Starting any sort of business comes with its own set of challenges. While many of us dream of being our own bosses and running our own businesses, it’s often easier said than done. It’s one thing to have an idea and another entirely to execute it — and that requires picking up a lot of business tips along the way. But with that being said, those challenges become even more problematic if you’re trying to start a law firm. Most lawyers start their own law firms after being independently successful or gaining experience through a different law firm. Being a great lawyer, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be able to run a law firm. A law firm is, after all, a business — and it’s important to pick up crucial business tips before starting your own firm. If you begin a law firm too early in your career, without the necessary business knowledge, it could fail prematurely. Lawyers thrive off of their good reputations; a failed law firm could seriously affect your ability to be successful in the future.
With that being said, as challenging as breaking off and beginning your own law firm can be, with the right business tips and trick and the necessary legal experience, it’s not impossible. Nonetheless, it must be approached carefully. A key step in creating a successful law firm is marketing it properly. After all, it doesn’t matter what legal services you offer and how qualified the attorneys at the firm are if nobody knows about them. If a law firm is not well-promoted to the right clients, it will fail before it truly gets a chance to succeed. For that matter, a well-marketed law firm will not only attract the clients that you want but the team you need as well. The more successful your law firm becomes, the more attractive it will be to potential attorneys. Marketing any business is a complex game in this day and age — advertising isn’t what it was years ago. That’s why it’s important to move forward and stay up to date, not merely on general business tips, but those that address marketing directly. Let’s look into what you can do to market your law firm in an increasingly competitive field.
Growing Your Law Firm: Spreading The Digital Word
In every sense, you’ll want your law firm to have a strong digital presence. This applies just as much to your efforts to gather a top legal team as your efforts to attract clients. Today, many business tips that are specific to marketing advise that it’s better to pursue a target audience rather than throwing too wide a net. This is part of the reason why targeted digital ads have taken the place of direct mailers. Rather than prioritizing physical advertisements in magazines or on billboards, focus your efforts on web design and building an email marketing strategy. It’s difficult to do this, of course, without a great marketing team. But while you may want to keep one person on tap as a web designer, certain services can be outsourced — which may be more cost-effective as you begin to build your law firm, and more specifically your online presence.
When you look at a great website, what stands out? If you’re creating a web presence for your law firm, the key may lie in being as straightforward as possible. When people are seeking legal representation, they often can become bogged down by the details. Choosing a lawyer is intimidating. The best thing you can do regarding your website is to make it simple. With that being said, before anyone can be concerned with the appearance of your website, they need to find it. Today, a lot of online traffic is being driven through web searches; in fact, an estimated 93% of all online experiences begin with search engines. This means that people are going to start their online hunt for legal help with a search engine. Perhaps one of the most important business tips that you can take away from this is to cultivate your search engine relevance. This is done through created a website that has been optimized. Specifically, search engine optimized. Search engine optimization creates organic traffic to your website. That way, the right clients or lawyers find your site. Often, those that focus on this kind of organic traffic end up spending less on marketing and having a greater rate of success than they would have otherwise. It’s essentially a way of cutting through the time you would waste on attempting to attract everyone online, versus those that are actually interested in the services you provide.
Search engine optimization is often provided through articles, lists, and sometimes even videos. Therefore, it wouldn’t be difficult to incorporate the necessary content into your website. With that being said, digital marketing doesn’t stop at search engine optimization. Email marketing is also key. There are a wide variety of techniques that you can utilize in order to capture the emails of potential clients. Some offer giveaway entries in exchange for email addresses; others buy email lists. No matter how you accumulate an email base, you want to make sure that the emails you send out are bold and flashy, while not appearing fake or obnoxious. The key is to offer information that is actually valuable to your potential client base — that way, they’ll want to read more and in turn learn more about you and what you have to offer. Remember that the goal is to not only capture their attention initially but keep it for an extended period of time. Don’t feel as if you have to do it all on your own; there are service providers available that can help you create the traffic you need. One of the best business tips we can offer is to work with experts when necessary.
