As you know, your law firm is not a business in the traditional sense. Lawyers are service professionals that provide value to clients through their skill set and law expertise. Regardless of this fact, a law firm must still focus on marketing and selling although a physical product is not being sold. As a lawyer, your professional services are in essence the product. Although each service may differ from client to client, they are still being purchased.
One common mistake law firms often make is misunderstanding the difference between advertising and marketing. While advertising’s sole purpose is to get prospects to buy, marketing has a much broader purpose that can apply to every law firm. For example, some firms may not need any new clients and might just want to foster their relationships with current clientele. By understanding the following business concepts for law firms that will be discussed in this article, you will not only be able to furnish a growing client base, if that is your goal, but also develop deeper relationships with your current clientele that can last for years to come.
Market with the End-Client in Mind
While a law practices is not a business, it is vital for you to market with the end-client in mind. If your law firm is looking to increase clientele, identify who this person is. Regardless of what kind of law you practice, you need to approach your marketing efforts from the perspective of your client. This means understanding what they are going through emotionally as well as legally when they seek out your services. You may have heard the term “buyer persona.” Developing a persona for your ideal client will enable you to channel your marketing efforts around what motivates those individuals to contact a firm such as yours.
Because there are an abundance of choices for people looking to choose a law firm, you need to run your law firm like a business and take charge of your marketing efforts. One valuable way to do this would be to include an introduction video on your website so a prospect can see you in action and get familiar with how your firm delivers its’ message. Video marketing is huge and both recording and putting a video online is an extremely easy thing to do now. An added bonus, YouTube is the fourth most visited website in the world, and the 2nd largest search engine, so you have a huge opportunity to reach people for free.
Always Use Measurable Marketing Tactics
Throwing money or resources at marketing is not a wise decision as any business owner can attest. The same applies to your law practice. All marketing efforts should be quantifiable so you can identify where your money is being best spent. For example, if you spend $10,000 on a public relations campaign, it can be very difficult to determine the specific results it brings in. And, if you are new to marketing, you should probably start somewhere else that has a measurable return on investment. We recommend the best place to start, is with inbound marketing.
Short definition of Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing can help track everything that happens on your website. That means every time someone visits your practice’s web page, you can see the actions they’ve taken or not. Inbound start with great content and through proper analytical software, not only can you see how long people spend reading your content, but also their engagement level and if this engagement leads them to take action. Ultimately you can start to develop a better understanding of how visitors behave on your website.
Another powerful tactic that can work for you is using Google AdWords or LinkedIn advertising. While this is “advertising” since you are paying to put your name in front of prospects, it’s not invasive. Users are searching for help and if you make sure your ads are found for relevant search terms than you are putting your practice in front of those who need your help the most. Utilizing targeted keyword strategies in your law firm marketing, can help you determine which challenges your prospects need help with the most and you can also utilize the ad platforms to develop even more measurable data about visitors and their behavior on your website. In addition, because these platforms are 100% measurable, there is no question as to whether it works or not.
Email and Automated Marketing
Email newsletters and drip campaigns (i.e. automated marketing) are also marketing tactics that can help your practice identify what is working and worth the money spent. With the majority of email marketing platforms you can often get detailed reports showing you how many people opened, clicked, and then proceeded to take action on your website. By analyzing these numbers you’ll be able to identify the efforts that are working for your practice and invest more of your marketing dollars into the things that are most effective.
Start with Better Legal Marketing Planning
At the beginning of every law firm marketing initiative, you must understand how it will be measured and what goals you set to achieve. If you don’t know what is happening and if you are not tracking progress, there is no way you can improve results or even measure whether it was successful or not. Your investment should not be wasted on speculation and half measures. In business, what gets measured, gets managed. For example, even something as simple as attending a local networking event have a plan ready. Write down who you would like to meet and what results you’re looking for. By writing down your goals, you are giving yourself something to look back at and gauge your efforts and results. Sometimes, writing things makes ideas more tangible and you are more likely to see them through.
