Most lawyers hate having to market themselves and their firm. Reasons range from “It’s hard,” to “It’s unprofessional,” to “I just don’t have the time,” but the bottom line is that some amount of legal marketing is necessary. Word of mouth is valuable, but it will only get you so far. Once you’ve accepted that truth, there’s another to consider: “Marketing” isn’t synonymous with “Sleaze.” There are tasteful, effective ways of marketing your firm that, if done right, don’t even come across as marketing. Here are a few of those methods.
Get active in your local bar association.
You’ll meet fellow lawyers in your field of practice, allowing you to build a network of colleagues—and potentially leading to valuable referrals. In addition, you’ll find it easier to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and practices. Consider becoming an officer of some kind in the organization; the additional publicity might generate some additional leads, and at a minimum, you’ll be giving potential clients one more reason to trust you.
Submit legal articles to professional publications.
This is another way of getting your name (and that of your firm) out in front of fellow professionals. While it’s unlikely that you will generate any leads from written articles—although you may generate referrals—it’s entirely possible that prospective clients who are considering hiring you may run across your articles while Googling you: a result that can only help seal the deal.
Support your local community.
Charity work is an easy way to build a bridge between your firm and your community. Your firm will receive increased name recognition, and you never know when you might meet a potential client. In addition, studies show that employees of companies that are active in local charities are happier at their jobs than those whose employers are not. In other words, in addition to getting your name out there, your professional staff will benefit.
Capitalize on your successes.
Ask your clients to go on the record with testimonials. Yes, prospective clients want to hear from the lawyers running the firm, but a powerful, relevant testimonial from someone who has been in their shoes can have a huge impact. Consider systematizing the process so that all clients are given the opportunity to submit written feedback about their experience with your firm. You can use excerpts on your website and on your marketing materials, and you should also consider asking clients if they’d be willing to allow you to use their image or even shoot a testimonial video for your law firm. The more details you’re able to provide about past clients, the more helpful the testimonials will be.
Establish your web presence.
In this day and age, maintaining a solid web presence is a necessity: not only in terms of having an informative website, but also being listed in online directories, having some online professional or social networking presence, and in optimizing search engine results so that your firm shows up on Internet searches. Most of these tools require hiring a professional, but even if you are a solo practitioner, there are ways to improve your online legal marketing on your own.
Legal marketing doesn’t have to be all schmoozing, back-slapping and direct appeals for business. By proactively introducing your firm in a variety of different forums, you’ll elevate your brand and make it more likely that clients who need your services will be able to find you.