Lawyer work is serious for you and your clients, but that doesn’t mean that marketing for lawyers needs to be dry or bland – it just needs to be strategic.
With the right know-how and planning, you can create a smart and results-oriented marketing plan, no matter the size or nature of your practice.
Whether you’re beginning a new marketing campaign or you’re giving a failed campaign a makeover, adopting these strategic marketing tactics will get you more viable leads than flailing around without a plan in place:
Step 1 – The Fundamentals
Attracting The Right Clients, The Right Way
An important step in any successful marketing plan is to ensure that you’re protected from marketing phonies and charlatans who promise instant success.
Anyone can call themselves a marketer, but if you equip yourself with the basic principles of marketing, you can easily identify the imposters from the legitimate experts, saving you a lot of lost money and wasted time.
Here, I’ll explain some marketing fundamentals so you have a solid grasp on what any so-called experts advise you to do. And, just as important, so you can market yourself in a way that feels right and also delivers solid results.
Marketing For Lawyers 101 dictates that the whole point of what you’re doing is to transform complete strangers that don’t know anything about you or your firm, and guide them to a place of liking and trusting you.
If this sounds easy, think again. There are many steps to take to establish this type of trusting relationship between a lawyer and client, and the road to directing your prospects through the trust-building process is long.
But the good news is that it’s completely doable with the right strategies.
Step one in any marketing plan is to identify who you are trying to attract as clients. You can’t be everything to everyone, and if you try, your generic marketing efforts will fall flat.
Instead, narrow down your niche market and appeal to the right kind of clients through consistent and powerful messages that pique their interest and attract them to your firm. Take a little time upfront to identify their demographics and this will pay off as it informs all your future marketing efforts.
Marketing on a regular basis should lead to a steady flow of clients, rather than panicking and trying to do a rush marketing job to get new clients quickly so you can meet your overhead.
Speaking of paying the bills, you’ll want to market your firm in the most cost-effective manner. It’s easy to blow your budget on flashy marketing schemes. But it’s more important to attract clients efficiently so you can keep your practice afloat and worry about legal matters instead of cash flow issues.
If you’re smart about who you hire do execute your marketing plan, you can automate a lot of the legwork. Which will minimize the time you need to spend at dreaded networking events where you’re forced to push your services onto equally bored acquaintances.
The A.I.D.A Process
Learn this acronym and commit it to memory for the sake of your marketing success: A.I.D.A = attention, interest, desire, action.
Here’s how you put it in play:
- Attention – Grab it through advertising, writing informative articles, speaking engagements, networking, or whatever techniques float your boat. A combination of these efforts will likely be your best bet in attracting clients from different sources.
- Interest – Create it by educating your prospective clients about the value of your services. This is where you position yourself as an empathetic person who genuinely wants to help people with their legal problems, of which you happen to be an expert in.
- Desire – Make them want you. The previous steps will lead potential clients to want to trust you and want to hire you because they believe that your expertise and winning personality is the right combination to help solve their legal problems.
- Act – Just do it! This is where your leads book their initial consultation, already convinced that you’re the best lawyer for the job and ready to confide their awkward or embarrassing secrets to you so that you can best represent them. They understand the legal process so they’re ready to follow your advice.
Another way to understand A.I.D.A is in these steps:
- Get attention and build a comfortable relationship.
- Build trust after you demonstrate your expertise and compassion for their plight.
- Teach your prospective clients about the legal process in layman’s terms so they can relax and let you take control of the situation.
- Bring them onboard. If you’ve done the previous steps right, this should happen easily and you won’t have to come across as being salesy.
Step 2 – Basic Level Marketing
Also known as referral marketing, schmoozing, or relationship marketing. This level of marketing works with the trust that you’ve built with people you already know.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that marketing to people you already know will be a walk in the park though.
You still need to act strategically to be the most effective and not waste the trust that you already have with these folks.
If you like acronyms or clever steps to remember things, let’s use the 3 R’s to drive the points of referral marketing home:
- Remind – Give your audience a heads up that you still exist and refresh their memory that they know you.
- Regularly – Meet folks regularly so you can explain what you do and how much you care about your clients.
- Reasonable – Avoid the cheesy sales tactics and be reasonable with how you treat your leads (basically, don’t be annoying)
This might all sound great in theory, but if you’re wondering how to put the 3 R’s into practice, here are some concrete action-steps:
- Take prospective referral sources to lunch or coffee from time to time to regularly engage with them.
- Be reasonable in how often you communicate with them (unlike your mom, you don’t need to call them every day).
- Use your lunches or interactions to casually remind them what you do, and what you can do for them.
