Traditional marketing may not work for law firms. In fact, law firms in India are not even allowed to advertise.
So how can a law firm generate business without advertising?
Here are some ways law firms can acquire clients without actually selling.
#1 Media mentions
Being a resource to journalists and publishers by giving them information that is useful to their readers is a great way to get mentions in the media, which increases visibility and helps in branding.
#2 SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Most lawyers may be unfamiliar with this term.
I'll try to explain this with as much simplicity as I can. If you type the word best lawyers in India or DUI lawyers in Chicago, what shows up? If you are not listed at the top of these rankings, is it possible to climb your way to the top? There are things that can be done which can increase your odds of being found on the top of search results.
It's a relatively large topic and will be explained in another article.
#3 Content Marketing
A law firm can position itself as an authority in its field of work by giving away free information that otherwise would cost people money.
The best way to give out free information is to write articles, white papers, case studies on industry-specific topics.
Once you write this information, it's going to be online forever. Thousands of people are going to read these articles and remember you when they have a need.
The most important criteria here is mindshare NOT market share. Build mindshare and market share will happen. A lot of publications will be pleased getting free information from a reputed law firm.
Have a tie-up with a publication to get your articles published on their website on a frequent basis. Even if it is not a top publication, find one that has a relevant audience and are willing to work with you.
One lawyer friend asked me, how do I know what are the hot topics? In the era of social media, this should not be a problem. Just go on to Quora, which is a question and answer platform, and figure out relevant and popular questions people are asking. Answer that question with an article. Get that article published, and give people a link to that article.
The person asking the question will be happy to get that information, and it is highly probable that he will share this pleasant experience with other people. Again this is increasing mindshare.
#4 Email List (Core of marketing)
The number one online marketing mistake is not having an opt-in mailing list on your website. What is an opt-in mailing list? It's a list where people have willingly given you their contact information. Why will people give you their contact information? Because you are sharing useful information!
It's easy to create one, there are several email marketing softwares where you just need to copy and paste some code into your website, and you'll see a pop-up where people can enter their contact details which goes into your list.
You could also set-up auto responders. The moment someone signs up, he gets a welcome email, and a series of emails follow after that.
The hard part is getting people to sign up on your list; the harder part is to nurture that list and build a relationship. To me, email marketing is all about building relationships. I wrote a 30-page e-book on this topic; you can get it here. I've explained relationship based email marketing in more detail.
#5 Networking at events
Networking and referrals are great ways to get to know more people, and possibly acquire clients.
Not just in the law profession but several people in other professions have acquired clients just by networking. Many lawyers attend local business conferences and seminars to learn and meet new people.
Another option is to be a speaker at these events. That's way better than just being a delegate. Standing up and speaking in front of a large crowd can almost give celebrity status to a professional.
Some professionals are not very confident speaking in front of a crowd, but with enough practice and a good coach, they can shine through and catch people's attention with their magnetic personality. Public speaking is one of the top skills in any profession. 'Great speakers are great leaders.'
Finding a coach to train you in public speaking is worth its weight in gold.
#6 Creating your own events
Other than speaking and attending other people's events, I usually recommend professionals organize their own events.
The biggest advantage with hosting your own events is that you can position yourself exactly the way you want, and cater topics to target a specific audience profile. What's even better is that, if it is your event, you have the entire database with you.
A lot of people don't do networking right, they go to events, but they don't have a strategy in place. Here's an article that explains how smart networkers build strong relationships. It's imperative that you read the article before you even start networking at events.
Marketing is a crucial part of any business. The fastest way to acquire more clients is to improve your marketing and selling skills. Sometimes, it's a good idea to hire a professional or a specialist to help you with your sales and marketing.
Vinil Ramdev is a marketing consultant and business coach who helps professionals acquire clients, build their personal brand, and improve their selling and soft skills and can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.