For each of the past several years, the Thomson Reuters State of U.S. Small Law Firms Report has revealed much about how small law firms are faring. In 2020, the report found that marketing efforts became more challenging during the pandemic and in 2021, it noted that lawyers said they spent, on average, only 56% of their work hours practicing law, compared to 60% two or three years ago.
As the survey goes on to explain in-depth, marketing is considerably more challenging than in the past and taking up more attorney time than ever before. That means whatever effort you invest in when it comes to marketing, has to pay off.
Even law firms with extensive histories and excellent reputations struggle with implementing effective marketing strategies and end up making serious, yet avoidable, mistakes. If you make similar marketing errors for your law firm, you may turn away potential clients, damage your reputation, and stunt your firm’s growth.
Here are some common marketing mistakes made by small law firms and what you can do to avoid them.
You focus solely on your homepage
Your web presence should be much more than just the look and feel your homepage. Effective digital marking strategies incorporate a variety of ways to put your message in front of your target audience. Instead of hoping potential clients find your website, you should have at least a toehold wherever they are active online, so you expand your chances of engaging them in a process that converts them into clients.
Search engine marketing (SEM), for example, is paid advertising for certain keywords on the search engine results page. SEM is a powerful tool to advertise your law firm and its specialties not in front of everyone and anyone, but in front of people who have indicated early signs of interest. Using SEM may attract potential clients to a landing page that is not your homepage, but rather a page on your website tailored to specifically convert their interest into becoming a client. This technique uses a continual marketing process (sometimes called a “sales funnel”), which, when done properly, can result in a successful, steady stream of new clients.
You overlook the importance of reviews
The chief benefit of reviews is that they show a potential client what it’s been like for other people in his or her situation to work with you (and win that potential client over before another firms does). However, the list of benefits that flow from a strong body of online reviews doesn’t stop there. There’s no single right way to go about garnering online reviews for your potential clients to see, but one approach will likely work better for your practice than others.
Some attorneys are leery of reviews because they worry they can’t influence them enough. If you feel similarly, it may help to know that negative reviews can create powerful opportunities to demonstrate how you take care of a disgruntled client and go out of your way to be fair in accommodating a complaint.
You fail to track leads judiciously
Response time can be tricky for a lot of attorneys, especially in small law firms. You only have so many hours in the day and your responsibilities to current clients take up most of your time. But new prospects want to hear from you quickly. Remember that legal consumers often select the first law firm they speak with. By not responding quickly enough, you could literally be costing yourself clients.
More often than not, the most successful law firms contact their prospects as soon as possible. If they are unable to reach the prospects or make the call themselves, they have backup processes in place because they understand just how critical response time is in making that initial contact with potential clients.
You try to do it all yourself
No matter how much talent and skill you have, there is one thing that you cannot do: make more hours available in a 24-hour day. If you try to do everything yourself, you will likely create too much pressure from the excessive constrains of running a small law firm business. You may not be able to complete all your job tasks or do them well and perhaps experience burnout.
Delegating marketing efforts is a real opportunity to improve this dynamic. One resource you can count on for marketing help is FindLaw’s Legal Marketing Services. If you think the idea of using these techniques would be useful for your digital legal marketing plan, you can always schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation with your local FindLaw digital marketing expert. This person will be able to explain the offerings listed above in greater detail.
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