The legal profession is one of the most competitive professions, where the winners in gaining new business are often the best at something that is not taught in law school — marketing themselves.
When I saw this “mobile billboard” on the top of a pick-up truck heading up Madison Avenue in New York City, I thought about how brilliant of an ad it was. It was a sculpture of that imitated “Lunch atop a Skyscraper,’ the iconic picture of ironworkers on top of a girder at lunchtime on the 30 Rockefeller Center building when it was being erected. It captured the spirit of the New York construction industry and showed that the lawyers in question understood their audience.
As brilliant of an ad it was, it may be too over-the-top (pun intended) for many lawyers. In fact, most lawyers who I know would never market themselves this way. They believe that their work product and results should speak for themselves. And they are right — results are everything. But potential clients need to know how great you are, the results you have obtained, your areas of expertise, and what you stand for.
So, I have put together this list of great marketing tools for lawyers who choose to market themselves in a more subtle way than a lavish mobile billboard.
1. Word of mouth
According to Nielsen, 92 percent of people trust recommendations from friends and family over any other type of advertising.
So when a client asks, “what can I do to help you?” tell them to let others know how happy they were with your services. Tell them you don’t like to market yourself and that you depend on happy clients to spread the word. And if you have the type of practice that can benefit from online reviews, encourage happy clients to post them.
2. Stay in touch
“Out of sight, out of mind” is not the mantra to grow a business. So, keep in touch with your clients even when they don’t have active matters.
If you read an article that you think your clients would be interested in, send it on to them with a note “I thought you might be interested in this ….” They will be happy that you did, and you will be on the top of their mind if they have another legal matter, or when someone asks them for a referral.
If you want to keep in touch in a more systematic way, start a newsletter. There are great tools like Mailchimp, AWeber, and Constant Contact that make creating and sending emails newsletters very simple, for free or very small budgets. For bigger budgets, Hubspot offers some powerful tools.
3. Invest in your website, not your office
Spend the money where it counts.
When a potential client sees a beautiful website loaded with useful information that answers their questions about your practice, they grow confident that you will be able to help them.
In contrast, when they see an expensive-looking office, with beautiful furniture and solid mahogany bookshelves loaded with a library of books, they worry about the bill.
So, where should you spend the money? Enough said.
While you can spend a lot of money on building a beautiful website, companies like Wix and Squarespace offer inexpensive choices for law firm websites for those who don’t mind rolling up their sleeves.
4. Invest in SEO
It works when you are sleeping. It works when you are on vacation. It works when you are not even thinking about marketing. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the cheapest thing you can do to grow your law practice. And, if set up correctly — and updated periodically — it will work for you even when you aren’t working or thinking about work. How great is that.
Conversely, if no attempt is made to perfect your SEO, you will be a special superhero — the Invisible Man — and no one will be able to find you no matter how great your law firm is.
5. Offer a scholarship
Want to move mountains?
Offering a scholarship is a tried-and-true method of law firm marketing that is the most effective lawyer advertising because it does not look like advertising. As noted in this article, scholarships will:
- enhance your law firm’s search results;
- let potential clients know your law firm cares;
- help you stand out from your competitors; and
- showcase your firm’s values.
You can set up a scholarship for free here, but of course, you will need to fund the scholarship amount.
All of these approaches are great ways to market yourself without looking like you are marketing yourself. And they are relatively cheap compared to other things you can do. Even if you are adventurous and wish to do something big like send a mobile billboard into the heart of New York City, you should make sure you have first invested in these baseline marketing concepts to get the best return on investment.