Running your own law practice or being part of a small firm requires you to wear many hats. Not only are you practicing law but you are managing the firm as a small business owner, billing clients as an accountant or keeping track of calls as a secretary. The one hat that gets forgotten the most is that of the marketer.
Many attorneys believe that their great work will speak for itself and they won’t have to spend time on marketing activities. Or there is a general lack of marketing understanding, training and experience to guide them to success.
What many solo and small law firms don’t realize is that marketing is essential to running your law firm. It could mean the difference between a lawyer gaining a new client or losing them to a competitor. Spending a little time on simple activities can make all the difference.
Here we will examine a few simple marketing activities you can do to gain a competitive edge.
Develop an online presence.
In today’s technological world, it seems that if you aren’t online, it’s almost as if you don’t exist! Most people turn to search engines for solutions to their problems, like a lawyer for a legal issue. Developing an online presence is key to gaining potential clients and maintaining relationships with current clients. An online presence may include:
An eye-catching, easy to navigate website. Your clients will be able to easily find you and contact you, or send your information to other potential clients. Make sure it’s mobile-optimized for clients on-the-go. Check out Zaliet, who design websites specifically for the needs of small law firms.
Social media pages. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are becoming a prominent place for lawyers to find potential clients. Not only can you get a free business page to showcase your firm but you can also run paid ads, where you can further target clients geographically, by occupation and other demographics.
Share quality content. You can share articles from reputable sources on your website and social media outlets or you can write your own articles and blog posts. Writing your own content will help you develop into a ‘thought leader’ in your area of practice, adding more credibility and press for your firm. Quality content, also helps with search engine optimization which helps you to appear high on the list of search results on search engines like Google. Content can include articles, blogs, whitepapers, newsletters or brochures. Videos and images are also great to share.
Utilize online listings and tools. Add your firm to an online directory so more potential clients can find you, or go one step further with services like LawTap. LawTap allows prospective clients to search by geographic location, area of law and allows them to book an appointment with you instantly online. LawTap integrates with your calendar so you never miss an appointment.
Differentiate yourself from competitors.
Set yourself and your firm apart from all the others. In your look, actions and services.
Pick an area of expertise. Anyone can be a general practitioner. When prospective clients are searching for an attorney for their legal issue, they are going to look for experts in their particular matter. So if they are looking to purchase a home, they will search for real estate closing attorneys. Pick an area that is of interest to you and become that expert.
Create a fresh logo. If you are just starting out, create a logo that is unique to you and your firm. No scales of justice here! You can hire a graphic designer for this kind of task or design it yourself!
Get involved. There is no better way to meet potential clients that getting involved in the local community. Join organizations and causes that you care about and become an active member. You will develop lasting relationships and people will know who to call when they need legal assistance. You can also get involved with your state and local bar associations to develop contacts and establish yourself as a member of the legal community.
Be consistent. Choose how you want your “brand” to look and stick with it. If you choose to go with lifestyle images or even images of you and your colleagues hard at work use the same types of images to portray yourself on all platforms.
Emphasize client relationships. You decided to become a lawyer for a variety of reasons, and hopefully one of those was to help people. Your clients are the most important aspect of your practice other than practicing law. People turn to lawyers in some of the most high-stress situations of their life, such as buying a home, going through a divorce or creating a will. Make sure they are happy and that the experience is smooth and easy for them. You can also setup a referral program giving them an incentive to provide you with new business.
Measure your successes. While not all marketing activities are measurable, tracking your successes (and failures!) will help you to see which activities to continue with and which ones to stop. You want to get the most out of our marketing budget, so tracking the successes of your website, online campaigns, social media as well as any print advertising will help you see what is working to generate leads for your business.
Marketing is essential for solo and small law firms. Taking small steps to gain a competitive advantage will speak volumes to your potential customers and will keep them coming back. Marketing is an investment in yourself as a lawyer and your firm that will pay dividends if you take the time to do it.