Build it and they will come doesn’t really apply to the real world of business. Law firms that want to build a solid book of business must develop a strong marketing plan that reaches out to the right customers in the right places. Let’s take a look at some of the fundamentals of marketing for your law firm.
It’s More Than Social Media
Nowadays, when attorneys think about a lawyer marketing plan, they think about social media only. But it’s important to understand that drumming up business for your law firm is about more than posting links on LinkedIn or Facebook, it’s about building a multi-layered strategic plan for raising awareness about your firm. It’s also about building trust and nurturing a reputation for being the type of law firm people want to do business with.
Understand Your Niche
When you’re figuring out how to market a law firm, you must understand which specific niche you’re servicing. The effectiveness of your law firm marketing strategy will depend on how well you define this niche and how well you understand the customers. The main question you want to ask yourself is “What do I want my law firm to be known for?” A niche doesn’t have to be a specific practice area, it could be a particular way of doing business. For example, if you’re a family law attorney, maybe you’re known for helping people get through very hostile divorces. So your family law marketing and branding might emphasize your law firm’s ability to handle difficult divorces. Whatever your niche, you must identify it and understand who is looking for that type of legal service.
Identify Your Ideal Client
Once you’ve decided which type of law firm you are, you must figure out what type of client you want to work with. Basically, you will create an “ideal legal client” profile that will help you target a specific type of customer in your law firm marketing. That doesn’t mean that your law firm marketing plan won’t snag many types of clients, it just means that there is a specific focus. Here are some of things you should ask yourself when developing an “ideal client” profile for your law firm advertising:
- Where is my client located? Do you want to focus on a certain part of the city or state? Or, will your attorney marketing strategy cast a wide net that covers more than one city or state?
- What is the socio-economic status of my client? Your lawyer marketing strategy will be heavily influenced by how much money your ideal client earns. Where you place your marketing materials may change depending on the income of your ideal client.
- Why does my client want to hire an attorney? Tapping into the motivations of your “ideal client” is a huge factor when developing your law firm marketing plan. You want to know why a client wants to hire an attorney so that your lawyer marketing materials highlight those reasons. If you want your legal marketing to be effective it must resonate with the right people.
The better you understand your niche market, the more effective your law firm marketing plan.
Tap Into Your Connections
Once you’ve identified your niche market, you must dig into your network of contacts. Your contacts may provide a good foundation for your lawyer marketing list. This list will contain names of people who may want to hire you as a lawyer or who may refer others to your law firm. Many law firms work with law firm marketing firms to help them put together marketing plans but tapping into your professional network isn’t something anyone else can do for you. It’s up to you to develop and nurture your network so that it can help serve the bottom line of your legal practice. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Who in my network respects my work as an attorney? This is especially helpful if you’re just starting your law firm, you will need to depend on your personal reputation to get your first few clients.
- Who has connections to my target market? Sometimes people in your network may not need your services but they may be connected to different networks that could use your legal services. Tap into those connections so that they can become the backbone of your law firm marketing strategy.
You should also make it a point to develop relationships in those networks where your “ideal client” is most likely to be found. Make a list of events, conferences, and other networking opportunities where you can make new connections throughout the year.
Develop Your Plan Of Attack
Once you’ve identified your niche service, profiled your ideal client, and tapped into your connections, you must develop a plan of attack. This plan should be placed on a schedule that makes it easy for you to implement your law firm marketing strategy on a weekly or daily schedule. Your marketing plan can include the following:
- Email Newsletters
- Social Media
- Speaking Engagements
- Community Workshops
Or, anything else you can think of.
No two law firm marketing plans will look the same because each law firm is different but what’s important is that your marketing strategy matches your needs. If you know that your “ideal client” is more likely to watch videos than read blogs, focus on creating 12 videos a year and promote them on social media. If you know that your “ideal client” is hungry for information about a certain legal issue, you might consider doing ongoing workshops. Think about whether your ideal client is online or part of a demographic who avoids the internet.
For example, if your ideal client is online a lot, you might consider doing video or email workshops that can be easily created once and distributed repeatedly to new prospective clients. With email marketing, Smokeball makes it easy as all of your contacts and information in Smokeball automatically populates into Campaign Monitor, one of our dozens of legal software integrations.
As you move forward with your law firm marketing, remember that there is no cookie-cutter way to market your law firm. Each law firm has unique needs so you will need to consider everything from your niche market to your client profile and connections before creating a law firm marketing plan. But it’s that marketing plan that will serve as the foundation of whatever you do.