Overcomplicated Law Fim Marketing—Here’s How to Simplify For Success
One of the most common reasons that law firms struggle to make an impact with attorney marketing is a disjointed, overcomplicated strategy. They create a massive content marketing plan that is destined to fail, goals and marketing metrics are hazy at best, email marketing is sporadic, and so much time is spent on maintaining 6 social media pages that other projects don’t get done.
What if there was a better way? Below, we’re sharing tips on how to cut through the clutter and simplify for success, so your legal practice can pursue attorney marketing strategies that result in measurable ROI.
Change Your Law Firm Marketing Mentality
Unlike what some marketers say, law firms don’t need to do everything and be everywhere. It is much more effective to concentrate on fewer marketing activities and do them well, than to dilute effort trying to dabble in all forms of email marketing, content marketing, social media marketing, in-person promotion… you get the picture.
Change your law firm marketing mentality and be okay with not doing it all, especially if you’re faced with limited time and resources like most small- and medium-sized law firms.
Focus on the Most Effective Attorney Marketing Activities
What drives more leads to your law firm and what turns those leads into clients? At James Attorney Marketing & Attorney Marketing, we have found that success often boils down to five simple attorney marketing strategies:
- Building a positive online reputation to generate leads
Most of your prospective clients will read online reviews before making the decision to reach out or not. The Pew Research Center determined that 40% of American adults “always or almost always” check online reviews before deciding to buy/consult, and another 42% “sometimes” read reviews.
This means that a whopping 82% of your prospective clients are heading online to investigate your law firm, making this one of the most important areas to focus your attention.
- Following up with leads quickly and regularly
According to Forbes, 71% of internet leads never receive a follow-up. And when law firms do follow up, oftentimes they are too late to leave a good impression and convert the lead into a client.
Here is the hard truth: failing to contact incoming leads or contacting them far too late is like throwing away money. Always, always, always follow up with leads if you want more business. You’re guaranteed to convert a percentage of those leads into clients—all you need to do is follow up via phone and/or email.
- Sending fantastic, relevant content to build relationships
You want to showcase your expertise right off the bat to impress prospects and convince them that your law firm is capable and professional. Offer an impressive lead magnet (a piece of content offered in exchange for a prospect’s email address) in the form of a branded 100-page e-book, for instance. Afterwards, follow up with a drip email campaign (an automated series of emails) that provides even more relevant information.
Note: It is worth mentioning that even the best lead magnets may not convert prospects into leads if your attorney website isn’t user-friendly and well-designed; website visitors will leave the site before ever providing their email address. If your law firm’s website loads slowly or isn’t optimized to get visitors to stay longer, first consider an affordable website overhaul before focusing on creating great lead magnets.
- Tracking interactions to determine when leads are ready to convert
Some leads are ready to convert immediately; others take a little longer to weigh their options. For the latter category, tracking your relationship along the way helps to judge how serious these prospects are about becoming clients and if/when they are ready to convert.
- Monitoring results to calculate ROI and identify areas for improvement
Follow exactly where your marketing dollars are going and calculate your ROI. Are you spending money effectively? Are costs within budget? Where can you improve? Keeping an eye on this data prevents wasted spend and ensures that you stay on track toward your marketing goals.
Use Technology to Save Time and Minimize Hands-On Effort
Once you have simplified your marketing efforts to focus on the 5 elements above, use technology to streamline processes. For instance, the James Legal CRM is designed to help law firms with:
- Sending out specialty-specific, branded content such as a 100-page book, 4-color booklets, FAQ documents, and educational letters
- Automating prospect follow-up to increase conversion rates
- Implementing drip email campaigns so that leads automatically receive relevant content
- Automatically generating positive online reviews and parking negative, unfair ones
- Monitoring marketing efforts and identifying problem areas, such as when incoming phone calls are left unanswered
More leads, a better online reputation, and more effective marketing—all without wasting time and resources on managing things manually. This simplified approach has helped criminal defense attorney Howard Snader generate more than 200 incoming calls from prospective clients per month, and increase revenues by 22%.
Wondering whether simplifying your attorney marketing methods could work for your law firm as well? Learn more about the James Legal CRM and how it has helped personal injury attorney Loren Etengoff double his caseload.
Continued experimentation with your law practice marketing
1. Pay-Per-Click Ads.
If you haven’t done so already, you will want to test both Google and Facebook ads. Run two different ads simultaneously, and keep trying to beat the best-performing ad. You will find that small wording differences can make a big difference. Using a landing page containing a case submission form, 800 number, and minimal text will bring better results than linking the ads to your law firm’s website.
2. Referral Reminders.
You should be continually gathering names and contact information of potential referral sources. Current clients, past clients, office neighbors, vendors … anyone who knows you is a candidate. Stay in regular contact with this group. You can send them letters, legal alerts, newsletters, post cards, etc. What is most important is staying top of mind. When a referral opportunity arises, you want to be the lawyer who is suggested.
3. Google Local.
Google devotes a meaningful amount of page space to their local listings. If your region does not have strong web competition, you may be able to obtain good Google Local position simply by taking a few minutes to register your firm. However, if your specialty and city are competitive, more will be required. Optimizing for Google Local is different than optimizing for Google organic. For Local, you want to be consistently listed in a lot of directories. For organic, you want keyworded content and inbound links.
