Marketing your law firm is not like promoting a consumer product. In addition to the high stakes nature of legal services, there is the fact that individuals do not select lawyers based solely on advertisements or even a cool website. Research shows that it often takes multiple consumer “touchpoints” to convert a prospect into a customer in the legal industry.
Add to that the fact that up until 1977, lawyers were strictly limited by ethics rules from most forms of advertising. Since a Supreme Court decision changed that, law firm marketing has become a science and an art, aiming to let individuals and companies know where to find an attorney who can solve their legal problems.
Law firm marketing requires an approach that recognizes the special nature of legal services while applying up-to-date technology and analytics to stay competitive.
It is a crowded market out there for attorneys. Effective marketing should help your firm stand out from your competition.
Here are six ways your firm can begin to market your skills to the people who need them.
1. Design a Website That Is Easy to Find and Navigate
People get information online, and any business or partnership which does not have its own website is at a district disadvantage.
There are website designers for all ranges of budget and specialty. If you are a lawyer specializing in defending DUIs, your needs will be different than for a corporate law firm focused on venture capital deals.
No website is effective if your intended audience can not find it. Work with a website designer on search engine optimization for your website, so your firm will come up in Google searches in the area where you focus.
Make sure your phone number and email address are clearly visible on all pages of your site. The goal is to get prospective clients to pick up the phone and talk to you, eventually signing a retainer agreement.
2. Bios Are Paramount
Biographies are the most visited pages on law firm websites. Clients hire lawyers, not a brand. They want to know who they are trusting with their most precious assets and situations.
Photos are important to literally demonstrate to prospects who you are. Most lawyers will list their degrees and universities, bar memberships, and areas of concentration.
Clients want to know what you can do for them, so list some representative matters of cases where you have succeeded. Think about search terms that people may be using. For example, if you are a real estate lawyer, you may want to include frequently searched phrases like “closing costs” and “mortgage disputes.”
Don’t forget these important bio components:
- Phone number, including cell
- Email address
- Areas of speciality
- Bar memberships
- Representative matters: show how you can help
3. Update Content Frequently
To keep your digital presence high on search engines, you need to keep your website fresh and up-to-date. This will also convey to your audience that you are knowledgeable about the latest issues. If I am hiring an attorney, I want someone who knows the law as it stands today, not three years ago.
For attorneys who like to write, blogs are an excellent way to keep a website fresh and display their knowledge of specific areas of the law. You can comment on famous cases in the news, or alert your niche audience to changes in regulations that they need to know about.
Blog posts are also picked up by media, so you may get published on other platforms as well. Reporters may see your specialized knowledge and seek you out to comment for their articles. Being seen in the paper or on the news confers additional authority upon you as someone who knows what they are talking about.
4. Coordinate With Your Clients
The single most effective way to get new clients is through recommendations from happy former and current clients.
Make sure all your marketing efforts will not step on your clients’ toes. If they are putting out a press release about a deal, don’t compete with your own one. If they prefer your relationship to be confidential, do not discuss their business on your blog or anywhere else.
You can support your clients by sponsoring their charitable work or buying a table at a gala for one of their favorite causes. Client testimonials on your site are terrific- if your client agrees.
5. Integrate Digital and Traditional Marketing
No matter how sophisticated your website and social media campaigns, lawyers still rely on good old-fashioned networking to help boost their profiles. A truly effective law firm marketing campaign coordinates digital with real-life marketing such as events, newsletters, and advertising.
Print ads are very expensive, but digital ads are less so and also can be specifically targeted to the kinds of people you want to reach.
Events are a great way to extend your profile among key prospects and referral sources. Instruct other attorneys in continuing legal education courses. Sponsor local sports teams and children’s charities, and attend their gatherings with leaders in your community. Meet old colleagues and classmates for lunch.
You can integrate your face-to-face outreach with your online efforts. Share photos from events on social media. Share your colleague’s articles online, and give them a shout-out when they receive recognition. You hope they will do the same for you!
6. Engage With Social Media
Lawyers may shy from social media, but it can be very effective in reaching your audience and staying “top of mind.” Facebook and Instagram may seem too frivolous for serious attorneys, but LinkedIn and Twitter have become integral parts of the communications landscape. Your competitors are on there, so you should be too.
By liking and sharing articles in your sphere, you forge connections with peers, who may end up making referrals. By engaging in discussions online with other authorities in the subject, you open the door to in-person meetings which may lead to further business development.
Here are a few ways lawyers can use social media to build business.
- Self publish articles
- Comment on other lawyers’ articles
- Congratulate clients on successes
- Share photos of events like awards ceremonies or panel discussions
- Remark on changes in the law
Media also peruses social media to find angles, sources, and experts in various fields.
Law Firm Marketing: Help Clients Find You So You Can Help Them
A successful law firm depends on a continuous in-flow of satisfied clients, positive word-of-mouth among key audiences, and a strong reputation in geographic region or area of practice. Use a strategic marketing and business development plan which leverages online outreach with traditional law firm marketing in order to stake your claim.
For more information on ways to extend your reach and raise your profile, check us out.