To run a successful law firm– whether it’s a solo practice or a large firm– you’ll need to not only excel in the areas of law you’re practicing in, but also in all matters of running the practice itself. Running a legal practice comes with its own, unique set of challenges that even the most prepared lawyer setting out to start a new practice may find themselves overwhelmed with. I’m here to help make the job of running your law office just a little easier. Welcome back to Mike’s Office Management Tips.
— Mike Campbell
How your law firm is perceived will play a significant role in the opportunities presented to you and your firm. To create a positive image, it’s essential to control your brand and positively influence how you’re perceived by the market.
Investing in your law firm’s marketing and branding is a strategic plan that can help drive growth, profitability, and overall performance. In order to understand how you can efficiently invest your time and money into the marketing and branding of your firm, let’s start by taking a look at how to compete with the other firms out there.
Building a Law Firm Brand that Competes
Marketing is about creating awareness among your target audience. The legal industry is the most complex service-oriented sector, so it’s crucial for attorneys to invest in marketing to increase their revenue and improve their brand. According to Lisa Hart Shepherd of Harvard Law, factors that drive brands include awareness, favorability, consideration, selection, satisfaction and loyalty, and recommendation.
It’s important to note that building a brand can take years, which is why it’s becoming popular for many law firms to outsource to meet their marketing needs, as opposed to hiring an in-house team of experts. This is because outsourcing is typically more cost-efficient and can deliver accurate solutions in a more time-efficient manner.
To create a leading brand, you should focus on power, affinity, consistency, advocacy, and differentiation. Power refers to how well your firm is known and recalled before others. Affinity is the recognizable qualities of your firm that are appealing to your target market. In regard to consistency, remember that an authentic brand promises and delivers a consistent experience. When it comes to advocacy, you want your clients to be proud they chose your firm and be willing to recommend it to others. Finally, differentiation refers to what makes your law firm distractive from others.
Differentiating Your Law Firm’s Brand
You can create a brand that will establish a distinctive and compelling position for your law firm. The process of differentiating your firm’s brand starts with research. You should focus on internal and external audiences, meaning your staff, clients, and prospects. You want to be able to establish how your employees perceive your firm today and where they would like to see it in the future. You also want to determine what your current brand is—which is what your most important audiences think about you.
To complete a useful brand differentiation analysis, consider the following:
- Differentiators. These are the two or three elements that set your firm apart. These could vary based on your expertise, the clientele you serve, where you’re located, and who you have working for you.
- Required. This element includes the attributes on which the majority of law firm brands are built, like communication and successful outcomes for clients.
- Neutrals. These are factors that are neither positive nor negative from a branding perspective.
- Issues. Issues are challenges your firm faces that a brand may or may not be able to address.
In addition to developing a brand differentiation analysis, you’ll also want to create a message map that lets you see who you’re reaching with your core messages. Examples of core messages include client messages, prospective client messages, employee messages, prospective employee messages, community messages, media messages, and referral source messages.
Increasing Law Firm Revenue Through Marketing
There are a number of marketing strategies your firm can implement to increase your business revenue. Some of the most common to consider include building and optimizing landing pages on your website, getting into video marketing, adding live chat to your law firm’s website, leveraging social media marketing, regularly writing blog posts and articles in your practice areas, and creating custom remarketing and retargeting campaigns.
When you focus on how you market your firm and increasing your geographic reach by building healthy relationships with clients, you’ll obtain an influx of prospects and have more cases to focus on.
As a law firm, remember to think outside of the box and outside of the typical framework in which you’re comfortable. If you become solution-oriented and look for different ways to resolve issues and promote your brand, you’ll improve your firm’s reputation and bottom line.