4. Live Chat.
Many marketers have found that add a live chat box to their websites increases the number of leads they receive and convert. Your staff can handle the inquiries, or professional responders can do the screening 24/7.
If you don’t have the time or expertise to run a few new law practice marketing experiments, we can help.
Two Big Changes Affecting Your Marketing
Two major shifts are affecting lawyers’ marketing results. Embracing these trends will improve your results while ignoring them will cost you clients.
Trend one: mobile search
Mobile use is expected to surpass desktop use in 2014, as mobile sales increase while PC sales fall. And mobile searches are action-oriented. 60% of shoppers with smartphones search for a product or service on their mobile device before buying. 90% of these searches resulted in an action such as visiting a business or purchasing a product.
With your mobile site…
Remember that mobile users are on the go and do not have the same goals as those sitting behind a desktop computer. Thus:
- Users should be able to read the page without having to zoom in or scroll up or down.
- The location of your call to action is critical to obtaining a good conversion rate.
- The content must be simple, quick to load, and easily navigated.
Trend two: social referrals
The common and long-standing practice of asking friends, family, and colleagues for referrals is rapidly migrating to social networks. As is the case with so many tasks, obtaining referrals online is faster, easier, and more comprehensive.
With your social media profiles…
- Make sure your social profiles are complete.
- Regularly post updates.
- Engage with your most active supporters.
- Track your results in Google Analytics.
The Top 5 Tips To a Successful First Client Meeting
Meeting with a prospective client for the first time is not unlike a blind date. You know a little about each other, it seems that you two would be a good match, and now you’re going to meet face-to-face to determine if there’s indeed chemistry between you two—albeit on a professional level.
But unlike a blind date, you need to bring more to the table during this first meet and greet. A prospective client is coming to you for help, and is trying to determine if you can handle their legal needs. You must convey that you’re the best suitor for the job, and as far as business relationships go, your firm is in it for the long haul.
Here are the top 5 tips to make sure your first meeting with a prospective client is a successful one.
1. Prepare and Research
From the moment a prospective client sets up a consultation, your preparation for this first meeting should begin. Based on the information the client has given you for needing legal help, you need to be in research mode.
Gather relevant information pertaining to the specifics of the client’s case, and be prepared to discuss the client’s legal options for their particular circumstances—DUI dismissal charges based on improperly-conducted field sobriety tests, bankruptcy protection for rental properties, etc. Such research will show your firm is knowledgeable, detailed, and attentive.
2. Look and Act Professional
Having a professional appearance and demeanor conveys to a client that you can present yourself discerningly in a court of law, and be persuasive in your actions. Always speak clearly, ask intelligent questions and give intelligent answers, and make eye contact. This shows professionalism, as well as trustworthiness.
TIP: Speak intelligently, but simply. Too much legalese will not impress prospective clients, but likely confuse them.
3. Meet Outside Of Your Office
Your office, although your space, is a backdrop for potential distractions—emails popping up on your screen, staff members knocking on your door who aren’t aware you’re in a meeting, etc. A potential client needs to feel they are your top priority, and that they have your undivided attention. A closed conference room away from your office is a more professional and courteous location.
4. Start the Meeting On Time
First impressions count, especially time-related ones. Make sure you start your first meeting on time. Having a client wait for you in the lobby shows that you may be A) Stretched for time and won’t be able to handle their case with urgency, B) Have other engagements that you care more about, or C) Both.
5. Close the Meeting Open-Ended
As the meeting is closing, and if a business relationship has been established, assure the client that you’ll be contacting them with case developments asap, and give a specific date and time for this. If a business relationship has not yet been established, inform the client you’ll be following up with them shortly, and to please contact you if they have any questions or concerns.
The 3 Questions You Should Be Asking Clients to Improve Your Law Firm Marketing
Compared to print advertising, social media campaigns, and email marketing, client surveys may not seem like a relevant and necessary element of your law firm’s marketing strategy. However, it would be a mistake to undervalue or disregard surveys; when administered and analyzed correctly, they can provide insightful data regarding your firm’s marketing efforts.
For instance, they can tell you how to best reach prospects and which parts of your website are working… and which aren’t. That’s just the tip of the iceberg! Use the following information to learn what kinds of survey questions you should be asking your clients, and how to best utilize collected data to steer and improve your law firm’s marketing plans.
How did you locate my/our law firm?
You should generally pose this question to clients when the relationship is still new, preferably during the first conversation. With so many avenues of information available to prospects including various social media platforms (Yelp!, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, etc.), it can be difficult to determine which sources are effectively pushing candidates to the phone or through the door for consultations that could eventually transform into real business for your firm.
Nail down how clients are finding your firm’s name and unlock a gold mine of information about where to focus your law firm’s marketing efforts.
Which medium do you use most often to view websites/blogs and read emails?
Do most of your clients use desktops and laptops for most of their online needs or are they trending toward smartphones and tablets? Analyze data trends after surveying your clients, and then implement solutions geared toward their preferences.
For example, if most of your clients claim that they use smartphones to browse the Internet and peruse email, be sure to gear marketing materials to smartphone users as well as traditional desktop/laptop users. Your law firm’s website should already be optimized for mobile, but you may need to adjust the layout and content of your email campaigns and e-newsletters to appeal to smartphone and tablet users as well. For instance, consider implementing these elements on your law firm’s marketing pieces:
- Larger font
- Shorter articles and more concise content
- Images that are appealing and viewable on smaller screens.
Which topics would you like to receive more information about?
