What is legal marketing, really? Whenever lawyers call me up, one of the first questions I ask is “What are you currently doing to market yourself?” Many tell me that they’ve tried law firm advertising but mainly get new customers by referrals. They may have tried sending some postcards or creating a website, but nothing has been effective in generating new leads.
Does this sound familiar?
When most people think of law firm marketing, they think of all the things they could be doing to tell people about their business. They think of advertising, websites, newsletters, postcards, or other various tactics. They also might think of sales techniques like cold calling. These each have their place in marketing, but marketing includes much more.
What is Legal Marketing?
“Marketing” is an umbrella term that involves everything you do to attract clients and help them solve their problems. It includes:
- the types of services you offer
- how you position and package your legal services
- what you charge
- your marketing materials such as ads, websites, brochures, and newsletters
- how you present yourself in meetings
- how your staff treats clients through phone and email
- networking such as lunch, golf, or organizational events
- how you get referrals
As you can see, law firm marketing is not just a set of tools to communicate with prospects and clients. Marketing is a mindset. It is more than the casual philosophy of “just do it” – just run those ads and wait for the phone to start ringing. It’s about everything you do or say to customers and prospects through any type of medium – phone, email, brochure, website, etc.
Legal Marketing Is A Process – Not An Event
Law firm marketing is an ongoing process. Rarely will one letter/ad/newsletter close the deal. You can’t hire a sales person to sell your services for you. People hire lawyers they know, like and trust. If they are going to build a working relationship with you, they want to get to know who you are, how knowledgeable you are, and how you can help them with their legal issues. That can take time – and usually takes at least one face-to-face meeting, especially if your fees are high.
Think of marketing in the same way you approach your firm’s finances – you do the books and pay your bills on a routine basis. Marketing should be no different. What do you need to do every month, every week, every day to get your message out there?
As management guru Peter Drucker has written, “Business has only two basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results. All the rest are costs.” Innovation is about tailoring your services creatively to fit your clients’ needs while marketing is about promoting your services to the people who need them most.