Law firm marketing during COVID-19 is anything but business as usual. The coronavirus is forcing people to restrict exposure to others by staying home and working from home, including lawyers and law firms and those who market them.
The pandemic and its attendant restrictions have certainly changed the ways lawyers practice, in that courts have been closed, appearances are telephonic or remote, and filings are electronic. It has also limited in-person networking, reducing the opportunities to generate referrals from other attorneys. How has it changed law firm marketing and the way lawyers generate new business?
If you are an attorney struggling to generate leads during COVID-19, read on. We’ve put together our top eight takeaways from successfully marketing lawyers and law firms since the pandemic became widely known in March 2020. Use these law firm marketing tips to adapt and overcome, or if you need help implementing them, give us a call.
What We’ve Learned Crafting a Law Firm Marketing Strategy During COVID
Takeaway #1: COVID Could Be An Opportunity For More Clients
If you practice employment law, disability law, workers’ compensation, medical malpractice, personal injury law, wrongful death, insurance law, creditors’ rights, bankruptcy, collection defense, or social security law, COVID-19 may drive more business your way. Effective marketing can help you to capture that business.
The only way to let people know you are available to help them is to get your name and firm in front of them. These next seven takeaways will tell you how.
Takeaway #2: Use Your Social Media to Drive Attorney Referrals
In-person networking, once the primary way to get to know other attorneys and give and get client referrals, is just not happening right now.
How many of you have grown your network to the extent that you get and give enough referrals? Couldn’t you use more?
Use your social media accounts to maintain contact with your current network and expand your network to other tech-savvy attorneys who might refer business to you or vice versa. Then leverage those social media accounts to demonstrate your expertise and brand yourself as a subject matter expert in your practice areas.
Facebook and LinkedIn are two opportunities to market yourself and your services while expanding your network by adding friends-of-friends to your friends list and contacts-of-contacts to your contacts. Despite its reputation, Twitter is used by professionals to broadcast developments in their fields as well as the good work they do. Use it to keep your followers abreast of your insights and your wins.
Takeaway #3: Start Leveraging Your Blog to Generate Leads
We imagine that fully half of all attorneys think their blog is just a way to broadcast news about their areas of practice or advertise their judgments and settlements. Those that think that way do not know that blogs are actually powerful tools for generating new business.
How does a blog generate new business? Lawyers solve problems for people. COVID-19 is causing a lot of problems. When people have a legal problem, they often Google how to solve it even before reaching out to an attorney. If you’ve produced a blog post addressing the very problem they are having and demonstrated that you are uniquely qualified to solve it, they may consider hiring you.
Think about your areas of practice. Write comprehensive blog posts addressing each facet of each area of practice. Weaving in COVID-19 implications when appropriate will put your practice in front of those searching for your services right now. If you have existing blog posts that are comprehensive but need to be updated with the current state of things, update them.
Even if your areas of practice are in no way impacted by COVID-19, you can blog about how your practice has changed since COVID-19, what protections and considerations you provide for clients and prospective clients, and the availability of virtual meetings and hearings as well as electronic filing. You want prospective clients to know you are staying on top of pandemic-related changes and developments, that you care about their safety, and that your practice is active and thriving despite COVID-19.
Takeaway #4: Now Is The Time To Fix Your Outdated Website
Your potential clients are staying home, so unless you have the budget to advertise on TV, the only way they get to know you and hopefully like you and want to hire you is through the impression your website makes on them. What is that impression, currently? Ask yourself the following questions:
- Is your site optimized for mobile devices like phones and tablets?
- Does your site load quickly?
- Can a potential client contact you with one click?
- Are the staff photographs shown recent?
- Are the biographies up to date?
- Are your firm’s court results and settlements up to date?
- Are your areas of practice readily apparent?
- Do you have a blog?
- Do you have location pages for each of the areas your practice serves?
- Have you posted client testimonials?
- Is your Twitter handle apparent?
- Does your home page have links to your LinkedIn and Facebook pages?
If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” then you know what needs to be added or adjusted.
Everyone is staying home more. This means fewer people are seeing your billboard. Everyone is online. This means no one is seeing your Yellowpages ad or your newspaper ad. If you are fortunate enough to market on TV, sure, potential clients may see you, but what will they do next? Google your website to find out more about you.
Let’s say you are a workers’ compensation attorney. Google “workers’ compensation attorney in [your location].” Scroll past the ads and click on the link in the #1 position. What does that site look like? Compare it with your site. Does it have features and content your site is missing? You could certainly do worse than crib from your #1 competitor.
