Smart law firms are rethinking their approach to marketing

November 5

This is the first in a series of articles discussing law firm marketing.  Understanding lawyers are busy enough with billable work, any extra time spent on marketing needs to be worthwhile.  PerformLaw will review the marketing support systems and tactics that are actually helpful to lawyers in today's competitive legal market. Check back with us for the following articles which will all be compiled into a downloadable eBook. 


A change in thinking


It is not unusual to find cultural biases towards what marketing is and how it should be executed within a law firm.  A firm's definition of marketing often includes travel and entertainment, legal network and professional organization participation, bar activities, and some advertising in well-known legal directories. Spending marketing dollars outside of a firm’s existing norms is often tightly controlled and not encouraged.


Modern marketing tactics like web development, SEO (search engine optimization), content marketing, social media, and market research have entered the picture but are performed at an elementary level at many law firms compared to other industries.  


Curious firms who seek to overcome their marketing concerns have been encouraged by new opportunities for business growth- especially post 2020 when "typical" marketing (or anything for that matter) has been thrown out the window.


We have found the most transformative results when a law firm implements the following components in their marketing process: a strong planning process, a good data tracking system, and substantive analysis.


A diverse marketing approach

Law firm marketing is most successful when a diverse approach is supported.  For example, one partner may have a strong book of business and deep relationships. This partner may benefit from a marketing strategy that promotes the depth of her knowledge, considerable industry experience, and the strength of her team. This partner could develop and promote content to the relevant levels within client and potential client organizations. A goal could be to perpetuate a strong reputation as a market leader while creating new growth opportunities around team members.


On the other hand, another lawyer may have a smaller book of business and a lower profile. He is more likely to benefit from a content marketing approach aimed at lifting individual visibility and referral development. His plan may include blogging, editorial support for blogging, social media training, influencer marketing, webinars, web development, SEO and lots of public speaking.


Marketing strategies that are developed based on specific goals and a deep understanding of the market are most likely to succeed. Pinpointing exactly what a market wants and being able to deliver it requires a precision that comes from those who are most market aware. There are a number of marketing fundamentals that are universally supportive of marketing legal services, but these must be calibrated to specific situations.


What I am about to suggest is a departure from most firms’ control processes: To best implement this type of diverse marketing approach, we recommend that firms allocate marketing money to each lawyer based on a written plan. Empowering individual lawyers to direct the apportionment of this money and their time to marketing opportunities, consistent with their plan, will create a heightened level of enthusiasm and accountability. Further, the frustration of trying to overcome firm biases will be significantly reduced.



 Read other relevant marketing articles from the PerformLaw blog:

Effective Business Development Fundamentals

Smart firms encourage their successful business developers to translate their success into a blueprint for others to follow. Lawyers at all levels benefit from a system for business development that is built around their individual capabilities.

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Modern Legal Marketing: Here Are the Essentials

Modern legal marketing has never been more interesting and rewarding. Attorneys who embrace new forms of marketing can showcase their talents and communicate in ways that were unavailable just 10 years ago. With a few key relationships and resources, a practice may be transformed.

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Marketing Genius or Not, Having a Good Plan is an Advantage

Lawyers who are not as skilled when it comes to marketing are much more effective when they employ the correct systems. A marketing plan should start with the following elements.

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