Top Marketing Tips for Young Attorneys

As a young attorney, one of the most challenging tasks to finding work is putting your inexperience behind you. Until you have a few cases under your belt, you’re going to need to market yourself in the most effective ways.

An additional challenge is the cost of marketing; without a surplus of clients, it’s unlikely you have a surplus of cash to use on print advertising, a suped-up website, etc.

Luckily, there are options. Here are the top, cost-effective marketing tips for young attorneys that you can start using today.

Social Media is Key.

If you’re not using as many social media sites as possible to market yourself, you’re missing out on invaluable opportunities. The list is many, but the top sites you should be using are LinkedIn, Twitter,Facebook, Digg, Google+, even YouTube. Not only are these sites free of charge, you can network with other legal professionals, connect with colleagues and present clients, and access a massive pool of potential clients all at the same time. Blog about legal topics and articles users will read (and share), even upload a video or two illustrating your legal knowledge and advice. Social media will get you found online, and direct clientele to your door.

Do Speaking Engagements.

One of the difficulties young lawyers face in securing new clients is the perception that inexperience equals lack of knowledge. Speaking engagements are a great way to defy this stigma. Speaking before an audience allows you to voice your practice area knowledge, but it also lets you talk about legal issues in general. When skeptical would-be clients hear you speak, if you’ve done your homework and know what you’re talking about, they’re likely to listen. And, be sure to post what/when/where you’ll be speaking on your social media pages.

Sleep With the Enemy.

Lawyers tend to respect other lawyers based on performance and integrity—even if they’re on opposing sides. At the conclusion of a case, no matter the outcome, remain respectful to your legal adversary. Invite to take them to lunch, dinner, or drinks to listen to their industry advice. Try to stay in contact with them and build a professional relationship. This is an excellent way to get case referrals.

Volunteer, Enroll, or Otherwise Get Involved.

Find local organizations that relate to your practice area, and get involved. If you’re a personal injury lawyer, find organizations that health care providers belong to and get active within those organizations; i.e. become a member of the holistic chapter of your local Chamber of Commerce. There are great marketing opportunities in volunteer work, as well. Volunteer at local hospitals where you can lend free legal advice—and hand out business cards.

Do Exceptional Legal Work.

This really is the most surefire way to get work, and keep work coming. Quality legal work builds respect in the legal community, trust in your clients, and likely referrals to future clients. Treat each case with the same dedication and skill—regardless of the complexity or compensation involved.

These marketing tips don’t require a large advertising budget or additional resources; just a bit of creativity and commitment. Although effective marketing does not yield results overnight, in time you’ll see the benefit of your efforts, as your client and case roster steadily grows. For more tips and other business strategies, contact us—we’ve got methods that work.

Create Your Law Firm’s Mission Statement

Are you aware how significant a role your firm’s mission statement can play regarding branding and prospecting efforts? With so many elements involved in your law firm’s marketing strategy, it’s easy to overlook the importance of crafting a well-written mission statement that encompasses your law firm’s services, brand, and purpose.

Overall, a mission statement can be a powerful attorney marketing tool to express the impact your firm aims to have upon clients and the general community. With this in mind, consider the following elements while designing your law firm’s mission statement.

1.      Explain what your firm specializes in.

A mission statement is a brief explanation of what your law firm does, among other things. When crafting your statement, be sure that it includes an overview of what your law firm specializes in, whether it’s personal injury law or family and divorce matters.  Prospective clients should instantly realize what your firm does.

2.      Differentiate your firm within the market.

The underlying question that prospective clients will have is “Why should I work with your firm?” A mission statement is an attorney marketing tool that provides your firm the opportunity to answer that question, essentially differentiating your business from others. What does your law firm do better than any other firm—resolve cases several days faster than average, cultivate personal client relationships, or settle hard-to-resolve cases?
Tie that into your firm’s mission statement to explain why prospects should work with you.

3.      Represent your values.

The best attorney marketing isn’t cut and dry. Inject some personality into your law firm’s mission statement by mentioning values or philosophies that make up the foundation of your organization. Prospects may be more willing to consult your firm if they can relate to the values that your firm abides by.

4.      Consider long-term goals.

Mission statements aren’t something that should change on a whim. Therefore, your law firm should consider what will represent your brand and remain relevant to prospects in the long run. For example, if your bankruptcy firm seeks to be the largest legal firm in the state, do not pigeonhole your mission statement by stating that you aim to be the best small, local firm.

