Marketing and business development can often fall in the ‘too hard’ basket for law firms, as billable client work takes precedence for the simple fact that it keeps bills paid. Insights has compiled this list of four top tips that law firms can do to improve their marketing. Many of these tips can be done incidentally as part of essentially doing a good job for a client, and are intended to maximise the most profitable, powerful form of marketing for lawyers – word of mouth and reputation.
Ask for reviews, and hear out unhappy clients
Google reviews are often the first point of contact a firm has with a client yet are frequently overlooked as both a source of new clients (from good reviews) or as a means of dissuading clients (due to bad reviews.)
Google reviews appear alongside your firm’s results in a Google search. Time your request for a review with a point when your client is happy with your work; for example, once settlement has occurred. You might even consider incentivising clients to leave a positive review, perhaps with a discount or gift voucher.
Conversely, should you be aware a client is unhappy with the outcome their matter, address the concern up-front. Ask for their feedback directly to give them an opportunity to be heard, and to avoid having clients leave poor reviews on public forums. It is often difficult to have negative reviews removed.
Provide free legal updates
Establish your reputation as an expert in your chosen area of practice by publishing short updates for changes to law. For example, Legal Vision recently published an update regarding the changes to the Fair Work Act allowing long-term casual workers to request a permanent position, and the likely impact on businesses.
Publishing updates to law can benefit your marketing in two ways. Firstly, you can improve your SEO by providing genuinely useful content to people in need of it. Secondly, you can keep former and current clients engaged via emails and blogs, affirming your expertise and perhaps alerting them to other work you could do for them to comply with new laws.
Find referral partners
Creating a network of related professionals can be a boon when it comes to getting regular work in a specialist area of law. For example, if you are a lawyer specialising in wills and estates, it may be worth contacting financial planners – as part of their role, financial planners often ask their clients to draft wills and plan for their estate. For conveyancers, developing a network of mortgage brokers and realtors could allow for a regular pipeline of work, particularly if you are well known for a quick turnaround and effective negotiation.
Whatever your area of practice, consider what other professionals your clients may require. Attend networking events or contact these professionals via LinkedIn with a proposal for a referral partnership and perhaps a coffee to discuss how it might work.
Provide excellent client service
A recent survey suggested that up to 70% of clients were dissatisfied with their lawyers. Much of this came down to poor responsiveness, lack of empathy, lack of awareness of the client’s objectives, or failure to keep the client adequately informed about the progress of a matter.
Given this prevailing sense of client dissatisfaction, simply providing excellent client service – including regular updates, responding swiftly to correspondence, and demonstrating a clear understanding of what the client would like to achieve – could prove to be a major differentiator in the marketplace.
This could be as straightforward as offering online booking to schedule appointments, or allowing clients to view, comment and sign any legal documents online so they don’t need to come into your office. The more a client can feel that they are benefiting from your services at minimal inconvenience to them, the more likely they are to be satisfied and impressed with your service.
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