The legal services industry comes with its own set of challenges when it comes to marketing:
It’s Highly Competitive
We’re sure this comes as no surprise (pretty much all industries are competitive) but typically in legal services you’re dealing with personal or sensitive matters, so potential clients need to have a level of trust with you before they’re likely to work with you. What that means is, if they’re not coming through a personal referral, you need to work harder to prove yourself and give them confidence that you’ll do what you say you will and serve their best interests.
So adhoc adverts and collateral that are not specifically targeted to your audience will not work – you need to build a relationship with them. The challenge with this however, is how do you do this online – since this is one of the easiest and most effective ways to reach your audiences nowadays. We’ll get into this a little later.
This notion of building trust can prove to be even more challenging for legal services, because you must also overcome the stigma of your industry – aggressive, brash, greedy, old school etc. Now while we know this is largely a stereotype, and in fact you’re doing incredible work for your clients, it nevertheless needs to be addressed.
Your reputation is your ticket to a competitive edge. It will simultaneously dispel these negative perceptions and build connection with your audience. Smart marketing can help you to achieve this more efficiently, and most importantly help you to maintain it – which opens the doors for referrals and repeat custom.
Lack of Time
You’re incredibly busy and already working massive hours, so you simply don’t have time to create, action and nurture marketing campaigns – although you know you need to, because you want to grow your firm, which means you need to reach more people and convert them into clients.
This is exactly why a targeted strategy is necessary for you, so you can be confident that whatever time you do invest is more likely to produce results and give you a greater return on your efforts. The good news about all the new technologies we have available to us, is they present a lot of opportunity to market your firm effectively with less effort.
Diverse Service Offerings
Unless you’re a firm who specialises in one field, you have multiple services that you need to market to multiple audiences. So one size will not fit all with your marketing. The way you speak to and build a relationship with a family law client will be very different to a commercial law client, for example. The former requires a more personal and empathetic tone, whereas the latter must be professional.
So if you’re trying to market to everyone with the same message, it’s likely that you’re getting lost amongst all the noise of your industry. If you want to be seen and heard, you need to speak directly to each audience – this is how you stand out from the crowd and get the edge over your competition.
Getting Smart With Your Marketing
So to overcome these challenges, the main focus needs to be:
- Breaking down barriers
- Building credibility and trust
In order to effectively achieve these, we recommend concentrating your marketing efforts in three key areas:
Since time is of the essence for legal services, marketing is often done on the run and tends to follow a similar approach to previous activities and industry norms. This of course is great if it works, and perhaps it did in the past, but with the rapid advances we’ve experienced in the digital space over recent years, audiences and the way they’re engaged has changed quite considerably – meaning your marketing needs to change also.
A smart marketing strategy should include:
- Company Goals
- Marketing Campaign Goals
- Target Audience(s) Profiles
- Key Message(s)
- Marketing Channels
It’s the same principles as the strategies you’re creating and implementing every day for your clients. You want to achieve a desired outcome as quickly and efficiently as possible, so you focus your efforts and prioritise according to what will maximise results and give you the greatest ROI. You certainly wouldn’t turn up in court without a specific plan – your marketing is the same.
Let’s look at a couple of the key strategy elements in more detail:
It’s imperative that you define exactly who it is you’re trying to reach and understand them at a deeper level. What we mean by that is, get clear on:
- What challenges and problems they have
- What they want, need and desire
- What’s preventing them from having that
- How your service provides the solution to their problems and helps them achieve what they want
It’s at this deeper level where people make their decisions. So understanding their underlying motivators (both positive and negative), and speaking directly to these in your marketing will have a much greater success rate when it comes to trust, credibility and conversion – and set you apart from your competition.
Once you have a clear picture of your audience, you can then use it to inform the rest of your strategy in terms of which channels to use and your messaging.
As mentioned above, the way you speak to a family law client would be very different to someone involved in commercial law – so your messaging must reflect that. For example:
Family Law requires more conversational, empathetic language. The client will be feeling vulnerable and in need of reassurance that you have their best interests at heart and will support them towards the desired outcome. So you may use statements like:
- Your peace of mind is our priority
- We’ll support you every step of the way
- Rest assured that we’ve got your back
Commercial Law however is at the other end of the spectrum and requires a more professional tone. These clients are busy people and will be driven by efficiency and results. So appropriate statements may include:
- Keeping you driving towards success
- Protecting your rights and limiting your liability
- No hassle, just results
Can you imagine if we switched this messaging around and spoke to the family law clients in the commercial tone? The impersonal and direct manner would make them very unlikely to connect, and probably prompt them to keep on searching through the sea of options.
