Many lawyers hate anything having to do with marketing. At the top of their list of reasons why is the lack of time, although a number also believe that it’s vaguely unprofessional to solicit clients. Combined with the fact that it’s not easy and you have a potent mix of disincentives. On the other hand, it’s absolutely essential for the health of a law firm. Word of mouth only does so much to stimulate business, and without regular influxes of new clients, law firms tend to decline, downsize, and finally disband. Once you accept that some amount of lawyer marketing is necessary, the next step is deciding how to get the most bang for your buck. Here are a few solid, low-impact tactics that will help your firm in a variety of ways:
Create a sizeable web presence. The golden age of Yellow Page advertising is long over. Nowadays, people look online when they need professional services, including legal help. In order to effectively market your firm, you need to not only have an up-to-date website, but also list your firm in online directories, add video content to your website, claim your lawyer profile, create social media profiles for your law firm and optimize your website for search engine results-just as a starter. It may sound like a lot, but by focusing on one task at a time, it’s quite manageable. While you may need to hire a professional (or at least find an intern) to accomplish your lawyer marketing tasks, a credible web presence will generate leads and make it clear to prospective clients that your firm is squarely in the 21st century.
Join your local bar association. Bar associations are great opportunities to make connections with other lawyers in your field. This can lead to everything from valuable information sharing to word of reputable third-party vendors to client referrals. Think about working to become an officer of the association, as it will generate additional publicity and raise your stature in the profession.
Write legal articles for professional publications. Writing law articles will put your name and firm out there in the legal world. You won’t likely generate many leads from written articles-although it’s possible that it will result in referrals-but it will help establish your credentials to prospective clients and will give them something other than your law firm’s website when they Google you.
Volunteer. Most of your clients likely come from your local community, and building a bridge between that community and your firm is a great way to solidify your firm’s brand. High profile charity work, whether it’s pro bono legal work or charitable contributions, will net you increased brand recognition, give you access to prospective clients, and even increase the level of satisfaction among your employees. Studies show that there is a clear link between employee happiness and the level of charitable work the company or firm does in the community. When it comes to lawyer marketing, charity work is great for the firm and great for the community.
Brag a little. Don’t be afraid to ask satisfied clients for testimonials. A powerful, relevant testimonial from a former client appeals to just about every prospective client: they’ll be able to see what success looks like and will imagine themselves in your clients’ shoes. Systematizing the process so that all clients put something in writing about their experiences at your firm will give you a great pool of testimonials to use, and if you can ask for photographs and videos of your clients to accompany the testimonials, you’ll be able to use the testimonials across all media types. When selecting testimonials, aim for statements that get specific about the cases and the service provided: the more detail provided, the easier it will be for prospective clients to visualize why your firm was successful.
Lawyer marketing doesn’t have to be about crass appeals for business; it can be a deliberate and dignified way to better serve your communities, both professional and personal.