Top 3 Unique Marketing Ways I Attracted Family Law Clients
If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a small business owner and attorney, it’s that consumers have choices. That’s especially true in the legal industry, where there are sometimes dozens of law firms within a one-mile radius. When I founded my first law firm in 2011, I knew we had to stand out from the crowd, so I adopted a unique marketing strategy. This plan was essential to the success of my business, and I found that focusing on marketing decisions paid dividends almost immediately.
By implementing this strategy, I attracted new clients, earned referrals, and grew my business exponentially within the first few years of operation. As I realized success with AN|R Law: A Negotiated Resolution, a collaborative family law firm in Greenville, North Carolina, I discovered opportunities to expand. I opened additional locations in Raleigh, Beaufort, and Wilmington. With effective marketing techniques producing results, AN|R Law became a well-known brand in eastern North Carolina. I applied these same concepts when I co-founded two more law firms, McLawhorn & Russell, PLLC in Raleigh, and Michael & Russell, PLLC in Wilmington.
While marketing trends and tactics have changed over the past decade, many aspects remained the same. As I continue to practice law with each of my law firms, I also offer CEO coaching to help other firms thrive and build their own brands. Devising a marketing strategy and establishing the budget to execute the plan is central to the long-term success of the business owners I coach. Here are the top three things I recommend law firms do to attract new clients and keep current clients:
Take Advantage of Networking Opportunities
Some people enjoy social settings where they can talk with strangers, while others find that environment very awkward. If you’re not comfortable in social situations, I challenge you to step outside your comfort zone. Network and meet new people who have nothing to do with the legal industry. You might meet people during your child’s softball or soccer game or at a popular diner or bar. If you’re interested in volunteering, get involved in a nonprofit that interests you.
Charities offer great opportunities for marketing. I’ve found a lot of networking success by sponsoring events that draw large crowds and generate a lot of publicity. For example, the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament takes place every year in Morehead City, just 10 minutes away from my law office in Beaufort. It’s a major event for all of eastern North Carolina and attracts tens of thousands of visitors from all over the world. Just a couple of years ago, I stood a few feet away from North Carolina native and basketball mega-star Michael Jordan as he took part in the tournament with his Catch 23 crew.
This year, my law firm is also sponsoring the Azalea Festival, which takes place annually in Wilmington. The week-long event is attended by 300,000 people. Having our logo displayed on the festival’s advertising material and in digital ads is invaluable. It is a family-friendly event that brings people from all over, but the majority of attendees are local – which is the perfect target audience for my family law firm.
Getting Involved in Professional Organizations
As a law firm owner or partner, you’ll want to find business groups that welcome your involvement. While there are plenty of dues-based organizations, I encourage you to look for one that is worth the investment. You should try your local chamber of commerce, business professionals’ organization, or a community outreach event. When I started my business, one of the first things I did was sign up for a membership with the local chamber of commerce. It was one of the best decisions I made.
I started attending events, meeting other business owners and leaders, and telling others about my law firm. I must have gone through a thousand business cards in my first year of attending these events. It was a great way to meet people, both professionally and personally. It was also an opportunity to get referrals. While the people I meet may not need a divorce attorney, perhaps they have a friend who does. It’s amazing how quickly a business card or phone number can get passed around.
Another great way to get involved is with local bar associations and practice area organizations. If you get involved with a local bar association chapter, you’ll meet lawyers in different practice areas who are not competitors but who may be a source of referrals.
As lawyers, we can all relate to being asked all types of legal questions, even if they have nothing to do with your practice area. So, if a friend asks me a question about real estate law, I can easily recommend them to an attorney in that practice since I know several of them through the bar association. Conversely, I’ve received many referrals for family law and collaborative law from other attorneys who have fielded those questions from people in their circles.
Establishing and Maintaining an Online Presence
We live in a digital world and that means that our businesses must live there too. It’s no longer optional for a law firm to have a website – it’s essential. The same goes for social media and blogging platforms. Law firms absolutely need these types of online outlets to provide resources and information for potential clients and current clients. Word-of-mouth advertising will always have a place in the marketing world, but digital media is the way of the future.
Your website doesn’t have to be fancy, but it should have a modern look and an easy-to-navigate user experience. Make sure you include information about the type of law you practice, the special legal services you provide, and some biographical information about yourself and any other attorneys in your office. I also recommend maintaining a blogging platform on which you post fresh material regularly. If you have a blog on your website, you need to post at least once or twice a month. Your blogs and other website content should use SEO (search engine optimization). The use of key phrases will help your website and content get picked up and placed higher on the search results pages (SRPs) of Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines.
Social media is another important aspect of digital marketing. I recommend having at least a Facebook, Instagram, and Google My Business page. If you’re active on LinkedIn, you can also create a LinkedIn page for your business. Post at least once a week. You can post the same content on each platform; just make sure you edit it appropriately in terms of tags, links, and hashtags. While you may not see an immediate increase in followers or clients, just having these accounts increases social media’s awareness of your business. Often, when individuals are searching for an attorney, they’ll browse websites and social media accounts to learn more about you. They want to pick someone they can relate to and trust. Make sure your social media channels convey your authentic voice and align with your overall company brand.
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As lawyers, most of us don’t have a professional background in marketing. But when you own a law firm, marketing comes with the job. While it’s challenging to figure out at first, marketing can be fun and allow you to express your creativity. If it’s not in your wheelhouse or you’ve had trouble getting started, reach out to a professional in the marketing industry. Whether it’s a marketing firm or a freelancer, they can help bring your ideas into reality. When you market your business properly, I guarantee you’ll see growth in your business through new clients and referrals.