Provide a list of potential topics to clients when posing this question, and let them check the ones they are most interested in. After you’ve gathered enough data, you may notice trends among your client base. Are most of your DUI firm’s clients interested in information about the flaws of field sobriety tests and how BAC is calculated? Feature information on these subjects on your blog and/or email newsletters in order to appeal to your audience and boost readership.
Contact us to learn more strategies for improving your law firm’s marketing efforts!
Why You Should Invest in Making Your Law Firm’s Online Marketing Multilingual
With approximately 841 million speakers worldwide, English is one of the most widely spoken languages across the globe. Even more common is Mandarin, which boasts more than one billion speakers globally, according to SIL International’s Ethnologue: Languages of the World.Additionally, nearly 500 million people speak Spanish and 380 million know Hindi—a combined population that rivals the global English-speaking populace.
If you’re only producing content in English, you’re failing to connect online with these massive populations (and more!) that could constitute a large portion of your potential client base. Use the information below to craft multilingual content for your law firm’s online marketing, and expand your business horizons.
1. Find your untapped audience.
Analyze demographics within your city by using population and demographic data from the United States Census Bureau and similar resources. For instance, San Diego County, California has a large Hispanic and Latino population—roughly 33%—so a personal injury attorney may want to alter his/her law firm’s online marketing toward Spanish speakers.
Also, take stock of your current and past clients. Do you often find them asking for documents translated into Korean or Arabic? Does your staff often need to conduct client conversations in languages other than English? These are indicators that it’s time to focus on multilingual content, and which language(s) you should hone in on.
2. Decide what to translate and/or create.
Translating content from English into another language, and creating new content in a different language, are two different things. When deciding which strategy is best for you, ponder this:
- Do you already have a library of engaging content to translate or are you starting fresh?
- Do you have the existing resources or access to resources that will help you craft material directly in another language, e.g., does an attorney at your firm have the ability to write new content in a foreign language both fluently and professionally? Or, is translation the cheaper and easier option in your particular situation?
For example, if your law firm’s online marketing (e.g., online blog) receives a high level of engagement, consider translating the top blog articles from English and transforming your current blog page into a multilingual one.
3. Find a native speaker or professional translator.
Don’t give in to the temptation of using a free online translation service. Sure, it’s inexpensive, but the quality of your blog and marketing materials will suffer. When translating or creating new “foreign language” content from scratch, be sure to consult a native speaker or someone proficient in professionally writing in that language. Take advantage of your office team’s language skills if possible, or outsource the work to a reliable translation service.
4. Implement a multilingual SEO strategy.
Those whose primary language is Spanish, for instance, may surf the web in Spanish. Invest time into sharing your multilingual content on social media and even guest posting on blogs that cater to Spanish speakers. This will help to build a multilingual SEO strategy that drives traffic to your law firm’s online marketing content.
Learn more about our content development services that boost traffic to your site!
5 Reasons Why Your Attorney Website Should Accommodate Spanish-Speaking Clientele
In today’s online marketplace, the Hispanic population carries significant buying power that law firms can’t afford to ignore: in January 2013, there were over 33 million Hispanics online, or a full 15% of the market.
However, successfully reaching Hispanic audiences requires law firms to move away from one-direction marketing, and employ a new way of communication.
Law firms that want to capture Hispanic business will need to incorporate areas on their website to target Spanish-speaking users.
While this may seem like a complicated task, especially if you don’t speak Spanish, here are 5 reasons why adding Spanish-language content to your website is worth the effort.
1. Less Competition
There are few law firms today strategically targeting both English and Spanish-speaking clients on their websites. Less competition means that you may be the only law firm in your sector that’s making itself available to a niche market. This also means less competition for keywords, so your pages will climb more quickly on the SERP’s.
2. Link Building
Link building may be a bit tricky, as you’ll need to identify quality Spanish-language websites hosted in the U.S., and pitch effectively to them to secure links. But, this can pay off in the long run, as you’ll drive more Spanish-speaking users back to your website, and you’ll need less links to see results, due to the lack of competition.
3. Location-Based Marketing
Using Google+ Local to target Spanish-speaking clients, and then directing them to your Google+ profile and website that provides Spanish-language content, is a powerful marketing strategy for your law firm.
Most people conduct location-based searches when seeking an attorney (e.g., “San Diego personal injury lawyer” or “San Diego abogado de accidentes”). Establishing an online presence in areas where there’s a large Hispanic population will expose you to a pool of otherwise untapped clients.
4. Quality Content Can Corner the Market
Due to few law firms providing quality content for Spanish-speaking users, hosting a website that provides useful, informative, and valuable content can put you miles ahead of your competition—especially in highly-populated Hispanic regions such as California, Texas, Arizona, and Florida.
Tip: The Spanish language is highly localized. Similar to the American distinction between “pop” and “soda” in the Northeast and Midwest, different countries of Central and South America have different words for the same thing. Depending on your location, make sure that the Spanish content you’re providing is proper for that area.
5. Hispanic SEO For Social Media
Incorporating Spanish-language content on your website will boost your SEO tremendously, but doing the same on your social media pages can be marketing gold. Be sure to tweet and post Spanish-language content on your social networks, and include links back to your Spanish web pages. Increased traffic, and conversion rates, are almost guaranteed to follow.
Even if you don’t personally speak Spanish (or fluently), finding a colleague in your local legal community who can shouldn’t be hard to find. Plus, stretching your services to include more diverse partners and associates is always good for business.