Creating A Brand: Finding Your Firm’s Sense Of Self
Perhaps one of the most crucial steps in marketing your law firm is creating a brand for yourself. Strong branding makes it easier to attract the attention of potential clients. For that matter, it’s easier for a marketing team to create a strategy that works for your firm if they have a brand to work with. While a law firm is a unique type of business, as we’ve discussed it is a business. You’ll be competing with a number of different law firms in your area, and it will be important for you to distinguish your firm apart from the rest of them. A new law firm can be considered something of a gamble for clients who themselves likely don’t have a lot of legal experience. Therefore, the identity that your law firm takes on is key. While you may not be able to provide a great number of client reviews in the beginning, you can offer your own experience as an attorney, and therefore you should root your brand in your expertise.
What type of law firm are you marketing? Do you specialize in family law — and from there, would you rather focus on for example negotiating adoptions or divorce help? Are the lawyers at your firm going to be business attorneys, or would you rather offer particularly unique and specialized services. Should you have a particularly unique specialty, you may want to capitalize on that when marketing. If you’re the only Uber accident injury lawyer in your area, you may want to make that clear when marketing your law firm. On the other hand, you don’t want to necessarily alienate potential clients. While one particularly unique specialty could look flashy on your website, you’ll want to make your other services easily accessible as well. Though you will want to accumulate attention-grabbing cases — not just for their immediate payout, but due to the fact that they’ll help your firm gain notoriety — the bread and butter of your firm will probably be somewhat more mundane.
While advertising your law firm, you may find it tempting to make commercials. After all, we’re all very familiar with the commercials that prominent law firms often run locally. But be careful — these can be quite expensive, often too much so for a new law firm. As any expert will tell you when handing out business tips, the less you have to spend in the beginning, the better. Yes, there is some truth to spending money to make money; but you don’t want to run out of cash too soon. For that matter, it’s important to focus on the types of advertisements that propel your law firm towards the future. That means concentrating your energy on digital marketing — though not that alone.
Word Of Mouth: Building A Reputation
Perhaps one of the most classic business tips that you may hear is to build up a strong word of mouth. There are a number of different ways that you can build a positive word of mouth buzz for your law firm. For one thing, you should try to bring as many of your old clients over to your new firm as possible. This may be difficult if you worked at a firm prior, rather than working independently. However, many clients like to be loyal to the same attorney over time if they can be. Email them ahead of time so that they know about your plans, and let them know that they should alert any other potential clients as well. Some firms even offer referral incentives for their clients.
Though you may not necessarily be able to grab a hold of a headline-making case, if there is an opportunity to speak to the local press you should. The fact is that people look to attorneys to be somewhat outspoken at a minimum, and therefore you shouldn’t be afraid of bringing attention to yourself and your firm. While newspapers aren’t read as often as they once were, being referred to as an authority on a particular subject can lend you some credibility.
Of course, there are review websites online, like Yelp — and they shouldn’t be dismissed. While negative reviews may be harmful to a small business, you can get ahead of the game by cultivating positive reviews. These should be organic; anyone offering business tips would be remiss if they advised you to create fake reviews. Just as you should ask for client referrals, you should ask for reviews from happy clients. The more positive reviews you have, the more credible you may seem.
The fact is that, while you can take on many different business tips when building your law firm, your early success may very well come down to marketing. Your new law firm, for all your individual expertise and experience, will look like a blank slate to a lot of people. It’s up to you to pick up the business tips and knowledge necessary to make it a success and to give it the time to grow. While it may be difficult to transition from an attorney’s mindset to one of a small business owner, you must do so if you want to accomplish your goals. Starting a new law firm challenging, but it’s also exciting — and a dream come true for many attorneys. Don’t throw away what could be your only shot to run your own firm. Prepare beforehand, and develop a strong sense of identity. Once you’re able to sell your firm to the right clients and build the team you want, you can move on to winning cases!
AUTHOR: CAROLINE SIBLEY
Caroline is a freelance content creator and creative writer. VCUArts alum with a focus on the arts, travel, and culture.