If you run a law firm or have been put in charge of your law firm's marketing efforts, where do you start?
Where you start is very much dependent on the current state of marketing at your law firm and the level of importance attached to it. Is legal marketing at your law firm:
- Non existent
- Left to chance and let's hope for the best
- There is a programme of activity but you're not sure if it's working or not
- You are very pleased with marketing at your law firm and would like a lot more of it
If the answer is YES to any of these, then hopefully this blog on the "Top Five Marketing Ideas For Your Law Firm That Actually Work" is of use to you.
To begin with we have assumed that you already have your law firm's marketing strategy locked down and that some form of marketing plan exists. If not, don't worry, you can always check out our blog on the importance of marketing planning, "How To Win New Clients With Your Law Firm Marketing Plan".
Right, let’s get started...
1. Establish Your Law Firm's Web Presence
In this day and age, if you meet someone and they are interested in your services they will most probably check you out online and have a look at your website when they get back to their desk. In fact, chances are they will Google you on their mobile the very next possible opportunity they have.
To give your law firm half a chance, you therefore want to make sure you have a decent looking website which gives the right first impression for prospective clients. A very questions will help you to ascertain if you are heading in the right direction, or not.
- Have you good quality information for visitors to read which isn't all about you?
- Are the biographies on your professional staff useful or are they simply a list of bullet points showing your qualifications and the areas of law in which you practice?
- Have you any form of calls to action to try and engage with visitors and try and convert them into leads for future nurturing?
- Is there good navigation so that visitors can get to what they want quickly and easily?
- Have you mapped out conversion paths to turn strangers into visitors; visitors into leads, and; leads into clients?
To find out more about making your law firm website work for you, check out our blog on, “Why Law Firm Websites Don’t Produce Leads”.
2. Build Your Networks
Despite the advent of the internet and the ability to generate leads from law firm websites, you still need to get out and meet people and have a presence in the real world too. If you don’t have your own network of contacts you will be missing out on whole host of opportunities to grow your law firm.
A few ideas to help you on your way:
- Join associations - such as your local Chamber or Commerce, the Institute of Directors, along with associations related to and complementary to your target sectors. Find out where your audience goes and build a network in these circles. Join, get involved and eventually take up positions on their committees but whatever you do, please don’t be too overt in your quest for new clients. Take it easy as softly, softly catchy monkey is a much better, long-term and more successful strategy when building networks with real people.
- Speaking engagements - whether you like it or not, get up on that stage when you get the chance to. Here you are with all eyes on you giving a relevant talk and being seen as the expert in that particular area. You might not like doing it but you can learn to do it and do it well!
- Host events - if you really want to own a particular topic then host an event or series of events on whichever topic you feel your audience would like to know more about and learn about. Position your firm as the go-to firm for this area of law or for being associated with a particular topic which is complementary to your offering. Be seen as one of the leading players in this field.
- Attend events - you can’t host every event in town nor can you sponsor everything in order to get invited on stage. With this in mind, why not start of by choosing a number of events that you must go to. You will need to be disciplined as there will always be client work to do, so no excuses that you can’t get out from behind your desk. If you make time you can do it. Always remember that it is pretty difficult to win new clients if you are flying a desk back at base. You need to get out to i) find out what’s happening and ii) be seen and build your networks.
3. Raise Your Law Firm’s Profile (and your own!)
Don’t worry, we aren’t advocating wall to wall, blanket coverage on every magazine and newspaper, although we do want you to begin to build a profile in the press.
Become known for what you do, the events you have been at or the associations you are a member of. This sort of activity will help to get your name out there with the people you want do business with. Keep yourself ‘top of mind’ and it will pay dividends for you and your firm. Some things you can do yourself whereas others may require help from a PR agency which understands the specific requirements of a law firm just like yours.
- Press releases — What have you got to talk about that you feel would be newsworthy in your local newspaper? Some quick wins could be along the lines of a press release to announce senior appointments, new apprentices, partner promotions, deals done or even your corporate social responsibility endeavours. Think about what you might be able to issue to a local journalist over the year ahead and build out a plan of activity. Always remember that a picture tells a thousand words so try and include a creative photo with your press release.
