With how competitive law is, marketing is often what makes the difference between a successful law firm and an unsuccessful one. The question is, which one are you going to be?
Quick question – what’s your plan for bringing new clients to your law firm? Will you simply shotgun a few television, bus, and billboard ads out into the wild blue yonder? Will you hold out hope that your participation in a high-profile case will be enough to get your name public?
Or maybe you plan to take a more active role – cold-calling clients and reaching out to anyone you think might be interested. Maybe you’ll even look to begin monitoring law firm’s competitors and seeing how they conduct their marketing strategies. The monitoring of competitors’ marketing campaigns can highlight positives and negatives within their strategies, allowing you to cherry-pick the best approaches to your marketing that have been shown to work for others.
Either way, you probably aren’t marketing your firm as effectively as you could. And in today’s highly-competitive legal industry, that’s a problem. No matter what city you’re based in, there are scores of law firms vying for the business of each and every client.
What determines which firm a client chooses?
Marketing. How effectively you pitch yourself – both on your website and off. Everything else comes secondary, really.
And here’s the thing – in my experience, most law firms don’t actually know how to market themselves. They’re still stuck in the era where all you had to do was pay for an ad in the newspaper, and clients would start rolling in. In other words, if you learn how to get your name out there on the web more effectively, you’ll be well ahead of the curve.
Here are three places you should start.
Two words: thought leadership.
Picture your ideal client. What sort of information are they looking to learn? What can you offer aside from your services that would be valuable to them?
If, for instance, you’re specialized in family law, you might publish regular posts about how to amicably sift through the wreckage of a divorce. If your purview is real estate law, you might focus more on the ins and outs of house flipping, or how a renter can (legally) stand up to a bad landlord.
The idea is to position yourself as an authority on a topic – as a subject matter expert that your clients can turn to for both legal advice and practical advice. And as an aside, those thought leadership posts don’t necessarily need to sell your services, either. They’re actually quite a bit more effective if you simply provide information.
Never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth. Have you recently won a case for a client that was ecstatic with the results? Ask them if they’d be willing to say a few words on how you helped them – and why they’d recommend you to a friend.
88% of consumers trust online reviews just as much as a personal recommendation, and 72% say a positive review makes them trust a business more. In other words, by featuring reviews on your site (and beyond that, encouraging happy clients to refer their friends), you can bring in more business than even a high-profile ad campaign.
A Face On Social Media
Last but certainly not least, I want you to try to think of ten people, off the top of your head, who don’t have a Facebook account. Those ten people were left behind when social media took over the world. And I guarantee they probably aren’t in your target demographic.
Get active on Twitter. Establish a Facebook page, and regularly connect with your audience. Put a bit of money towards paid marketing efforts on Facebook. You might be surprised at how much success you see.
Just one word of advice – don’t act like a salesperson. Instead, talk to your audience like they’re human beings. Convey the sort of personality you feel your audience will trust; the sort of persona you yourself would want to see defending you in the courtroom.
Marketing is often the difference between success and failure for a small business. That’s as true in the legal industry as in every other. By understanding that – and more importantly, harnessing the power of the web – you’ll be one step closer to ensuring your own firm thrives.
About the Author
Ryan B. Bormaster is the managing attorney at Bormaster Law. The law firm practices in a number of areas but specializes in 18 wheeler accidents, accidents with commercial vehicles such as work trucks, and catastrophic injuries of all kinds.