How To Win New Clients With Your Law Firm Marketing Plan
By John Hogg
Tags:law firm marketing legal marketing
When you sit down to think about how you increase the volume of work at your law firm, it doesn’t matter if you’re a magic circle firm, a high street practice or a corporate boutique, at a strategic level you will only ever win new work for your firm through one of four activities...
- You win legal work through your existing clients;
- You find new clients who need your law firm’s services;
- You get referrals from other firms, other professionals, associations, or panels; or
- You start offering a new practice area.
This is a tried and test business development model to help you win more work for your legal practice and when you split it out like this and decide on which activities you are going to focus on within each of the categories you are well on your way to building out a business development plan for your firm.
This can only be a good thing!
To take things a step further forward and to address the actual title of this blog, how to Win New Clients With Your Law Firm Marketing Plan?
There are a whole host of legal marketing activities you can engage in to win new work for your practice so we have listed a few of the most successful activities below to help you to develop a plan to Win New Clients for your firm.
As we've said, this list isn't exhaustive - what we would really like to do is stimulate you so that you can think about what might work in your firm. Unfortunately, another great takeaway is that there is no "One Size Fits All" for legal marketing. Everything needs to be tailored for each individual company and the objectives they have set out to achieve:
Increasing Your Firm’s Profile
Work out what the local media might be interested in and start to build the profile of your firm. It is important that your firm has a presence within your local market as you want to make sure you are "Top Of Mind" when someone is considering appointing a new legal firm to look after their affairs, be they a high street practice focused on serving people or a corporate firm targeting B2B companies who require their legal services. Think about what you have to say and then develop a plan to raise your profile through a number of specific initiatives. If needs be you may want to consider appointing a PR agency to help you.
Increasing The Profile Of Your Key Lawyers
Moving on from the first point, a great way to generate profile for your firm is through your lawyers. Articles, Ask The Expert columns, Quotes, or Comments can all be a great way to position your lawyer as a Thought Leader. In time prospective clients will remember them and consider asking them to pitch for a particular piece of work. It should be said that this approach isn't for everyone, however, it is quite often the case that across a firm there will most probably be one or two lawyers who won’t mind putting their name to something in the press such as an “Ask The Expert” column or even a photocall with their local Chamber of Commerce. You just need to work out who. It would also be my experience that once you 'blood' one or two lawyers in this way a few more will see this increased profile and want a bit of it for themselves as well.
Winning More Tenders
No-one that I know "loves" writing tenders but if your area of law requires you to submit a lot of tenders then it makes sense to try and get good at it. There is definitely an art to writing tenders rather than leaving it to the day before and then working through the night to get it completed. To use tenders to win new clients you will need to do some research to see who may be establishing a tender process within the next six months or so. It goes without saying that if you're not on the invitation to tender list, you're not going to have a chance to win it! Find out where these tenders might be and approach them to find out what the qualifications might be to join the tender list. At the end of the day, the worst they can say is No so you might as well ask.
Joining Relevant Associations And Getting Involved
This is a great way to become known in your local market. If there are relevant associations join them and get involved in any committees or activities that might be happening. Whether it is an Institute of Directors Committee, your local Chamber of Commerce or a specific Legal Interest Group, get in touch and get involved. The key however is not to talk about yourself and the wonderful work you do. Demonstrate your worth by getting involved in the association and over time the fruits of your labour will pay off.
Networking At The Right Type Of Events
Forget B2B and B2C, people buy people and if you are stuck behind your desk all day and all night you won’t be very well known in your market. Work out where your audience will be and get yourself out there. We all forget that the best type of marketing possible is Human to Human or H2H as we like to call it. Yes, you may be a bit shy entering a room of up to 400 people but do your homework, have your introduction prepared and practised, find a general interest topic to gen up on so that you can either join a conversation or even begin on. Don't be worried about introducing yourself to people as a lot of other people there will be shy and retiring as well. They will most probably be delighted you've broken the ice and said hello. Do think about who you would like to meet and don't be embarrassed to ask the organisers if such and such is there and if someone could introduce you. Failing all this, if you're stuck and don't know what to do, avoid the tempation of standing in the corner looking at your shoes. Physically wipe a big smile on your face and find the food table - you are more than likely to find someone in the same position as yourself. Simply use this person to settle any nerves but make sure to move on to more interesting candidates at the earliest possibility.
The tendency in most legal firms and indeed a lot of companies in general is to sponsor your local football or rugby team or to sponsor something you have a personal interest in. Whilst this can be good for ‘giving something back’ if you are going to sponsor an event think it through and make sure it is aligned to the goals of your firm and has a genuine return on investment. There are plenty of business sponsorships knocking around that organisers can't get sponsors for so take the time to think about your audience and the issues they face and try to select a sponsorship which will bring you to them or give you an affinity with them through your sponsorship.
Attending Events, Speaking At Events Or Organising Your Own Events
Continuing the theme of getting known in your marketplace, an excellent way to do this and to become known as an expert for whatever area you practice in is by participating in events... and like it or loathe it, getting up on that stage.
Yes, you can attend an event and work the room, but why not elevate your status by getting on the stage and giving a "interesting", "informative" and "enjoyable" talk on something related to your area of law? You would be surprised at the number of engagements your receive following an activity such as this.
Whilst some areas, such as the public sector, may have rules limiting the level of hospitality you can offer, there is a lot to be said of the tried and tested method of taking a box at the rugby, buying tickets to see the opera, going out to a concert, etc. This is an excellent way to get to know your clients in an informal setting. Sometimes by going out and letting your hair down with your client you can get to see them (and vice versa) in their true light. No work talk. Let's get to know each other and you will now have a bit more of an new insight into what makes them tick and what is really going on at their company.
...and all that this entails, from marketing literature such as fliers for various practices to advertisements in specific publications. We're not going to spend much time on this one for three reasons:
- It covers so many areas we could write another 10 blogs on it
- Most law firms spend 90% of their time and budget focused on Marcoms
- It isn't always the most effective use of your time
Getting Listed In One Of The (Legitimate) Directories
It seems that there is a law firm directory for everything these days so be careful of those ‘Who’s Who’ type directories which appeal to vanity rather than sense. Focus on the legitimate directories instead, such as the Legal 500 or Chambers & Partners. Other directories do of course exist but this is a good place to start and if you feel these directories only cater for firms much larger than yours then make sure you are listed in as many of the legitimate business directories that exist to ensure you are found when your audience goes to look for a law firm. This also helps with being found on search engines too and can help to drive more traffic to your website.
A Hard Working Website
Build proper website for your law firm with a clear goal in mind rather than just designing a pretty website that looks better than your competitors. Get this right and your website will be a source of new business leads and really help to drive your legal practice forward. You could also check out or free guide, "How To Redesign Your Law Firm Website To Win New Clients".
We hope you have found this list useful and that it will stimulate you to rethink how you find new clients at your law firm. Sometimes, just taking stock of what you do and committing it to paper will help you to structure your marketing activities and bring more of a focus to what you do.
As usual we would love to hear from you and hear about the tactics which work best for your legal practice. Be sure to add your comments below or if you would like to have a chat about how you can drive more business for your law firm, please get in touch for a no obligation, free 30 minute consultation. Alternatively, why not download our free guide to writing a law firm marketing plan for growth.
John is managing director of Enlighten IC and has been involved in legal marketing and technology marketing for over 25 years. He is passionate about how an inbound approach to marketing can help firms to drive leads and grow their business.Get In Touch