Mastery in a Niche For Attorneys – Why It Is Important To Niche Down In Todays Market
“Niching down” is not a new concept. Nonetheless, it has become increasingly important to consumers in recent years. For law firms reaching out to clients, it remains an essential factor in their decision-making process.
Potential clients are not merely considering niche regarding practice area, but also concerning how lawyers manage cases. For instance, let’s say a personal injury attorney practices in an at-fault auto accident insurance state like California. Some drivers may be gung-ho about the litigation process. Other drivers may prefer to put the situation behind them.
Neither driver is likely very interested in settling the dispute for less money than the case is worth. However, there can be peace of mind by pursuing either avenue. So even if your law firm is proficient at getting fair settlements from insurance companies, you may be interested in playing up how skilled you are at litigating and trying cases before a jury.
Because legal clients prefer specialists, They like the comfort of knowing that their lawyer is great at something.
Furthermore, this can be a massive benefit to smaller firms that are still making a name for themselves and trying to separate their practice from well-known colleagues. If your law firm is competing against very well marketed and established firms, then separating yourself from the competition gives you a foothold in the field. It’s something you can stake your reputation on. It’s a way to get your foot in the door.
A firm that markets itself as a Jack of All Trades will not do well convincing prospective clients that they are the best law firm to handle their case.
When you look at it from the client’s perspective, it makes complete sense. They only have one chance to litigate this case. They want the best firm to manage it.
A Brief Primer on Niching Down
We’ve established the ‘why’ of niching down. But what about the ‘how’?
Consider the fact that, much like medicine, the law is a highly specialized and esoteric industry. It’s not always apparent to a layperson who the best practitioner will be in their case. But how do specialists in the medical get patients? They get them through referrals.
Niching down means standing out not only to your clients but from your network of contacts and colleagues. For instance, a personal injury attorney who is adept at managing traffic accident cases may call in a specialist when the reason a traffic accident occurred was due to a defective tire. That attorney may have an expertise in litigating cases where defects in manufacturing techniques cause tires to blow out unsuspectingly or given certain conditions. In other words, their experts at litigating tire liability lawsuits.
It doesn’t matter if this individual handles other kinds of product liability or personal injury lawsuits. They are experts in the field of tire liability. For those who need to litigate a tire liability lawsuit, this guy is your man. People know that. They recommend him for such cases.
Figure out Your Niche
For some, figuring out their niche will be very easy. For others, it comes with great difficulty. Some fall into a niche through circumstance. None of this is necessarily good or bad. The best questions are:
- Which cases do you enjoy working on?
- What is the market like for those cases?
- What does the competition look like?
Choosing a specialty does not necessarily mean refusing cases that don’t fall into that specialty. It means finding one particular way for you to stand out above your peers.
Commit to Your Niche
Greatness comes from commitment. There can be no greatness without it. Nonetheless, people don’t always commit to the right things, and that leads them down a path they may later abandon. That’s not the worst consequence in the world. A worse outcome is going through life without committing to anything.
Once you’ve set the parameters and found a focus for your law firm, it’s time to exude that expertise in everything you do.
In other words, when you’re setting up your website, you want to make your niche the primary focus. You want to establish yourself as a leader in your field, theorize about essential cases, talk about the legal implications of important decisions.
It doesn’t matter that you’re taking cases that are outside of your niche. That’s okay. It’s the fact that you are establishing yourself as an authority in something and committing to that thing, that’s important.
It will take a while to build your brand as a legal professional. Patience is vital to the process.
Niching down is an effective way to build your brand. People are naturally drawn to experts. Even when your niche falls to the periphery of their case, they will appreciate the fact that you are an expert at something and a leader in your field of practice.
To make this work, however, you must understand how to correctly position yourself in an already existing market. Niching down into a saturated niche is not an effective strategy for a new firm.
Now, more than ever, law firms are being forced to think like businesses.
Effectively Targeting Practice Niches
It’s common to specialize in more than one field of law. Problem is, having multiple specialties can have an SEO knock-on effect.
Just like mixed messages in a romantic relationship, not having a clear, focused goal will lower your search engine rankings because Google doesn’t know what to rank you for. It figures you’re nonspecific and wooly and ditches you in favor of highly specialized websites.
Certainly, you can have a webpage dedicated to each specialty. But that comes with content performance risks.
You can’t expect to fit everything onto one website and not either:
- Cover topics cursorily and not deliver enough quality and depth
- List every microscopic detail and end up with a monster of a website that lags and is unnavigable
This doesn’t mean having your finger in more than one law-flavored pot is bad – just the opposite. But managing multiple specialties requires a little extra digital thinking.
You have two options – a microsite or a subdomain/subdirectory.
In a nutshell, having a separate, auxiliary supplement to your main website can be a very effective method of connecting with niche clients.
By nature, microsites and subdomains are specialized, so you can target your customers with content that’s strictly relevant to them. This means:
- Customers won’t need to sift through unrelated material
- You’re positioned as an expert, giving you Google brownie points because it recognizes the content as niche, focused and quality
- You’re more likely to rank well for specific long-tail keywords
- You could use the content to target locational demographics, career demographics and whatever else you need with Google Webmasters
There’s also the option to make visual changes. If one of your specialties concerns older CEOs and the other helps young families, it might be best to go with different graphics, colors and tone to appeal to each audience.