5.      Stay concise and relevant.

Although there are obviously quite a few elements that can be included in your law firm’s mission statement, it’s better to stay concise than to include too much. The point is to provide a brief snapshot of your law firm’s purpose, mission, and capabilities in order to both inform and entice prospective clients.

The Top 5 Qualities Clients Look For in a Lawyer

Choosing the right lawyer is one of the most important decisions a person facing legal issues can make.

How well a lawyer handles a case can produce life-altering outcomes for a client, such as the difference between financial salvation or collapse, a client’s involvement with their own children, and in extreme cases, securing a client’s freedom versus imprisonment.

There are many qualities an experienced lawyer should possess, but here are the top 5 that potential clients will always look for.

1. Availability

Legal issues require attentiveness; sometimes within the hour in emergency situations. A client needs to know that their lawyer is available when they need them—whether by phone or in person.

In non-emergency situations, being available to return phone calls, emails, or set up a conference time is just as important. If you can’t personally respond to a client within the same business day, you need to make sure that someone at your firm can, and informs the client when you will be available.

2. Qualifications

To be in good standing with your state bar is key, but other qualifications also hold weight such as industry affiliations, board memberships, and practice history. Be sure to have past case information and references/testimonials on hand to show potential clients. If you’re familiar with certain judges, or have tried multiple cases before a particular court, this is important to disclose, too.

3. Affordability

Good legal representation isn’t cheap, and clients know this. However, this won’t stop most people from looking for the most qualified attorney at the best price. Make sure you’re offering clients the best value for their buck, and you aren’t price gouging, or trying to demand unnecessarily high fees.

4. Good Communication

The relationship between a lawyer and a client is a professional one, but also a personal one. Legal matters are highly personal, and clients want an attorney who understands their situation and can effectively communicate with them.
Don’t talk down to clients by using too much legalese, or undermining their emotional involvement with their case. Good chemistry, good rapport, and respect are critical.

5. Ethics

Attorneys are not always perceived as being the most ethical of professionals, which makes this quality one of the most sought after by clients. Stay ethical in all of your transactions. Never guarantee an outcome to a case, or give false promises to clients to appease them. Be effective in your representation, not dishonest. Clients need to know that you’re a skilled professional who runs their practice with integrity.

Marketing That Works, with Examples

Here are five easy-to-implement marketing techniques that will increase your call volume. Most are free if you do them yourself. We have provided examples that you are welcome to copy.

Few law firms have adopted all five techniques, even though each approach has a high return on the time or money invested in implementation.

  1. Written Review Requests

Reviews are important for two reasons: (a) prospective clients rely heavily on them when deciding who to call, and (b) Google’s algorithm uses reviews to help determine who will appear in its local 3-pack, which for most lawyers delivers more website traffic than organic rankings.

You will obtain additional reviews if you send 2-3 emails to all your satisfied clients. The language can be short and simple:

We hope you were satisfied with the work we did on your behalf.  If so, you can help bring our services to the attention of others in need by writing a short review. 

You can place your comments on any review site you currently use (e.g., Google+, Yelp, Avvo, Lawyers.com, Nolo, or other site). Or you can simply write a few sentences and send it as a reply and we will post your comments on our website. Thank you!

Be sure and follow-up a few weeks later with a reminder email:

Thank you again for retaining us to provide you legal services. If you think we did a good job for you, we hope you have had the opportunity to write a review of those services on Google+, Yelp, Avvo, Lawyers.com, Nolo, or other site. If so, thank you very much.

If not, could you take a few moments to do so now? It would be a big help to us.  Thank you.

We put Google+ at the beginning of our list of suggested review sites because that is the site Google pulls from (of course!) for its star rankings and review quotes in its local 3-pack. 

  1. Citation Creation

Citations are simply profiles of your firm placed in online directories. They are as critical to your online success as they are simple, for they are used by Google along with the reviews discussed above to determine which lawyers to feature in Google’s 3-pack.

Every abbreviation, initial, dot, and letter in every citation must be identical, so take care when creating the model profile to be copied by your staff.

In the description, place the keywords you most want to rank for. Don’t be too ambitious with your keyword selection if you work in a highly-competitive locale; pick a phrase you have a chance of ranking for. And don’t try stuff a lot of extra keywords in your description.

