When people are looking for a lawyer, they often turn to the web. This is particularly the case when they are seeking an expert in a more specialized area of law and when consulting their personal network of friends and contacts is less likely to result in a recommendation.
However, without an effective marketing strategy in place, a law firm may struggle to be found by the right people at the right time. Search engine optimization (SEO), social media presence, and a high-quality website are all essential tools in the rapidly-changing, highly-competitive legal landscape. And with their deep domain expertise in the marketing industry, it is marketing agencies that know best how to apply these things
We understand that law firms who adhere to traditional ways of thinking may be slow to adopt digital practices and that many lawyers simply dislike the concept of marketing. Often firms are reluctant to step up their online efforts when it comes to attracting clients.
Key reasons for this include:
They Feel It Goes Against Their Professional Ethics
Many lawyers are still stuck on the idea that marketing is unethical, based on a time when sales and advertising did in fact violate professional guidelines. They may feel that reaching out to potential clients via cold calling or using other advertising methods is just plain wrong. Firms that aggressively pursue people in an intrusive and even mercenary way propagate this idea of marketing being seen in a negative light in the world of law.
Yes, advertising of old may have involved luring potential clients in with exaggerated promises. But lawyers are confusing the stigma associated with these older forms of advertising with marketing services performed today. Advertising is undoubtedly a vital element to a law firm’s success and necessary for all companies that require revenue to survive. And it is even more important for law firms to connect with the right audience to help them make informed and better decisions based on their specific needs. Marketing agencies have the know-how to help law firms in this way.
They Discount The Return On Investment (ROI)
When you have enough clients, it’s all too easy to view marketing as a distraction from the real legal work. Lawyers often feel that focusing exclusively on providing the best service for their existing clients is far better for their ROI because it builds on their reputation for success and excellent customer service. After all, a firm’s reputation is one of its major selling points and one of the best ways to create new leads and referrals.
Sure, a law firm’s reputation is vital, given that lawyers often deal with sensitive and confidential matters and clients need to know they are trustworthy. However, this alone won’t get people through the door. Why? With a hefty amount of lawyers competing for recognition, people aren’t necessarily aware of all the law firms out there or the one that will best suit their particular needs. That’s where marketing comes into place. A professional, informative website, a social media presence, and online reviews highlighting positive aspects of a law firm are equally crucial to its success.
Marketing Makes Them Uncomfortable
Often those who practice law see it as a noble profession and, in many ways, very distinct from the business of running a business. They may resent anything they view as self-promotion to boost profits or anything else that detracts from the legal aspects of their profession that then turn their focus instead on productivity and the “nasty aspects” of sales and profits.
Alternatively, they could be under the impression that advertising for services doesn’t yield the same ROI as advertising for products. With nothing to sell, lawyers often prefer to focus on making connections through traditional methods such as bar meetings and conferences. As mentioned above, they also tend to think that good work should yield success. Sadly, this is not the case, as can be seen from multiple examples of companies offering excellent products or services that have failed to thrive.
Referrals Are Viewed As Being Enough
Relationships and referrals are just as crucial to the industry as they ever were. Some firms get as many as 90% of their clients this way and may view all other methods as simply a waste of money. However, the way people make purchasing decisions in today’s world is shifting. Now, people are relying more and more on the internet in general and social media in particular to gather information to make decisions on services to purchase.
Getting noticed by the right prospective clients is likely one of the biggest challenges law firms face today. It may be that, despite a firm’s expertise and stellar reputation, they are simply not getting seen by those that need their services at just the time they do. That’s where marketing comes in. Its purpose is not to disrupt or replace existing networks but rather to build on them, to create more opportunities for referrals, for instance.
The Benefits of Hiring a Marketing Pro
If you recognize each of these reasons and have used them as an excuse not to invest in your firm’s marketing so far, you are likely missing out on some promising opportunities.
A marketing agency could help you increase your firm’s revenue by getting your business seen by people actively searching for lawyers online. Creating a top-quality, professional website that is easy to navigate and provides potential clients with clear and valuable information will foster the same kind of trust that previously could only be gained through recommendations. It will also appeal to existing clients, bettering the service you are currently providing them to the next level. Best of all, hiring experts to give your online brand a boost leaves you free to focus on the business of providing the best level of service possible.