- Call prospects up every once in a while to chat, see what’s new, and remind them about what you do.
- Send out emails with articles that you think would be of interest to them, in a no-strings-attached way. This also reminds them that you’re available and care about them.
- Get on social media and engage with your prospects, also as a reminder that you exist and to position yourself as a thought leader. You’ll earn bonus points if your social media messages show that you care about people’s woes (legal or non-legal).
- Link your social posts back to your website so they become aware of your main online platform, and so they start to engage with you there.
- Show your knowledge through writing articles and doing speaking engagements – this is a reasonable way to show your authority and build rapport as an expert who can help people with their legal problems.
The 3 R’s are even more effective when you build a strong online presence. How?
Use LinkedIn or Facebook pages to post your latest expertly written articles. Post on your website using a blog to spread the word about your good works and legal expertise.
Publish often for maximum effect.
These online assets can work for you around the clock once you put them out there, serving as a constant reminder and resource that potential clients can trust and refer to.
Does this take time? Yes it does. But…
It’s a low-cost, high-value strategy that helps you seal the deal with the people who already know about your business and online presence.
Step 3 – Advanced Level Marketing
Advanced level marketing (aka building trust with strangers) is a little trickier, but the right tactics can help you ace this.
First, know that you’ll encounter some roadblocks along the way, such as:
- People don’t easily trust strangers, especially with serious or private matters.
- Unlike someone buying a new t-shirt or food for their cat, legal clients need to have serious trust in you and your abilities to help them.
- They may need to share deeply personal, and potentially embarrassing information with you and need to know that you’ll treat their case with respect and discretion.
- Attorney-client privilege is one thing, but people still won’t want to share their deepest, darkest secrets with you unless you can show them that you’re easy to confide in and that you’re an empathetic and caring person, not just a slimy lawyer who is after their money.
How do you overcome these hurdles?
It’s all about pacing.
In other words, you can’t shove your “kind and caring personality” down your prospects’ throat all at once. You need to build trust steadily and consistently.
Remember: it takes time to build trust.
It also requires a thoughtful approach. And you need to be realistic: people are not going to not fall head over heels for you within a few minutes of meeting you or reading your website home page.
Stop and consider the process you might go through before making an important hiring decision.
Then you can more readily appreciate this fundamental truth: most people decide to hire lawyers using a “gut feel” approach.
So what is a “gut feel” approach, exactly?
Well, what it means is: people unconsciously assess prospective lawyers in terms of nine questions:
1 – Is the attorney knowledgeable and competent; will they truly know what they’re doing? (Do they have authority?)
2 – Do they really, truly care about their clients’ wellbeing? (Do they demonstrate empathy?)
3 – Do I really understand what my prospective lawyer is going to do for me? (Do I have clarity?)
4 – Are they the right lawyer for me and my needs? (Are we compatible?)
5 – Are they legit? (Are they authentic?)
6 – Am I making the best choice on who to work with? (Are they the superior choice?)
7 – Are they being honest with me? (Are they believable?)
8 – Are their fees reasonable? (Is this a good value?)
9 – How much can I rely on them? (Is this a safe choice?)
Advanced level marketing is all about doing work upfront, which may seem laborious. But it will absolutely work if you use these vital tactics:
- Create a clear and powerful message that resonates with your prospective clients in their time of need.
- Create evergreen online assets that you can use again and again in all areas of your marketing, like articles or informative blog posts.
- Automate your online marketing to make it more effective and less time-consuming.
- Use direct marketing strategies like creating a one page PDF lead magnet and using email marketing to capture subscribers and automatically deliver informative articles to your prospective clients’ inboxes.
If you’re willing to give advanced marketing a try, you’re in luck because most lawyers don’t use these strategies. Which means you’ll have an upper hand and plenty of opportunity to put it to work in your favor.
Advanced marketing isn’t for lazy people because it takes time, energy, and commitment.
If you’re willing to do the hard work to attract strangers to your practice, you have unlimited potential in the number of new leads you can acquire.
Your area of expertise is the law, not marketing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a solid grasp of what strategies you need to bring in prospects and convert them to clients.
Working with a trustworthy marketing consultant will help, but those folks are hard to find.
Before you go looking for this person (or spend any money on ads), make sure you truly understand the fundamentals I just described (here are some good books to help you learn more).
Once you grasp the vital basics of marketing you’ll be on your way to attracting top quality clients steadily, automatically, and in a way that feels right for you.
It’s exclusively for solo and small firm lawyers that want to better manage and market their practices (so they can take more time off and enjoy life more)
Remember, when you set things up right (which takes time and strategic planning) you can have a firm that it feels like it’s virtually running itself.