If you go a step further and supplement each site with a blog, your content will also be much more shareable because it will appeal to those carefully cultivated target audiences.
For instance, that business veteran CEO isn’t going to care about getting his first mortgage, but that young family probably will.
A microsite is a domain separate from your main website.
Let’s say you run Smith & Smith at www.smithandsmith.com, for example. Your microsite wouldn’t share the domain. You could use a concurrent one like www.smithandsmithbusinesslaw.com or break right and try www.businesslaw.com. It’s not connected to your main website so you’ve got naming freedom.
For example, this Nursing Home Law Center is a microsite.
It’s root domain is found through the “About the Firm” tab in the top right. It directs to Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, a broader website.
While there are color themes here, such as blue navigation bars and orange call-outs, the visuals are very different and designed to entice different audiences. The tone of the nursing home microsite is gentler with no exclamation marks or immediate phone numbers, while the home site has more urgency. This kind of subtle content differentiation can make a difference in securing niche customers.
That said, there are drawbacks.
Ranking for niche keywords is great, but it means starting from scratch. You have no pre-existing authority to rely on. If you were a law veteran, it would be mad to try and start at the bottom of the SEO pile when you already have great rank.
Don’t entrap yourself by linking up like a spider on caffeine between your microsites. That might seem like a good idea, but Google Panda won’t appreciate it. It’ll smack you with penalties that’ll take time to fix.
It can also be expensive. Hosting two websites with two dream domains and managing all the marketing, content and upkeep takes time and dollars. If your marketing budget won’t stretch to multiple websites, you might want to consider simply expanding your home website as described next.
Subdomains and Subdirectories
Managing subdomains and subdirectories can be a little easier on time and your firm’s wallet than a whole new microsite. Think of them as extra pockets in a bag rather than a separate purse.
The domain is the king of the castle – the top-level of the domain. Remember you’re www.smithandsmith.com. That’s the domain.
A subdomain acts as a prefix to the main domain, so business-law.smithandmsith.com.
A subdirectory is a folder of the domain, which is more commonly seen. It acts as a suffix to the URL after a forward-slash, so www.smithandsmith.com/business-law.
Catalyst summarizes the set-up clearly in this graphic.
For example, this is the main website of a firm focused on personal injury.
They have subdomains directed at different locations. This is their New Mexico subdomain.
Their main website URL is http://www.2keller.com and the subdomain is http://newmexico.2keller.com.
It’s a quicker fix for great SEO because you’ve already got keyword stronghold with your main website. Google, for example, has a veritable plethora of subdomains because it essentially owns the Internet. There would be no point in starting from scratch with Webmaster, Blogger, Adwords and so on.
It’s not just a matter of SEO. People like to work with brands they know and trust, so if you’re well-established with a loyal customer base, using subdomains cuts out the relationship-building stage of marketing. You don’t have to spend as much time and money on lead nurturing.
You’ll also enjoy consistent visuals and user experience. If blue and white are your branding thing, then you can thread that seamlessly across all your subdomains.
As with microsites, subdomains aren’t blanket solutions.
You’ll have to deal with longer URLs which can get pretty complex. If you were confronted with a URL along the lines of www.smithandsmith.com/bill-of-particulars-and-certificate-of-readiness-and-court-of-limited-juridiction (for an exaggerated example) you might think twice about clicking.
If you have two vastly different specialties, you might want to completely differentiate the two to eliminate confusion.
So which is best?
It depends on your situation.
If you’re new blood and tech-savvy, build a microsite. Spend time strengthening its rank and then use tactical links to boost each website’s rank and visibility.
If you’re the law firm that’s been around since the dawn of time, use subdirectories and piggyback off your own pre-established authority. Just be sure to inject lots of quality content. A thin veneer of keywords won’t serve you half as well as more detailed content.
If you’re not exactly old or young and really need to differentiate your specialties without severing ties completely with your home base, stick to subdomains. They’re a little more detached than a subdirectory but not as standalone as a microsite. A kind of technical halfway house.
Will Your Ideal Client Swipe Right or Left When They Find You Online? Courting Your Niche
If you were looking for an attorney online, would you hire your firm? What makes your firm look compelling to prospects who have no idea who you are, how long you have been practicing, how great you are, and of course, your wonderful personality. If you’ve experienced online dating in the last five years, you probably have an idea of what it takes to attract your ideal partner, or you’re still single. Courting your niche and marketing your firm is precisely like online dating, except you are trying to attract thousands of partners. Technology and the way we communicate continues to change, but most firms continue to do the same things over and over, hoping to attract a new type of client.
Marketing is part art and part science. The science end comes from understanding your audience and your ideal client. It means understanding what they’re going through and the psychology of the stress they must be under. Few lawsuits do not involve some form of distress.
Consider bankruptcy for instance. Those who are filing for bankruptcy feel overwhelmed by a mountain of debt. They see no way out of the cycle of debt with interest building, creditors harassing, and expenses that never seem to diminish. It’s an incredibly stressful, painful, hopeless situation to be in.
On the other hand, our brains are hardwired to find hope. Even in situations where we manufacture it ourselves, hope is still there. As a bankruptcy attorney, you are offering your clients hope. It’s a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s a fresh start. It comes with consequences, but those consequences are better than creditors wiping out a bank account or putting liens on their property. It’s better than having their wages garnished. Credit can be rebuilt.
