The legal services industry is, unfortunately, a place where only specialization seems to set one firm apart from another. Sure, you could advertise more to drown out other firms, but it doesn’t take much to become overpowering and, well, pushy. What else could a firm do to promote itself, without spending all that money (and risking a drop in credibility)?
Showing the personality and culture of your firm easily sets you apart, while boosting your visibility. After all, the firm still consists of people; people with unique stories, interests, and experiences. Sharing these may seem like something unique to tech startups founded by twenty-somethings, but it certainly doesn’t have to be. In fact, it works with almost every professional service firm. Making your firm more visible does not only mean advertising. Making things simpler for your clients is a key aspect. If you are familiar with Florida fraud offenses and how to fight them, say it! If you have skilled divorce lawyers, spread the word!
So how to do you go about this, while maintaining professionalism, and minimizing unbillable hours?
1. Focus on your strengths. What has drawn your past and current clients to you? If it was word-of-mouth, learn what those words were (easy to work with, sympathetic, offered peace-of-mind), and leverage them. If that’s what has sent you clients before, accentuate those qualities to bring in more.
2. Build it into everything your target client sees. The language of your website, the style of your business card, and the way you dress should convey the type of culture and personality of the firm. Don’t feel boxed into “how things have always been done”. The client experience, and creating a firm that clients want to work with, is becoming more of a deciding factor than being a firm that clients feel they have to work with.
3. Make it a part of your content strategy. Content strategy is the planning and execution of delivering content across a range of channels, including editorials, press releases, blog posts and social media. At first glance, law firms don’t have much to share in the way of the day-to-day. But dig a little deeper. Did a partner participate in a community event recently? Did the firm do something to celebrate an associate’s birthday? These small, seemingly un-marketing things go a long way in showing that you’re human, and will be enjoyable to work with.
4. Listen for feedback. If your firm is using social media, keep an eye on what gets a positive response. That feedback will tell you what they enjoy seeing about your firm.
Finally, I want to note that none of this is intended to preclude or devalue demonstrated expertise. Showing thought leadership is still of immense value. Be sure to incorporate news of recent or upcoming seminars, bylined articles, or community involvement, to make your firm’s expertise loud and clear. Solid law firm marketing lies in showing both the experts, and the culture that nourishes them.