Inbound marketing is designed to draw prospective law firm clients to you. The idea is to turn searchers for information and services into observers, observers into clients, and clients into fans! These techniques are about getting the ears (and eyes) of the clients you want to have – once you have that opportunity you’re going to need to make the engagement happen, but that’s not what we’re focusing on in this article.
In this article we will share 6 of the inbound marketing techniques every law firm should use!
For these marketing techniques to be considered cost effective they must be successful in increasing your firm’s visibility, reputation, or client leads! This article will discuss inbound marketing methods for targeting promising markets, building your law firm and attorney brand and generating and nurturing leads.
Specialization and Targeting Specific Niches
As they say, the “riches are in the niches.”
The firms that are consistently the fastest growing tend to have defined a niche – or area of specialization. This is not just about an area of practice specialization, but rather about a type of client or industry that you serve well (and can serve better than any other firm.
While it might seem counterintuitive not to be an all-encompassing Legal service provider – because you figure the more people in your potential client pool the more successful you can possibly be – but in specializing, or at least identifying a clear niche, the more you focus your marketing, and this ultimately will make your marketing efforts more cost effective, and even easier. It makes marketing easier because in defining the niche you are working in, you are defining what you do and are able to distinguish yourself from other law firms, and even other attorneys.
Now, if you are a very large firm, you may want to be full service, but for almost every small firm (even those with more than 20 attorneys) and solo legal practice, specialization (in this case we are talking about niche rather than legal practice area) is the basis of what distinguishes you – the marketing world calls this a competitive advantage.
The bottom line, is that you are much more likely to stand out from the crowd if you understand your particular market – the niche – better than anyone else. By intently marketing to one or two or perhaps three niches you can become the absolute best attorney (or law firm) for them. You are able to demonstrate clearly that you know what matters to them, the questions they need answered, and how they want to interact with attorneys and law firms. You are also able to be confident that you are speaking to the needs they have for your legal services.
Developing Status as an Authority in your area of practice
This isn’t always about making someone famous! Because that’s not the goal. What developing a reputation as an authority in your area of practice, and most significantly in your niche, does is to create another opportunity for client to seek you out. But you need a plan. We can help you with creating a communications strategy.
Consistently new content: Blogs and Articles
A blog is really a short-form article, and are a great way to help explain your expertise as an attorney, and the expertise of the firm, as well as your process and your approach to solving problems and getting positive outcomes for your clients. Writing blogs and articles is fundamentally about educating your clients about you, your approach, and the law. By offering value to readers, you can demonstrate your relevance to your niche, establish your qualifications as an expert, while building trust and rapport.
If you have a law firm website, and you have a blog as part of that website, you absolutely must publish new content on a consistent basis.
Whether you have a blog attached to your firm or not, blogging under your byline on other people’s websites are a great way of establishing your authority. But, this is not a short term or one-off commitment.
The main inbound marketing benefit of blogging is that it is a great way to organically increase the ROI of your firm website by increasing website visitors and page views. Search engines value updated websites – which includes consistently publishing new content. Of course, it is essential for your articles to undergo Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO describes a set of techniques and tactics to get your content noticed by search engines and in front of the audience you are trying to reach.
It is absolutely essential that you develop well-written (and valuable) legal content that is useful to your niche. Your target audience is who you are trying to connect with by means of written content.
A Website Designed to Connect Clients with Your Law Firm
Your website should not be a billboard. Instead, think of it as a way of connecting with potential clients even while you sleep. You want to make sure that you are interacting in a way that you would be proud of if it were happening in person.
Another way to describe this is: a lead-generating website.
Your firm website, or personally branded website, should be a representation of your firm identity and values. It is a way to have your message available 24/7. However, it isn’t just a means of broadcasting. A well designed and consistently updated website can be the hub of your online marketing and client communication execution.
In inbound marketing terms, your website should deliver an easy reading experience, quality design, and searchable content offered in a way that promotes conversion of visitors into leads (potential clients).
Serving Your Audience through Speaking or Teaching
Many attorneys we work with want to speak or teach – but they aren’t sure how it relates to building their legal practice. Speaking engagements can be an exceptionally good way of generating leads for both your legal practice and for collateral products.
Speaking can help build your authority as an expert, increase your brand awareness and build your reputation. The organizers of an event provide you with credibility by giving you a stage (often literally) on which to speak.
When the speaking engagement is the right fit, it will connect you directly with your target audience (so focus on your niche). So, it isn’t just about accepting invitations (or seeking out invitations) to speak anywhere or in front of anyone. For the best return on investment focus on opportunities to speak to your niche, or those who are trusted to recommend you to potential clients.
Most important of all: you need to have something important (and valuable) to say!
Using Social Media to Engage Observers, Clients, and Fans of your Law Firm
We recommend an approach which examines your niche, where your potential clients and clients spend time, and where they might seek out connection with an attorney or ask peers for recommendations. This is also about taking on a posture of service – you can provide general information about some legal topic without creating an attorney-client relationship.
Twitter and Facebook can be good platforms for developing brand awareness, but LinkedIn is absolutely a great platform for building B2B interactions. You can connect directly with decision makers, and keep abreast of what is happening in your niche.
Be careful putting all of your energy into one platform. Choose 2-3 to seek to build relationships. Remember that you need to be focused on building different channels to create opportunities – if for no other reason than you don’t want to be reliant on one platform. What if that platform disappeared?
To learn more about Anna Blanch Rabe & Associates and our content creation services for law firms, communications consulting for small law firms and solo attorneys, please contact us.