The Internet is a potent tool for lawyers to share information about their expertise, communicate what makes them unique, and educate potential clients on the problems they are skilled at solving.
Internet marketing is a key business development strategy for helping lawyers to reinforce their reputation and expand their visibility to attract clients and referral sources who value what they do best.
An effective online presence combined with traditional business development strategies, including, speaking, authoring articles, leadership in community or legal organizations, maintaining visibility with former clients, networking, and cultivating and deepening referral relationships will give you more control over building the practice you want.
How do lawyers get started with digital marketing?
One of the biggest challenges for executing a digital marketing plan is finding the time to write consistent content and engage with contacts through the various social media platforms. Below are key strategies for getting started:
- Define your goals. Review your business development plan. What do you want your practice to look like in 2-3 years? What do you want to accomplish in the next 12 months? Align your digital marketing goals with your 2-3 year business development goal. Setting targeted goals will help you stay focused. Be specific on the goals you want to achieve. For example, a goal of “generating new clients” is too vague and will not give you the direction or focus you need to sustain your plan. Example goals may include:
- Become a recognized expert in (an area you want to grow) in 12 months
- Increase referrals from x to y for a specific area of practice, i.e., International family law cases, LGBT etc
- Increase number of new consultations per month
- Increase contact/visibility with professionals in network through a minimum of 2-3 times per week
- Clarify Your Brand. Your brand sends the message about who you are and the value you deliver. It clarifies who is your target client and what you want to be known for. Knowing your personal brand will give your digital marketing activities focus and direction. You will also experience a greater return on your investment by having a targeted message and audience versus a generic “all things to all people message”. To help clarify your brand answer the following questions:
- What do you want to be known for? What problems do you solve or outcomes do you help clients to achieve?
- What are you most interested in? What is your passion?
- What differentiates you?
- Who is your target client?
- What is your expertise? Why do clients come to you specifically for advice?
- Assess your online brand. Put yourself in your clients’ or referral sources’ shoes when they hear about you. Most people will google your name to learn more about you, your background and your expertise. Type your name into google and review the information on page 1. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Does the information accurately reflect your brand?
- Is your law firm distinguished from other law firms?
- Are your social media platforms complete?
- Are there links to your articles?
- Do you have a consistent message you want to be known for?
- Communicate your brand through content creation and sharing. Content creation is the single most important element for increasing online visibility. The most popular platform for content creation is blogging. A well written post with actionable advice and insights will help position you as a thought leader and showcase your expertise on the subject matters. Social media platforms will help you to share your content, engage with your network and maintain top of mind visibility. Select platforms that your target clients spend the most time on. The three most popular social media platforms are LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
- Create your 90-day action plan. Create a 12-month digital marketing goal to support your short and longterm business goals. Identify 2-4 strategies you want to execute in the next 90 days and start today.