That insight, of course, only requires basic observation and empathy. Today, there is so much data floating around the internet that we can access. Lawyers who trust their instincts are, of course, correct to do so. They should not, however, do so at the expense of dismissing what analytics can tell us.
If you are interested in learning more about attracting the right type of client for your firm, set an appointment with Travis now.
You may have heard of Millenials. You might even be one. Many have claimed that they are responsible for killing this or that industry, retail especially. That insight is relevant here.
What’s true is that different generations have different perspectives on complex issues. This information is also useful.
For instance, Millennials may be more comfortable texting than talking on the phone. To not consider Millennials regarding emerging trends is a fatal error for your law firm. Understanding their expectations and relating to them regarding their concerns will help you convert those who are considering your firm to represent them.
So what can we glean from Big Data?
Let’s find out.
Offer Prospective Clients a Variety of Ways to Get in Touch with You
Older generations may want to “look you in the eyes,” but Millennials have grown up with technologies that allow them to connect with people in a myriad of different ways. That includes, but isn’t limited to, looking you in the eyes.
This study reported that 19% of Millennials (who have never had a legal issue) would prefer text or email than face-to-face or phone chats with their attorneys. The same study reported that only 14% of other generational clients preferred text communication.
In either case, you would figure that around 1 of every six clients you have would prefer a text-based method for primary communication.
Regarding the design of calls-to-action, you might consider including both your phone number and a contact form that is accessible from your website.
Online Payment Options
Modern clients prefer that there are multiple ways for them to pay their attorneys. Offering an online payment option is an excellent way to cater to Millennials who prefer the convenience of such methods.
Nowadays, more and more individuals are being paid through services like Paypal. Paypal even offers linked debit cards that individuals paid over Paypal can use to purchase items.
For lawyers, payment solutions like LawPay offer an easy way for their clients to make convenient online payments.
The Question of Free Consultations
Most firms have a love-hate relationship with free consultations. Understandably, your time is valuable, and you don’t want to waste it on someone who likely does not need your services. Let’s put it this way though; if you’re in a position to be turning away clients, you probably don’t need to be thinking much about marketing your firm.
On the other hand, 64% of Americans have stated that free consultations were a deciding factor when choosing their attorney. In other words, firms that don’t offer free consultations are often undercut by those that do. It’s that simple.
So while the process may be incredibly frustrating, it still worth it develop a rapport with potential clients by addressing their concerns in a professional manner. That’s true even if they don’t become clients.
Each law practice will want to collect data on the stories, hopes, and fears of their prospective clients. It helps you to develop a strategy for establishing a rapport and building a foundation of trust. Particulars on how to do that will differ widely from one practice to another and even one case to another. But it’s important to understand the process, why it works, and strategically, how to implement it.
Catering to Millennials entails opening up your business to multiple ways of taking payment and communicating. We have this information because they’ve told us. Dismissing the data here is unwise. Everything must be considered.
The McRib and Marketing Your Law Firm- There is a Connection!
The McRib and Marketing Your Law Firm- There is a Connection!
There are a lot of things we don’t know about McDonald’s McRib: why the pork rib sandwich has no actual ribs, whether the meat used is real pork (there have been several claims of Kangaroo meat—Crikey!), and why it only makes its appearance a few weeks out of the year.
Unlike other fast food chains, McDonald’s has cornered the market when it comes to limited-availability products; e.g. the McRib during winter months, the Shamrock Shake for March, etc. But how does the McRib’s availability have anything to do with marketing your law firm? Hang on—we’re going somewhere with this.
McDonald’s may not know a lot about nutrition, but they know a lot about marketing. The McRib has achieved cult status because it’s only available for a limited time, and this creates a sense of urgency for consumers to take action.
Let’s take a look at how marketing the McRib, and marketing your legal services, can come from the same chopping block.
Legal Matters Have Time Frames
Average folks aren’t usually aware of legal time frames, aka statutes of limitations, in their case. It’s up to you to inform potential clients that active laws restrict the time frame that legal proceedings may be initiated, and once that time runs out, the claim is no longer valid. It’s important that you convey a sense of urgency with legal matters, and what’s at stake if a client fails to act quickly, or fails to act at all.
Post content about legal time frames on your website, blog, and social media pages via written text, infographs, even videos. Not only will this attract clients to you, you’ll also appear as the savvy law firm that’s in-the-know in the judicial world.
There’s no shortage of legal services, they aren’t available for only a limited time, and law firms can’t enforce fee expiration dates. But, a claimant’s or defendant’s time to take legal action is in short supply—and attorneys who are too busy (figuratively or literally) can miss out on helping a client who’s time is running out.
Make sure you market yourself as a law firm that can immediately respond to a clients’ needs, and is available on a moment’s notice. Position yourself as the law firm that will be there when other law firms can’t.
Failing To Act Quickly Can Have Irreparable Consequences
Communicating the negative consequences of failing to act quickly with legal matters is often more important that communicating the benefits of filing a legal claim; especially in the areas of personal injury and civil suits.
Regardless of your practice area, an urgent call-to-action can apply to a number of legal events, such as:
- Failing to act quickly on a DUI charge can jeopardize an offender’s driving rights.
- Failing to act quickly in a child custody case can jeopardize a parent’s right to see his or her child.
- Failing to quickly file a claim under bankruptcy protection can jeopardize a claimant’s home and other personal property that could have otherwise been saved.
