While it may seem that the legal industry isn’t often in need of marketing at first glance, the recent adoption of digital services by many established firms has changed the way attorneys and clients meet. This change come from law firms becoming ever-more specialized and branching into other services where experts can speak their minds, including blogging and policy analysis. For example, a corporate law firm may publish documents to guide current and potential customers through a current legal development, such as the enactment of stricter copyright laws or antitrust legislation.
But let’s say you’re an attorney who just opened his private practice. How do you compete in the digital landscape today? With established firms having built ubiquitous, accessible websites and social media pages, breaking the mold seems tougher than it once was.
The truth is it isn’t. In fact, making your law firm discoverable is easier than ever.
Understanding the Client Persona
In the legal industry, marketing is contingent on a single concept known as the “Client Persona”, which establishes who your firm is trying to serve and how you can reach out to them. When conceiving your ideal customer, consider factors such as age, income, goals and the particular situation one may find themselves in when they request your services. In fact, if your firm offers a variety of legal assistance options, it may be beneficial to create a client persona for each and market through different channels. Additionally, in certain cases, consider the probability of your template client running into legal issues. This allows you to more effectively estimate where your sympathies should lie when dealing with a client.
In the case of a worker’s compensation practice, a good example of the client persona would likely be a blue-collar worker, married with children. This sort of client would have a higher likelihood of having to deal with questionable management practices on his job site and would be uniquely motivated to win a case, either to help support his children or simply give his family a better life.
Once your client persona is created, you should adapt certain aspects of your practice to fit their needs. This would include raising or lowering your hourly rates, advertising your practice in relevant channels or perhaps even tailoring your communication options. For example, a younger client would be likely to browse your website on a mobile device, while those who are older will likely be using a full desktop computer. This means that attracting younger clients may be easier using social media such as Twitter and Instagram, while older clients would be more suited to traditional online advertising in the form of Pay-Per-Click ads.
Making Use of Search Engine Optimization
One aspect of legal advertising that differentiates the industry from others is the lack of widespread brand awareness. Aside from the most elite of corporate law firms, it is unlikely the average person will recognize your name off the top of their head. Consequently, when potential clients are seeking an attorney’s services online, they are far more likely to search generic keywords related to the type of service they seek instead of a specific name.
While this may seem like an insurmountable obstacle, you can use it to your advantage. On one hand, in an industry lacking brand recognition, starting out without as much recognition as your competitors isn’t as much of an issue, so long as you adequately serve your initial clients. On the other, blending in with your competition on Google becomes far easier and makes it a level playing field. This is where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) comes in. By pinpointing trends across search engines and the broader online landscape, a firm like ours can use design choices and selective keyword use to push your website toward the first few results on Google. For example, recent changes by Google to their delivery model now prioritize mobile webpages due to the heavy traffic on smartphones. While some law firms have tried to market online more, many have not yet developed a dedicated mobile portal and continue to use legacy, desktop-centric web pages.
As a result of these changes, some firms believe that simply building a mobile-friendly iteration of their website is the next step. However, to take full advantage of the search engine, that mobile site has to be put at the forefront of your online presence. This is especially true for defence attorneys. If someone finds themselves needing legal assistance after an arrest or an altercation, they're far more likely to simply search it on their phone than go find a computer somewhere and access the full website. With our SEO and digital marketing services, we will be able to give you a unique recommendation as to how to position your site using key terms and design choices so your firm finds itself at the forefront of the client's inquiry.
Explore Social Media Marketing
With the average age of prospective clients slowly declining and the use of social media greatly expanding in business, making use of these platforms to reach out to prospective clients is a necessity. According to a 2018 survey from the American Bar Association, 42% of small to mid-size firms saw gains in clients through a basic social media strategy. Considering we’re still but at the beginning of the social media age, these numbers will only improve over time, solidifying the importance of having a driven and forward-thinking digital content marketing strategy.
As with any enterprise, the key to attracting awareness to your brand is to provide engaging, thought-provoking content in your posts. In this case, commenting on ongoing court cases or relating to current popular trends in law will allow your firm to establish a following of individuals interested in the material. In some cases even, it has been found that these followers will become clients, provided your firm has established enough credibility to be approached with a case.
Preach Authenticity and Accuracy
Unlike a product, the delivery of a service is often evaluated with stringent criteria, as hiring a professional should logically deliver a better result than buying a random tool to do it yourself. The same is true for attorneys, who take years to learn the ropes and must pass the bar to practice. When a prospective client is looking online for someone to help them out of a legal quandary, the first thing they're looking for is someone trustworthy. After all, if they may find themselves facing prison or severe losses, a potential client would be looking for the best possible legal counsel.
There are a number of ways to build trust when advertising to potential clients, mainly highlighting quality of legal experience. Considering the generally graduate nature of legal education, if your staff hold relevant qualifications from their undergraduate degree, you may find it beneficial when entering that market. For example, if you or your partners are business school graduates, pursuing corporate or contract law may be a lucrative market if you can highlight your strong understanding and qualifications in the field.
Similarly, advertising your use of trusted legal services may illustrate a commitment to accuracy and competency in your firm. Exploring the use of services such as local up-and-coming player Dye and Durham or Westlaw when dealing with the American legal system will allow your firm to more easily translate legal advice across borders and do so with accuracy. Much like with a tech firm using renowned security services to give a veneer of authenticity and seriousness to their brand, being upfront with your use of extensive databases could be a selling point to clients concerned with detail.
Reach out to Entrepreneurs
As the innovators and forward thinking minds of the business world, entrepreneurs are some of the most avid consumers of legal services. Having to deal with potential patent issues, ownership and contract disputes or perhaps acquisitions, your firm acquainting itself with the entrepreneurial community has many benefits. That said, it is important to make yourself readily available, discoverable and cooperative.
First, you not only want to build your social media following, but actively reach out to budding businesses looking for dependable counsel. Anything from emailing to cold calling or even a direct message on social media profiles makes this easy, as well as enabling messaging services on all your accounts. Second, you need to make your profile appeal to the entrepreneur community. Simplify your bio and website, be clear and concise about which legal services you can offer. Finally, making yourself cooperative to the entrepreneurial community means being open to working with a very dynamic environment. Offer what other firms likely won't, with extended availability, promotional consultation or even pro bono work to start out.
By conducting an extensive campaign to reach out to entrepreneurs and win their trust in your community, you will find yourself in a great position to expand to larger clients. Considering the importance of a proven track record in law, you may also be able to partner with like-minded attorneys to grow into a bigger firm and operate more efficiently.
- Understand the Client Persona concept. Without it, you will be at a loss regarding who to gear your practice toward.
- Make use of Search Engine Optimization. Unless you're already a legal titan, oftentimes Google determines who receives a new client.
- Build a presence on social media, diversifying your firm from being simply attorneys to a full legal resource for the average person.
- Advertise your authenticity and accuracy to prospective clients. When hiring a lawyer, the average person wants someone who is prepared and knows how to handle the court.
- Actively build links with entrepreneurs. As a growing demographic with a lot of unclear legal waters to navigate, they can jump-start your practice!