How do you market a law firm during a pandemic? Practical lockdown marketing tips for lawyers and law firms
Necessity is the mother of invention. That’s probably a phrase you’ve heard a million times but over the last couple of weeks, it’s suddenly come into very sharp focus. The need to keep filling our pipelines and create new fee earning opportunities hasn’t disappeared but the option to meet face-to-face or attend events has which means we’ve all had to learn some other ways to market ...
… and put those new ideas into practice fast!
The news is awash with horror stories about just how hard the legal industry will be hit once things start getting back to whatever normal will become, about the potential job losses and the lack of any new work in certain practice areas. However, do those authors actually know all that for sure? And just because it’s a possibility, does that mean you can afford to throw the towel in and wait for the inevitable?
Of course not!
To give your practice the very best chance of survival you will need to adapt your approach to marketing and business development so it transcends the current restrictions and gets you into those hard to reach targets most likely to provide the new opportunities you’ll need to stay in business.
Here are some tips we hope will help you make those changes:
1. Tailor your approach
This is not the time for mass marketing. Your content marketing plan will take care of the search engines and social media. As a lawyer this is the time for targeted business development.
- Who are your targets?
- What are their specific issues?
- What do they need to know?
- What is the best way to get that information to them?
- How do you turn your info-philanthropy into a telephone conversation?
- How do you use what you learn on that call to create new opportunities with that person?
- How do you use what you learn on that call to engage with similar targets?
Good business development is a process and these are the steps you need to take to turn a name into an opportunity. More than ever people need to know you understand them and are willing to invest your time to help them so this is a process you have to follow if you are going to stand a chance of rebuilding your pipeline.
2. Review your website
With people working home, online traffic levels has exploded. People are using the internet to find the answers and new ideas they’ll need to protect their businesses and their families. This means the need for a simple, stylish, responsive and fully optimised website has never been greater. It is now your shop window, your office, and your brand ambassador.
As we do have a little more time at the moment, this is the perfect opportunity to review your website and make the changes that will allow you to make a stronger first impression online. We’d suggest the following checklist when you do your review:
Is it easy to navigate around your website and find what you need to quickly and easily?
Have you double-checked how your clients use your site? What do they want to see? What do they want to find? Can they find it?
Is your site 100% responsive to satisfy the 70% of users who now access websites on their phone?
Is your content relevant and up to date?
Are your team sheets (and their contact details) correct?
Are all of your social media links visible and working?
Is the overall look and feel contemporary or are you looking a bit tired and/or outdated?
3. Your clients are your future
More than ever you need to engender client loyalty and that means delivering the highest possible levels of service.
This can be tricky given we’re working remotely so you need to design processes to handle calls, answer emails, provide access to fee earners and – given many of your staff could currently be furloughed – have the right back-ups in place (and make sure people know what they are and who’s involved).
If you’re using video conferencing, be consistent. Use the same platform every time to make it as easy as possible for colleagues and clients to see you and talk to you. And test all of your kit and all of your new processes to make sure they work.
Then test them again!
I’d also suggest there is no better time to get in the habit of under-promising and over-delivering. Set modest deadlines but impress your clients by smashing them. Be on hand to provide the odd bit of advice ‘off the clock’ as a value-add. Think about the questions you’re being asked and offer webinars, Q&As and virtual panel discussions to answer them.
Most of all - empathise. Your clients are all at sea. They don’t know what’s coming next or what the next quarter is going to look like let alone where they and their businesses are going to be a year from now. Put yourself in their position, understand what they need from you, and design your communications and your service delivery around those conclusions.
4. Experiment with your content
Content is more vital than ever but while that means it’s the right thing for you to do, it also means you can’t afford to simply replicate what every other firm is doing.
The reason content marketing is so crucial to a law firm’s marketing strategy is that it supports so many other parts of your plan. Written and optimised correctly it will generate leads and boost your profile. It’ll give you what you need for your social media updates. It’ll direct new traffic to your website.
And most importantly, it gives you a really easy stay to stay in touch with your clients and contacts.
The first thing you need to do is choose your topics. That doesn’t mean copying and pasting from the BBC news site and adding a legal twist, it means thinking about your clients and what they specifically need to know so that your content meets Tenandahalf’s RSVP standard:
It’s RELEVANT to your audience and addresses their information requirements.
It’s STRATEGIC in that it will allow them to make the critical decisions they’ll need to make to plan effectively for an uncertain future.
It’s VALUABLE in terms of telling them something they didn’t know, something they can use to their benefit commercially or personally.
It’s PRACTICAL which means it needs to lean heavily on what you need to do rather than why you need to do it.
The second step is to start mixing up your approach by introducing special reports, white papers, ‘how to’ guides, listicles and other formats so that you appeal to everyone’s reading and stylistic preferences.
But it’s not just the ‘flat’ formats you should be experimenting with. If you are going to stand out from the crowd you’ll need to try new media too.
Video is hugely effective at the moment (a topic we covered in a recent CoffeeCast) and every set of figures being produced shows categorially that people are much more likely to engage with video content. As a lawyer there are a number of ways you could be using video:
You can provide an explanation of a recent or temporary piece of legislation or a new government initiative
You can introduce new products or service lines
You can reinforce the fact you’re still open for business
You can give ‘what you need to do’ webinars and tutorials
You can set out the processes and procedures required to tackle specific legal issues
You can answer client questions
Or you can just reinforce your brand and your values in a more entertaining way (which will also mark you out from your more staid and traditional competitors)
Or if video isn’t your thing, why not re-present your blogs and articles as podcasts? This is another hugely popular medium at the moment and with that little bit more time on our hands, listening figures are climbing steadily so why not ride the wave?
We trust this article has given you some (relevant, strategic, valuable, and practical) ideas that will help you make sure your practice remains visible and positioned for any new opportunities. But, if you’d like to discuss your plan in more detail, we are offering firms a free 45-minute review session (by phone or video). If you’d like to book a session please email us today.