Choosing the methods you will use to promote your law firm is one of the most concrete stages of a marketing plan. But unless you spend time on the first three steps, you will not have the essential data you need to create a smart, data-driven marketing plan. If you have read the prior posts, you’ve defined your niche(s) and ideal customers, identified your strengths and opportunities, and developed your unique competitive advantage.
Now, let’s put together concrete ways to get clients.
The most obvious method of getting clients is advertising. Getting advertising right among today’s skeptical audience is a big financial investment. But it also shows that a firm means business.
However, most traditional forms of advertising — advertisements in newspapers and in the Yellow Pages, for example — feel a little dated. The best form of advertisement in the Internet Age is content marketing — giving people useful information that provides them with value so that audiences associate your business with quality. Traditional advertising invades and interrupts, while content marketing is made up of actual useful content, sponsored by your firm that promotes your reputation.
Writing recurring columns in local or national publications is a fairly simple way of gaining “expert” status and being seen as a resource. Not to mention, small articles and interviews are often picked up and spread across the Internet.
So much of marketing is just showing up. You can show up to lead workshops, speak at classes or for associations, or get quoted as an expert on a subject in a publication. This strategy can be particularly effective for excellent public speakers. People who are dazzled by your knowledge and ability to lead a room will remember you when they need a lawyer.
One key to making a good impression is actually packing your workshop or CLE with valuable information. Do not worry about giving away too much information. Show audiences how insightful you are and how helpful and capable you can be in your field. These appearances are not just events where you tell people to hire you. Giving people some sort of value will make them remember you.
Brainstorm on what you feel comfortable speaking about. What problems can you solve for people just by laying out a plan or delivering some information? Also be prepared with a game plan for following up after the appearance.
The easier, less formal method for interacting with people to drum up business is networking. If your forté is one-on-one interaction rather than speaking to a room, invest in conferences, associations, and political events that will allow you to show off your people skills. Do not think only in terms of where lawyers congregate. Think instead about the associations and events that attract your ideal client.
Avoid slipping into all fun and no work by setting a clear goal for your efforts. At a conference, your goal might be to find a new associate. At an exclusive country club, your goal may be to get your card into people’s hands or to mention that you are a lawyer specializing in a certain practice area. However, keep a balance between work and friendliness. Try to make professional friends and take the connection offline.
In any networking situation, the main goal is to develop relationships with people who may refer you to others. The point of networking is helping others who may one day help you.
### Online Presence
Customers expect to be able to find your website as well as seeing reviews of your service through sites like Yelp or Avvo. They expect to see your firm’s lawyers mentioned in articles or in association with reputable organizations. Build an online presence with a website, blog, and some social media accounts where you can draw people to your page with consistent reminders that you are still in business.
Advertising on the web can be a complicated process because of the hidden skills that go into crafting SEO-heavy content that will cause your page to rank well in search engine results and attract certain audiences. Hiring a professional who can design and maintain your online presence will free up your time to focus on higher level tasks.
Developing Specific Marketing Strategies is Important
You’ve probably seen thriving businesses that have made you stop and wonder how they can be doing so well despite their poor service. The answer is marketing. Great marketing can make or break a business. While a mediocre firm with great marketing can succeed for a while, it is also true that a phenomenal firm can fail without marketing. Every firm must invest in the marketing strategies best aligned with the firm’s competitive advantage and effective with their ideal clients.
Next month’s post will focus on how to pay for all of these excellent — but often expensive — marketing strategies.
Featured image: “Man with a Note and Strategy Concept” from Shutterstock.
Read the next post in this series: "5-Step Legal Marketing Plan, Step 5: Costs and Finances."