Make it about them
Another very important point when it comes to messaging, is ensuring you’re always addressing your audience directly and making it about them. Again, this allows you to get down into the deeper levels of their psyche where trust is built and decisions are made. Taking this approach would absolutely set you apart from your competition, as it’s not a common strategy in the legal services world.
Of course you need to tell them about your expertise and what you do, but before that you must meet them where they’re at – let them know you understand them, their problems, needs and desires. Then you can show them that you have a specific solution to suit their specific situation.
This not only accelerates your trust and connection, it ensures you get more and better quality leads – again increasing your ROI and saving you a lot of time and effort.
Market in the right places
Once you know who your audience is, it’s much easier to know where they are, and again tailor your approach accordingly. For the purposes of this article, let’s consider three of the main marketing channels:
It’s important to remember with all social media platforms: the question is not who is on it, but why they’re there. Typically with Facebook, users are on there to catch up with what their friends are doing, relieve boredom and relax by scrolling through the endless streams of posts. They don’t necessarily have a specific purpose or intention for being there.
With that in mind, this makes Facebook a great channel for family law:
- It’s inline with the personal approach we discussed above
- It’s the perfect platform for conversational language
- It lends itself to more emotional messaging
Moreover, the technical capabilities of Facebook make it easy to target your specific ideal clients and stay present in their minds – so when they’re ready to take action they think of you above your competition. This ability to consistently show up in their newsfeeds is also extremely beneficial for building trust and credibility. You can achieve this with optimised targeting and retargeting campaigns.
This is almost the opposite of Facebook, in the sense that users are largely on there with a particular purpose in mind – to find a job, search for employees, connect with potential clients and partners, find professional services etc. The tone is much more professional than other social media platforms, which of course makes it much more suitable for commercial law.
Your website is your hub – it’s where we generally want to drive people from all the other channels. So it’s critical that your website fulfils certain criteria:
- Makes a great first impression, and showcases your brand and values within the first few seconds
- Provides an easy and pleasurable user experience, with clear content, clean images and a natural flow of information
- Speaks directly to the audience, so you can achieve the messaging outcomes mentioned above
- Technically performs – has a fast loading speed, all buttons and links work, the site is optimised for mobile, pages are optimised for SEO
Building or updating your website with these key areas in mind can have a big impact on your conversion rates once someone does land on your site – which is important if you’ve invested in campaigns and collateral to get them there.
SEO & Google Ads
Optimising your website for search engines is critical if you want to be in the running against your competitors when someone looks for your services. If you’re not on the first page of Google, your phone won’t ring. There are many strategies that can be implemented within your website to help boost your SEO – check out this article for more information.
Google Ads can also be a great way to show up in searches and drive traffic to your website. However, with legal services the success rate of such campaigns can be greatly increased if you’ve implemented some of the other credibility and trust building strategies first:
- Create educational pieces to show your expertise
- Share client testimonials to provide social proof
- Build credibility with articles in publications or highly regarded websites
Again, this all forms part of your strategy and allows you to prioritise and create timelines to ensure you build the right foundations and are able to leverage your efforts at every stage.
As mentioned throughout this article, marketing now can be a lot easier and more efficient than ever before – thanks to the explosion of the digital world. However hopefully now you can appreciate that in order to get the most out of these channels and get maximum return on your investment, it’s important to take a considered approach with a defined strategy.
Of course, what a strategy also allows you to do is track and measure your progress, so you can continually refine your activities and optimise your results – a critical component of any marketing campaign.
As also mentioned, we know that time is not always on your side. That’s why working with a marketing agency can be hugely beneficial – we have a team of experts who specialise in each area and marketing channel, meaning we can build a smart strategy and implement it quickly and efficiently, ensuring everything is continually optimised for long-term sustainability and growth.
If you’d like to chat about how we can help your legal services firm, please get in touch for a complimentary discovery session with one of our marketing strategists.