It takes an incredible amount of work to open up your own small law firm. You have to put in countless hours of studying in law school, work as an associate at another firm, and then deal with the logistics of starting a business. So much time and effort have gone into getting to the point of striking out on your own. It can be daunting thinking about the long road ahead to growing your law firm. Even so, expansion should be the ultimate goal of your practice. Expanding will enable you to take time off when you need to and make more money.
Everyone you talk to will have a different strategy for growing your business, some more effective than others. Four of the most effective are implementing effective marketing, networking with clients and colleagues, and using practice management software to improve efficiency. Striking the right balance among each of these growth methods and knowing how much time to invest in each one will help you grow your firm.
Law Firm Marketing
Marketing your law firm effectively is one of the most valuable things you can do to grow the business. There are many ways to go about this. The popularity of digital marketing strategies like SEO, content marketing, paid digital advertising, and local digital marketing is growing. Although digital marketing has is the wave of the future, there is still value in traditional marketing like newspapers or magazines, event sponsorships, and charitable donations.
Local Digital Marketing
The first step in marketing your law firm digitally is to make sure your local listings are 100% accurate. When searching your name or your law firm’s name on Google, you should see an information card on the right side of the screen. This will include images of attorneys or your location, the name of the firm, address, hours, phone number, reviews, and more. When you claim your Google My Business page, you’re able to edit this information and make sure it’s correct. If your phone number or address is wrong, you will lose business from potential clients who are trying to find or contact you.
It’s also vital that you ask happy customers to leave positive reviews on Google. If you have too many negative reviews, clients will immediately look elsewhere without even contacting you.
Managing your Google profile and reviews is essential, but it really only comes into play if potential customers search for your firm name or brand name. How can you capture website traffic from people that search for more general terms such as “how to file for divorce in New Jersey”. Content marketing is a great way to make sure you appear on the first page of Google results for terms that your clients search regularly.
You can write blog posts or create website pages that are focused on commonly search terms and frequently asked questions. You can also build complete web pages based on these search terms. Think about the kind of questions you receive from clients, and craft these into content that can help capture new clients.
When you write content for your law firm’s website, make sure that you comply with bar regulations and guidelines. It’s not worth hurting your business to implement SEO and content marketing. Every blog for your law firm should include a disclaimer that it is for entertainment purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
Paid Digital Advertising
If you do enough work trying to improve the search engine results of your firm, you will inevitably find search terms that are too competitive. These may be dominated by a large law firm or a mega-corporation that may have invested significant resources into maintaining this search engine ranking. In situations like these, it may be wise to consider paid advertising via Google or other platforms. With paid search advertisements, you can pay to appear in Google’s paid search results that rank above the organic search results. The price for these spots is steep, but it can also be well worth it in terms of the business you see coming your way.
Another option would be to create digital banner ads to place on networks. These ads can then be shown to internet users across the internet. Many digital ad networks are also able to target your advertisements specifically to the type of people that are most valuable to you. It’s a great way to get your logo and name in front of as many targeted people as possible.
While traditional marketing has taken a step back recently in favor of digital, it can still have significant reach. Placing advertisements in local newspapers and magazines can be a great way to gain new clients. If your target market skews older and doesn’t use the internet as often, it can be the most effective way to reach them.
Other forms of traditional marketing, such as sponsoring events, can be valuable. You should choose events where you know the target audience will align with your desired client base. There is a lot of opportunity in marketing, but it may seem overwhelming. Hiring an agency or specialist that has experience in law firm marketing can help you manage everything.
An underrated and valuable way to gain new clients is to network effectively. Word of mouth and referrals are two of the most important ways a lawyer can get new business. But many lawyers just assume this aspect of growing your law firm will happen naturally and do nothing to help it along. Networking with your fellow lawyers, clients, and potential clients will increase your standing in the community and make you more likely to be recommended.
Options for networking in the law profession include attending bar association events, arranging your own events, making charitable donations. Working pro bono on high profile cases can also be a great way to get your name out there.
Attending bar association events or arranging your own events with fellow lawyers and legal professionals is a great way to network and get more business. When you are close with other lawyers in the area, you can provide them with referrals if you are unable or unwilling to take on specific clients or cases. They can do the same for you in a mutually beneficial relationship.
Charitable donations and pro bono work are a great way to kill two birds with one stone. Most importantly, you can give back to the community and do a great thing for the less fortunate. But at the same time, you gain a positive reputation for caring about the city or state. Clients are more likely to recommend you to others if they see you making a difference for people in the area.
One of the most cost-effective ways to grow your law firm is to enhance the efficiency of your office practices. When you accomplish this task, you’re often able to take on more work and make more money without increasing the size of your staff.
If you’re looking to improve law firm efficiency, you should start by looking at your firm’s software. Many firms use one program for managing their documents, one program for tracking time, a third system for billing, and yet another for storing their client and case information. If this sounds familiar to you, you’re probably wasting time in your day-to-day office tasks.
When you use multiple disconnected systems as in the example above, you will often have to copy and paste or re-key client and case data. All this time spent re-entering information adds up to several hours per week and even hundreds of hours per year. Think of all the additional clients you could take on, or extra time you could be billing! In addition to being a massive waste of time, re-entering data also allows the opportunity for errors, which can cost you even more time and money.
Switching to an all-in-one system like LEAP helps increase your firm’s efficiency. With improved efficiency in the practice, you will have more time to focus on marketing, networking, and growing your law firm. LEAP allows lawyers to work from anywhere, anytime, and from any device with the best-in-class cloud practice management software. Learn more about LEAP and request an obligation-free demonstration.
There are many effective strategies for increasing the number of clients you have and making more money. Some are more time consuming than others, and others require a more significant monetary investment. Sustained growth is only possible with a varied mix of the strategies above. If you want to grow your law practice, you should be taking advantage of every opportunity in marketing, networking, and increasing your firm’s efficiency.