One of the trickiest problems law firms face is how to grow their firm in a crowded market. It’s tough for all firms, and can be a massive pain point for new firms in particular. If you don’t know where the next client is coming from, it’s stressful.
This post (and the resources within) gives an evidence-based framework to build up a steady flow of clients online. It will also share easy and sustainable alternatives to spending big on Google Ads.
While the benefits typically compound over time, at FirmChecker, we’ve seen firms win multiple new clients within 2 months with minimal spending by implementing these strategies.
How most firms address it
Most law firms fall into two categories. They either:
- Rely purely on referrals and word-of-mouth, and don’t actively market their firm at all; or
- Narrowly define marketing as pure client acquisition. These firms fight tooth-and-nail for clients with an acute need, and end up paying way too much for them.
Firms in category 1 typically achieve average growth, because they aren’t active enough in measuring and improving client service.
Firms in category 2 usually achieve poor margins, because they enter a bidding war for hot prospects on Google Ads.
In the long run, firms who “zoom-out”, and break down their client journey into distinct segments, win.
- Lower cost per click for online client acquisition (which is crucial for attracting younger buyers)
- Better client satisfaction, leading to more:
- Repeat business, (zero cost)
- Word-of-mouth business (zero cost)
- Quality client reviews (improving online presence and slashing cost of acquisition)
The flowchart below shows client touch-points and decisions with your firm, which you should try to optimise systematically. This will translate into both online and real-world success. Online reviews are highlight orange because they are a new and critical part of growing a law firm.
In this post, we give you tips on each stage and provide additional resources to help you excel across the buyer-cycle.
Boosting awareness online
The key to improving your brand awareness is to market to all prospective clients, not just those who have a direct need.
Only a small percentage of your target market is in ‘buying-mode’ at a given time, and they are hotly contested. This drives up the price of winning them as clients.
If you provide valuable content to all prospective clients, you’ll be top of mind when they are ready to make a purchase. They will also be more familiar and trusting of your firm’s brand, making it more likely that you’ll beat your competitors when they make a decision.
Click here for a deep-dive into this strategy on the FirmChecker website.
Turning online traffic into paying clients
If you implement the brand awareness strategy above, it will help you convert more clients, but not immediately. It’s a long-term strategy.
Think of the buyer-cycle above as a funnel, like the one depicted below based on real data for a real mid-tier Australian law firm.
Of those who are aware of your firm, only some will consider working with you. Of those who will consider you, a smaller subset will buy from you, and a smaller subset still will be repeat buyers.
For more immediate returns, target your efforts at the “Consideration” stage of your buyer-cycle.
Online reviews are critical to this. Over 80% of buyers now check reviews before making a purchase decision, and younger buyers (who operate primarily online) are flooding the market. In fact, over 33% of users on FirmChecker are between the ages of 25-34! These buyers like to be armed with information, and that’s where the market is heading – so get on board!
To address this need, FirmChecker helps you demonstrate your practice area niches, the industries you serve, the fee structures you use and key measures of service quality to reduce their anxiety about getting in touch with you.
To learn more about how you can convert traffic into clients, you can access this detailed guide [PDF].
Retaining more clients & boosting word-of-mouth
The final piece of the puzzle in a systematic marketing program is client feedback.
It’s the most valuable, and it’s the most neglected. In other words, it’s a huge opportunity to get a competitive edge.
Why do firms neglect feedback?
Feedback is uncomfortable. Even the word “feedback” is strongly associated with criticism, which is upsetting when you’ve tried your best.
How you’ll benefit from feedback
Most of the time, clients will be happy with your service. This is an excellent opportunity to bolster your online presence with positive reviews and improve your conversion rates.
It also boosts staff morale – don’t underestimate the power of recognition and appreciation for good work. FirmChecker amplifies this by funneling positive reviews to Google Reviews, so you can de-risk your Google Reviews and further boost your online reputation.
When clients are unhappy, it’s always better to know. FirmChecker allows clients to leave feedback privately to firms, which they typically opt to do if they’re dissatisfied. In fact, we’ve had at least one case of a firm saving a $50,000 retainer simply by identifying a flight-risk they didn’t even know was unhappy.
It’s difficult to get traction with your law firm’s marketing, especially if you’re just starting out. If you take the approach of fighting for clients in “buying-mode” via Google Ads, you’re going to spend a lot of money.
FirmChecker helps you get end-to-end marketing coverage of your law firm and it starts at the point that matters most: your existing clients.
This article has been kindly provided by FirmChecker in support of a partnership to offer ALPMA Members significant discounts.