The legal advice market is more competitive than ever is a fact that does not require discussion. The brutal increase in the number of lawyers in recent years has the consequence that those who use their law firm marketing in a targeted manner are often also more successful. And this applies not only to career starters, but also to law firms that have been established for a long time.
A professional and uniform external image according to a corporate design defined by the firm’s image has become an imporant matter for large law firms, but is now also a matter for most of the larger regional players. But how can one attoney stand out from their competition at all? Which way and which ideas are clever enough to trigger the famous “wow effect” among the public seeking legal advice? Do such ideas still exist at all? And if so, which are the right ones for whom?
Different strategies for different attorneys
Questions after questions, to which of course nobody can give a blanket answer. For example, for a specialist in tax law, client loyalty is more important than for a renowned criminal defence lawyer who works exclusively forensically.
It is probably undisputed that the decision for marketing – no matter whether larger law firm or invidual attorney – is fundamental. A mere shot into the blue is not sufficient in any case. Derived from a strategy to be determined in advance and the knowledge of the own Kanzlei identity the selected measures should be always laid out on lastingness.
This means communicating regularly and continuously to the outside world. Quantity plays only a subordinate role, rather the “right” platforms and measures are decisive, because advertising can only be effective if it actually reaches the target group.
Within the framework of this series of articles on attorney marketing, we will show various ways in the coming weeks and months of (hopefully) winning new clients and consolidating existing client relationships.
A law firm has its own personality. And it is composed like a mosaic of many individual parts: from the letterhead to the language style. Whoever is aware of this can develop a real identity, a corporate identity.
A client checks whether you suit him before contacting you personally. Even if in most cases he cannot assess your consulting services in a qualified manner, he will at least form an opinion about you on the basis of his general impressions, for example on the basis of your Internet presence. So your image precedes you and influences the decision about the mandate. For this first impression there is never a second chance.
If you don’t want to leave its effect on others to chance, we recommend a regular review of the status quo. Simply ask yourself the following questions:: What image do you enjoy and does this coincide with your intentions? What do you want to say about yourself? Do you do this consistently? Who do you want to reach with it? Which media are available to you and which of them really make sense?
Did you answer honestly and self-critically? Then the first step on the way to Corporate Identity (CI) has been taken.
The concept of CI is based on the recognition that law firms are perceived as personalities and can also act similarly. It covers the entire external image and appearance (corporate design), the general behaviour of the law firm, its lawyers and employees (corporate behaviour) and, of course, marketing communication in general (corporate communication). The CI also enables an emotional positioning of your law firm, which in turn is the prerequisite for how a brand can appear and work.
Firm philosophy, mission statement, guidelines for action – they are just as much a part of the CI as the logo or the waiting loop of your telephone system.
SEO is for everyone
Search engine optimization, or SEO, os the craft of bringing websites among the top in Google. In our view, it is the most effective marketing methodology for any local business. Not only does it bring a lot of free visitors to your company homepage, it also leaves your website in great shape visually and technologically. That is, if SEO is done well! Unfortunately, the large majority of agencies does a sub par job and does seem to understand what they are doing. We will soon discuss how to estimate the quality an agency before you jump on board with them.
When setting up a CI, it is a must – logically – that you avoid all aspects that could have a negative impact on your reputation. This includes unfriendly telephone voices or a badly designed office image as well as – of course – persistent failures in court.
But you will only gain real competitive advantages with the freestyle: Recognize your impact potentials and position yourself consciously.
Comparisons with other areas are quite helpful. With cars, for example: Do not present yourself as a used beetle if you are actually a Mercedes. Your appearance must live up to the expectations of your law firm. Sounds simple, but most of them don’t succeed. Look around at your competitors: Many present themselves under value, especially in their external image. Others promise things they can’t or won’t keep.
Communicate your office identity authentically – this is the only way to create an appropriate impression for the viewer. Your very own values and goals, transported in a professional external image – this is the basis of a successful marketing strategy. With mere promises and haphazard activities, nobody is able to assert themselves against the competition today.
Develop a coherent, consistent concept that includes corporate design, corporate behaviour and corporate communication.