You’ve worked hard this year, and we know many of you are excited to finally escape the office and enjoy some well deserved time off. We also know that the last thing you want to think about right now is coming back to work in January. But unfortunately, holiday vacations don’t last forever, and when it is finally time for you to return to your office, you’ll want to make sure your firm is ready to succeed in the new year.
If you’re fortunate enough to have some dead time during the first half of December, check out the five below marketing tips for lawyers, and learn how to make the most out of these next few weeks. Your future self will thank you later.
1- Let People Get To Know You And Your Firm
Reaching out for legal help can be an intimidating process for a consumer, as they are essentially placing their future in the hands of a person they don’t really know. This is why for lawyers, humanizing your practice needs to be a top goal. The more you are able to showcase your personality, and display that you are not just knowledgeable, but welcoming and caring, the more likely you’ll be to win over a new client. This can often be achieved sharing personal stories through blogs or video posts, or sharing behind the scenes images of your firm on social media.
Some law firms may struggle throughout the year to provide an inside look at the things going on their law office, as they practice a type of law that generally isn’t all that exciting or are made up of lawyers that tend to be a bit more on the introverted side. Fortunately for these practices, the holidays provide several great opportunities to engage online audiences.
One of the most obvious things law firms can and should be doing is showing off their charitable side. Let the world know what causes are really important to you. Share stories on why a certain cause is important to you, and share images of you and your staff taking part in charity functions. As simple as it may sound, consumers want to know that their lawyer is a good person, so give back and share as much as possible.
Another easy way to make your practice more approachable is by sharing images from your firm’s holiday events. Don’t be afraid to share pictures of your employees and their families having a great time at your annual holiday party. Include as many shots of babies and dogs as possible! Who cares if it’s a bit shameless? It will make people “aww” and like you more.
The end of the calendar year also provides a great excuse to share some big picture thoughts, either in written or video form. Tell the world about what your firm accomplished this year. Be sure to focus on what you were able to achieve for your clients, and the personal connections you made with certain individuals. Let everyone know why you love the work that you do, and see firsthand how passionate you are about being a lawyer.
2- Set Goals For Q1, And Take Steps Towards Achieving Them
What marketing goals will your firm start working towards on January 1st? If you are somewhat unsure, or haven’t even begun to think about what you want to achieve in the new year, you could be setting your firm up for a disappointing Q1. You don’t need to have every single aspect of your future marketing plans figured out before shutting down your office for the end of the year, but entering January with at least some sense of direction is a must!
When going through the process of setting marketing goals, be sure to talk to as many people as possible. Your staff can serve as an invaluable sounding board for your marketing ideas, and should have plenty of thoughts on how you can go about achieving certain goals. Talking to attorneys from other firms to see what they have planned for the new year can also be a helpful exercise, as it may make your realize you are neglecting something important or wasting your time on the wrong aspirations.
Once you have decided what you want to achieve in the new year, you can begin to brainstorm ways to go about chasing new goals, and start taking baby steps towards accomplishing them. For example, if you want to network with other attorneys more in the new year, an easy step you can take is joining a legal marketing related Facebook group or putting together a list of legal conferences you’d like to attend.
Achieving your marketing goals will involve a lot of hard work, and you can save most of the heavy lifting for January. But, any small efforts you put forth now can make your return to work post-holidays seem a lot less daunting and stressful.
3- Plan Out Future Content
You’ve probably been told before that it is important that your firm produces original content. You’ve likely been informed on statistics such as companies with blogs produce 67% more leads per month than those who don’t, or heard stories about lawyers transforming their firms for the better through video creation. So what’s stopping you from creating a bunch of new content for your firm in the new year?
Many lawyers will use a lack of time as an excuse for their practice failing to create new content. But, all attorneys are busy, and many still find the time to consistently generate new blog posts, vlogs, eBooks and podcasts. So what’s the biggest difference between firms that are successful with content creation, and those that falter with it? Often it comes down to a willingness to strategize and plan ahead.
If December is a light time for your firm, take advantage and start planning out and even developing the content you want to release in January. Determine which content platforms you want your firm to be present on in the new year, and how much new content you can realistically produce each month. Then start discussing with your staff and peers which content topics are worth tackling. If you are unsure where to begin with coming up with topics, we recommend following this advice shared to us by professional legal content writer Leah Presser. The below advice specifically relates to blogging, but really applies to any content platform.
“For most law firm blogs, there’s only one thing lawyers should consider when choosing a topic for a blog post: Are my potential clients interested in this?,” Presser said. “The questions, concerns, needs, problems, fears, and interests of your clients are all that matter. Any topic you write about must be relevant to them. Clients and prospects probably ask you questions every day. Write them down. Those are your blog topics. You may personally be interested in writing about many subjects. But readers only care about topics that affect their businesses and lives.”
Once you have an idea of what you want your firm’s content to be about, begin thinking about how you’ll execute your ideas in the new year. If you plan on creating content yourself, start mapping out time in your January schedule where you can blog, vlog, or podcast. If you know you can’t do it all on your own, start considering who you’ll reach out to for help in the new year. There are a lot of different ways to do content marketing right, but failing to plan ahead is a surefire way to do it wrong.
4- Make Sure New Lead Opportunities Aren’t Being Neglected
While a lot of businesses out there can get away with completely shutting down during the holiday season, most law firms cannot. As we’ve said on this blog many times before, legal trouble doesn’t take the holiday off. New client opportunities are always popping up for attorneys, and it is important to make sure your firm isn’t missing out on them while you’re out of office.
In the 2019 Clio Legal Trends Report, 42% of legal consumers that were surveyed said if they like the first lawyer they speak with they won’t need to speak with any others. This statistic is a strong reminder of how important it is for law firms to always be answering their calls with a live voice. A new client could be reaching out to your firm at literally anytime, and their business can be lost to a competitor in an instant if you don’t have a live person ready to help address their needs.
So what can lawyers do to ensure they don’t miss out on new lead opportunities during the holiday break? Well answering calls yourself during your time off is one option, but it’s certainly not an appealing one. The smarter choice would be to sign up with a 24/7 phone answering service like Answering Legal. During your holiday vacation, you can have all of your office’s incoming calls directed to our team of receptionists, who have all been extensively trained on fielding legal calls, performing new client intakes, and forwarding calls.
For a full breakdown of how valuable a service like Answering Legal can be during the holiday season, we recommend checking out this blog post.
5- Contact Previous Clients
Does your firm plan on reaching out to its former clients this month with a holiday greeting? We know it may seem like a waste of time, as these people aren’t paying you anymore, but contacting an old client could end up paying off big time for your practice in the new year.
Staying top of mind with those who have used your firm in the past could result in them wanting to hire you again the next time they run into legal trouble. It also may lead to your former clients referring their family and friends to you at some point in the new year. Digital marketing is extremely challenging these days, so anything you can do to increase referral business is a must!
The holiday season presents a great opportunity to reach out to your former clients without seeming desperate or hungry for a pay day. You can simply wish the person happy holidays, and remind them that you’re always available to help if they run into legal trouble in the new year. At minimum your law office should be sending out emails to former clients, and if you really want to strum up referral business for the new year, send out a holiday card or make a personal phone call.