Marketing a New Law Firm
How to Start a Law Firm
3 min read
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Getting started with legal marketing can feel overwhelming. It’s important to understand as you grow your practice and distinguish yourself in the over-saturated legal market. Successful legal marketing helps you stand out from the competition and helps clients find you.
Successfully marketing your law firm must include a plan, marketing tools, and some business know-how. We’ll help you get started.
Marketing your law firm without a strategy is a great way to hemorrhage cash. Let’s touch on the basics you’ll need to think through before committing to a marketing plan.
As you sit down to sketch out your marketing plan, start by putting yourself in your clients’ shoes and imagining their journey.
The journey is the story of a client’s experience from the moment they first interact with you (e.g., Google search, referral, or billboard) to when they get their first bill, get their problem fully and finally resolved, pay their last bill, provide your firm a 5-star online review, and become one of your best referral sources.
You’ll want to consider these client stages:
Awareness–They have a problem and start to search for answers.
Consideration–They know they need an attorney and consider options.
Decision–They’re ready to choose a firm.
How can you help your client at each of these stages? What parts of your marketing can enhance these stages? Learn more in our Complete Guide to Law Firm Clients.
When lawyers start their firm, it’s tempting to take anyone who walks in the door. You’re trying to establish yourself, build up a base, and get money in the bank. We get it.
But, by cramming in every client who asks for your services, you’ll end up with clients who drive you bonkers. Or even worse, you won’t use your top skills.
Think of it another way. Imagine a music teacher who specializes in private guitar and piano lessons.
If a potential student walked in who wanted to learn the trumpet and the teacher said yes, both teacher and student would struggle through the lesson. Everyone would be stressed, and the horn player wouldn’t learn what they needed.
You can avoid this stress by identifying the type of client who dovetails with your skills, preferences, and area demographics.
You can figure out your ideal client in Chapter 1 of our Guide to Law Firm Clients.
Your branding is your relationship with the world. It’s your promise to your clients. It’s how the world identifies you—whether through your logo, a catchy slogan, or adjectives that describe your style.
As an example, we know a lawyer who loves gardening. As she was starting her firm, she wanted to intertwine an organic, earthy feeling into her branding. Her aim was to convey the type of experience her clients would have at her firm.
So, she named her firm Heirloom (after a type of tomato) and centered her colors and copy on this concept.
Think of products and organizations that have caught your eye over the years. Make a list, then identify colors, sayings, and feelings associated with each brand. Learn about branding in Chapter 1 of our Guide to Law Firm Marketing.
You know you need a website in your law firm marketing toolbox. However, what comes next isn’t always straightforward.
At a minimum, your website is your calling card. Clients can find your address, phone number, and practice areas. They can confirm you’re a legitimate business when they Google you. (They will Google you.)
Your site is also a marketing tool to post blogs, videos, accolades, and testimonials.
In its most aspirational form, your website is a client-centered hub. You could turn your website into a one-stop-shop for client education, with a portal for clients to get updates on their cases. (For inspiration, see our latest Best Law Firm Websites contest.)
Before you go big, start with just getting a site up, so your clients don’t think you’re a scam shop. We go into more detail on how to get started with your website in our Complete Guide to Law Firm Website Design.
Now that you have the foundations of how to market your law firm, let’s talk about running your new law firm on your own.