- Media advisory notes — Sometimes when large stories are quoted in the press there could be an interesting or complex point of law at stake. If this is the case consider issuing a media advisory note to a small group of journalists or even just the one journalist you are trying to build a relationship with. Let them know what all of the key issues are with this legislation or proposed legislation and how this will impact the local area or specific areas of industry. This will help to demonstrate to the journalist that you know what you are talking about and may prompt further questions, an opportunity to be quoted or even the possibility of a future article to explain this particularly interesting point.
- Meet & greets — Journalists are humans after all so why not get to know a few? Work out who is interested in which area and then contact them to see if it would be worthwhile meeting up. The purpose is not to ask for anything, rather you want to get to know them and let them find out where you could potentially be useful to them in the future. You never know when you may get a call, plus you are now starting to build a relationship with the press which will hopefully help the chances of any press releases you are issuing as well. Don’t ask for anything explicitly and you will be surprised at what you might get asked for over the medium to long term.
4. Market Your Law Firm Online
OK, so you are becoming known in your local circles, perhaps starting to build a presence in the press and you even have a pretty decent looking, well thought out website for when these people start to find out a bit more about you. But how do you maximise this?
The answer is very simple - Content! I’m sure some of you will have read about the importance of content marketing but how many people are out there actively using it and if they are is it grounded within an over-arching strategy to generate leads?
To do it right, you need to understand your audience and the pain points they have. What might they type into Google to find answers to these issues? If you can do this you can build out a Content Plan to address their pains and before you know it you will have a lot more, relevant traffic on your website.
Over time you can try to ‘own’ this space online due to the sheer volume of content you have on this specific area. Remember that your content is to be about them and not you and how wonderful you are. Optimise your content for search engines, such as Google, using relevant keywords and promote your content via social media. You might even want to look at paid traffic such as Facebook Advertising, Google Adwords or advertising on any of the other social media platforms such as LinkedIn.
There needs to be a point to all this promotion and all this newfound traffic on your website so make sure you have thought this through and have something other than just your Contact Us page to generate leads.
5. Tender for Work
Whilst this blog is all about the top marketing ideas for your law firm, by mentioning tenders I know we are beginning to stray into the world of Business Development. No matter which way you look at it, however, tenders are still an area which marketing can help with and add significant value to. If you want to grow your law firm and generate new clients then take the time to work out a robust process whereby your tendering process is as focused and efficient as possible.
First and foremost make sure your process helps you to build out your tenders quickly so that they aren’t all last minute. Yes, things do happen and sometimes you have to work around the clock to complete them, although a bit of forward planning and a good tender process and you should aim to reduce this to a bare minimum.
- Set up a cross-departmental team to assist with tenders to ensure that your really important tender doesn’t just fall to the most junior marketing person and the latest apprentice to join the firm.
- Keep a repository of all completed tenders so that you can refer back to them whilst writing the latest one.
- Have as much prepared in advance. Keep your biographies consistent and up-to-date. When the clock is ticking is a much better use of your time to have the time to think about the legal methodology you are proposing. Having to run around and draft biographies is something which can (and should) be completed well in advance and easily accessed when required.
- With an up-to-date, easily accessed repository will also allow you to analyse your win/ loss ratio to see if you are losing more than you win, which sectors you are strong/ weak in and which elements of the tender methodology your a strong/ weak in.
- Don’t be afraid to say no — You don't have to go for every tender possible. Have the confidence to discuss the merits of each tender before you start drafting it and where needs be - NO BID.
- Always ask for feedback — Whether you win or you lose as the reasons why. It is very rare for you to be so out of touch with everyone else that you have aced a particular section or scored really badly. You therefore need to build up a knowledge bank to let you see where you’ve just edged if when compared to the competition.
There are a lot more areas in which marketing can really add value to your law firm and help you to grow the practice. This blog is simply a high-level snapshot of some of the main ways you can achieve results from your marketing and start to demonstrate a positive return on investment. Try not to see your marketing for solicitors as a reluctant overhead and take the time to make sure you maximise what marketing can do to help you grow your law firm. If you work through these five simple steps and build out an over-arching marketing plan to manage what it is you will do by when (and how much it will cost) and you will be well on your way seeing you law firm marketing team achieve results and begin to demonstrate their value to your practice.
We would love to hear your views about this article on the “Five Top Marketing Ideas For Your Law Firm” so please feel free to add your comments below. Please share with us what has worked for you (and what hasn’t) and if you really like it, you are very welcome to share on your social media channels. You might also like to check out our marketing plan template for law firms, “How To Write A Law Firm Marketing Plan To Grow Your Practice”.