While there are many different things you should be doing to market your law firm this year, there are a few “must dos” that can mean the difference between simply surviving or really thriving with your marketing efforts. The first step is identifying your target clients, followed by utilizing one or more of these points to drive the business through your doors.
The first and most important marketing step that is skipped by attorneys relates directly to strategy or more often, lack thereof. Most marketing decisions are made on the fly like a trauma center or ER. You might be hustling to get a press release out today or update your website tomorrow. It’s like applying a Band-Aid to a gaping wound. The solution for this is to run a complete audit on your marketplace and your overall marketing campaigns. Three things you could do right away would include:
- Look at your past and existing client base to understand the “who, what, when, where, how and why” that makes up your yearly business. You may be able to identify where the opportunities in the marketplace will be in the future. This information will also help you make better decisions for investing your marketing time and dollars.
- Reviewing your websites analytics. This is the backend of your website that shows you where all your visitors are coming from, what they are looking for on your website and if they are actually taking-action towards contacting you. If your current website or marketing provider isn’t reviewing this data with you monthly, they may not really be helping you with your marketing at all.
- Track all of your past marketing to see what’s been paid back, versus what was tried and wasted. Investing in sponsorships or local advertising might have been money well spent or it may have been a swing and a miss. Either way, you have the opportunity through tracking to make better decisions in the future.
The second marketing tip I’d like to suggest relates specifically to your website. The three greatest mistakes attorneys make here include:
- Lack of understanding your prospective client’s mindset and what motivates them to contact you.
- No clear strategy for your website to drive your brand up in the marketplace.
- Creating your website on a shoestring budget and hoping that it’s “good enough.”
The solution for these issues is not a one size fits all. Most solo and small firm law firms don’t possess the time, education or strategic foresight to create a website that truly illustrates their professionalism, success and unique business proposition. Websites and website marketing for lawyers changes frequently, just like the law is constantly changing. Find a strategic marketing leader internally or externally to ensure your marketing is done right and updated often.
The third element you need to know relates to content. In the world of business, cash is king. In the world of marketing, content reigns supreme. Your brand, website, social media all rely on content to ensure that you stay relevant and findable in the marketplace. Failure to produce quality content may leave you behind when things get tough or as more competition moves into the already busy space you are in. It’s important to note that Google is always changing its algorithms, so you must adapt with them. Here are some important points to consider:
- Be sure that the subject that you are writing on contains the key words that people are actually searching for online to find you or the area of law you are writing about. There’s a reason why my title is “Law Firm Marketing: Five Key Elements You May Not Know About.” See it’s right there for Google to enjoy!
- Provide high-quality exhaustive content that takes traditional blogging to another level. We recommend 1200-2500 words to ensure Google sees you as the expert on the subject you are writing on.
- Do everything possible to get your writing onto reputable and relevant websites that link back to your website. Google wants to provide valuable guidance to their users based on what they are searching for. The backlinks you get from highly regarded websites will do this for you.
The fourth key element relates directly with how you connect and stay top of mind with your network. The two key drivers are social media and email campaigns. You are either out there adding value to your network of friends, colleagues, strategic partnerships and clients or your falling behind the thousands of other attorneys who are working tirelessly to capture their attention away from you. A few things to consider here might be:
- If you spend any real time on social media, you see the same people over and over again. If asked, you could point out three people you regularly see on Facebook or LinkedIn. If these individuals are positive and providing good content, you might consider them for a referral if one came up. They are much more likely to be thought of than someone who doesn’t exist in this realm at all.
- Set up a newsletter for your network to stay in front of them. The content I mentioned above would be ideal to educate your clients, while also staying in front of them on a regular basis. If you already have a newsletter, I’d recommend reviewing the data to understand who is opening it up and what they might be clicking. This information is typically ignored, which is a mistake. You may identify clients or contacts that you can proactively reach out to in order to get them in the door or provide additional content or value to them.
The fifth and final point I’ll make is regarding your overall marketing execution. Marketing is not something that’s one and done. It MUST be a consistent part of your law practice to see real results over time. So, the next thing you’ll say is, “How does one possibly find the time to do all of this?” Here are three suggestions that might help:
- Learn it! You don’t need to know everything to improve your marketing. You can read books, watch videos or get trained on two or three elements that will help you grow your practice. Just prioritize what you want to learn and schedule time to do it.
- Delegate it! Some office managers, paralegals and younger associates have experience and skills at writing or social media. You may be able to get them trained up to help with execution. That being said, you may still have to outsource the strategy part and legal writing to ensure success.
- Outsource it! I am not a lawyer and you are not a marketing professional, so hand over the reins. As long as you work together with a solid Marketing professional in a collaborative way, good results should happen. As I mentioned earlier, be sure there’s a strong focus on strategy before execution.
As the legal landscape continues to become more and more challenging, you must recognize that business will not always be coming your way. Preparation for the future means being open minded to new ideas and investing your time, money and energy accordingly. Remember that you’re in the “business of law,” so it’s important to treat your marketing as a part of the overall business spend. Most businesses set aside 5-15% of their yearly revenue for marketing and business development. In case you are bad with math, the average should be $10,000 a year for every $100,000 you collect that year. If you have any questions or would like an initial audit done on your existing marketing, please feel free to email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.