Law used to be a simpler pursuit. Lawyers were usually generalists, and handled whatever their local community needed. You could be helping resolve a business dispute one day, work on a real estate closing the next, and then show up in court the week after arguing a motion in that corporate client’s divorce proceedings. When the neighbour next door lost a relative, you were more than happy to help sort out their estate as well.
Save for some sole practitioners and small town lawyers left, those days are largely a thing of the past. Gone are the days of your practice being ‘the only game in town.’ Not only have more and more lawyers focused their practice into more niche sections of the bar, but those fields are growing with new graduates year after year.
So with an increasingly crowded legal landscape, how are lawyers supposed to build business while trying to simultaneously operate their practice? The answer is digital marketing.
Here are 5 things you need to know to get your online marketing off the ground:
Marketing matters. As a lawyer, you spend more time focusing on contracts and briefs than you do on blogs and newsletters, and that’s understandable. But unless your business is coming entirely from referrals, that online content will help you reach new audiences beyond your inner circle, and is the easiest way to help your business grow.
Think ‘client first’. Most of what you write in your practice, such as demand letters and pleadings, is written for other lawyers. Marketing materials though are the exact opposite. Other lawyers may read your blog and newsletters but don’t think of them as your target audience here. Focus on writing something your future client will be interested in reading. You don’t want to provide any legal advice on your website, but that doesn’t mean you can’t provide legal information and perspective. Helpful content will not only be appreciated by potential clients, but it also lets them know that you are the expert in your field.
It won’t break your bank. Most lawyers think advertising means spending millions on expensive TV or radio campaigns. Yet it doesn’t have to be that complicated! A great marketing agency can work within your budget to come up with a content plan that not only pays for itself, but makes you far more in the long term than you ever spent out of pocket.
Keep it simple. When you’re used to speaking with other counsel all day, it’s easy to forget that your clients don’t have the same background. Explaining something on a phone call is one thing, but anything you write for the public needs to be equally as clear. Explain complicated concepts, and avoid any unnecessary legal jargon. Also, don’t use cases just to show off how much you know. If you’re going to use case law, make sure you use it to tell a story so that the reader understands why that case is important and how it may help their situation.
OUTSOURCE IT! Practising law is a full time job and then some, and marketing is something that quickly gets pushed to the back burner. It shouldn’t, and it doesn’t need to be! Let a professional handle your content writing so that you can focus on the billable work. The price you’ll pay for a single blog is likely a fraction of what you’ll bill in the hours it would take to write it yourself. When you run the numbers, as you do frequently in your practice, hiring a writer is really a no-brainer.
When I left practice, I realized that as much as I loved helping clients, my skills were far better suited towards helping other lawyers. Not all lawyers love writing, and even those who do barely have the time to do it. That’s why I started a digital marketing agency to help solo and small firm lawyers build business.
If you’re tired of moving your latest blog to the bottom of your to-do list (or aren’t even sure how to start writing one), contact me today to set up a free consultation. We’ll go through where you’re at currently, what you’re looking to achieve, and how we can work together to exceed your expectations.