What happened to your law firm marketing ideas last year? Were they quickly abandoned because you got caught up in the day to day issues involved in running your law firm? At the end of the year did you feel exhausted? Doing all the things you need to do, to properly deal with clients’ issues and meet deadlines can take its toll over the course of the year. Did you wonder if there was an easier way to earn a living in your law firm? For many practitioners the answer is a simple but emphatic: ‘Hell Yeah!’

Sculpt the law firm you want

Do you remember what it was like when you started your law firm? Your law firm marketing ideas consisted of basically doing everything and you looked after everyone who walked in the door. You had so few clients it didn’t really matter how long you spend on each matter.

Fast forward to now. Is your firm still acting for anyone who walks in the door? If so that could partly explain why you were exhausted at the end of the year. Ask yourself if you are acting for the right people. It can be telling if a large number of your clients are unable to pay your fees in a timely fashion. If they are troublemakers it can make work miserable – for you and the staff. So ask yourself: Am I acting for the right clients?

The point is that you can control the people you attract, the type of work you do and the fees you charge. If you can get the phone ringing and generate more leads, you can be more selective.

Is it time to rethink your strategy?

Often there is a backdrop to these issues. If a lawyer starts to be more particular about the clients he represents or the work he does, he narrows his opportunities. The lawyer however, can’t have it both ways. Either a change is made to the way the firm gets its work or the lawyer needs to stop complaining about how exhausted he is come year end, or how bad the clients are, or why the work is all rubbish. The best way of dealing with these issues is to get more work of the sort you want.

You need to sculpt the firm you want by seeking that specific work. You want to appeal to the clients you want to represent. How do you do that? You use smart marketing ideas, law firm marketing ideas that will deliver that work and appeal to those people.

It seems to me that some lawyers think that because they are busy with the running of their firm, if they just throw some money at advertising that will do. It won’t and you shouldn’t – at least not until you have the basics of a sustainable marketing strategy in place.

The things I will outline below are easy to start, smarter than advertising, can be implemented incrementally and will set your law firm up for all of your future marketing.

The key thing is to get the basics right and to control your own your marketing assets – this includes:

Website

If you don’t have a website you need to get one as it should be your #1 marketing asset. Marketing is conducted online and you need a home base that represents your law firm to the world the way you want to be represented.

If you do have a website you need to make it better – a website is not a set and forget marketing tool. You can always make the content better and improve your SEO.

Marketing Database

All law firms should have a marketing database where client and referrer contact details are stored and which is accessible for marketing purposes.

At a minimum the database should include – First Name, Last Name and Email address.

If you become more sophisticated you can include phone numbers and even record communication and interactions with clients, referrers and prospect – but let’s stick with the basics for now.

Client Communication

Law firm marketing should start with communicating with clients and referrers as 80% of new work will come from existing contacts. An e-newsletter is a great way to communicate with clients and referrers on a regular basis to provide valuable informative content and to drive traffic to your website.

Content Creation

Law firms need content – better, valuable, informative content for their website, law firm newsletter and social media. It needs to provide value to the reader and be written in a style that demystifies the law. You either need to create it yourself or outsource the creation.

Social Media

Since most of your clients, referrers and prospective clients will be on social media platforms lawyers and law firms need a presence on social media, you need to establish social media profiles on the platforms that are being used by their clients or potential clients and referrers.

SEO

Organic search and appearing as high up in search results as you can is important and all law firms should have a basic understanding of, and should implement, at least basic SEO on their website. The New Year is a perfect time to start.

Get Started

This might seem daunting but you don’t need to do everything at once. There are two good reasons why this is a good time to start. First, you have time to get some ‘back-end’ work done in preparation, because everyone in the office put in such a big effort to get so much work done before Christmas, there are not so many deadlines or expectant clients. People are still away. Now you have time to do other tasks – like thinking about your law firm. So the timing is perfect if you need to get some marketing jobs done.

The other reason is that at this time of year there will be many people looking for legal help. That is people who refer work to you, your friends, your existing clients and their friends. If you commit to implementing at least some of these recommendations your marketing plan will be off to a great start to the year and will set your law firm up for future marketing.

Want to know more?

Now is a perfect time to start and getting started is a smart strategy to employ. If you need any tips or help let me know, we only work with law firms and we create and manage these marketing assets for law firms all around the country. Call or email me if you want to know any more tips or how to get your new strategy moving. Time is ticking…

About the author

Peter Heazlewood

Peter Heazlewood

Peter Heazlewood is a management and marketing consultant, he specialises in helping law firms develop their practices using business planning marketing and performance reporting techniques refined in his own successful law firm. Peter lives in Sydney with his wife and is the father of five adult children.