Staying competitive in today’s legal marketplace demands you constantly refine, revise and update your law firm’s marketing strategy to maintain brand relevance and recognition.
You can never be “one and done” when it comes to marketing your law firm. It’s not enough to undertake the occasional website redesign or rebranding. Instead, you need to establish a regular and rigorous practice of auditing your brand relevance and evaluating your marketing strategy’s effectiveness.
Remember, your prospective clients are bombarded with marketing messaging every moment of every day. To stay top of mind, you need to provide constant, relevant reminders of who you are, what you do, and why they should hire you. The ideal is that potential clients are frequently engaging with your law firm across multiple touch points.
Repetition is the key to getting a prospect’s attention and staying top of mind. If you aren’t consistently capturing your prospects’ attention, you fail.
This guide details what is required to develop and maintain a comprehensive and consistent legal marketing strategy that will create lasting value for your firm.
Why Legal Marketing Matters Now More Than Ever
It’s likely that a number of senior partners in your firm bristle at the very notion of legal marketing. Old-school types may feel strongly that they shouldn’t market their professional services as a matter of integrity or pride.
The reality is that legal marketing is a must-have, regardless of your current market position or brand strength. If you want to stay ahead of the competition, you need to be competing for your prospect’s eyeballs.
And legal marketing has only become even more critical since the pandemic. More people are working remotely or in a hybrid environment, which has led to fewer in-person meetings and face-to-face networking opportunities.
The days of taking prospects out to lunch to close an engagement are fewer and farther between. Many of your potential clients simply aren’t doing business the way they used to.
You need a marketing strategy that meets prospects wherever they may be: on your website, social media, client alerts and newsletters, podcasts, or videos. Let’s look at how each of these channels should be used to give your law firm a leg up on the competition.
Do You Have the Right People and the Right Budget in Place?
Before we get into the essentials of consistent, long-term legal marketing, consider whether you’ve made the proper investments to effectively market your firm.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a multinational AmLaw 50 firm or a small, boutique litigation shop. Committing resources to doing the job right is essential.
That could require refocusing people in-house or allocating spending on an agency — or both. It depends on your firm.
In either case, you need to flex your budget and provide ammunition and empower your marketing experts — whether they’re in-house or external partners — to properly market your firm. If you aren’t providing the right people the required resources to do their job, you won’t get the results you need to succeed. You of all people know this. Imagine if your client didn’t fully disclose details to you or you were trying to complete discovery with insufficient funds.
Your Law Firm’s Website Is Your No. 1 Sales Tool
Effective law firm websites are client-centric, user-friendly, easy to navigate and engaging.
The most successful sites require more than making a splash with slick imagery or dynamic graphics. Great legal websites are grounded in the essentials. And they have standardized functionality, font sizes and line widths that make them accessible and consumable for the largest possible audience.
Here are the most important elements to consider when evaluating whether your law firm’s website is functioning at its highest possible level:
Determining the ROI of your marketing investment is not easy, but one of the most valuable investments is to produce timely thought leadership.
The best law firm sites provide engaging, informative content that keeps prospects and clients engaged and coming back for more. Give your target audience information they can act on and they’ll see you as the experts that you are.
When your prospects regularly turn to you for advice even before they hire you as their lawyers, you have formed a trusting relationship and smoothed the path to closing an engagement.
On any law firm website, attorney bios rank near the top for pageviews. Why? Because your prospects are looking to hire a lawyer, not a law firm.
Often a prospect will get a referral, so they search for that person’s name before looking up the name of the firm. That’s why it’s critical for every attorney at your firm to have a current and comprehensive biography with direct contact information.
But don’t go overboard. Resist the temptation to list every last deal, win, publication or recognition. Just play the hits.
Every law firm is proud of its accolades (and you justifiably are, too), but careful curation is the key to using them effectively on your website. Listing every single award your firm has ever received dilutes their impact and your brand.
Additionally, you should demonstrate why your firm has been recognized with awards: Show, don’t tell. Don’t just post a logo or banner with the award; put each achievement into proper context by describing the work you did to earn the recognition.
And be discerning about which awards get listed. Chambers are valuable rankings; Super Lawyers less so.
Some of the most persuasive and powerful content you can feature on your website are case studies.
Show prospects how you deliver results for your clients. Share compelling stories and testimonials. Demonstrate how the work you did allowed a client to achieve something remarkable.
Prospects want to see that you’re familiar with their problem and have had success dealing with that situation before.
Sometimes potential clients want to hear directly from you, and video is an effective method for at least giving them a glimpse. They want to see how your mind works, follow your train of thought, and get a feel for your demeanor and personality.
Your prospects are busy people, so the easier you can make it for them to consume your content the better. Podcasts are a great way to reach them while they’re doing something else: commuting to work, walking the dog or doing the dishes.
Connect Your Firm to Your Next Generation of Clients
It’s no secret that younger generations consume content of all kinds on social media, including law firm content. You not only need to have a presence on social media, but you need to be there consistently, posting at least a few times a week if not more.
As the only truly B2B social media platform, LinkedIn provides a place for your law firm to share and distribute its content and expand its network.
And every one of your firm’s lawyers should have a current LinkedIn profile so prospects can access their qualifications and connect with them.
You may dismiss a platform like Instagram as superficial, but done properly it can highlight your firm’s culture and boost recruiting.
Encourage your younger attorneys and staff to post highlights that illustrate the firm’s values, whether that’s doing pro bono work and community service or celebrating milestone moments.
Perhaps the best use case for Twitter is how it’s used by journalists to discover seeds of stories and cultivate sources.
Consistently sharing your thought leadership and joining in the conversations on Twitter is an effective strategy for you to get in front of those journalists and establish your credibility. The more they see your content, the more likely they are to see you as an expert and ask you to be a source.
And what lawyer doesn’t want to be quoted and seen as an expert in their field?
Where Does Your Law Firm’s Brand Stand?
All of the elements above contribute to a potential client’s overall impression of your law firm and establish your brand.
A law firm’s brand should answer the following questions:
- What makes your firm unique?
- Why should a client choose you over every other similar law firm?
- What values do you stand for? Both in good times and in bad.
- How do you make your clients feel? (I.e., they are with a winner, they have complete trust in you, etc.)
- What does your firm promise your clients, and how does that shape perceptions about your firm?
- For individual attorney brands, how do you work with clients individually and what distinguishes you from your peers?
If your firm struggles to answer any of these questions, it may be time to explore whether your brand needs a refresh, a burnishing or a refocusing.
Getting the Most From Your Legal Marketing Is Like Exercise
If you want your heart to be healthy, you need to do a certain amount of cardio every week. If you want your marketing and your law firm brand to be healthy, you have to put in the time and energy.
This is not something you ever finish; it’s an ongoing practice that should only increase in intensity. There’s no taking a break or pulling back when it comes to your firm’s marketing. Done well, and consistently, it can be a powerful differentiator.
If you want to learn how Decker Design helps law firms create successful, long-term marketing plans, we’d love to hear from you.