Market to the Low-Hanging Fruit
The most likely person to use your service is a person who has already hired you. Many law firms have had success with “no growth” campaigns where they actively market to their existing client base instead of trying to acquire new clients. These campaigns improve relationships and build stronger bonds. They also put you on the top of your clients’ minds when they are in need of your service. A diversification campaign can also help a law firm spread out revenue across the client-base instead of relying heavily on one or two main sources of income.
On average it costs 5x as much to acquire a new client as it does to keep your existing clients happy. Start to measure these marketing efforts. How many times has an attorney in your firm visited a client? How many times has your firm had lunch with clients and referral sources? Perhaps you would like to host an event for your existing clients and their contacts. Keep track of who attends and use that information to follow up and develop a stronger relationship.
Analyzing Why Your Client Signs
A critical marketing business concept law firms should apply is measuring the right analytics. By asking the right questions about your clients and their actions during different stages of your relationship, and making note of those responses, you can learn more about your practice and how your actions affect client decisions. For example, marketing can help you determine why clients sign with you, which services they use, how much they spend, how often they spend, and a great deal of other information.
Increasingly every year, marketing budgets are scrutinized more and more to make sure every dollar is being spent wisely. Because you are able to analyze the legal inbound marketing efforts you have put forth, you will know precisely why clients are buying from you and what these efforts cost the firm. For example, if a visitor reads one of your blog posts about divorce best practices and then click the link to contact you, you can track where this lead came from and understand more about their needs.
Because you will have a better understanding of your clients’ needs through your measurable marketing efforts, your firm can tailor your services to better meet the needs of your clients. Firms that are stuck in the mentality of trumpeting about their achievements and spouting off how “we are the best” are missing an opportunity to grow and improve even more. This means they are letting opportunities to reach new potential clients slip by as well as opportunities to deepen the connection with current clients.
While many lawyers view law as a pragmatic discipline that offers black and white answers to legal problems, clients view what you do in a much different way. Clients come to law firms because they have a problem and need a solution. Many times these problems are tethered emotionally to your client. Perhaps they are going through a divorce or have just lost a loved one and need to settle their estate. A lawyer who is able to recognize this and appeal to the emotional side of their customer during their marketing is doing a better job at connecting with prospects on a human level.
Applicable Business Concepts for Law Firms
If your law firm is ready to consider implementation of these marketing concepts you first need to take an honest look at your current efforts and needs. Marketing must become part of your business plan if you aim to maintain growth or sustain the practice as it stands now. Competition is fierce and growing every day. If your firm is not spending at minimum 2.5 percent on marketing efforts (excluding salaries for people hired to perform marketing duties) you’re only scratching the surface of possibilities.
In order to generate new prospects or cultivate better relationships with existing clients you need a much more calculated effort. Whether that money is spent on blog writing, website improvements, social media, taking clients out to lunch, or visiting clients at their offices make sure it is measurable and goal oriented. If you want to see increased success, you need to run your law firm like a business. And, businesses market their offerings.
You found this article because you wanted to learn more about business concepts that might apply to running a law firm and how you can use marketing to improve the sustainability of your practice. Applying business concepts to your law firm does not have to be a solo effort and it can certainly be challenging running your practice and trying to run your marketing efforts. Here are some key points to remember from what you just read:
- Always market directly to your clients needs. They are looking for help and if you identify those who need your help the most you can generate a higher number of qualified leads for your firm.
- Stick to measurable marketing efforts. If you cannot measure or quantify the results of your marketing investment there is no true way to determine if it is a worthwhile endeavor.
- Consider marketing investments in Paid search and email marketing for scalable and measurable marketing investments.
- Inbound marketing is also a high value, measurable marketing strategy that yields a large number of leads at a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing.
- Consider marketing to your existing clients. They often have additional needs outside of the services you already provide.
If you are want to learn more about additional legal marketing challenges to avoid, download our free eBook.