As a lawyer, it may feel as if your options for marketing your legal services are pretty limited. No doubt, you've heard the same suggestions time and again: advertise in legal directories; do a commercial; put up a billboard; or, maybe most frustratingly, win a big case and get some good free press.
None of those are bad suggestions, per se, but in a crowded legal market it's always important to be looking for a way to make your services, and your brand, stand out from the crowd. Here are three outside-the-box ideas for lawyer marketing that you might not have considered.
1) Initial Consultations By Text/Instant Messaging
If your kids can spend their lives texting, so can you! And, let's face it, as more and more Americans enter adulthood with texting and instant messaging ("IM") as a default communication tool, there's a good chance your potential clients will consider texts and IMs a perfectly normal, and even an expected, way to reach out to their lawyer. So, the next time you're in the position of offering an initial consultation, consider doing it by text or IM. Of course, all of the same rules will apply with regard to your ethical obligations to potential clients. The only difference will be that you're offering prospective clients a more up-to-date and (for them at least) natural way to connect with you for the first time.
2) Invest in a Digital Advertising Campaign
Why? Because it works. And, as we like to say here at Bridges Strategies, when people are looking for a lawyer, more often than not they'll turn to a trusted friend, and his name is usually Google. In other words, if you are not investing resources in a digital ad campaign that maximizes your chances of being found on Google (and Bing, and Yahoo), you are ignoring perhaps the single most important channel through which potential clients might find you.
And, it gets better. Lawyers often know, specifically, the geographic area where they're likely to find new clients. In the digital advertising space, they can leverage that knowledge with a "geo-fenced" campaign that runs search-related advertisements only in the specific places where their potential clients live and work, and even in specific businesses (such as hospitals, or coffee shops) where their potential clients may spend time. This level of targeting is not just far more effective at reaching your target audience than a blanket campaign, it's also often less expensive.
3) Network Symbiotically
Just like trees and mosses help each other thrive, so too can businesses complement each other and help each other grow. Once you have identified your target market with precision, you can begin to think about whether there are other, non-legal businesses that cater to the people who are most likely to become your clients. The future clients of criminal defense attorneys do business with bail bondsmen, the future clients of probate lawyers hire funeral homes, and so forth.
Now, we're not suggesting you "chase ambulances" or skulk around funeral homes like Paul Newman's character in The Verdict. Again, you're an attorney and you know the rules of the road when it comes to being ethical when marketing your services. But, if there is a business or industry that naturally serves your target demographic, get to know it! Go to trade shows, make friends, host lunch-and-learns and networking events. It doesn't take much to make your name known and put yourself at the front of someone's mind the next time they get asked by one of their customers "Hey, do you know a good lawyer?".
At Bridges Strategies, we specialize in helping lawyers find and speak to their target market, particularly online. To learn more about how our inbound digital marketing strategies can help your law firm generate and retain clients, contact us today.