24 Feb Why your law practice marketing might need a re-boot
Does your practice marketing seem to be getting more difficult? Are you struggling to understand why your activities aren’t getting the traction that they once did, or that you hoped for?
The fact is that you’re probably doing a lot of the right stuff, or at least the right stuff for 2011-2014. It’s just that everyone else is doing this stuff too now, so you have to take things a step further to truly stand out and for your marketing to be effective.
There’s more law practices competing for roughly the same amount of work, and everybody’s trying harder. Even in the last 5 years, there have been significant changes in client sophistication, positioning sophistication, the need for content marketing, how referral relationships operate and more.
Below I look at four big areas for law practice marketing and discuss some of the common challenges related to these areas.
Positioning and differentiation
With more practices trying harder to differentiate themselves, it seems that you don’t seem to stand out so much any more. Practice specialist? check. Industry specialist? check Fixed fees? check. Flexible engagement? Yeah, sort-of, Excellent client service? well obviously. Expertise and experience? Yes – we’ve got that too!
In response to the above, all you can do is re-group, review your business model and competitive positioning and try to find something new that really makes you stand out. Sometimes its just the courage to say ‘we don’t do y and z, we only do x’. This is one area where playing it safe is unlikely to work, so go-on: be bold!
The old ways are dying. Increasingly, any professional referral comes with strings and expectations attached – prompting the shift to more and more strategic alliances, rather than informal semi-social networks. The problem is that there is so much competition for good strategic partners (other lawyers, accountants, financial advisors etc.). All the best potential partners are already taken!
The key is to be persistent, and clearly communicate a better offer in terms of commitment, support and – of course – return referrals. If you can genuinely focus on building a relationship, on giving rather than receiving – and sell the value of your practice as a referral partner – you have a good chance of attracting and retaining the strategic partners you need to lock in referral streams.
2015 was the year that everybody seemed to wake up to the fact that they need to blog. (LinkedIn is getting very crowded!). If you’re not blogging already, get going: customers and clients increasingly look for information and guidance first before they look for a professional advisor. You need to play in this space – and also generate the endorsements of your insights that come through shares and likes.
If you’re already blogging, it’s probably time to step it up a gear. Get a ‘content strategy’ to ensure your blogs deliver on specific objectives whether you are targeting referrers or end users, aiming to grow your LinkedIn network or boosting SEO. Then start thinking about using different media in terms of creating infographics, videoblogs, recorded webinars, podcasts, or something else rather just written articles. It’s great that you are content marketing, but like everything else, you need to differentiate and make your content stand out from the crowd.
Client relationship management
Do you have your lists of ‘A’ and ‘B’ clients, and have a great schedule for when you will seek a coffee ‘catch-up’ with them or send them a newsletter? Great! – How’s it working? I’m hearing its getting more difficult.
First, clients are inundated with requests from service providers for coffee-catch-ups, and its affecting their blood-pressure. Why should they give you their precious time? What’s in it for them? That’s not a rhetorical question – its a question you have to answer. You either have to frame a real promise of value for a meeting – or alternatively find a way of consistently providing value over the coffee so that they will want to meet with you again. Otherwise, it’s just a waste of time that clients can’t afford.
Similarly, client’s are increasingly rejecting the type of ‘generic’ newsletters and EDMs that law practices send out. Nowadays everything has to be personalised – offering specific insights to specific challenges, and making clients feel truly appreciated.
To learn more about how you can re-boot your practice, register now for one of these workshops in Brisbane and Melbourne: