We know when reflecting on the past three months, your instinct will be to run away from all that’s happened as quickly as humanly possible. This spring has certainly been a tough pill to swallow, as we’ve had to deal with what could end up being the worst health crisis of our lifetimes. However, this season has brought some important marketing lessons to the surface, lessons which will help guide attorneys in advertising their firms not just for the remainder of 2020, but for years to come. Below we’ll share five legal marketing tips based on things we’ve learned since March.
Attorneys Must Be Leaders
During times of crisis, law firms can’t afford to be silent. In order to continue winning new business, you need to show clients that you’re still there for them, and find ways to stay top of mind with those who may end up needing your counseling. Attorneys, however, must also be careful not to come across as overly desperate during these times, and only use their position as an authority figure to help their community.
How can lawyers establish themselves as community leaders?
- Center your marketing campaigns around sharing knowledge and lending support, rather than selling your services.
- Let people know that your law firm is still up and running, and that you’re happy to hop on a call or video chat if they have questions about any issues relating to your area of expertise.
- Create blogs, vlogs, podcasts and social posts in which you share advice, telling people what to do if they find themselves facing a certain dilemma created by the pandemic. Have your advice go beyond just hiring a lawyer.
Offering valuable assistance to people during this dark and confusing time allows lawyers to show that they’re not only experts in their field, but leaders that are worth following. Even after the pandemic ends, attorneys should continue to be vocal leaders in their community. Engaging in thought leadership marketing and content creation will make your firm stand out, and give new leads a reason to choose you over competitors.
Diversify Your Marketing Efforts
The pandemic created several daily obstacles for all of us this spring, and legal marketers were no exception. One prime example that threw a wrench in many people’s plans was the limited functionality of Google My Business during the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. For weeks, lawyers were unable to post new Google reviews, or reply to reviews.
While social media networks have stayed up and running throughout the entire spring, they have at times been difficult for law firms to be seen on. During the height of the coronavirus news cycle, and in the weeks following the death of George Floyd, social media was dominated almost exclusively by those stories. For many legal marketers, this meant putting all or most scheduled social posts on pause.
There are several lessons that can be taken from dealing with the marketing interruptions described above, but one of the biggest is to focus your marketing efforts in several different areas, so that when one avenue ends up being temporarily blocked, you still have other ways to reach new clients.
- If you’re unable to post new reviews on Google, film a video testimonial with a former client and post it on YouTube as a method for increasing your firm’s credibility.
- If social media isn’t the best option for sending out a message during a particular week, share your messages with potential clients via blog posts or email instead.
- Be active at virtual networking events, and make referral connections, so that you always have something to lean back on when your online marketing efforts slump.
Focus Your Marketing On Specific Issues
As the legal world slowly begins to reopen, attorneys would be wise to center their marketing campaigns around the problems that have plagued their target clients over the past few months.
Examples of this may include:
- Employment lawyers marketing towards those who were unfairly dismissed during the COVID-19 crisis.
- Divorce lawyers marketing towards those who have been quarantined with their significant others and haven’t been getting along so well.
- Bankruptcy attorneys advertising towards businesses that have been completely closed or have struggled mightily since the pandemic began.
Many believe that providing niche services could be more common in the legal industry moving forward, as people seem to have more of an appetite these days for specialized care. Even if you prefer to continue serving multiple practice areas, you can still run specialized marketing campaigns geared towards solving a highly relevant issue in one of your practice areas. For example, if your firm provides estate planning services, you’ll likely want to make that a heavy area of focus in your marketing these next few months, as many people in this current environment will want to address their wills.
Moving forward, aim to create fewer broad marketing ads that resemble something that’s been done a thousand times before, and instead focus on providing solutions that will really hit home with your target clients. Show that your firm is in tune with what people are struggling with and that you’re an expert that can actually help.
Don’t Always Be Selling, Just Be Present
We’ve all had a lot on our plates since the spring began, and no one really has patience right now for a pushy salesman. The lawyers who will likely have the best success this summer are the ones who stay active in communicating with potential clients, and avoid overwhelming them with information on what their firm does and how to get set up with a consultation.
If people want more information about what you do, they know how to look you up on Google and find your website. For now attorneys should be finding ways to either start a dialogue with new prospects or join in on existing conversations.
How Can Attorneys Stay Engaged With Potential Clients?
- Consider creating videos for social media in which you simply talk to your followers, and offer guidance on how to navigate certain issues they might be dealing with right now. Give the videos a conversational tone, and instead of telling people you’re ready to take on their case, just display a graphic with your phone number at the bottom of the video to let people know you’re available to talk with them directly.
- Another idea, that was recently brought up to us by Social Firestarter’s Andrew Stickel, is joining Facebook Groups that discuss topics relevant to the work you do. In these groups you should not be posting ads for your firm, but instead should just be monitoring existing conversations and giving your expert advice to questions group members may have. Chances are people will like what you have to say, and will go out of their way to look at your profile and learn more about what you do.
Be Adaptable And Willing To Learn
Perhaps the biggest thing lawyers should take away from this spring is that the universe doesn’t care about your marketing plans. While planning for the future is always a must, you must also accept that your marketing strategies could be derailed by uncontrollable forces at any moment. That’s just life, after all. Once the pandemic became a reality back in March, just about every law firm’s scheduled ads, blogs, videos, eBooks and social posts had to be put on pause. But intelligent legal marketers were able to quickly adapt and shift their messaging towards educating and lending support.
Flexibility has always been an important skill for marketers to hold, as the marketing world is always highly unpredictable and constantly evolving. Successful legal marketers will always be open to receiving input from others, whether it comes from their clients, fellow attorneys, or marketing experts, even if it means potentially shifting away from ideas they personally loved.
Your marketing will almost always benefit from hearing out the ideas of others. That’s why all lawyers and their trusted staff members would be wise to join in on our “Let’s Talk Legal Marketing” discussion groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.
In our groups you’ll find daily conversations focusing on a variety of marketing issues that attorneys are facing right now, and feedback from experienced lawyers and legal marketing professionals. You can even pose your own marketing questions or ideas to the group, and get immediate guidance.