A great attorney is not always a successful one. Many great attorneys have the right blend of high intellect, optimal communication skills, effective analytical reasoning abilities and the desire to advocate for their client. While this combination is the perfect recipe for being a litigation winner, true success in the legal world also requires the ability to promote that greatness, so they are accessible to clients in need of the exact services that the lawyer offers. That can only be done through marketing.
The qualities that it took for the lawyer to learn their trade and pass the bar exam are simply not the same qualities required for marketing their skills. Many lawyers shy away from the thought that they need to be constantly charming and outgoing to reach much higher than the low hanging fruit of their existing client base. Fortunately, there are less painful, highly effective strategies for developing a successful marketing plan that targets a broader audience to consistently produce solid leads, more business and higher profits.
Promoting the Law Firm
The first step in law firm marketing requires developing an effective marketing plan. The attorney should decide exactly how much of the budget the firm can spend over the next 12 months to promote the business. It is important to remember that effective marketing is never an expense, but rather an investment in a profitable future. The simplest way for developing an effective marketing plan is to first create a strategy of exactly how the law firm will look in the near future.
- Focus on Legal Niches – It is important that the attorney never attempt to be everything to every client. Instead, the law firm should focus in on legal niches involving cases that exemplify what the attorneys in the office do well. All other casework reaching the lawyer’s desk should be referred out to others.
- Give Referrals – The simplest way the lawyer can receive referrals from other attorneys is to provide referrals whenever possible. This requires contacting non-competing attorneys who can provide the lawyer’s existing client base the services they require. Many busy attorneys solicit reputable litigators in the community for conflict referrals in an effort to create a win-win scenario for all lawyers interested in generating work amongst themselves.
- Create a Website – The legal world is much different today than it was decades ago before the invention of the Internet and online marketing. A website is much like a business card or yellow page advertisement in that it provides instant contact information and so much more. If the lawyer has an existing website, it is crucial to keep it updated and easy to navigate. Today’s attorneys must learn everything possible about search engine optimization (SEO) or hire website design/marketing professionals to handle it for them.
- Write Articles – Writing a weekly column, newsletter or blog is a simple way to be consistently recognized among peers, community leaders and potential clients in the community. Many trade associations are constantly seeking publishable articles.
- Become Social – Attorneys who are not socially connected online demonstrate that they are out of touch with what is going on. In addition to creating a website, passing on referrals and writing articles, it is imperative to seek out potential clients through social media. Attorneys who post to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus and others stay engaged in their community.
Marketing in the legal world is a contact sport that requires aggressive tactics. Today’s attorneys continuously face an uphill battle where too many lawyers are available for too few clients. However, attorneys who take the initiative to promote their practice effectively through law firm marketing both off-line and online have the highest potential of attracting new prospects and reminding their existing client base that they are ready to solve their legal problems.