While certain aspects of marketing are common in any market, markets involve key differences that impact your marketing strategy. Unless you adapt your marketing strategy to capitalize on unique aspects of your market, you won’t see optimal performance for your brand. Today, I’ll share marketing tips designed especially for law firms.
As you can see in the image above, the law field is very crowded, especially in some cities where the number of lawyers seems to outweigh any other career listed in the yellow pages. So much competition requires a sound marketing strategy to survive and flourish. Even gaining attention in a crowded field is challenging. Lawyers are tricky to market online, for other reasons, as well, including restrictions imposed by the Bar Association, the high expense of keywords related to the law on various advertising platforms, and the inability to pay a finder’s fee to collaborators who send business your way. That’s why we want to share a few different ways to improve brand visibility as well as awareness with these marketing tips without compromising the serious tone you want for your brand.
Why you need marketing tips for the legal profession
Not only is the legal field challenging in terms of too much competition but lawyers have a negative image for most folks. For many, hiring a lawyer means something went wrong rather than using a lawyer to keep something from going wrong. Instead of getting advice before starting a business to craft the contracts necessary to avoid misunderstandings, setting up a legal entity that protects your personal assets, and other major legal hurdles designed to avoid problems, folks wait until they face a lawsuit or other legal trouble to consult an attorney after the fact when outcomes are less positive and expenses higher.
Legal services, like many other professional services provided by physicians, accountants, and consultants represent unique buying situations for most SMEs (small and mid-sized businesses) who don’t keep a professional on retainer. Hiring an attorney often means you face an immediate challenge, hence most folks (70+%) hire the first attorney they meet.
Finding an attorney, especially when facing an immediate need commonly involves reaching out to a few acquaintances or friends to get referrals or using a referral agency, such as the Bar Association or Legal Zoom. This creates a challenge for law firms as they try to attract new clients. Gaining referrals is also challenging as clients often assess your performance based on achieving a positive outcome rather than your competence as a lawyer, as they have no other basis for evaluating legal performance. However, since the law is explicit, your failure to obtain a positive outcome may have little to nothing to do with your competence and performance and everything to do with the actions of your client and legal precedent.
With these unique characteristics in mind, let’s move on to a discussion of marketing in legal firms.
Marketing tips for legal firms
Build a great website
Just as you create a nice office, with professional staff and attractive, functional spaces, such as a conference room, you want your online home to represent your brand in the best possible light. Using your site as a tool to build your reputation as an expert helps you find new clients and makes clients feel comfortable reaching out to your business.
Craft a website that’s easy-to-navigate, attractive, functional (get rid of dead pages (ie. 404 errors that come from dead links), and be upfront with a clear message. Ensure your website also looks great on mobile devices.
Establish your niche
First of all, take a step back and look at your brand to determine what you are and how your market currently views you. One of the biggest marketing mistakes SMEs make is thinking they’ll achieve more success if they try to do everything. Of course, this is very far from the truth and, in fact, you likely achieve more success by restricting your practice to a tightly focused group of legal needs. For instance, are you a well-established team of car accident lawyers? A divorce solicitor? Or a financial litigation provider? Whatever your niche, you need to identify its key goals and aims and work from there to start forming your marketing plan.
Not only does it help to have a focus for your firm, your performance likely improves if you focus on a few related legal issues since you know that aspect of the law better than attorneys with a broader focus and your positive results likely generate more referrals.
Let’s take a car accident lawyer as an example. The aim of this company is to help drivers who were involved in an accident on the road to get compensation for damages or injury. Alternatively, if you feel your culpability for the accident was less than 100%, a good lawyer can reduce the financial implications resulting from the accident.
Once you find your niche, your marketing plan should revolve around finding folks at the biggest legal risk in your chosen niche.
Think like your target audience
The next step to creating a plan is to define your target audience and learn to think like a member of that market rather than a lawyer when it comes to your marketing efforts. Consider looking at who is the most likely customer or client for your law firm and narrow your content to problems faced by this target market. If your target market centers on families in real estate disputes, you want to create content that is written in a concise manner aimed at homeowners between the age of 25-50, for instance, Think about the issues they face, including disputes with contractors, neighbors, and the city.
Create content around these issues that offer insights into how to avoid these problems, such as contracts signed before starting the work, or other advice you might offer. The more jargon-free you write, while still providing concrete advice (not a teaser), the more your content reaches your target audience through search and referral (such as social media engagement). Crafting valuable content sets your up as an expert, often resulting in media requests for interviews and other actions generating awareness and a positive image for your brand.
Consider location-based advertising
Location is often a big factor in law firm marketing as most SMEs and individuals prefer to work with a local attorney. Because many legal issues require a court appearance, using a local attorney is needed to reduce costs, as well. For example, if you know that there are generally more traffic collisions in the city you can target advertising to these areas. Or, if you are offering mortgage advice, you might want to target residential areas and perhaps not the center of the city where there are more commercial buildings. Consider where your target audience likely lives and use this to narrow down your ads and help you really drill down on the right prospects for your business.
Local marketing online also means taking advantage of tools offered by Google My Business. Once verified, Google prominently shows local businesses when users query those services, as you can see below in a search for physicians.
Not only does Google My Business show your business prominently, it offers maps, reviews (a crucial factor in driving decisions), hours of operation, phone numbers, and links to other helpful sites, such as your website, menu (for a restaurant), and directions. Of course, not every law firm shows up in the top 3 or 4 businesses listed when a user searches for lawyers. Instead, showing in this valuable position relies heavily on good local SEO (search engine optimization). Learn more about Local SEO by choosing this link.
Use social media
It may seem like law firms using social media is a waste but growing use of social media by all types of users means law firms can find clients this way. Create profiles on LinkedIn, at a minimum. You might also use YouTube to share valuable content or other social platforms to build engaged users.
Marketing for a company such as a law firm is a challenge due to the amount of competition and unique aspects of the market but it’s totally doable if you follow some of the marketing tips we outlined today. Good luck and hopefully your brand will thrive in 2021 and beyond.
Marketing tips to help support business growth?
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