Looking to grow your law firm? You’ll want to do two things. Provide excellent legal services, that’s a given. And connect those services with clients. In a recent post, “Successful Law Firms Keep Marketing Simple“, I discussed the importance of ease and convenience in influencing client decision-making. Here, I’d like to offer 5 ways for how you can make it easy for clients to choose your law firm.
In every market, easy does it. There is nothing new about the services that AirBnB, Uber, and Amazon offer: a bed, a ride, a book. What’s new is the level of convenience. These modern behemoths traffic in ease. The appeal is obvious, a cheaper room, a faster trip home, shopping in your pajamas. The value your law firm provides isn’t so simple to explain. And yet convenience is no less essential here. Making your law firm the natural choice for clients is one of the surest ways to ensure sustained and vigorous growth.
How do your clients find you? Maybe you reach new clients through referrals, online, through your membership in an organization, or through authoring a blog or speaking at events. Every firm and lawyer will adopt a different blend of strategies to increase their professional visibility. Often though, we hesitate to move beyond our comfort zone. I’ve known lawyers who rely almost exclusively on their referral arrangements and hesitate to approach clients directly, and others who are master networkers yet struggle with creating impactful content online. While it makes sense to play to your strengths, take a moment to examine where your outreach efforts could be improved. There could be low-hanging fruit just overhead.
Too often lawyers neglect a relatively simple aspect of their marketing: their personal bios, both on their own site and on LinkedIn. The results from our yearly Canadian Legal Digital Survey are clear: “Lawyer bios are the largest driver of traffic to law firm websites. 83% of in-house counsel (up from 78% from last year) ranked lawyer bios as important when researching outside lawyers and law firms for a potential hire.”
But just having an online presence isn’t enough: you can’t just show up to the ball and expect to be asked to dance, not without some effort. With more and more clients finding lawyers and law firms online, there’s no excuse for a lackluster bio.
You’ve met a prospective client, shaken their hand, handed them a business card—what are the chances they’ll remember you in a month? Ideally, you’d like your firm to be the first option that springs to mind when they’re faced with a legal issue. For this, you’ll need a memorable and easily recognizable brand– one that carries through from your business card to your website to your PowerPoint.
The need to make a clear impression on an audience is one reason that some law firms and lawyers see such success with speaking engagements. Others lawyers scribe great blogs and leverage Social Media. No matter the method, connecting your expertise with an audience of potential clients is an excellent way to grow your firm.
Lawyers tend to be good writers. But their natural aptitude for the written word is often obscured by a thick accent of legalese, a language so convoluted and jargon-ridden that understanding it takes three years of training. Make it easy for clients to understand what you do, and what solutions you provide and you make it easy for them to choose your firm. A lot of what your firm does is confidential, but whenever possible give detailed examples of how you’ve assisted a client with a particular case. Showing how you’ve helped someone in a similar situation is a powerful argument for obtaining your services.
Placing articles and sponsored content in industry publications is another option. We recently helped one of our law firm clients place an article in the tech edition of a popular magazine. Local tech companies looking to protect their Intellectual Property are likely to find this article full of good advice. When the time comes to protect their innovation, they’ll know which firm to call.
How do you inspire trust in your firm? This quality is found in everything from the professionalism of your receptionist, to the flex of your business card and the responsiveness of your website, to word of mouth.
Zoë Chance, the keynote speaker at this year’s LMA, noted that the best way to earn trust is not to lose it in the first place. Upsetting one client has a domino effect, and a negative review can do real damage to a firm’s reputation. On the other hand, nothing engenders trust in a firm like positive client testimonials.
Actively taking a role in your community can make it easier for clients to trust you. Some firms host charity basketball tournaments; others provide legal advice to low-income seniors. What you do is less important than engaging with your community and showing that your law firm does more than rack up billable hours.
There is no magic wand for inspiring trust, but you can make it as easy as possible for a client to have confidence in your firm by committing fully to excellent client service, and by putting evidence of your good work and deeds out for the world to see.
Most law firms are built on a foundation of referrals. Your first source is through your current clients. If you do good work for them, then there is a good chance they’ll be comfortable recommending your firm. But what happens next? You’ve let a client know that you’re seeking referrals, they agree, and maybe they mention your name to one or two contacts. This is often the point where things grind to a halt. Why? Because it isn’t easy enough to refer you. Even if a client is willing to say a good word, or pass on a business card, it’s unlikely they’ll be motivated enough to compile a compelling argument on a firm’s behalf.
A firm with a strong brand is easy to refer. Likely, the referral source will be passing along a website URL or brochure or business card. These should be of the very highest quality. A weak website does not inspire confidence.
We’ve made it easy to refer our clients by integrating a Print-to-PDF function into their lawyer bios. A referral source can easily share or print an elegant version of a lawyer bio. By making it easier to recommend a lawyer, we’ve helped increase our clients’ referral rates.
Harvard Business Review observed that “Marketers who focus on simplifying consumers’ decision making will rise above the din, and their customers will stick by them as a result.” The same rule applies to Law Firms.
Making it easy to choose your firm is all about reducing complexity and having a clear message. At fSquared Marketing, we provide focused marketing, branding, and web design for law firms. If you’d like to find out how we’re helping law firms grow, get in touch with our team today.
Lynn is a legal marketing and professional services consultant focused on growing revenue and brand awareness for her clients. She holds a dual concentration MBA in Finance & Communications and is as comfortable discussing profitability as she is client satisfaction.
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