Similar to other professional service providers that I work with, I find that solicitors often struggle in the way they establish a relationship with their clients. Place yourself in the shoes of your potential clients and you will see that the main thing that they really need to know that you are an expert and they can trust you.
How do you do that? Well, state clearly what you are an expert in, first of all. That way you will stand out from the crowd of firms claiming they are experts in all spheres possible. And second of all, work towards reinforcing it through a customised, targeted marketing effort. That way you will establish yourself as an expert with the right audience.
Here’s how to go about it step by step:
Get an Identity
You cannot be everything to everyone. You need to decide who you are in terms of what expertise you have and what you really excel in. The first thing your potential clients want to know is: Are you an expert? And how could you be seen as such if you claim you specialise in 10 different areas? What is worse, you are no different than all the rest of the law firms that claim the same. You want to establish a name that people can relate to a specific field of specialty.
Think about what you honestly have the knowledge and experience in so you can focus on getting that across to your potential clients.
Consider a Niche Market
Now that that you know who you are, it is much easier to know who your target market is and who your niche market is respectively. Say you were a law firm specialising in corporate law. For starters, you now know that your target market is only companies; not families, immigrants, single parents, etc. You’ve narrowed down the market significantly. Then consider what services you can provide in your area of specialty and think about who would need these services. For example, if it was mergers and acquisitions – well then, drill down the industries where typically mergers and acquisitions happen and brand yourself as a firm targeting companies from these specific industries. It could be, for instance, mid-sized to large companies in the IT and Tech industries.
Knowing who you are going after is crucial as it defines any marketing effort you make.
Customise your Message
You’ve figured out what you specialise in and who your niche market is. Now you need to align your marketing effort with that in mind. Your Social Media, marketing materials, publications, media coverage, etc. should all reflect what you stand for:
Website: The website is the face of your business so to speak. It should be up-to-date, clear and consise. Also, and this is very important, it should be mobile-friendly as more than 60% of all enquiries in any industry today come through mobile devices. Most importantly, however it should state clearly what your expertise is.
Is it Family Law? Well, then make sure you add a tagline to reflect that, i.e. Wilson & Barnes – The Family law experts.
Marketing Materials: Proposals, business cards, brochures – similar to your website, these should all state what you specialise in. Make sure you add that right next to your name or logo.
Networking: A growing number of professionals come to realise the benefits of a well-targeted, well-planned networking effort such as speaking at conferences, attending industry events, etc. It is essential that at such events too you present yourself as an expert in your area. Make sure you mention that, you want people to remember you as ‘a family law solicitor’ not just another solicitor.
Media & Publications: Any media coverage, including Social Media, press releases, blog posts, etc. should take into account and be aligned with what you specialise in. I find that many professionals make the mistake of posting just for the sake of doing it or as a sales effort. This is completely wrong as any media you use is merely a tool to establish a relationship with your desired audience, not to sell. When you try to sell it puts people off. Instead, whether in your blogs, press releases or Facebook posts, talk about issues and tackle questions that your potential clients would want to know about. Thus, you create a relationship with people while at the same time establish yourself as an expert in your field.
Put a plan in place
Nothing will work if you are inconsistent. Sit down and plan your marketing effort for the year ahead.? Who are your target clients? Where do you find them? Consequently – how are you going to get through to them? Once you’ve answered these questions, you can look into specifics. If it is Social Media, what posts and how often. If it is media & blog posts, what topics and how often. If it is networking, where do you find your target audience and how often do you go to these events.
When you have a proper plan in place, you will be more focused and consistent in your effort and it will be easier to keep it up while focusing on your main job. Last but not least, you can go back, review and appraise its effectiveness. Consequently, you will know what generates business and what doesn’t, what to put time into and what to drop altogether.
If you are a smaller organisation you most likely look to survive and thus try to get in any work that comes your way. I understand that and that’s fine. I’m not saying turn away customers because they don’t fall into the profile of your ‘perfect client’. You can, of course, take on cases in different areas if you have the expertise. What I’m saying is don’t try to establish yourself as an expert in all. Your marketing effort will be diluted and so will your message to those clients that you need to be targeting. The key is a smaller target but a more focused effort. If you shoot in all directions, you often end up empty-handed.
If you have any questions or if you’d like some help and to discuss how you can target your marketing message so that you can implement them even faster and more successfully into your legal practice, you are welcome to contact me. You can get in touch with me, Paul Davis, here.