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Large law firms have big marketing budgets and often claim the top spots in online searches. If you are part of a small law firm with a tiny marketing budget, you may be wondering how to compete with these big players. Surprisingly, small law firms have unique qualities that allow them to compete successfully online, even among large law firms. Consider the following steps to help your small law firm swim strong in a pool of big fish.
Advantages of Small Law Firms
A large law firm may have roomy office space, a full-time marketing director and a hearty stash of resources. However, small law firms can also have potent advantages, which may include:
- Less debt commitment
- More financial flexibility
- Greater efficiency due to a smaller team
- Close client relationships
- Niche appeal
When it comes to digital marketing, both small and large law firms can offer website content and build their brand on a level playing field. If small law firms want to gain an additional edge, they should consider the following strategies.
Use Personal Branding
Law firms that have dabbled in digital marketing have probably already explored building their unique brand and promoting it across various channels. If a small firm wants to go a step further, start by developing a personal brand for each attorney at the law firm. Experts report that 80% of law firm website traffic goes directly to the individual bio page, because people want to hire a person, not a business. Most attorneys default to a bland, lawyerish description, that offers no authenticity to a potential client. To stand out, allow each partner to display their own personality and distinctives. Attorneys who are part of small law firms can build their personal brand on the website’s About Us page, showing a professional headshot and detailed bio, then adding client reviews and recommendations. Follow this up with links to social media and LinkedIn sites. Finally, since the bio page is one of the most well-trafficked on any law firm website, make sure to insert a contact form or call to action in a prominent place.
Invest in Client Relationships
Regular contact with clients is one way to put clients first, and this should happen even if there are no big updates or questions to offer them. Small law firms can stand out when they offer unprompted communication to their clients, and a short email or simple message tells a client that you are staying on top of their case. It is easy to do, but it is something that busy attorneys at large law firms do not make time for. Being the first to reach out is another way for small law firms to set themselves apart.
Clients assume that you are competent, but to provide added value, make a real effort to understand your client’s issues and business challenges. If appropriate, get to know them outside the professional client relationship.
Once you understand your clients and their issues, you can offer a commitment to help. It builds trust and stronger relationships to ask questions such as: “What is your greatest concern right now?” Asking clarifying questions allows you to see better how you can assist them.
Stick to a Niche
Small law firms should focus on and go deep with one or two services, instead of trying to appeal to everyone. When you start with an ideal client in mind and target this audience, you showcase your expertise and find a niche for your law firm. Some experts recommend spotlighting one major practice area per site, in order to maximize your reach to potential clients.
Focus on Local
It is crucial for small law firms to maintain a great local reputation. You can do this by being active in community events, supporting local organizations, and getting your name in local news. Join the chamber of commerce, attend networking events and visit local schools as you share your expertise. Create a profile in regional directories, and make sure you use the same contact information everywhere you can be found online. This consistency will help your small law firm rank better in local searches. Use local keywords and phrases when assessing your SEO options. According to one study, 97% of consumers examine options that are close in proximity first before hiring a lawyer.
Use of video is growing, and small law firms should use this medium to their advantage. Try placing a short video on your law firm’s home page, sharing a message of what you do and why you do it. This personalizes your business and starts a connection between your law firm and potential clients. After the video, be sure to offer a call to action.
Produce Quality Content
High quality content on your law firm website is one of the best ways to draw traffic and attract visitors. This is true for almost every industry, but especially the legal profession. When writing or outsourcing well-written content, make sure it is written for prospective clients and not for other lawyers. Let your articles and blog posts answer typical questions, offer unique insights, and de-mystify the legal system. If you add content to social media, share this material on platforms where your potential clients congregate.
Promote Your Content
One of the most common marketing mistakes is to generate a stash of content, but neglect to promote it. A well-designed website still needs to be advertised in email signatures, on letterhead, and in every local listing. This is also true of the blog that you spend so much time and energy to create. (If you do not have a blog, get one started as soon as possible!) Promote your small law firm blog aggressively on social media. Marketers recommend tweeting blog post experts to relevant Twitter users, which can then be retweeted and exposed to a larger audience. Sharing your website address and blog post excerpts through social media is free advertising that brings more potential clients your way.
Coax Visitors to Take Action
A well-designed and promoted website that draws impressive traffic still needs to make contact with a call to action. Every piece of your website should be geared to encourage visitors to take the next step. Various ways to do this include:
- Adding a live chat feature
- Using chatbots
- Including contact forms throughout your website
- Offering incentives in exchange for contact information
Oversee Your Reviews
Small law firms and large law firms both need positive reviews to boost their online reputation, and online reviews matter. A recent study reported that around 84% of people searching for a lawyer would not hire one that had less than a 4-star average. So how can small law firms gain more 5-star reviews? Start by asking every client for a review, and provide a link to make it easier. Manage your online reviews regularly, responding professionally to both positive and negative feedback. If your small law firm is new to online marketing, a good way to jump in is by asking current clients to provide a review, which can immediately boost your reputation. Most clients are willing to offer a review or testimonial, but their lawyers simply do not ask for one.
How Law Quill Can Help
Large law firms may have more resources at their disposal, but small law firms have tangible advantages as well. By capitalizing on close client relationships and adding a few simple marketing strategies, your small law firm can move toward greater success.
We are here to help and would welcome the opportunity to visit with you for free regarding your website content! Schedule a free visit with us by scheduling a quick phone or zoom call at your convenience on our calendar today. You can also email us at [email protected]