As the legal marketplace becomes more competitive and fragmented, and prospective clients become more sophisticated and aware of brand distinctions, legal professionals need to create focused marketing programs that differentiate them from the crowd, while connecting them with quality prospects who are looking for quality legal counsel.
But the thing is, legal skills are not legal marketing skills. Yes, this sounds…absurdly obvious, but a surprising number of legal professionals assume that the same strategies, approaches and philosophies that work in law ALSO work in marketing. Alas, they don’t.
And while we can’t drill into a “Marketing 101 for Legal Professionals” course here, we can at least offer 3 fundamental pieces of advice for you, the legal professional, about marketing:
You may believe that marketing is all about putting a spotlight on your firm but it’s not. It’s really about putting a spotlight on your prospects. That means, that your marketing material shouldn’t just be a droning self-promotional exercise that points only to your firm’s facts and features (where you went to school, how long you’ve been practicing, your awards and credentials, etc.). Those things are important and should be mentioned in your marketing, but only in the context of how they solve problems and deliver benefits. Remember: in marketing, it’s not about you – it’s about your audience and how your service sand products help them solve their problems.
Your website an interactive space that should be designed to engage prospects, inform them with accurate information, and influence them (ethically, of course) to build a relationship with you. It isn’t simply a two-dimensional online brochure. This is even more important for legal professionals, because fundamentally, you aren’t selling a service so much as you’re selling a relationship; you’re selling trust. A good rule of thumb is to always assume that your potential clients are a little bit smarter than you – don’t talk down to them. Try to anticipate their needs and demonstrate how you can help.
You may believe (and hope) that your former and current clients are always actively marketing for you through word-of-mouth referrals. And no doubt, some of them are (you probably see proof of this on a regular basis). But you shouldn’t assume that all of them are all of the time – because they aren’t! They’re busy people (like you), and while they would certainly say great things about you if asked, they may not actively be thinking about what an amazing legal professional you are. The way to nudge them to do this is simply to stay in touch with legacy marketing tools like online newsletters, postcards, invitations to events…anything that will help you stay on their radar screen, and “top of mind.” This is an area where new social media tools such as Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook are especially helpful .The more opportunities you have to remain visible among clients (and potential clients) the more likely your name will pop up when people are asked for a referral.
This is simply a snapshot of a few areas to consider when marketing your legal firm and services. We’ll be sure to share many more in future posts. Please let us know if you have any great ideas that have worked for you (that you’d like to share with the community).