The law is no joke, and that’s why a lot of law firms steer clear of a jazzy marketing plan, social media and PR: they’re trying to maintain a sincere, practical image. Today’s marketing teams push the boundaries of creativity, with innovative and in-your-face marketing becoming a fast favorite for most businesses – tactics that most law firms want to avoid at all costs.
But the challenge is still there: it’s a crowded marketplace and it’s really hard to stand out. What’s the right kind of marketing strategy for modern law firms?
Legal marketing: a history
Legal marketing hasn’t been very popular throughout history. As a more “traditional” sector, the legal field has always valued word-of-mouth marketing and other outdated marketing methods. It’s not common to see big flashy billboards advertising low-price divorce lawyers or flash sales on attorneys for car accidents, and that’s because law firms deal with such sensitive subjects.
In the era of traditional, “old school” marketing, this was the best option for law firms. Putting up attention-grabbing signs and advertising in the local newspaper can detract from the credibility of a law firm. Traditional thinking would say that a law firm that uses legal marketing isn’t a very good one, and when you’re looking for a lawyer you want the best.
One factor that could contribute to the lack of law firm marketing is the lack of firms themselves. Studies show that self-employed and “freelance” attorneys are much more common in the US than firms with multiple practicing lawyers. Those who practice law as self-employed attorneys aren’t likely to have a huge marketing budget, relying instead on word of mouth and the local community to bring in work. Word of mouth can be a great marketing tool for sole traders, but that doesn’t mean a little legal marketing effort won’t go a long way.
Marketing and law firm growth: why the legal sector is evolving
The days of traditional advertising are behind us now, and we’re starting to see some breakthrough firms test the waters with marketing. Law firms are, first and foremost, businesses. Every business should have growth as a major part of its strategy: all activities in the enterprise should have an overarching goal of growing the business and creating a credible status.
That’s when law firm marketing becomes necessary.
Marketing really is important to law firms in this day and age. As law firms begin their growth journeys and the legal marketplace gets more competitive, carving a piece of the market for your firm is vital to stay afloat. That doesn’t mean you have to launch an all-singing, all-dancing campaign with an A-list celebrity and a mammoth budget. Law firm marketing can be scaled down, professional and intelligent.
How do you market a law firm?
It’s easy to see the qualities your clients look for in a law firm. The legal sector has to be seen as secure, professional and - most importantly - talented. Nobody wants to hire a lawyer they can’t rely on to win their case, or to provide the best, most reliable possible advice.
It makes sense, then, to focus your law firm’s marketing efforts around these characteristics, showcasing just how trustworthy, professional and reliable your law firm is. Don’t forget to shout about your efforts too - today’s consumers aren’t playing games when it comes to the safety of their sensitive data.
Here’s how to kick-start your law firm marketing campaign in 3 easy steps
1. Create a brand DNA
Your law firm is more than just a business - it’s a brand. Creating your brand DNA means getting up close and personal with your business, including who you’re trying to reach, what your core values are and what the primary goals of your business are. Strip your business back to its bare bones to help you identify where your marketing is best placed.
2. Find your target market
Market research is a huge part of your marketing efforts - you can’t have an effective marketing campaign without a target market. Using your brand values, identify who your target market is and conduct interviews, questionnaires and focus groups to help you better understand their needs.
3. Plan your campaign
Once you know who your marketing efforts are aimed at, you’ll know which marketing streams are right for your legal business. More mature markets might not be the best place to launch a social media campaign, for example. Test the waters and learn as you go - you’ll find what works for you in no time.
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