Every lawyer needs to know how to get more clients to keep the practice going year to year. But, with the turbulent times we have been through recently, you may be wondering what has changed and what remains the same. Simply, how will lawyers find new clients in 2022?
How Do Clients Find Their Lawyers?
Knowing how clients in your area find their lawyers is the foundation to better understand how you, as an attorney, can reach out to clients more effectively. Most clients find lawyers through referrals or by utilizing search engine optimization. While sending printed mailers to every address in your phone book may bring in some new clients, you will benefit more from doing a little research to learn exactly how your target market does their attorney shopping.
How to Get New Clients As a Lawyer
Getting new clients starts with understanding what really works for your practice so that you can dedicate the best resources to your marketing efforts.
How to Get New Clients for Your Law Firm
The same is true for a law firm. Law firms largely have to maintain similar consistent marketing efforts, such as a website and online reviews, that potential clients will see.
15 Steps to Get Clients As a Lawyer or Law Firm
The following 15 steps will help even the newest lawyer or law firm consistently get, and continue getting, new clients.
Step 1—Use SEO
Search engine marketing for legal services in a practice area is one way to explain how attorneys get clients. According to clio.com’s 2017 Legal Trends Report, 37% of clients use online search engines to find attorneys in their area.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is important to everything you do online. SEO refers to the ways in which websites or online reviews are linked to the keywords people use when they type their legal needs into a search engine.
If someone is looking for a business lawyer, that person may type any of the following keywords into the search bar:
- business lawyer near me
- how to find a business lawyer
- best business lawyers in Atlanta
Careful attention to SEO in your website and other online presence will help you to position yourself as one of the top results for relevant keywords across multiple search engines, including Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
Step 2—Embrace Referrals
When people set out to find a lawyer, they are usually facing frightening, potentially expensive, and complicated legal situations. They are worried and typically have only a limited understanding of what is happening or what might happen. They need guidance from someone they can trust. But, unless they have a lawyer in the family, it is very unlikely that they already know who to trust. This is where referrals come in. Most people trust their family and friends, so the first thing a person will do is ask those trusted people if they have used an attorney in the past and if they would recommend that attorney.
Another way to learn how to get clients for a law firm is through referrals. After conducting legal work, you might become the go-to lawyer for one client. That client will then be likely to share your name with others, giving you what is essentially free advertising. In fact, research shows that 62% of clients get a referral from someone they know and trust when hiring a new attorney.
Step 3—Build Business Profiles
New lawyers in particular need to provide actionable contact info to potential clients. One marketing option for your law firm or individual practice is an online business profile. In modern society, when a person is looking for a probate lawyer, for example, he or she will conduct a web search, resulting in a long list of local lawyers. The next step for the potential client is clicking on each of the names to study their business profiles.
If you don’t have a business profile or if your business profile only lists rudimentary information, such as the firm’s name and address, people will not trust it. They want more information before they reach out to you so they can minimize the number of questions they ask and have the highest level of trust established prior to the first meeting. For this reason, you want to include:
- the physical location;
- a website link;
- hours of operation;
- services provided;
- a phone number; and
- a link to set up a consultation (if applicable)
You can even encourage your previous clients to leave reviews across a multitude of websites like Google reviews or Yelp reviews or Trustpilot.
Step 4—Maintain a Website
Knowing how to get clients as a lawyer means understanding the power of a good website. Every business profile or SEO attempt should link directly back to your website. Your website is the face of your company. No longer do people walk through physical doors and wait to be greeted by a secretary who will set the tone for the rest of their interaction. Now, the first impression comes from a website.
There are so many facets to having a good website, especially for a law firm. Law firms tend to make the common mistake of trying to explain certain legal services but, in so doing, fill their websites with thousands of words for people to scroll through just to get to the part that interests them. People want to know what services you provide, how much those services will cost—even if it’s a percentage or general idea—and how long a case might take. They use this information to determine whether they should use you or someone else in their situation.
