There was a time when the term ‘law firm marketing’ was rarely heard. Growing one’s law firm was often based on word of mouth referrals from clients, listings in the Yellow Pages, and perhaps signage at your place of business. Referrals from other professionals, like accountants, property agents, and banks, were also valued.
In this digital age, marketing for law firms has taken on a whole new look. Of course, personal and professional referrals are still prized – after all, they are an acknowledgement of your previous superior service.
In order to compete and thrive in the current market, however, there are proven strategies you can use to set your law firm apart from others. We can even leverage those referrals in a variety of ways to broaden their reach.
Looking Ahead to 2022
With the end of 2021 fast approaching, the holiday break is the perfect time to take a good hard look at how you are currently approaching your marketing and to assess if you can do things better and smarter. And we think you can! Here are some things to consider:
1. How are people finding you?
Chances are that these days your potential clients will be looking for you online – 80% of prospective clients research firms online prior to engagement. It is important to understand, though, that this road to your door rarely starts with a website. Your website is the destination. They might ask for recommendations from family and friends or on social media platforms. They might do a Google search, receive a newsletter from your firm or they may have seen that your firm has sponsored a community event. All of these opportunities, and likely more, should be considered when putting together a marketing plan for the year ahead. If you are at all curious about how people have found you – ask them!
2. What makes you different?
Many firms like to be all things to all people, which may work well for them. Even within those ‘all things’ there are likely to be areas of specialty for which you have developed a solid reputation upon which you can build. You can still do the ‘all things’ but perhaps readjust your marketing to focus on where you have already made significant inroads.
Such points of difference are so important in marketing for a law firm, they are not confined by practice areas. Your firm might have strong community involvement; it might be involved in mentorship programs and offer pro bono services to particular organisations. Sharing details of such involvement is also a great way to add light and shade to your website’s blog.
3. Do you have a strong or unique brand?
When considering the word ‘brand’, many people immediately think ‘logo’. However, a brand identity is so much more, read Law Firm Branding 101 for more details. Ideally, it communicates your values – it reflects the personality of your business. A strong brand identity should deliver you the authority in the marketplace. It should be consistent over time, establish credibility with your peers and, importantly, trust among your clients.
Your brand will be reflected in every facet of your business, from your website, stationery, emails, case studies, and blog posts. It will have a ‘voice’ that is unique to your business and will reflect how you wish to be seen – and that’s not just our opinion. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, has said that ‘Branding is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.’
So, over this forthcoming holiday period, take some time to consider your branding:
- Do you have a brand identity?
- If so, was it put together intending to form an integral part of your law firm marketing plan? Perhaps seek feedback from friends and family on what your brand tells them.
- If not, consider it a priority once 2022 kicks off – contact us for a free marketing consultation.
4. Is your website generating leads?
Your law firm’s website is one of the most powerful weapons in your marketing arsenal. It should not be considered a one-time project, though. A website that works for you needs to be regularly updated with new content, in the process attracting the attention of search engine crawlers.
When it comes to collecting leads from your website, there are many strategies, and we can help you with them all. However, to get a head start, some of the ones that you can assess over the holidays are:
- Do you have a form on your Contact page? All law firms will have their address and phone number, of course. But many also add their email address. On this key website page, we recommend that you have a contact form that will collect the names and email addresses (don’t ask for too much detail) of the enquirer. This will deliver instant lead generation to form the basis of future outbound marketing (e.g. newsletters – see below). You might feel it necessary to have your email address elsewhere on the site, perhaps in the footer.
- What advice can you offer as a free download? Your website will likely feature pages describing your various practice areas. On some of the pages, why not offer a free White Paper, Checklist or Guide such as an eBook on Wills and Estate Planning, or a specific area of law you’re practicing in? In return for their name and email address, you can set up an automatic download that will deliver the document straight to their inbox. We can help automate this for you. This strategy not only generates leads, but grows your database.
5. Are you keeping a database of clients and enquirers?
Depending on the size of your firm and the diversity of clients, it makes good business sense to have a database that contains their details. How detailed the database is will be up to you; you might start with simple names and contact details, but over time expand it to include other personal information that will help in your engagement with them. For instance, their partner’s and kids’ names, their hobbies, where you first met/how they first made contact.
You might like to use a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool, which can separate your contacts into past, current, and potential clients. This can make tailoring your messages to the right group so much easier. Most modern CRM tools include an auto mailout option, which will streamline the dispatch of emails and newsletters.
6. Stay in touch
This point follows on from the above because we recommend that you communicate regularly with your clients and those who have enquired about your services or downloaded a document from your website. Whatever the business, from a builder to a dentist to a law firm, one of the most valuable assets you will have is a clean database with accurate information. By sending regular e-newsletters to your clients, you are ‘continuing the conversation’ with them.
Email marketing still out-performs many other marketing strategies and is the number 1 lead generation tool for your law firm.
We certainly don’t suggest that you bombard their inboxes with information that is irrelevant, unhelpful, or cookie-cutter boring. Instead, use these e-newsletters as an opportunity to re-engage with them on, for instance, changes in the law, information about new staff who have joined your law firm (right down to the receptionist – people like to know who is answering the phone). There may have been a recent community event in which you are involved, or one coming up……. and include photos!
This type of information tells recipients that they are part of your ‘tribe’, and that you are not just another ‘file’.
7. Employ proven SEO strategies to help you rank well on Google
SEO (search engine optimisation) is a topic worthy of its own post, but to keep things simple this holiday season, think of it as certain strategies that you, or your marketing team/consultant, can implement to improve your firm’s rankings in Google’s results pages.
A common mistake that people make is believing that when they type their business name into a Google search box and find that their firm, e.g. ‘Mortimer Abercrombie & Starch’ and their website ranks number one in Google, then that’s all they need. And each time they type it, the result is the same. There are two problems with that thinking:
- When people are looking for a law firm but haven’t heard of you before, the chances of them typing in your firm’s name is minuscule, and
- If, when you make a search, you are logged into a Google account, Google will intuit your habits and prioritise previously visited sites in your search results through its algorithms. So unless you regularly clear or block ‘cookies’ Google remembers your previous search, and will return the same result as it did last time. Your search data might be stored for up to 180 days.
However, you expect a potential client might type into the search box ‘family lawyer in Bankstown’- and it is for THAT term that you should be aiming for good Google results. 62% of searches are non branded (i.e. “Bankstown divorce lawyers” etc). Such terms are called ‘keywords’, and by ensuring well-researched keywords are incorporated in your website pages, you are a step closer to achieving that goal. We recently took a deep dive into SEO for law firms, where we share the science behind SEO and how to get your website ranking.
We have a range of SEO strategies just like this that we can use to boost your website in the virtual eyes of the search engines.
Our Team Is Here To Help You
At Lift Legal Marketing, our focus is on helping small and medium-sized law firms to implement gold-standard marketing strategies, tailoring our services to your requirements and budget.
If you would like to learn more, we invite you to contact Peter by booking an appointment or calling 1300 881 811.