We recommend you begin building profiles in the following directories:

  1. Written Backlink Requests

Backlinks, or inbound links to your website, are the number one factor influencing Google’s ranking of your website.  In a study of the rankings of one million websites, web pages ranking #1 had 168% more linking domains than web pages ranking #5.  That study’s author puts it succinctly:

“If you don’t have backlinks, you’re not going to rank.”

How do you get more backlinks without paying four figures a month to an SEO firm that owns hundreds of websites from which it can link?

Ask for them.  We recommend sending these emails to:

Websites which have mentioned you or your site without linking to your site
Thank you for mentioning in your recent article. That means a lot to me. 
I noticed that your mention of us did not link to our website. Could I trouble you to update your post with a link? Here is the link to my home page: www.smithandjones.com. 
I really appreciate your help.

Websites whose owners you know or who have other reason to consider your request
I use your website to and find its guidance valuable. I notice you link out to a few businesses, and am wondering if I could talk you into linking out to my law firm at www.smithandjones.com

We assist people who have reason to visit your site, and your link to us might prove helpful to some of them.

Thank you for your consideration.

Buzzstream, which costs $24/month, can help you manage the outreach by tracking which websites have responded with a link.

Download our free guide and learn about the importance of key performance indicators (KPIs)

  1. Multi-use FAQs

If you only have time to write one original piece of content, make it a comprehensive set of Frequently-Asked Questions. You can then use them multiple ways:

  • Offer them as a lead magnet using inexpensive Facebook ads.
  • Email a list of the questions without answers to your prospects, providing a link to the answers.
  • Break them apart to build a digital HelpDesk that your staff can use to answer questions … and encourage clients to use the HelpDesk before calling your staff.
  • If you have time to write a lengthy and comprehensive collection of FAQs, print a designed version as your book. Hand it out at talks, display it in your lobby, and feature it on your website.
  • As explained below, offer to provide the FAQs in referral request letters and emails.

We have created lengthy FAQs for most consumer-oriented specialties. As an example of the type of collection you could produce for yourself, the list of questions we answered for bankruptcy prospects is provided below.

  1. Written Referral Requests

Too many lawyers are reticent about asking past clients for referrals. As a result, they are missing some of the easiest prospects to sign. If you only implement one of our five suggestions, make it this one.

Every 3-6 months send an email or postal letter to your past clients that offers to provide your latest educational material, including the FAQs from #4 above, to anyone they know who might be in need of your services. Here is one possible approach:

We appreciate the opportunity you gave us to serve you, and thank you for placing your confidence in us. 

If you know someone in a similar situation, they probably have many preliminary questions and would benefit from reading our detailed FAQs.

Perhaps you could forward this link to that individual.  Thank you for helping us help others.

We know that many lawyers don’t have time to handle their marketing themselves. If that describes you, we can help boost your marketing results.

3 Simple Steps to Rekindle the Romance With Your Clients

Expressing your appreciation and affection to those you love in your personal life is a necessity to keeping love alive. The same theory holds true in client-attorney relationships.
Attorneys aren’t always regarded as the most personable or caring of professionals. You can prove this stigma wrong with these 3 simple steps—and improve your relationships with clients quickly and effectively.

1. Be Open To Being Open

Clients facing legal issues need their legal counsel to connect with them on a personal level. Legal issues—especially emotionally-charged issues such as personal injury, criminal defense, or family law matters—are hard to deal with, and the last thing a client needs is for their lawyer to be disengaged or stand-offish.
Be responsive, listen, and find ways to accommodate your clients’ requests. Talk to them about their case on a regular basis, check in with them to confirm that their goals haven’t changed, and then proceed with their concerns accordingly. This will build trust and client loyalty.

2. Never Play Hard To Get

Keeping an air of mystery is a great way to keep romantic relationships exciting, but for business relationships, it’s a surefire way to lose clients.
Clients need to know that they can rely on you to keep their best interests ahead of your own. Make sure you establish that their needs are your priority, and that they’re not just a billable account. Be attentive, and don’t keep anything about their case vague or mysterious.

3. Little Things Do Count

You should always be on the lookout to provide added value to your clients. The best part about this is that there are many ways to show you care that are significant in meaning, but with little to no cost to your firm.
Some gestures of endearment include:

  • Provide content that specifically relates to them, or their business. This shows that you not only understand what’s relevant to them, but that you took the time to do something for their benefit.
  • Introduce clients to others who may benefit from their line of work, or whose services may be useful. This is great for establishing networks on all fronts.
  • Be open and flexible when it comes to fee arrangements. This doesn’t mean giving your clients a discount; it just provides a way to make it easier to pay their fee(s).

