Digital marketing is the future of business development for law firms, taking us into 2021 and beyond. While digital marketing is not new, it is newly urgent due to the coronavirus threat.
It is easy to understand why digital marketing—also known as online marketing—is taking the lead in business development. Just imagine the challenge of attending a networking event where there are no handshakes, everyone is wearing a face covering, and you must stay six feet away from other attendees!
Law Firm Digital Marketing Made Easy
If you wonder what digital marketing means and how it applies to your law firm, you have come to the right place! I will take you through a five-step process for keeping the clients you have. I will then show you a similar five-step approach to developing new accounts.
By spending just a few minutes to learn this step-by-step business development process, you will be able to get your digital marketing campaigns operating at a higher level of performance.
Suggestions in this article are based on knowledge I have gained while assisting more than 175 defense law firms in 39 states with marketing and business development campaigns.
Client Retention: Marketing to Current Clients
Current clients deliver 100 percent of your current revenue stream and represent your best source for additional business in the near term. Start simply with the five steps listed below.
#1. Update Your Website.
Launching a marketing campaign with an out-of-date website is a waste of time and money. Ideally, your law firm website should get a refresh every two to three years to remain competitive. An old website sends the wrong message to clients and can easily contradict any claims you make about the strength of your cybersecurity or your use of advanced technology.
The key element in building a new law firm website is to use a “content management system” that gives you the ability to make simple changes like adding or deleting a page. WordPress is an open-source content management system that is very widely used, as one example.
If you have a current website, the steps below will show you how to make the most of it. If your website is older and your funds are limited, you can either get quotes to move your existing website into a WordPress format or use your LinkedIn company page as the base for some of the ideas below.
#2. Implement a Content Marketing Campaign.
Content marketing is about positioning your law firm as an expert in your field. You can do this by writing and publishing articles about regulatory news, insurance issues, case law updates, attorney credentials, and educational webinars offered by the firm.
Articles written for your content marketing campaign can be simple and straightforward. I favor a newspaper style, written in easy-to understand terms and targeted to claims executives, risk managers, and business owners. If you stick to the facts—who, what, when, why, how—you will have the basics for a good article.
Just two articles every month are enough to get you started with a content marketing campaign. You can supplement these two articles with the normal flow of news about law firm awards and your bar association activities to create an on-going stream of interesting and relevant news for clients and prospects.
An experienced law firm marketing consultant can help you write and publish these articles in a way that minimizes the burden on your internal resources. Equally important, an outside consultant can help you stay focused on business development.
Once your content marketing campaign is active, articles can be published on your website, in your client newsletter, and on LinkedIn. The next three points show how easy it is to put your content marketing campaigns to work.
#3. Publish a Client Newsletter.
Start now to publish a monthly law firm newsletter if you do not already have one. Staying in touch with current clients is essential, and an electronic newsletter is easy and inexpensive.
This is where your content marketing strategy comes into play. You can fill your monthly newsletter with the news items listed below.
- Highlight the two new monthly articles relating to your areas of practice. Put a summary of each article in your newsletter, along with a link to the full article that is published on your website. Be sure to feature the photo and a brief bio to each attorney who is listed as an author.
- Call attention to any recent attorney recognition or your participation in bar association activities.
- Publish a calendar of upcoming webinars give links to any new online videos.
You can see how simple that is. Now you have a newsletter that can provide value to clients and remind them of your availability to help them with their legal challenges.
#4. Go Social with LinkedIn.
Well-known attorneys who embrace LinkedIn often boast an active profile with thousands of followers. I find it more common, however, for busy attorneys to have a moderate to low level of LinkedIn activity.
Now is a good time to take the following basic steps on LinkedIn:
- Review and update your personal LinkedIn profile page.
- Add or update your LinkedIn company page.
- Build your connections with attorneys and clients.
- “Follow” the company pages for clients, including insurance carriers and self-insured entities.
- Start to “like” and “comment” on other posts.
Maximizing your LinkedIn participation is an easy and free way to stay visible and connected.
#5. Use Webinars and Videos to Share Your News and Views.
Increase your communications and content marketing distribution plans in the following ways:
- Offer educational webinars.
- Set up a YouTube channel and publish a series of short videos (2-3 minutes each).
- Learn how to use Zoom and Skype for video calls.
New Client Acquisition: Attracting More Business
There are only three ways to generate new revenue:
- Get a new client.
- Expand revenue from current clients through cross-selling.
- Increase the frequency with which current and past clients use your services.
Achieving success in any one of the three sales areas will help your law firm grow. If you can activate two or all three leverage points, your future profitability will be particularly bright.
The law firm content marketing strategies listed above also work well to attract new clients. Here are five more basic steps you can take to be ready when a new prospect asks for information about your law firm.
#1 Create a Law Firm Resume.
Like a resume for a job candidate, your law firm resume is a professional way to introduce your firm and attorneys to prospective new clients. Keep it to 10 pages or less in a PDF format for digital use.
#2. Update your representative case list.
A case list will help prospects to better understand your strengths and capabilities.
#3. Target three to five carefully selected prospects.
Look for any low hanging fruit, like where you have some existing connections. Let all your attorneys know of your intention to pursue new business, both so that they can help but also to avoid taking any conflict cases.
#4. Stay in touch with your best referral sources.
Remind your referral sources that you remain available to take on new cases and promise to send them suitable leads also.
Maximize your memberships, even if your participation is online, by participating in events and sponsorships.
IN SUMMARY: The Future of Law Firm Marketing and Business Development
Rather than pull back, now is the time to step forward and invest the time and resources to strengthen your position in the market.
Stay close to clients, refine your marketing message, emphasize your value equation, and move more aggressively into a digital marketing realm.
The author welcomes your feedback. Contact Margaret Grisdela at 1-866-417-7025 or via email if you want some help in getting your digital marketing campaign up and running.
Insurance Defense Marketing Consultant for Law Firms
If your insurance defense law firm is asking how you can improve your marketing communications and business development efforts, give us a call. We have helped more than 175 insurance defense law firms in 39 states pursue new client opportunities.
Legal Expert Connections, Inc. offers three key benefits to insurance defense law firms nationwide:
- We are the leading U.S. legal marketing agency specializing in the insurance defense market. We make it our business to identify who you need to contact at an insurance company, corporation or municipality to be considered as a panel counsel member. We accelerate your business development process by helping you focus on introducing your law firm to new prospective clients.
- You get a structured business development process. We guide your law firm through a proven three-step campaign that brings discipline, focus, and productivity to your marketing efforts.
- Increase revenue with professional, Bar-compliant legal marketing campaigns. We do the research to identify insurance panel managers, so you can focus your time on the business development process.