Discover the Technical Reason Law Firms Need Marketing and What That Actually Means for the Owner
As the owner and lead attorney of a law firm, you are responsible for growing the firm and ensuring that clients and staff are living lives that fulfill their needs. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to sign more clients to ensure that your rent and payroll are paid, as well as providing yourself with a healthy income.
Depending on when you graduated law school, you probably don’t know the first thing about marketing for a law firm. Besides, why do you need to learn it? You’re a great lawyer and dedicated to getting consistently favorable results for clients. With word-of-mouth business like that, there’s no need to worry about marketing – your work speaks for itself.
Except, reality doesn’t work that way. You cannot meekly sit back and wait for clients to discover you, recognize your capabilities, and hire you. These are three distinct steps you need to put conscious effort into, and you can achieve all of this with marketing.
The Technical and Secret Role of Marketing in Your Law Firm
So, what is the functional role of marketing? It’s simply to attract and convert clients for your law firm.
Marketing isn’t a “dirty” word, and it’s not greedy to invest time, money, and effort into ensuring the success of your law firm. It’s a critical component to law firm ownership that most lawyers refuse to acknowledge.
Having a steady stream of high-quality clients gives you financial freedom, which consequently boosts your personal life as well. It’s the opportunity to create an environment where people are excited about coming to work. It’s the ability to be at every little league game, dance recital, birthday dinner. Marketing your legal services is what provides your family peace of mind and security and the opportunity to provide that for other family’s as well.
So long as you believe that marketing your legal services is immoral, you won’t be able to take control of your law practice (and, therefore, your life). Of course, while doing all of this, you are still providing top-notch services and bettering the lives of your clients. Remember, you cannot help people if they don’t know you exist.
Law Firms Are a Business
Many lawyers I talk to who are resisting marketing their services often give me the excuse, “My law firm is different. I can’t find clients for my service using direct mail or email campaigns.”
At its core, your law firm is a business and should be treated as such. Do not let your belief in its “uniqueness” blind you from well-proven marketing opportunities that already exist.
When I first discovered direct-response marketing, which transformed my practice and became the foundation of Great Legal Marketing, it was from the great Dan Kennedy. At this time, in the early-2000s, there weren’t any lawyers following this advice, but I knew if it worked for other businesses, it could work for mine, which is why it will work for yours too.
The 2 Main Functions of Marketing for Your Law Firm
1) Lead Generation
As I mentioned earlier, you cannot help people if they don’t know you exist. That is the first role of marketing, showing up on people’s radar. Hiring an attorney is an entirely different process than it was fifty years ago. Yelp and Amazon have created a reliance on reviews, and the Internet allows potential clients to find dozens of law firms within minutes.
It is essential to stand out amongst the competition. By strategically creating a marketing plan, you are intentionally “showing up” in front of potential clients that need help with a legal issue.
Countless lead generation methods work phenomenally for law firms, such as free offers, direct mail, Google Ads, content marketing, community marketing, and more. Members of Great Legal Marketing have immediate access to templates and guides on topics ranging from increasing reviews, writing free offers, and understanding your Customer Relationship Management software.
For now, here are some key components that every single advertisement you create needs to have:
- Target a specific audience (it’s okay to attract clients that you want to work with)
- An attention-grabbing headline
- Creates a sense of urgency
- A strong call-to-action
- A system for tracking the results (custom phone number, URL, etc.)
2) Convert Leads to Clients
Your marketing doesn’t stop once you obtain a lead’s information. You’ve passed the first obstacle, but you still need to convince that person to become an actual, paying client.
Here’s the thing…
The majority of people seeking help for their legal issues don’t know that they need a lawyer. Several people think their problem can be fixed without a lawyer, or they’re not aware that they have grounds for a legal claim.
That’s why your law firm needs to be there to guide potential clients into hiring your services. The worst thing you can do is go silent. You’ve spent so much time, effort, and money getting that client’s attention in the first place, do not let it be wasted by never reaching out to them again.
Staying in their mind is less work then you think. If you spend the time creating a well-thought-out follow-up system, then you can run that system making only minor tweaks and improvements until it no longer brings favorable results.
While it’s possible to rely on referrals and word-of-mouth marketing to churn a decent profit in your law firm, if you want to take your law firm’s success to the next level, you need to be intentional. Without a steady stream of clients, it can all fall apart, which is precisely why you need to understand and implement legal marketing.
Most attorneys start their firms assuming that being a really, really good attorney should, in and of itself, be a marketing advantage. Those attorneys believe that joining a whole bunch of committees and putting their name in lawyer directories is “marketing,” and they never bother to ask if there is a better way.
Attorneys are catching on, however, and those who succeed learn to leverage their current resources to create effective (and ethical) marketing. What they discover isn’t a magic pill or silver bullet but a different approach to marketing that your competitors haven’t considered.
by Ben Glass
Ben is a nationally recognized expert in attorney marketing and the owner of Great Legal Marketing.