Also, those clients who can get benefits before they ask for legal advice are more likely to choose your service. It is a great idea to add some free and useful material with legal tips and guides. Every article should provide credible information and be empowered with legal citation to bring the most value to your potential clients. Thus, anyone reading the legal material can gain a thorough understanding of the topic discussed.
To create an official, professional backdrop, consider hiring a seasoned professional to design your websites and equally seasoned writers to provide succinct and relevant content for each page.
Step 5—Get Reviews
Of course, knowing how to get new clients for law firms also extends to online reviews. Going back to that business profile, another step is to get good online reviews. One way that you can cultivate online reviews and establish your rank compared to your competitors is to encourage your satisfied clients to leave reviews. There are many ways for law firms to request reviews, such as sending marketing emails with links to the different sites where a review might be posted or offering gift cards or discounts on legal services in exchange for leaving honest reviews.
Step 6—Consider Reputation Management
Knowing how to get more clients as a lawyer involves reputation management. Reputation management requires that you not only ask for reviews but also have someone dedicated to reviewing those reviews.
This sounds a bit ridiculous and trite, but when a client has a less-than-ideal experience and posts about it in any online forum, you need to be able to respond to that post so that potential clients can see your active engagement and know that you take every client’s complaints seriously.
Step 7—Be Present on Social Media
In addition to utilizing positive online reviews, a relevant website, and a detailed business profile, consider hiring a social media manager to connect to clients and potential clients through your social media accounts. A person who wants to learn more about your law firm might find a link to a Facebook page through your business profile and click to view that page. Subsequently, that potential client may initiate a quick chat and schedule a consultation.
Social media can be a great platform for people to post simple questions and get responses in real time. It’s also a place where clients can leave reviews and where you can communicate with them through your responses to both good and bad reviews.
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Step 8—Be a Thought Leader
Lawyers who focus on being thought leaders might use social media platforms like Facebook to conduct live videos or webinars to address questions that people send most commonly through Facebook Messenger or ask over the phone. These live videos can also be great opportunities to ask previous clients to leave reviews.
Step 9—Create Educational Content
Establish your law firm or individual practice as an authority in your field. The information on your website is important. When you create educational content and answer common questions that people have, using content like white papers, videos, and infographics for your website or your social media accounts, you provide value to your clients and potential clients.
Step 10—Recognize Word of Mouth
Referrals from previous clients are important, but word of mouth comes from all sources and remains one of the most important and useful ways of advertising. Even people who don’t use your services, those you hire to create your website or write scripts for your educational videos, will know you and are more likely to refer you to people they know.
Step 11—Use Legal Directories
Legal directories are another source people use to search for attorneys. People who conduct online searches but don’t know which of the top five Google results to choose might turn to a legal directory. So, it is in your best interest to join many, including professional organizations like Yelp, Super Lawyers, and Avvo.
Step 12—Make Videos
Make video content to establish yourself as an authority and share tailored information. Remember that anything you record, even on Facebook live, should be recorded and posted to YouTube. A company YouTube channel can give you the opportunity to make short videos that explain answers to complicated questions, such as when to use bed and board divorce in New Jersey or whether adopting parents are required to have home visits and why.
Websites like Google and Facebook allow you to run advertisements to reach a wider range of people. Also consider advertising opportunities on your local radio station or billboards.
Step 14 Network
To get more clients, work with other attorneys. Your connections might be attorneys from law school or in your law firm who handle a different set of clients in a different area of law. You can work together to share content and to enhance your practice’s organic growth.
Step 15—Personalize Notes or Cards
Sometimes it’s the simplest thing that can bring in new clients. A personal injury lawyer might have a business card or other personal note to share. Other attorneys might send cards to clients for holidays. These personal gestures, in addition to generally being thoughtful, can generate those referrals and reviews needed to get new clients.
Greet everyone you meet as though they are a potential client. Remember that someone you meet may not use your services directly, but they might have a child, a sibling, or even a parent in need of legal help. By personalizing your communication, you can let people know that you will be there for them when the time comes.
Overall, there are many different ways that you can get clients as a lawyer in 2022. As most people have pivoted to online or virtual settings, communication is less one-on-one, personalized networking and more of using multiple tools and platforms.