Opening your own law firm, especially straight out of law school, can be overwhelming. Unless you happen to win the lottery, chances are you don’t have a giant pile of cash lying around to put towards your law firm marketing, especially when you’re still working to pay back those student loans. At a time when it’s very important to allocate funds carefully, here is how we recommend you proceed.
Focus on the resource you have a lot of in the beginning stages: Time.
Since you don’t have a large base of clients yet, you probably aren’t drowning in business when you first open up your law firm. So take advantage of this time to network and begin establishing your clientele. You can go to networking events like trade association meetings, join a BNI chapter, or go to local chamber of commerce events. Do some research about local events and meetings where your potential clients and referral sources may be, make sure you have your business cards handy, and start building those relationships.
Once you’ve started making connections, consider speaking at a meeting, or even hosting your own event. The credibility of hosting your own event is an added benefit that you can showcase on social media.
Once you’ve established a solid network, you need a way to stay in touch with them.
This is why one of your first steps should be creating an email newsletter. You’ve amassed this list of contacts, but what’s going to make them remember you in a couple of months or even years when they’re in need of a lawyer? Consistent points of contact. That’s where your email newsletter comes in. This is a fairly inexpensive option since you don’t have to pay printing or postage. You just need to prepare the content and use an email platform to send and store your information. By persistently getting in the inbox of potential clients, they’ll remember your name and brand when it comes time to hire a lawyer or make a referral to a friend.
Build a website.
Even though this seems like a big expense that you may not have the funds for right off the bat, it is crucial to getting business and creating a brand that attracts clients. Over 80% of consumers do research online before purchasing a product or service, and without a website to showcase what you do, a potential client is probably going to look elsewhere.
This is also applicable if you have a website, but it looks outdated or amateurish. A person visiting your website that is clearly outdated will question whether you’re still practicing and if you are credible in your field. It’s important that your website makes the right first impression—that it makes it clear what you do, who you help, and why you are the right choice to help them with their legal needs.
Finally, once you have a website that you’re really proud of, that impresses even you, then you can start building off it. That amazing website is like the central element to all your other marketing strategies, and once it’s where it needs to be, you can start filling it in with other channels. Add your social media buttons so people can see your posts on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and eventually Instagram. Then publish regularly to your blog and share that content on social media. Add video elements to your website because some people enjoy reading content while others prefer watching. There’s no reason you can’t cater to both by repurposing content as both blog posts and video.
Your website should be the central focal point where anyone who wants to know more about you and your services can go to get all that information. That means your website needs to stand out among all the other websites for attorneys who specialize in your same practice area in your locale because there’s a good chance that’s what potential clients are looking at when shopping for services.
There are a lot of places where you can spend your money and energy when you first open your law firm, so it’s important that you prioritize and allocate your limited resources in the right areas. Hopefully, these tips will help!