Law Firm Marketing
   

The Internet is probably the greatest marketing tool in
human history. It can help you spread your message almost instantly to
anyone with an Internet connection anywhere in the world. Unfortunately,
most lawyers are actually scared to use it.


Yes, you heard that right. Whether they don´t want to run
afoul of the marketing rules or they don´t want to come across as slimy
sales people, most lawyers actually fear marketing.


Lawyers feel more comfortable practicing law than marketing.  Rather than step
outside their comfort zone, most lawyers stick with the status quo
"doing what the competition is doing and they don´t know what they´re
doing either."


What does this lead to?  Bad attorney marketing.


The focus is now on online marketing.
You know that attorneys need to keep up with technology and marketing
trends. You know that lawyers need to dive in to Internet marketing with
both feet to stay competitive with their peers and the new online legal
service providers. You know there is nothing to fear.


1.  Lawyers need to embrace social media.


Today, the majority of business connections are being made
on-line.  Everyone´s hanging out there, engaged in a giant virtual
conversation about everything and anything, including your future
clients.


If you aren´t there to engage and make the connection, someone else will.  So where do you go?


Social media sites like facebook, twitter, and LinkedIn
offer free, easy-to-use platforms for your law practice to connect with
potential clients.  Many lawyers are also using blogs to educate clients
and other lawyers about their legal niche.


Use social media the right way:



  • Amplifies your message;



  • Enables you to reach a much larger audience than traditional marketing methods; and



  • Allows you to grow that audience quickly and easily.




2.  You don´t have to use everything, but you need to choose something.


Most attorneys are quickly overwhelmed when they start to
look at all of their social media options.  The good news is you don´t
have use every platform to be effective.  In fact, not every social
media platform is right for you, so it´s important to be selective.


How do you determine which platform(s) work best?  You need to:



  • Identify your target audience;



  • Find out where they hang out on-line;



  • Determine how much time and money you want to spend; and



  • Know why you´re going to invest.




Attorneys must be intentional and strategic.  You need to understand what you hope to accomplish through
social media use and create a plan to accomplish those goals.


If you choose only one social media platform, we  recommend LinkedIn.
 Why?  LinkedIn is aimed at connecting professionals like you with other
professionals.  If everyone is there for the same purpose, you don´t
have to be afraid of coming across as too salesy.


3.  Have a message.


Once you´ve decided on a platform, you have to decide what
you are going to say.  You have to be intentional about what you will
and won´t talk about. "Don´t blog crap."


Nobody wants to hear you rattle on about yourself and the
law.  Only talk about things that are relevant to your target audience.
 As one panelist put it, lawyers should always write about the same 1 or
2 topics.  Consistently writing about a specific area of the law gives
you the opportunity to become an expert on that topic, increasing your
reputation.


In order to focus your message, you need to know who your
ideal client is.  The most important thing you can do on social media is
continually answer the questions that your prospective clients are
asking.


4.  Be a real person.


Lawyers often think that they´re hired because of their
expertise in a particular area of the law.  Unless you truly are the go
to attorney in a niche practice area, this isn´t necessarily true.


People hire lawyers they know, like, and trust.  Expertise is secondary when making legal hiring
decisions.


To improve your chances of being known, liked and trusted
online, be authentic.  Show your personality.  Have an opinion.  Don´t
be shy.  Don´t be boring.


Also, actively engage with your audience.  Social media
allows you to connect with potential clients and referral sources.  So
talk to them.  Answer their questions.  Be helpful.


 5.  Be consistent and timely.


Building real relationships take time whether their
in-person or online, so it´s important that you are willing to invest
the time.


Your audience expects that you will be active, focused, and
timely.   This means blogging, tweeting, and posting updates on a
regular basis.  You can´t wait to answer their questions.  It looks like
you don´t care when your accounts go stale for too long.


I know what you´re thinking.  How much time is this going
to take?  Well, I´m not going to lie.  You will have to take time out of
your busy schedule to make this happen.  How much time depends on how
much you decide to do.


If this seems too overwhelming, create a marketing calendar
and schedule your social media activities just like you would schedule
your appointments.   Perhaps use tools like Hoot Suite  or Tweet Deck to manage
multiple platforms from one place.


6.  Look at the Data.


You need to consider data analytics and measuring your return on your investment in social media.  

You need to measure and track your progress on social media so that you see if it´s
working.  If you know that one particular platform isn´t resulting in
clients, you can adjust your efforts. Once you know what´s working, you
can spend accordingly.


7.  Be mobile.


The number of people accessing social media and the
Internet from smart phones and tablet computers is increasing
exponentially.  You need to make sure that your message is available on
these devices.


This means have a mobile-friendly website that´s easy to view and use from a mobile device.


And speaking of websites...


8.  Make your website the center of your on-line world.


Too many lawyers treat their websites as online brochures
and fill them with "interesting facts" about the firm alongside pictures
of courthouses and gavels.  Static and boring, these websites say more
about the attorney than the client.  If this sounds like your website,
you´ve got it all wrong.


 "You need to wow your audience with visitor-focused content."  What does that mean?  Talk
about the clients issues, not the attorney.   As he so aptly put it, "don´t ‘we´ on them."


Potential clients aren´t looking for you.  They´re looking
for a solution to their legal problem, so make your website about them.


Start with good design.  Stay away from boring and cliché.
 No blacks, grays, and browns.  And please, no more pictures of gavels,
the scales of justice, or courthouses.


Strongly consider using video.  While it may be expensive
to hire a professional videographer, you get a lot of bang for your
buck.  YouTube is the #2 search engine behind Google.  60% of web
traffic today is video and it is estimated to increase to 95% in the
next 10 years.  According to TV Productions,
lawyer videos should be short, high quality, and client-focused.


Add the right messaging.  Clients are stressed and they
want answers to their legal questions.  Tell them how you can solve
their legal problems.


Make your website the hub of everything you do online.  All
your online activity should feed into your website.  That means
visitors can see your twitter feed, read your blog, connect with you on
LinkedIn and Facebook all from your website.


 


Of course all of this is easier said than done.  For some
of us finding the time is the issue.  For others, it´s the money.  But
the truth is there are low-cost and easy to implement and maintain
options.  You just need to find what works for you.


You can learn to be a great online marketer.  You just need
to get over the fear of the unknown.  Stop with the bad excuses and get
started.



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