Starting a law firm requires a lot of work and attention to detail. With such a large focus on making clients happy and handling the minutia of running a business, some important things can fall through the cracks, particularly if you’re starting your firm on your own or with a very small staff. Marketing can often be overlooked, but it’s important to make it a priority if you want your firm to grow your firm.
However, it’s important to note that large and small firm marketing are different beasts. What works for large firms with numerous attorneys and employees won’t necessarily work for solo or small firms. Marketing for small firms differs from marketing for large firms in many ways, including:
There is more responsibility for individual lawyers within a small firm. While practicing to master specific areas of expertise, attorneys must also take on a number of other responsibilities, such as marketing, paper pushing, and meeting with clients, to keep things running smoothly.
The marketing budget is generally much smaller. Fewer attorneys mean less money for external—yet integral—branches like marketing. It’s as simple as that.
Marketing strategies must deliver a quick ROI. Small firms can’t support large-scale marketing ventures as well as sizeable firms, and they need a rapid return on investment to avoid landing in hot water.
Marketing strategy takes precise planning, a well-stretched budget, and quick results to make a difference. That’s why it’s important to start by focusing on tried-and-true strategies for bringing clients to your office.
Start out on social media
As a solo or small firm, social media is your best friend. Since you don’t have the large network bigger firms have, social media is your best bet for reaching a wide audience and your clientele. The best performing social platforms for lawyers are Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn.
Once you’ve created profiles on each of these networks and set them up for optimum branding, start sharing content, relevant information, and insightful comments with your audience base. Use the content on your blog to join current conversations and share your thoughts and opinions.
Be extremely social on your profiles. Adopt a “friend everyone” approach to grow your followers. Also, try to join public groups to gain greater exposure. Many of these groups don’t allow promotional content, but you can still join the conversation by providing content that’s applicable and unique. The more your profile is seen, the more people will trust your brand based on recognition alone.
Increase visibility through blogging
Your social media profiles won’t do much good unless you have plenty of blog posts and articles to use as content. Increase your visibility by building up your website blog first. Get in the habit of posting on a regular basis. For best results, write weekly and focus on legal topics and other subjects relevant to your practice’s specialty.
For many small and solo firms, writing a blog post once a week may seem impossible. If you feel overwhelmed with responsibilities and think writing a weekly blog post will become unmanageable, hire someone to do it for you. For a small fee, a freelancer can take a certain topic and, with guidance, deliver a great blog post. Don’t worry about your freelancer not knowing enough about law to write great content. They’ll be able to research and discover enough to write a quality blog post.
Integrate traditional strategies
Digital marketing can quickly become too expensive for small firms. When that happens, turn to traditional marketing strategies that use offline techniques to grow your client base.
These techniques are in no way dead, and they may even be more helpful for your local reach since they allow you to reach out directly to potential clients in your area. Here are a few traditional marketing channels that are still highly lucrative for small and solo law firms:
Weekly and monthly newsletters: Whether you send these through email, snail mail, or both, newsletters are a great way to keep consumers abreast of what’s happening in your firm. They also remind clients of your talents and abilities.
Speaking engagements: Is your community or a nearby area hosting a local event? Volunteer to speak! Bring a stack of business cards, copies of your newsletter, and maybe even an excerpt of a blog post or e-book to share with attendees. Include contact information, your website, and calls to action to drive traffic online.
Networking events: Trade shows, community events, conferences, and local venues are great places to network. Attend as many as your schedule permits, and hand out business cards whenever possible.