Using Google Analytics To Your Advantage

If you have a legal website, you may already know a thing or two about the valuable resources inherent in the Google Analytics platform. The detailed website performance tracker is must-have tool for any lawyers who employ a focused legal marketing effort.

But if you log into your Analytics account just to look at traffic numbers alone, you’re missing out on a lot of useful data. Google Analytics has quite a story to tell and it’s important that you understand how to take full advantage of the tool. Here are a few tips on how to use traffic reports to make the most out of your legal website.

Traffic Numbers

We all know that high traffic generally means good things for website performance. But your overall traffic numbers are only part of the story. What really matters is what percentage of that traffic is converting to clients. Are your visitors visiting your website and then quickly exiting (bounce rate)? Are visitors engaged with your site and spending a lot of time there, or do they seem disinterested in your content?

These factors are more important than traffic numbers because they indicate conversion rate and drive your ROI. Such statistics can be discovered in Visitors Flow section of Analytics, as detailed below.

Conversions

Traffic numbers are a lot more meaningful when you’re also tracking conversions or contacts. If you’ve had 50 website visitors and 5 contact form submissions, that would be considered better performance than a website with 100 visitors and only 1 contact form submission. To improve these numbers, you’ll want to look into some strategies to boost your conversion rate, such as calls-to-action, clearer contact numbers or more compelling content and design.

Mobile Traffic

Check out the mobile data in the Audience section of your Analytics report. Are most of your visitors using mobile devices? If so, you’d better make sure that site is mobile-friendly. When a law firm website is difficult to navigate or looks funky on a smartphone or tablet, visitors are likely to navigate to a different lawyer’s website.

Visitors Flow

This is one of the most useful sections of Analytics because it describes the user experience of your visitors, telling the story of the navigational pathways they took. Did they come to the homepage and drop off right away? Do certain pages seem to keep people more engaged than others? If certain areas of your site seem to drive visitors away, it might be time to add some more engaging content or media.

The 80/20 Rule of Social Media

Although there’s no magic formula to increase your followers on social media—and subsequently increase conversions—there are general guidelines that can boost your social presence, and build community around your brand. One of the most important of these guidelines is known as the 80/20 social marketing rule.

The basic concept of the 80/20 rule is that 80% of the content you post to your social networks should be original, valuable, and engaging content that is not self-promoting. The other 20% should promote your law firm and legal services with strong calls-to-action.

Why is the 80/20 Marketing Ratio Important to Law Firms?

By maximizing audience engagement and minimizing self-promotion, you’ll build a stronger, more likable brand on social media, and stand out from your competition who may be engaging in more self-promotion.

Remember, people are on social media to be social. While potential clients may be looking for legal services on social networks, they don’t want to be subjected to a constant sales pitch. This can kill an attorney-client relationship before it even starts.

A firm that focuses solely on itself will be ignored by clients. Give your social media audience what they’re there for: genuine conversation and connection that is not salesy or spammy.

80/20 Social Media Attorney Marketing Tips

Now that you know the ratio to follow, here are three tips to maximize this marketing strategy in all the right ways—for both your firm and your audience.

1. Post a Buffet of Content in Your 80%

Content on social media should not focus solely on the written word. In this day of infographics and image-centric marketing (think Pinterest and Instagram), your content should include photos, videos, graphs, interactive surveys, etc., that link to forums and more on your website and blog. Remember, some of these can be law-related, but they shouldn’t all be.

2. Include Persuasive Calls-to-Action in Your 20%

Make sure you include persuasive calls-to-action that encourage your audience to want to learn more about your firm. If you post a video tutorial on DUI checkpoint tips, explain why your firm is highly effective in handling DUI cases, and discuss successful case examples, if possible (omitting client information, of course).

3. Make Sure Your Content is Sharable 100%

Whether you’re posting personal content in your 80% or promoting your firm in your 20%, make sure that all of your content is something viewers will want to share. Always think of your audience first, and upload content that they’re interested in—you can even go so far as to ask “What kind of content would you like to see from us?” in your posts and tweets.

For more social marketing tips and tricks, contact us! Our legal marketing specialists are here to help.

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