Imagine a life in which you are in total control, you choose your source of income, your working hours and even the location of work. Sure, you may have to give up employer benefits and office parties but that’s a small cost to pay for free and autonomous work life. The real allure in freelancing as a lawyer is in being your own boss and directly witnessing how your work helps your clients, and that is why we’ve seen a rising trend in solo practitioners over the last decade or so.
While the idea of working for no one but yourself is really attractive, a lot of people never take the first step in setting themselves up as a freelance lawyer, mainly because they’re used to their current lifestyle and/or they don’t know how to take the actual first step to put themselves out there.
For the first reason, nothing much can be done unless a person actually wants to make a lifestyle shift, aimed towards personal freedom and flexibility. For the second reason, i.e not knowing how to promote oneself, we’ll show you 3 logical steps to establish yourself online, a channel through which you can find clients and garner a reputation for yourself.
Start Your Own Website
First things first, you need a website. In this digital day and age, you can get better exposure for lesser money with a website than with traditional advertising methods like running a newspaper ad or buying billboard space. Traditional methods are also time-bound, meaning you buy ad space for a limited time, in contrast, a website is theoretically forever.
And exposure is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to advantages of running your own website. For a self-employed practitioner, a website is like their business card, business aesthetic, and office space, all combined. Its the front end of your business and your website will play a big part in attracting and informing clients.
To get started with a website, you have to choose a hosting service first. In my opinion, the two most reliable hosting services right now are Wix and WordPress. They both have cheap subscription fees and both offer dedicated options for freelancers (ranging between $8-$12 monthly). The greatest advantage of using these hosting services is that they offer pre-built themes designed especially for attorneys and lawyers.
[Law Themes on Wix]
Conversely, you can hire a website designer to build you a website from the ground up. The advantage of going with a designer is that you’ll have complete control over functionality and design, obviously, you should expect to dig deeper in your pockets if you take this route. Given that you’ll need functions like content management, social media integration, and analytics, you can easily expect to pay around $1,500.
Once you’ve setup functions, design, and themes. It’s time to compose brilliant copy that will resonate with visitors and potential clients. The key to effective copy is to always focus on the visitors. Write in a manner that focuses on what value people can derive from your website. Many freelancers make the mistake of talking just about themselves and their accolades.
Yes, people do need to know you are competent but they are more interested in how you can offer value, so keep your copy customer-centric. Learn about their needs, what sort of people they are, and why they are looking for services like yours in the first place. When you have these insights, you can write copy that really connects with your visitors.
A few questions you can ask yourself to check if your website is ready to launch are:
- Does your website accurately portray your experience and capabilities?
- Is it as professional as you are?
- Are you proud to send people to your site?
- Does your website compare well with your competitors’ sites?
(Courtesy of Susan Greene)
If you’ve answered a resounding yes to all of these, then you’re ready to begin the next crucial phase in establishing an online presence.
Maintain A Personal Blog
Your website is the backbone of your freelance lawyering business. Your blog is the limbs that support and carry your website.
You’ve probably witnessed it yourself. All the big law firms have ‘thought leadership’ or ‘insights’ sections on their websites, a.k.a blogs. Not only does blogging help in establishing authority in a field, but It is great for SEO rankings, and has proven to be a reliable way to drive traffic and attract clients. By its very nature, blogs are a two-way interaction between lawyers and readers/clients. This allows for building new relationships and strengthening established ones.
Given that you’re setting up your online lawyering business, your blog will allow you the opportunity of sharing your voice, your knowledge, and your field of expertise. You can post all sorts of content, you can post How-To’s, case studies, opinions, reviews, ebooks, podcasts, animations, illustrations etc. There are countless forms of content, what truly matters is if the content resonates with your audience and represents you and your niche. For Example, if you are a personal injury lawyer, you can write or curate a post about what to do if you’ve been in a car accident. Even better, you could publish an infographic, which is visually much more engaging than text.
Once you have a blog running, you should start collecting emails from visitors and promote your work through your social networks. You can even run paid promotions by using distribution software like Quuupromote, all in an effort to attract and retain readership. And contrary to what online marketing gurus preach, there is no quick hack to attain a readership, the only way your blog will take off is with persistence and quality content.
Now that your website is set up and
Promote Your Services
You have a sprouting blog with relevant, quality content, it is time to bring out the fireworks and show the world what you’re about (and start earning clients).
By setting up a website and blog, you’ve already completed the first stage of promotion, i.e. you’ve built a brand image for yourself. Now you need to add call-to-action buttons and install landing pages on your website.
People only click on call-to-action buttons in exchange for something. You can offer them free one-time consultancy, guides or anything relevant to your domain in exchange for signing up for your email lists. Then if you send them regular emails, they will keep you top of mind when they need a lawyer.
Second, it is a good idea to run paid campaigns to quickly attract quality leads. And this is where landing pages will come in handy. When people see your ad in search results or on social media platforms, they click because they liked something you offered. Now when they click on the ad, they want to be directly taken to the offer. Therefore your ads should redirect to a stand-alone landing page which is designed solely to display your value deal with a single call-to-action button.
Look at this example. Its a no frills, straight to the point landing page where if you want to sign up for a free evaluation, you provide a few details and the company will contact you. There are no links to distract a visitor, and if you need more information you can watch a video before you proceed for a consultation. Simple and to the point.
To Sum it Up
If you want to be a successful freelance lawyer, you have to put in the legwork first and promote yourself.
Start off with building a quality website that represents you, your brand and the services you will offer. It should be easy for visitors to navigate and should look as professional as you.
Then you have to start writing and collecting content for your blog. Your blog is going to be a big source of traffic and will help you share your knowledge and expertise with the world.
Finally, you have to set up landing pages and run paid campaigns to attract quality leads who will become your source of income.