New attorneys often have a hard time getting a handle on what the best marketing techniques are to get their firm in front of the competition. If you're worried about your marketing plan as a new attorney, fear not—there are actually places where new lawyers have advantages over the old guard. In this guide, we'll take a look at some marketing ideas that you should be implementing as soon as you can. Because most new attorneys are working with a limited budget, every idea in this guide is designed with cost effectiveness in mind.
#1: Go Social—You Have Advantages
While attorneys who are older and have been in the profession a very long time have many advantages over you as a new lawyer, you have some places where you can far outshine them. For example, many attorneys are basically dinosaurs when it comes to technology. This means that adapting to how people use social networking websites has been exceedingly difficult for a lot of lawyers who are very good at the legal parts of their job and used to be very good at the marketing parts, too.
If you can build a successful social networking presence, you'll soon notice your website climbing search rankings and clients starting to come in from word of mouth referrals and web searches. Because new attorneys today usually are younger and already have social networking experience, they understand what users expect of businesses online. Keep it professional and make sure that you're attentive to the people who link to you and share your posts, and you'll have a great social media presence within a fairly short time. What's more, doing marketing with your social media pages is completely free—it only costs time, not money, which is handy for attorneys who have more of the former than the latter on their hands.
#2: Use Social Bookmarking Sites
Another social venue that young attorneys often understand intuitively from previous use is the social bookmarking site. Sites like StumbleUpon and Reddit can help your law firm get noticed by people online, and can help you build a backlink profile that is more favorable to your firm in search results.
While social bookmarking websites are great for younger attorneys to use if they understand them, use caution. If these sites think that you are contributing spam, they will often delete not only the post you've made but even your entire account. Make sure that if you do post, you keep the marketing angle subtle—perhaps a link to an interesting blog entry, rather than a link to your main firm homepage—and don't make it your only post on the website. Try to be an active participant generally, and it is much less likely that you will be suspected of posting links to your own content. Alternately, be clear about it being your own content, and make sure that it stands on its own as something interesting enough to be worth viewing.
#3: Answer Legal Questions Online
While you may not know everything about the law, you should at least have a good grasp of a lot of the basics—and fortunately for you, that's a lot of what people ask questions about when they want to talk to attorneys online. When you answer legal questions online, you show yourself to be a subject matter expert to people, as well as improving the profile of your backlinks and helping you to appear higher in web searches.
Be careful not to overstep your ethical boundaries when talking to people about their legal questions online. However, done correctly, these kinds of answers show you to be a personable attorney who can answer tough questions in plain English—exactly the kind of thing potential clients want to know about you before they decide to pick up the phone and call.
#4: Start Your Own Blog
If you've already been an avid blog reader—and maybe have kept a personal blog of your own in the past—now's the time to start a law blog that will help the profile of your law firm. Make sure that you're maintaining professionalism in your blog, and link back to the firm website so that you are generating additional backlinks and “link juice” to help your Google standing.
Make sure that your blog has some level of specificity—there are plenty of blogs already out there from young attorneys talking about life, the law, and everything. If you make your blog more niche-focused, you'll be better positioned to draw in searchers.
#5: Give Talks in Your Community
Doing community outreach, like giving talks at community centers, senior centers, libraries, postsecondary educational institutions, and so on, can have a beneficial effect on your business. By getting face to face interaction time with people, you're showing them your professional demeanor and improving your community reputation.
Typically, the topic of your talk should focus on a legal area you both know well and that you hope to get clients in. For example, you might want to have a workshop that teaches people how to make a living will, and then make sure people know that your services are available for other estate planning needs.
#6: Find a Niche
The age of the generalist attorney, who didn't ever know what the next day would bring to his office door, are long gone now. Today, the profession belongs to the specialists and subspecialists, who mine narrow groups of clients. The reason niche marketing works has everything to do with how search engines work.
The longer a search term and the more unusual it is, the fewer people will be searching for it and the less it is likely to cost on Google. Targeting these keywords can be really good for conversion rates—the people who are actually making these very specific searches are often quite likely to be looking for an attorney. By niche marketing yourself, you're setting yourself apart from the competition and no longer need to be in the same rat race as hundreds or even thousands of other lawyers in your area.