If you work in a small law firm, the odds are pretty good that you know marketing is a significant challenge. In fact, based on a recent study, we can place the odds at 75 percent that you know getting new clients is difficult. It’s not hard to understand why. You don’t have the financial resources of large corporate law firms. You probably don’t have one person that’s a true marketing professional on staff.
Even with these disadvantages, there are still ways that small law firm marketing can effectively compete with the big firms.
Streamline your marketing decision-making
Let’s start by playing to 1 of the 2 advantages you do have. Larger firms are typically defined by some level of bureaucracy. It’s difficult to respond quickly to opportunities as they arise. Give your firm some rapid-response capability by putting a single person in charge of final decisions on how to use the marketing budget.
That doesn’t mean this one person shouldn’t be seeking out opinions, particularly those of the partners. It doesn’t mean they should never call a meeting. It does mean that the final authority has to rest with them after input has been received.
A side note here is that by giving one person the responsibility for the marketing budget, it presumes that you have a marketing budget. It’s not unheard of for smaller firms to neglect this in their annual budgeting and have to scramble for cash.
Whether you do your budget quarterly, semi-annually or at the beginning of each fiscal year, make sure marketing has its own space in there.
Emphasize your smallness
The other advantage you have is that you are small. A lot of your potential clients might find the prospect of going into a big corporate office to be a little intimidating. But if they’ve just been injured in an accident, the only name that might be top of mind for them is the firm they see on the billboard during their commute.
A small personal injury firm might not be buying billboard space off the freeway, but they can use their Facebook presence to share their unique story. Simply from a storytelling perspective, people love to hear about a smaller firm challenging corporate giants. From a practical standpoint, you can emphasize that your smallness means that their particular case will be more valuable to you than it is to a large corporate firm.
Work the free stuff
Organic search—the search engine results that appear naturally, right below the paid advertisements—is potential free traffic. Give yourself an opportunity to get that traffic by following SEO best practices in the development of your website and then writing content that’s aimed at the keywords people most likely search when looking for a lawyer in your practice area.
Another free option is the legal directory listings. Take advantage of every single one of them and make sure to follow all best practices in filling out your listing.
Work the targeted stuff
You might not be able to buy the big billboard or the radio and TV spots, but you can go after the advertising space that’s available on your targeted keywords with search engines. A pay-per-click campaign will immediately raise your visibility on these valuable keywords.
Make sure to integrate your paid advertising with the free opportunities. A good PPC campaign will usually create a lift in how well you rank in the organic searches. You can also direct prospects you find via paid search to your “Contact Us” page. When you get contact information, you can also put people on a list for your free newsletter to keep your name continually top of mind if they are ever in need of legal counsel.