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When it comes to their skill in the courtroom, or their mastery when engaging clients, lawyers are mostly a confident bunch. When the conversation switches to marketing, however, that happy feeling is often replaced with anxiety, aversion or even outright hatred.
This isn’t because lawyers don’t understand or believe in marketing. Rather, it’s because many of them have spent thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours on both online and offline marketing, and instead of reaping a significant ROI, they end up sending out an SOS.
While it certainly isn’t comforting, and there’s no strength in numbers here, it is worth noting that this bad experience is by no means exclusive to the legal community. It affects doctors, dentists, architects, engineers — and the list goes on.
At the same time, it’s also true — and certainly important to highlight — that not all lawyers have a bad case of marketing spend regret. So, this begs the big question: When it comes to marketing strategy, what are successful lawyers doing differently? In a surprising number of situations, I find it boils down to three things:
Twenty years ago — maybe even a decade ago — it was (somewhat) understandable if lawyers had lousy websites. But these days it’s not just a bad marketing practice, it’s unacceptable — especially since having an exceptional website is so affordable.
If “exceptional” is too nebulous, here’s how that adjective translates: Your website should looks professional, have great client-facing content, load quickly, and feature intuitive, responsive design (that is, look normal on desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones). And, of course, it must be secure to keep cybercriminals, hackers and other bad actors at bay.
According to a survey by FindLaw, the first thing the vast majority of people who need legal representation do is, yes, you guessed it: head to the web. And the proportion is even higher when people search for lawyers in a specialized area of law, since consulting their personal network typically doesn’t lead to a recommendation or referral.
Considering this, the lawyers who are enjoying a nice ride on the marketing bus have discovered the wisdom of search engine optimization, social media presence, directories (FindLaw, Avvo, Justia, Nolo and so on) and pay-per-click advertising.
Since the first two strategies are rooted in the online world, I’ll wrap up with advice for the offline world (you know, that place your kids find boring and slow).
Building your profile through speaking engagements may be an old-school tactic, but a growing number of lawyers are seeking out new venues to share their wisdom with folks who may need their services — or, just as valuable, may know someone who does, or who will. An example of this would be H1B attorney Karen-Lee Pollak, who frequently makes trips to South Africa, providing workshops for people interested in obtaining U.S. visas.
Strategic, targeted, bar-approved marketing can help you build mutually beneficial relationships with clients, and ultimately experience more success and personal satisfaction. No, marketing isn’t a magic wand, but it can and should be part of a success story — not a cautionary tale.
Chans Weber is CEO of Leap Clixx, a digital marketing agency. With more than 10 years of experience in industries including finance, marketing and online technology, Chans is known for his skill in transforming goals into tangible revenue. As an expert in advanced SEO, paid advertising and inbound marketing, he is passionate about helping businesses reach their full potential. Follow him on Twitter @chansweber and on Google+.
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