There is so much out there about the mechanics and logistics of marketing legal firms. However, what isn’t discussed as much is how to form a marketing campaign in the first place. It’s all great to know how to deliver a message once you have one, but the question of what message to deliver in the first place is not necessarily as much of a cut-and-dried proposition. Your goal, obviously, is to present your firm as an attractive company to do business with and let customers know this. There’s a lot more to this than just baiting a trap and waiting for clients to come in. The law is a diverse field, covering a wide range of specialties from how businesses deal with other businesses to how businesses deal with clients, and how clients deal with each other. Most law firms are just beginning to grasp that advertising yourself as a general practitioner does not help anymore, but that you have to define the area you practice in so that your potential clients know your specialty. Read on to learn more about law firm marketing and how to shape a marketing strategy for your law firm. MyCity Social is a top digital marketing firm in Tampa. Call MyCity Social for your digital marketing needs today!
Building Your Law Firm Marketing Strategy
The branding and packaging for a child custody law firm needs to be separate from that of a trucking accident law firm. There are many different skills and areas of the law to know. Estate planning as a legal specialty is different from the practice area of criminal defense when it comes to packaging and branding, but not that much different from being a social security lawyer. Both social security and estate planning need to deal with individual funds and their role in the future, so they can be associated. And on and so forth. It’s important to both make your speciality clear and also advertise to the areas of practice where you can relate to your practice.
Building Your Package
Your branding overall needs to communicate the promise of your firm. Both website content and outreach help bring in potential clients. Your company’s brand is what convinces them to do business with your firm once they get to your virtual office door on the web. Essentially, it represents your business personality and helps to set you apart from the competition. Having a strong brand will build client trust, loyalty, and security. Consistent branding is key in reaching your target demographic of the people or businesses you wish to attract as clients. If you’re targeting younger entrepreneurs, you can present yourself as hip and casual. If you’re practicing family law in divorce, custody, or adoption, your branding should communicate a caring touch, nurturing vibes, and empathy. When trying to figure out what your law firm’s branding should be, ask these questions about your company’s image:
- Who is the ideal client for your firm? Who do you want to be using your services?
- What is your firm’s mission statement? What difference do you make in the world?
- What are the values of your firm? What is different about your practice that sets your firm apart from the competition?
- What is the voice of your brand? How do you want your clients to perceive you?
- What is your unique value proposition? How do you communicate it?
If you’re a personal injury attorney, for example, you need to account for the questions above. If you’ve ever seen a commercial for a personal injury law firm, they can get quite silly, with clowns and boxers and other power motifs. No matter what you say about them, they have this whole branding thing down to an exact science. You don’t have to put on the same circus show, but you should put a certain amount of thought into your packaging messages just like they do. One of the most common ploys we see in small law firm branding is an empathy ploy. Think about the motorcycle accident attorney who also rides a motorcycle and hangs his helmet and jacket in the photo, or the elder’s rights social security representative who is a senior himself and proud of their age. Or, perhaps a veteran’s right lawyer letting their clients know that they themselves served in the armed forces. Basically, you want to convey the message to your ideal clients that you understand their unique needs and struggles because you can relate.
While the empathy ploy is an old and trusty tool, it’s important to make sure that it is genuine and authentic. Your clients will, at the end of the day, care more about your legal expertise and track record in court. Targeted empathy messaging is more prolific in niche industries that are otherwise under-served. There are attorneys who specialize in divorce law, with a website that looks like it came out of a Lifetime movie, but it can be a huge hit with the locals. Another option is to brand based on location. While the globalized internet world makes it easy to forget about location-based branding, it does matter if an attorney is local to your area. Adding your state outline to your logo, state flag to your website, or other kinds of location-based branding may be something you want to consider. Typically, this is something that you would see in a law firm that specializes in a practice area tied to certain regions, such as agriculture.
Broad Versus Specific
There’s nothing wrong with continuing to partner and hire more attorneys, paralegals, and other professionals until you’re the awl-mart of law firms. That’s the big tent way to go, where you’re aiming to be a one-stop-shop. The cons to this approach is that it’s costly to maintain a huge firm, and clients are aware of the overhead and its effect on their bill. It’s also difficult to attract businesses from prospective clients who are searching for a specific niche if you don’t mention it on your site. The boutique approach offers a focused practice on a targeted specialty. If you can specialize in divorces specifically for the Real Housewives, then amazing for you! The con of this approach is that you risk sending too much business away because it doesn’t fit your narrow specialty.
Of course, there is a compromise. You can section off your marketing plan into discrete compartments, and target each of your practice areas with a separate page within your website, a separate specialist profile on directories, a separate category on your content marketing blog, etc. Even within a focused area such as “workers’ comp,” there are cases applying to specific individuals, businesses, government organizations and so on. There are two kinds of clients- the ones who have workers’ comp cases, and the companies who are being sued. You can address one or the other, or present all of that rolled together and say that you can take either side. You need to know that when you generalize and try to appeal to everybody, generally you will weaken your messaging. No matter what approach you take, there still needs to be sub-sections that detail your practice areas.
In terms of digital marketing mechanics, being more specific will let search engines find you for that specific niche. When you share exhaustive details and cover an area in-depth, it will boost your web page to the top of the search engine results page (SERP).
Let’s Talk About The Graphics
Packaging and branding is so important to marketers because at some point they’ll have to bring in a graphics artist to compose the visual aspect. There are many iconic motifs associated with the legal field that are absolutely cringe-worthy. One is the basic “gravel and scales.” This is a heavily cliched logo that looks like it was tossed together from clip-art from twenty years ago. The issues with generic logos is that they don’t say anything different or unique about your business. You still have to use a recognizable symbol to represent the idea clearly, but the legal profession, as such an abstract field, doesn’t have a whole lot of symbols to choose from. Symbols are one of your few options, but really put some thought into your graphic design to make it stand out from your competition!
Website Theming For Legal Practices
Theming constitutes unifying ideas, motifs, and styles that visually establish a brand. Theming can be seen everywhere in business branding: restaurants visually represent the national origin of their specific arena of cuisine, real estate agencies of lots of peaked rooftops in their logo, and clothing stores feature designer fashions. The brand identity needs to individually illustrate both physical and digital components. This theme can be extended across both electronic and printed material. The image of your brand should be seen in your website’s color scheme, typography, font choice, and logo.
As law firms are a prestigious white collar profession, themes lend to be more conservative. You don’t want to be too goofy when talking about serious legal issues, but you do want to look different from the next firm. The most prestigious legal websites feature plain colors, spare graphics, and a small, original logo with the firm’s name.
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It is important to create a law firm marketing strategy that fits the needs of your firm. Call MyCity Social for your Tampa digital marketing needs today!