Legal matters can hang in a balance, or have irreparable consequences, without the quick enlistment of a qualified attorney. Make sure you preach this loud and clear to potential clients, as well as existing ones, every chance you can.
Marketing Your Law Firm To Baby Boomers And Beyond
Although your law firm might only focus on one specialty—perhaps criminal defense or bankruptcy—your current and prospective client pools probably consist of a variety of demographics, from 60-something Baby Boomers to Millennials in their 20s. Marketing your law firm to multiple generations can be a challenge, but the information below can help your organization overcome this advertising obstacle.
The “Baby Boomer” generation consists of people born roughly between 1946 and 1964, meaning that these audience members are approximately 50 to 68 years old in 2014. To appeal to Baby Boomers, consider these tips when marketing your law firm:
Choose the Right Medium and Format
Baby Boomers are more accustomed to print publications—newspapers, magazines, periodicals—than Generations X and Y. Therefore, don’t be afraid to write longer consultative pieces like white papers and newsletters that may spark interest in the topic, educate Baby Boomer readers, and demonstrate your law firm’s expertise on subjects like estate planning. And don’t forget to make the font large enough to read easily!
Make it Easy to Connect
Baby Boomers may feel more comfortable speaking with a real person than connecting online. Be sure to include a call to action that includes a phone number on all articles and posts.
“Gen X’ers” range in age from approximately 34 to 50 years old. This generation spans the gap between Baby Boomers and Millennials and demonstrates some features from both groups. Implement the following strategies when marketing your law firm to Generation X.
Short and Sweet is the Key
People of the Generation X population are in the middle of their careers with families, hobbies, and homes to maintain—they’re busy! Short, concise blog articles are best. After posting them on your blog and/or website, spread them to professional forums like LinkedIn to reach the broad network of associates that many Gen X’ers have built over the years.
Take Advantage of Email
Busy professionals are often on email throughout the day, so consider creating a monthly e-newsletter that prospects and current clients can receive via email. They are more likely to read it if it consistently pops up in their inbox. Even if they don’t read it, your firm’s name will be front and center at least once a month.
Millennials (aka Generation Y)
Millennials, those aged 14 to 34 years old, are notorious for their tech savviness and need for sensory stimulation. When producing content and marketing your law firm to Millennials, keep these guidelines in mind:
The Snappier, the Better
Millennials want information immediately, so keep the headlines snappy and the information easy to digest. Think of forums like Twitter; would your topic, headline, and sub-header catch a reader’s attention in 140 characters?
Use Striking Images
Marketing your law firm to “Gen Y’ers” should focus on attention-grabbing images and photos. Millennials are typically very visual people! A unique image with a catchy headline posted to social media can get your foot in the door and attract prospects to your blog article or webpage.
Appealing to Legal Self-Servers
There are many tasks folks can do for themselves that don’t necessarily require a professional’s assistance; e.g. changing the oil in a car, painting a bedroom, installing a kitchen sink, etc. These are all tasks that can be handled by professionals for a fee, but there’s little that can go wrong if the standard, one-size-fits-all instructions are followed by a layman.
Legal matters are not one-size-fits-all, even simple matters, but that doesn’t stop many people from trying to handle legal proceedings by themselves. With the onslaught of free legal information, and do-it-yourself products such as online wills, etc., how do you market your legal services to those who believe everything they need to successfully litigate a case is in their own hands?
Here are 3 effective ways to market your firm to legal self-servers, and appeal to folks who consider professional representation unnecessary.
1. Stress That Time Is Money
Unless someone choosing to represent themselves has legal knowledge; e.g. a law student, or an actual legal professional, it takes time to learn about the law—A LOT of time—to make sure each step taken is accurate and legally-binding.
Post content in the form of articles, videos, and infographics on your website, blog, and social media pagesexplaining that although your professional services come with a fee, they’re backed by years of education and experience, and can not only better ensure a successful outcome, they can save a layman countless hours on research. A good lawyer pays for himself many times over throughout litigation.
2. Stress That Self-Representation Puts Too Much At Stake
It’s important to stress that any legal matter, regardless of complexity, has risks, and there are too many complications that can occur if one doesn’t possess the necessary legal knowledge and skill.
A person who represents themselves is usually trying to save money on legal fees, so the last thing they want is to lose money because they didn’t proceed correctly. Make it clear how much is at stake if something goes wrong in their case. Not only could a mistake cost thousands of dollars, it could cause long-term damage in regard to child custody cases, DUI self-defense, or worker’s compensation claims.
3. Stress Your Firm’s Expertise
In a legal system that’s getting more complicated by the minute, communicate that not only is enlisting the help of an attorney critical, enlisting the help of your law firm is key. Convey that your firm has the experience and expertise to handle any case that comes its way, tackle the unexpected, and represent clients efficiently and tirelessly until a favorable outcome is reached.
Why Your Legal Website Needs Live Chat
Have you ever thought about Live Chat for your law firm website? It’s a 24/7 support application that is installed to your website. It allows for direct communication with visitors in real-time by using an instant messaging chat window. It’s a great way to be proactive and generate leads through your website. Here are some other reasons why you should invest in Live Chat.
Live chat can boost sales by 20%.
Did you know that 97% of new website visitors leave a website within two minutes? If you’re available to chat with potential clients 24/7, you can persuade them to choose your law firm because they can actually contact you.
1 in 5 Website Shoppers Prefer Live Chat.
