Effectively marketing for your solo or small firm requires that you have a well-defined niche market, know your potential clients, understand where to find them, and have a consistent marketing plan.
A well-defined niche market is a focused, targetable portion of a market. It is a practice aimed at a narrowly defined group of potential customers with specific needs. A law firm focusing on a niche market is addressing a need that may not be satisfied by mainstream providers.
Once you have your practice area, you can identify potential clients by demographics such as age, location, gender, socioeconomic factors, or by industry. Then the questions are, where are they and how can you reach them?
Marketing for lawyers breaks down into two basic methods.
- Networking events
- Referrals from lawyers
- Referral partners (ex: doctors for PI)
- Previous satisfied clients
- Firm website
- Email newsletters
- Legal directories such as the SBM Member Directory
- Social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter
- Articles, blogs, and other content
Offline Methods Require In-Person Networking
Lawyers are social beings. Meeting people face to face and sharing experiences, ideas, and interests is a valuable opportunity to keep your name and practice a step ahead. Meeting in person lets your online acquaintances put a face and personality to the name they see on a blog, email, or website, and helps build trust while creating positive rapport for future discussions.
Some people are naturals at these events, but others may need help. People like to talk about themselves; questions such as, "Is this your first time here?" can help start conversation.
Online Methods are for Those Who Like to Write and Connect Remotely With Others
What you post on your blog and website centers on informing readers who could become clients. Good editorial skills and an instinct for how the reader will consume content is key. Writers must create consistent and timely content. If you have an intuitive mind that doesn’t need extra time to write, offline methods may work best for you.
If you believe you can best reach your potential client with face-to-face networking, concentrate on offline marketing methods while realizing you still need an online presence. If your clients are mostly online, such as millennials who primarily turn to electronic communication first, you will need to use your writing skills more consistently.
Knowing which marketing method works best for you and reaches potential clients is the answer to a creating a program that sustains a successful legal practice.
After years practicing law, Roberta Gubbins served as editor of the Ingham County Legal News. Since leaving the paper, she provides writing services to lawyers ghostwriting content for websites, blogs, and articles. She is editor of The Mentor, the SBM Master Lawyers Section newsletter.
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