Law firms have serious trouble standing out from the crowd.
Because they all look the same. They all do the same job and they all give off the same vibe.
We know more than you about important, expensive things.
It’s the same route traditional banks have stuck with. And it’s the reason why those traditional banks are losing customers to modern start-up banks like Monzo, Starling and Tandem.
Because when you put up a giant barrier between what you know and what your customers know…well…a mutually beneficial relationship that doth not make.
Your average person does not feel a lot of love for lawyers.
The reason is simple. They don’t understand what lawyers really do. Because lawyers don’t show them.
When you don’t show your customers exactly what you’re doing for them and why it’s important (and expensive), you’ll be leaving your customers feeling mistrustful.
That and they’ll assume it’s like the movies. Where lawyers hang out in extremely fancy offices having affairs and covering up the odd murder interspersed with a few montages of some late nights reading Big Books.
But I digress.
The majority of law firm websites tell the reader what law they work in and think that’s enough.
‘Surely, if we say we have a great Private Client team, people with Private Client issues will call us?’
Let’s look at why this is a silly assumption:
Firstly, few laypeople will actually understand the intricacies of legal departments. Private client, family, commercial, corporate…these are all surprisingly vague.
But law professionals forget how vague these words are because they’re so used to them.
Don’t think like a lawyer, think like your average Joe on the street who’s never picked up a legal textbook.
Secondly, why would they call you exactly?
In any given town there are a good handful of law firms. In any given city, there are innumerable. So aside from a website colour scheme preference, why exactly would a potential client call your firm when you’re doing nothing different from the others?
So, given this, how do you make your law firm the obvious choice?
Inbound marketing: the giving route
Law firms advertise all over the place. Magazine ads, poster ads, Google ads…lah di dah.
But all the adverts say the same thing: we are a law firm
That’s outbound marketing. A technique that requires you to go out, find people and try to convince them to use your services. And people are bored of it. It doesn’t give them anything valuable upfront.
Inbound marketing, in contrast, provides upfront value for the potential customer. It gives first and offers services second.
It draws potential customers to you and helps build trust so that when they need your services, you’ll be the first firm they go to.
Examples of inbound marketing
So few law firms have blogs and those that do usually just fill them with self-congratulatory news or dry-as-a-desert industry updates.
That’s not inbound marketing. That just perpetuates the stereotype of the legal profession being both opaque and boring.
The best way for law firms to use their blog as a tool for customer acquisition is to provide useful, readable and engaging information for readers.
Y’know, posts that genuinely answer the questions that your customers are likely to have.
- Like, ‘Do I need an LPA?’ or ‘Can I do an LPA myself?’
- Or, ‘Should I form a company when I’m self-employed?’
- Or, ‘Do parents have equal rights over children in a divorce?’
By using SEO keyword tools to find out what people are searching for, you can target your content so that it provides the answers they need.
Even just noting down what questions legal assistants are getting on discovery calls will give you content ideas.
By creating a blog full of in-depth posts answering common questions, you’ll be drawing in readers from search engines. Presenting this useful information in a way that’s easy to understand shows that you’re not only experts, but that you go further than other law firms for your readers.
If you provide this much value to readers who aren’t clients, it suggests you’ll be giving even more value to those that are.
Suddenly, the reader wants to be your client.
Man, the social channels of law firms are a drag.
Almost always celebrating themselves and pointing to events where they can be found, law firms miss the mark so widely here that they’re in the next field.
Social media is a phenomenal opportunity for firms to provide more value to potential customers by posting useful content relevant to the reader. And if you think it’s just for kids, 38% of the 55+ age group and 78% of 35–54 years old use it.
Law firm’s social channels flop when they simply post ‘we’re delighted to welcome Joe Bloggs into our Family team!’.
No one cares.
A link to your blog post on Five Ways to Keep Costs Down When Buying a House though? Now that will get some clicks.
Ensure every single one of your social media posts gives something to the reader.
In the case of law firms, it’s usually highly readable information and explanations. But don’t be afraid to entertain. Lawyers are human, let the humanity show.
Videos and photographs
I’ve worked for a couple of law firms and I’ve yet to find a lawyer that enjoys having their photo taken, let alone speaking on video.
But we all have to do things that make us uncomfortable.
Stock images of smiling lawyers in nice suits have no place on your website or your social media accounts. People already think lawyers are a different species without you adding to that impression.
Inbound marketing should feature images and video with the actual staff in your actual firm. Because the first step to trust is knowing the person you’ll be dealing with.
Law firms deal with extremely sensitive information. Customers want to know who will be going over the more sensitive parts of their life, they don’t want to see a model in business attire from iStock.
87% of marketing pros use video content and users spend 88% more time on a website with video content. And demand is increasing.
A simple video that gives the viewer an overview of the legal process they can expect when, say buying a property, helps them understand the process and trust your firm.
And not just a cartoon or a screen either — I’m talking a living, breathing conveyancer that works at your practice.
But…why should you give information away for free?
46% of marketers reported that inbound marketing gave a higher ROI, while only 12% reported outbound did. — IronPaper
Inbound marketing is all based around one thing: giving information and value away.
Why should you do this? Because you will get more business in return and far more efficiently than if you pay for adverts.
But many businesses struggle to see why they should create content that constitutes advice they would normally charge for.
Let’s look at an example blog post idea from earlier.
‘Can I do an LPA myself?’
If your firm published a blog post that answered this question, let’s call it, ‘Lasting Power of Attorneys: Can you do it yourself?’ you might feel like you’re actively rejecting business.
But you’re not. And here’s why.
When you honestly explain what an LPA is and how to do it, you’re building trust with the reader.
They can see that you’re not out to just get their cash. You want to help them understand that an LPA is vital, no matter if you do it yourself or hire a lawyer.
In the post you can explain, in terms anybody can understand, that it is very possible to do an LPA without a lawyer. You can even explain how to do it.
However, this is also an excellent time to stress the complexities of such a document and, more importantly, the potentially catastrophic ramifications of doing it wrong. Risks that can be avoided if they hire a lawyer to handle it for them.
By presenting the pros and cons of DIY LPAs vs those handled by a law firm, you are providing an immense value to the reader.
If they don’t want the risk, they’re in the perfect position to hire you and already understand exactly what you’ll be doing for them.
If they’re keen to do it themselves, have you lost a potential client by explaining the process?
Because here’s the thing — they would never have hired you in the first place.
They would always have done it themselves, even if they’d have found the information elsewhere.
But, now they can see how valuable and helpful your firm is, when they have a legal situation that they cannot do themselves, they might well come back and use your services.
It’s a long game
Inbound marketing can bring you visitors who become customers right away. But it will also bring you visitors who will become customers far down the line.
It’s a form of marketing that puts emphasis on relationship building with a longterm view.
When you consistently put out quality, valuable content, your traffic will increase and those visitors will keep coming back for more.
Make your law firm stand out from the crowd
You can have the snazziest website around but if you’re not providing obvious value to potential customers, you don’t stand out.
So few firms are creating valuable, informative content and social media that this is the perfect time to get ahead.
Breaking down the barrier between what you know and what your potential clients know, is the first step to attracting new clients and retaining existing ones.
Once more then folks: give first.
Need blog posts for your business that sounds like music to your reader’s ears? Hit the Get in Touch button and let’s chat.