If a potential client has a quick question, it’s easier for them to ask on Live Chat because it’s less work on their end. All they need to do is open a chat window; they don’t have to call your office and feel pressured to speak with anyone.
Generate useful analytics.
By engaging with future clients on Live Chat, you can see firsthand what type of questions they might have. You can track visitors, see where they go to on your website, how long they stay, and if they all have similar questions about your law firm.
Better lead quality.
Live Chat sessions are often initiated by a visitor who needs immediate help. You can screen out the visitors who are not prospective clients before they take up too much of your time.
Once you have found strong prospects through Live Chat, you can promptly follow-up with them. All you simply need to do is get their contact information and you’re set.
Using all the tools you can get to generate new clients is better than sitting around waiting for a phone call. If you have Live Chat installed, it helps increase visitor time on your website. It also gives your law firm staff assurance that they have done their best to reach out to inquiring clients.
3 Issues to Address When Implementing Live Chat on Your Law Firm’s Website
You have probably experienced it at some point while perusing the Internet: a little box pops up on a site’s homepage advertising its live chat feature, prompting you to connect with knowledgeable professionals standing by to answer any questions you may have. Live chat continues to gain popularity as more law firms uncover the benefits of the instant client service tool: cost-effectiveness, real-time connection to a knowledgeable legal professional, a human element without the commitment of a phone call.
Live chat can be a client service game changer for your firm, as long as you make the proper preparations before launching. Read on to learn the elements that you should proactively address when implementing a live chat support feature on your law firm’s website.
1. Who is going to spearhead the initiative.
Do you or your firm’s attorneys or office managers have the ability to address live chat questions whenever they come in? Or, is it smarter to outsource this to a live chat support provider who possesses the time, resources, and experience to efficiently manage your client service needs? This is the first issue to address when considering a live chat addition to your law firm’s website.
2. Standard verbiage.
Whether handling live chat support in-house or via a third-party, it’s important to discuss acceptable verbiage and set basic guidelines regarding how your firm interacts with live chat users. For instance, your practice could standardize how to enter and exit every conversation. Additionally, a personal injury law office might brainstorm a list of frequently asked questions such as:
- How long will it take my case take from open until close?
- Do I need hospital records detailing my injuries?
- Will you take my case if I was injured more than 6 months ago?
Discussing these questions ahead of time allows everyone to agree upon standard answers in order to ensure consistency.
3. A plan to engage them afterward.
Prospects who reach out over live chat are already engaging with your law firm’s website and interested in your law firm’s services, so take full advantage—don’t just let them disappear! Jump on the opportunity to draw them in one more time.
Perhaps you offer a free item of value, such as an eBook containing answers to common client questions. This not only leaves prospects with something that is branded with your logo and look, but also provides them with helpful informational that could bring them back around to consulting your firm.
Start Marketing With A Law Firm Media Kit
A media kit is a great marketing tool for your law firm. By aggregating the descriptions of your services, press releases, biographies, awards, and other professional credentials, your media kit will act almost as a company résumé.
Why You Need One
Media kits will centralize important points about your law firm and allow you to impart a positive and lasting impression on potential clients. They are excellent for networking and can be attached to follow-up emails after conferences and meetings, providing a more comprehensive snapshot of your firm than a business card would. Finally, they are an efficient way of providing journalists with all of the information that they need if the press contacts your law firm.
What It Should Include
Provide a description about your law firm that reads almost as a cover letter. Outline the features that distinguish your practice from other firms and offer a brief overview of your services. It may be helpful to highlight a particular service that your firm specializes in or is popular for, such as applications for temporary resident permits. List any awards or nominations that you have received, conferences you have participated in, media mentions, and publications that your firm has been featured in or has contributed to. If your law firm has established a strong online presence, consider using an analytics application such as SproutSocial to convey your website traffic information and statistics about your performance on social media.
How You Should Market It
Make sure your document is ready for print and for the web. Preserve its formatting by saving it as a PDF file and either make it available upon request or host it on the ‘About Us’ page of your website as a downloadable file. To make linking to your press package easier, consider hosting it on an online document reader such as Issuu. As a document, your media kit can be attached to emails and all of your information can be distributed when you are reaching out to other related professional organisations or those interested in featuring your firm in their blogs or in the media.
Have you ever thought about custom legal content for your website? We have been publishing law books for more than 30 years, understand the various practice areas, and have a strong collection of content and knowledgeable legal editors to help supply quality web articles and blog posts.
Top 10 Attorney Marketing Resolutions
We’ve cut out some of the work for you and listed a few attorney marketing resolutions. Pick one of the following worthy goals, and stick with it. Here’s to a successful new year!
1. Go mobile. Create a mobile-friendly version of your website for your potential clients on-the-go.
2. Gain credibility. Make use of client testimonials.
3. Nurture your leads. Capture as much client information as possible from every e-mail, phone call or contact form you receive.
4. Get social. Incorporate Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ into your marketing strategy- it is the new word of mouth.
5. Write, write, write. Regularly publish content and blogs to your website.
6. Stay top-of-mind. It’s imperative to maintain contact with your clients, new and old.
7. Stay vigilant. Work each month at gaining and retaining a top ranked website in the major search engines.
8. Evaluate your website. Make sure it is current and up-to-date.
9. Take the leap. Implement your new marketing ideas, don’t just think about them.
10. Stay one step ahead. Keep an eye on the competition and don’t let them out market you.