover with your content (e.g., FAQs, holidays, internal law firm news, legal education, legal news, trends, etc.). 

Small and solo law practices, don’t panic

Don’t panic if you’re a small or solo law firm that doesn’t have the resources to continually create its own organic content at those rates; as long as you post often enough that your followers never wonder why you haven’t posted in a while, then the quality of your content is more important than the quantity of your content. Just be sure to spread it out among the aforementioned topics in order to keep it from growing stale.

The more you post, the more space you’ll have to diversify your content

Use some of that space to educate your social media followers, website visitors, and potential clients on the basics of the American legal system. Try to ease their minds about what is undoubtedly a very scary and stressful system from an outsider’s perspective by answering questions like:

  • When and where should I sue?
  • Do I need a lawyer?
  • What should I expect from a lawyer?
  • What do lawyers do?
  • How much do lawyers cost?
  • Can I get free legal help?
  • What can a lawyer do for me?
  • How do I choose which lawyer is right for me?
  • How do I know if I have a case?

FAQs about law firms to answer in your organic content

Now, the answers to these questions obviously depend on a number of factors, so don’t get bogged down in the details; this is about making potential clients feel more comfortable and in the know, not helping them prepare for the bar. You should also use your organic content to try and answer questions about your law firm specifically, such as:

  • What can I expect from your law firm?
  • What do the lawyers at your law firm specialize in?
  • How much does your law firm cost?
  • What will your law firm do for me?
  • How do I know if your law firm is right for me?
  • What makes your law firm different from other law firms?

Answering potential clients’ questions before they even ask them is a great way to build their confidence in your law firm and to show them that you really care about keeping them informed.


3. Humanize your law firm as much as possible (get involved!)

Like any other business, law firms have a social responsibility to the community. Seize the opportunity to differentiate yourself from your competitors and to really make a difference outside the courtroom by getting involved in the community. Doing so is an excellent way to live out the “integrity and civility” that, according to the ABA, “are written into the codes of professional conduct in each state.”

It’s also a good way to bolster your law firm’s reputation, increase brand awareness, and generate free publicity for your law firm. More importantly, being a force for good in the community gives your law firm the opportunity to communicate its core values to the people who are the most likely to require its services down the road.

The benefits of company volunteerism

Volunteering with your team has its internal benefits as well; the 2017 Deloitte Volunteerism Survey found that:

  • “Creating a culture of volunteerism may boost morale, workplace atmosphere and brand perception.”
  • 74% of working Americans “think volunteerism provides an improved sense of purpose.”
  • 70% “believe volunteer activities are more likely to boost employee morale than company-sponsored happy hours.”

Different ways to get involved

Through Élan’s years’ of experience partnering with and/or researching dozens of law firms, we’ve come across a wide variety of ways in which your law firm can get involved in the community, including organizing, participating in, and/or sponsoring:

  • Blood drives
  • Community block parties
  • Nonprofit fundraising activities
  • Law school mentoring
  • Pet adoption events
  • School supply drives

These aren’t the only ways for your law firm to get involved in the community, so figure out which ones you feel best reflect your law firm’s values and would have the biggest positive impact on the community (and feel free to come up with your own). Leverage your social media profiles to promote the event, to get other people involved, and to show the community you care.


4. Let your satisfied clients do some of the talking for you

Customer reviews and testimonials are indispensable for any business looking to strengthen its reputation. This is especially true for law firms, medical practices, and other specialized service enterprises that require a significant amount of trust from their clients in order to be successful. According to BrightLocal’s Local Consumer Review Survey 2022:

  • “77% [of consumers] ‘always’ or ‘regularly’ read [online reviews] when browsing for local businesses.”
  • “67% will consider leaving a review for a positive experience, while 40% will consider leaving a review for a negative experience.”
  • “89% of consumers are ‘highly’ or ‘fairly’ likely to use a business that responds to all of its online reviews.”

So, not only should your law firm encourage its satisfied clients to leave a review of their experience with you, but you should also respond to any negative reviews of your firm (particularly on Google, which 81% of consumers used to evaluate local businesses in 2021). 

Eloquently, professionally, and quickly responding to negative reviews can help you keep them from unduly influencing the thoughts of users who have not yet formed a strong opinion about your law firm.

When analyzing the competitive environments in which our law firm partners operate, we often come across negative reviews from people who were upset that a particular law firm didn’t take their case. Of course, it’s only natural for them to have felt that way; many people don’t understand all of what makes a case worthy of being taken to court. 

By responding to such reviews and—without going into detail—explaining why your law firm couldn’t take the case in question, you can prevent them from turning other users off of your firm (and bolster your reputation in the process).



From boosting employee morale to becoming more trustworthy, the benefits of applying these four recommendations extend far beyond simply making your law firm look good: 

  • Showcase your team
  • Educate potential clients
  • Get involved
  • Respond to reviews

According to the article Reputation and Its Risks from the Harvard Business Review, “firms with strong positive reputations attract better people [and] are perceived as providing more value.” The article also points out that “in an economy where 70% to 80% of market value comes from hard-to-assess intangible assets such as brand equity, intellectual capital, and goodwill, organizations are especially vulnerable to anything that damages their reputations.”

Working for, earning, and maintaining a good reputation is nothing short of crucial to the quality, success, and value of your law firm.

Do you need help getting started with legal marketing or revamping your law firm’s reputation? Élan and its team of expert analysts, creatives, and media planners are here to help. We’d love to talk with you about how a free marketing audit could help your law firm begin the process of taking its marketing to the next level. Contact us today to learn more.