Marketing for lawyers: the big challenge and how to get round it

Mar 29, 2016 by Mark Baines Category: Marketing

Marketing for lawyers is difficult and exacting. However, do it well and the rewards are great.

What’s happening in the legal marketplace?

Huge changes happening in the legal markets at the moment: new challenges from specialists; new entries to the market from household brands and abroad; new online techniques; new graduates flooding the market; changes to the regulatory authorities…the list goes on and on. It seems that this once ‘safe’ business is now a tumultuous riot of changes and pressures that didn’t exist before.

What are lawyers doing about it?

As the market takes on a new shape, and new requirements rise to the surface, it is inevitable that there will have to be change. Presently we are witnessing another round of mergers and acquisitions, as firms respond to market forces. By definition this must run out of steam eventually.

What will happen next?

If other service industries are anything to go by – eg accountancy, insurance – the winners will be the specialists. This is partly because the value of personal relationships has diminished with the growth of the internet, and partly because of the way markets work – ie if specialists exist, you’d be crazy to buy from a generalist. This is especially true in the legal market where there is no IP, which makes differentiation between firms hard to establish and maintain. So it’s only natural to buy from the firm that offers you the most in-depth knowledge and experience of your special requirements or business.

What can you do about it?

Most importantly, you have to do what you do well – in fact, better than the rest. Part of that you can achieve by appointing a specialist agency like Marcom, but part of it has to come down to planning your strategy and tactics in such a way that guarantee yourself a place on the winner’s rostrum:

  1. Get the right strategy. This includes working out why people are likely to engage you, then how to position yourself correctly and how you’re going to communicate this to the market.
  2. Stick to it. Once you commit to a strategy and tactics, you have to pursue it ruthlessly and without deviation. Don’t be tempted by offers that are off-strategy.
  3. Plan your tactics in advance. Then you know what you’re doing, when, how much to spend and what to expect as an outcome.
  4. Set KPIs. Otherwise how will you know if you’re being successful or not?

What should your tactics be?

These have to be linked to your strategy, but as a general rule:

  1. Draw up a set of guidelines, so everything you do is on brand and on message.
  2. Have a brilliant website which ensures that visitors are persuaded to engage you. Brochures too – yes these still work, though they’re expensive and move people in a different way.
  3. Promote your website through Search, so you get lots of visitors. It’s worth noting that a high proportion of existing clients will double-check and confirm their decision to re-engage you by checking the relevant SERPs.
  4. Support your networking. It’s not enough these days to just turn up and meet a few clients and prospects. You have to be sponsoring the event, or speaking at it, otherwise you get lost beneath all the other lawyers who are also networking.

As a first step, get a skilled and experienced agency like Marcom on board, who will provide objectivity as well as specialised skills and experience to can help you!

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