How Different Is It to Market a Law Firm From Any Other Business or Service?
Award-winning attorney Omar Ochoa explains the complexities of identifying the right target audience and ensuring that they become your clients.
Every business must market its product or service to survive. For lawyers, this presents an interesting challenge. While there are a lot of similarities to how you would market any other service, marketing a law firm requires you to earn the trust of a potential client in addition to merely earning their interest. As a result, your marketing needs to focus on establishing yourself as an authority in your specific field of practice.
Grab your audience’s attention
In any industry, and across every marketing medium, the most important thing a business can do is to capture the attention of potential customers. If you aren’t able to get your target audience’s attention with your marketing materials, they won’t convert into paying customers. The entire purpose of marketing is to convey a message to an audience with a call for them to act. If your marketing isn’t worthy of their attention, you’re wasting your money.
However, lawyers must remember that what they are marketing is not the same as any product or service. You are dealing with something very important. You aren’t selling something that is leisure or luxury to your clients — often, your services can be the difference between life and death for your client, sometimes quite literally. Losing track of the biggest mistake you can make while creating a marketing strategy for your firm.
Understand the power of a catchphrase
One of the most potent tools lawyers can use to create a memorable marketing campaign is a catchphrase. A creative catchphrase or slogan, when used properly, can be something that sticks with your audience and effectively communicates your message. In fact, some of the most memorable slogans from any industry are those for lawyers and law firms, so make sure you use this tool to your advantage, rather than letting the competition use it against you.
For example, the catchphrase for Omar Ochoa Law Firm is “Skill, Experience & the Will to Win.” A great slogan should be short and snappy, and convey its message concisely; ours exemplifies all these qualities. It shows that we have what it takes to powerfully handle any case or challenge that might come our way.
Another thing that lawyers can use to ensure that the audience remembers their marketing is strong advice. Many lawyers use blog posts giving vague legal explanations on their websites to bring in clients, but giving a unique and particularly useful piece of advice can make your firm stand out from competitors. If you prove that you know what you’re doing, a prospective client is more likely to trust you and hire you for your services.
Market to your target audience
To effectively grab your audience’s attention, you must first identify what the target audience is. Different strategies will work for different people based on their demographic information, and two people with entirely different backgrounds are likely to respond best to different forms of marketing.
In order to identify who your target audience is, try comprising a list of data points including:
- Age ranges;
- Racial/ethnic backgrounds; and
- Pain points (and how they fit your particular legal niche).
Your strategy will ultimately vary quite widely depending on who you are targeting with your marketing. Digital marketing will be most effective with millennials and younger audiences, while older audiences will be more responsive to more traditional forms of marketing like television, print, and billboards. If you’re looking to convey your messaging to a broader audience, your best bet is to form a strategy that includes a bit of variety of these marketing methods.
Be descriptive and specific
When marketing your law firm on your website, you must be descriptive about your services. If you are a civil firm, you don’t want to attract prospective clients for criminal cases — those clients will obviously not want to hire you. Additionally, if you’re vague and only talk about legal services without emphasizing your niche or specialty areas, it’s unlikely that prospective clients will trust you enough to let you take on their case.
Emphasizing free consultations isn’t the tool it used to be. In today’s world, every law firm is offering free initial consultations for potential clients. It has become necessary to have the first meeting with no obligation to hire so that those prospects can test the waters and decide whetheryou are the right person to handle their case. You need to highlight what makes your firm stand out as more trustworthy than the other firms they can choose from.
Be open to change
As lawyers, we are rarely masterful marketers. Even so, you shouldn’t be afraid to change your marketing strategy when you encounter challenges. In terms of conversions from prospective clients to paying clients, you should aim for a rate of around 10%. If your conversion rate is below that, something likely isn’t working about your marketing strategy. If barely anyone who finds you online ends up hiring you, this should raise a flag that there is a disparity between what prospective clients expect from your law firm and what you offer.
Like any form of marketing, a great deal of your success will come down to how much you test your marketing materials. It’s always a good idea to check your slogans and copy to see whether your target audience is reactive to your ideas or not. In any case, ask for feedback, be receptive to that input, and implement it.
The great thing about digital marketing is that making rapid shifts in your strategy is typically much easier to manage. If you see that something about your website needs to change or that a campaign you have started isn’t working, it’s quicker and cheaper to pivot in digital marketing than it is to change a billboard that has already been put up, or to film and distribute a new television commercial.
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Marketing your law firm is an important part of getting new clients, but to do so effectively, you must find the right balance between being catchy and meaningful. If your marketing strategy is forgettable, few will be able to remember your name. If you don’t show yourself as being an expert worthy of their trust, your initial consultations likely won’t see many of those prospects convert into paying clients who hire you. Marketing in law, much like practicing it, is all about being truthful, transparent, and memorable.