Even if your website is not the first impression your potential clients get about your practice, there is a good chance that they will visit it as they consider different attorneys and it could impact their overall impression about your law firm.
Having a website that leaves the right impression could be a differentiator in choosing you over another lawyer. The cost of a law firm website will vary, but ultimately, if your site’s design and content attract new clients to your firm, it will be worth it.
Takeaway #5: Add New Content to Your Site with SEO in Mind
Hopefully you are convinced you need to add a blog, service pages, and location pages to your website if you do not have them already. When you write content for the new pages, employ these two easy Search Engine Optimization techniques to include the keywords and terms that potential clients are Googling so that they may more easily find you.
Again, let’s say you are a workers’ compensation attorney and you are looking for blog content.
In a new private window, type “workers’ compensation” into the search box. Google will attempt to finish the phrase with the words most commonly searched for. In my case, Google offered the following suggestions:
- workers’ compensation lawyer near me
- workers’ compensation lawyer in [my state]
- Workers’ compensation lawyer in [my town]
- workers’ compensation settlement
- how much is the average workers’ compensation settlement
You should create location pages for the location of your office and the surrounding areas to capture the traffic from the first three autosuggests.
After that, it appears people are asking about workers’ compensation settlements. Could you write a blog post addressing how settlements come about? No? Then Google that and read the top post after the ads, if it is a blog post on an attorney website. Use that competitors’ post as your guide.
People Also Ask
When you searched on “how much is the average workers’ compensation settlement,” a People Also Ask box likely appeared below the ads. This gives you related queries that you can address in your blog posts. Use the exact words of the queries in your posts.
If you have no time to learn SEO, you can hire a high-quality SEO Services firm.
Takeaway #6: Collaborate With Local Media to Provide Legal Insights
If you have a local radio station or TV station that broadcasts the news, contact them to offer your services as a legal commentator. You can volunteer to speak briefly on a timely legal issue, such as, Can You Get Workers’ Comp for COVID-19? Offer to audition.
When viewers or listeners are exposed to you as a legal consultant on a credible radio or TV program, they immediately consider you an expert. Not only will they be attracted to your practice because of your perceived knowledge, experience, and ability, but the cache of being represented by a media expert will be all but irresistible to them.
Put yourself out there as an expert in your field. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but extending yourself will ultimately pay back in spades.
Takeaway #7: Know Where To Scale Back Your Marketing Spend
When I mentioned your billboard, yellow pages, and newspaper ads, I was being facetious. Very few people retain an attorney from those forms of advertising today. Even if they saw your name in one of those places first, they will Google you and visit your website to learn more about you before contacting you.
Why is this? Print and outdoor advertising are not “direct response” advertising. They are branding media used to create a mental association between your firm and some idea, such as your success for your clients in your practice areas. In contrast, your website should be designed to get a viewer to take action, such as contacting you for a consultation.
No matter how much your law firm spends on marketing in total, in the current climate you might consider reducing spending on forms of advertising that are not direct response advertising. Effective SEO will get you in front of people who are searching for you online. Effective networking via social media will get you attorney referrals. Putting yourself out there as an expert in your practice areas will attract new business. Keeping current clients happy will earn you client referrals.
Takeaway #8: Get Comfortable with Video and Other Technology
The practice of law will rely heavily on technology at least until there is a viable and readily-available vaccine, and probably a lot longer than that.
Your clients will have become accustomed to attending meetings and hearings remotely, and law firms will have adjusted their budgets to pay far less for brick-and-mortar locations and much more for website design, SEO, and the technology to practice law and serve clients remotely.
Take advantage of technology and people’s changing attitudes about using it to market beyond your immediate geographic area. You will likely be able to attract clients in your jurisdiction(s) you would otherwise not be able to represent due to lack of proximity to your office or the court.
Last Words from a Digital Marketing Company for Law Firms
If there is an upshot to the coronavirus pandemic COVID-19, it might be that:
- Practicing law has suddenly become more streamlined and efficient due to distancing requirements;
- These efficiencies can also help you serve current clients better;
- You can harness the influence of social media to both brand yourself as the expert in your practice area and grow your professional network;
- You can attract new clients by updating your website and using SEO to get potential clients to view your site.
- You may be able to attract clients from outside your immediate geographic area in the jurisdiction(s) in which you are licensed, if the practice of law continues to be largely virtual.
As new technology is developed to meet the needs of those working remotely, embrace it, and leverage these eight takeaways to not only survive but thrive during these unprecedented times. And if you are simply too busy practicing law to update your website, learn to create SEO content for your website, and manage your social media, know that we are here to help you.