Law firms, just like businesses in every other industry, need new clients because that’s really what it takes to expand in virtually any industry. Unfortunately, unlike many sectors where there is an abundance of clients who take the time to shop around until they find the best provider, the legal industry comes with a unique set of challenges, so it requires a unique strategy in marketing your business. The biggest challenge in finding new clients comes because many people tend to get locked into long-term relationships with their current lawyers, so finding those who need your services is a time-critical operation.
The hesitancy to switch to a new lawyer generally stems from the fear of winding up in a worse situation than before. Even when a client isn’t happy with their current representation (and most clients who hire small law firms aren’t in a position to evaluate the performance of their lawyer because they don’t know much about the law), there’s a stickiness to the relationship.
Prospective clients who don’t yet have a lawyer may opt to forgo hiring one because they don’t understand the process of initiating a lawsuit, divorce, or other legal proceedings and don’t know they have options. Thus, the key to getting clients faster is to make them feel comfortable and clearly convey the main advantages that your firm provides. More specifically, here are 7 ways law firms can find and solicit clients more effectively and expeditiously:
1. Specialize in popular or in-demand cases
Law firms are just like any other business in that they benefit by catering to larger markets. Find out what the most popular case types are in your area and strive to accommodate prospective clients who file these types of cases. Alternatively, you might specialize in the types of cases that other law firms ignore, such as representing clients in lawsuits against the manufacturer of a specific pharmaceutical drug that causes debilitating side effects. Charleston Law is one example of a firm that used this tactic in marketing your firm by focusing on the largest legal markets – divorce, injury, and criminal.
2. Invest in marketing services
If you’re not an experienced marketer, which you probably aren’t, or belong to a large firm that employs internal marketing folks, then you probably don’t know much about marketing your business and won’t be able to compete with an established agency when it comes to lead generation. Put a team of professional marketers in your corner and see a significant bump in leads, and, if you follow other advice on marketing your business, you’ll increase your closure rate, turning those leads into revenue. In fact, one could argue that marketing services are the most pivotal kinds of investments for any law firm that is trying to facilitate rapid expansion.
Many law firms and individual lawyers think that all kinds of digital marketing agencies are able to help them. However, law firm digital marketing is very specialized and niche-oriented. An agency that has handled a fashion brand can’t effectively market a law firm in the same successful manner. You need agencies and their executives to have experience marketing law firms. Armed with prior experience, marketing firms specializing in marketing law firms have established relationships to support marketing to that niche and expertise on what works. Making successful content placements, running successful link-building campaigns to rank on SERPs, and understanding keywords that reflect search intent all require a very different approach for a law firm.
3. Offer high-quality consultations
The initial consultation is essentially your pitch and will, therefore, determine whether a prospective client chooses to hire you to represent them. Strive to be friendly, engaging, and informative during every consultation. Be attentive and make an effort to show that you’re genuinely concerned and involved throughout the conversation. You need to give the impression that you already have a vested interest in helping the prospective client win their case. Ask relevant questions to help devise a hypothetical representation to share and try to provide as much advice as you can within the allotted time frame.
4. Be open to taking some cases without upfront payment
Many law firms grow by taking on challenging but hopeful cases without requiring a retainer or other upfront payment from their clients. Of course, this “pro bono” approach only works if you’re taking on cases that you have a reasonable expectation of winning, which is another reason why assessing case details through a thorough consultation as mentioned in the previous tip is so important. This means clients who are likely to collect damages but have few resources, can hire you and you are compensated out of the award. That makes this a win-win for both sides.
5. Provide services clients want to recommend.
If you strive to achieve the best possible outcome for every client and you’re informative and courteous with them through the process, you’ll drastically increase the chances clients will recommend your legal counsel to friends and family. This is one of the most effective ways to scale your firm up without spending extra on advertising because you’ll attract new clients automatically if your firm is known for offering great service.
6. Leverage social media
If you’re not already actively providing advice and making yourself available to potential clients on social media, now is the time to start doing that. You want prospective clients to view you as an authoritative voice in your community when it comes to legal advice. That way, when someone is in search of an attorney, they’ll think of your firm first due to your business marketing presence on sites like Facebook and YouTube.
7. Maintain a high success rate
Finally, another way to attract more clients is to do your best to win your current clients’ cases. Law firms that boast a record of winning lots of cases are usually able to outdo their competition in terms of the efficacy of their client solicitation efforts.
Scaling up a law firm is difficult, but it’s worthwhile
If your goal is to start up a bustling law firm that grows in size and scale gradually, heeding the 7 tips above should help you get there faster. The busiest law firms generate millions in revenue and their community views them as influential and prestigious. Furthermore, from an entrepreneurial perspective, improving client solicitation garners attention in any business endeavor. Take the time to draw up a game plan and be sure to heed the aforementioned strategy of re-investing a significant portion of your firm’s revenue into marketing your business.
Need marketing help to support business growth?
We welcome the opportunity to show you how we can make your marketing SIZZLE with our data-driven, results-oriented marketing strategies. Sign up for our FREE newsletter, get our FREE guide to creating an awesome website, or contact us for more information on hiring us.
Hausman and Associates, the publisher of MKT Maven, is a full-service marketing agency operating at the intersection of marketing and digital media. Check out our full range of services.