The legal world has become increasingly competitive. According to a survey published by LexisNexis, a legal publisher and workflow solution provider, competition is the biggest growth barrier to law firms next to pricing and the need for a more long-term strategy.
Additionally, Georgetown University Law Center reported in 2016 that the legal market has changed fundamentally. According to the report, demand for legal services has remained relatively stagnant over the past few years.
Alternative legal service providers, or “non-traditional” service providers, are also gaining a bigger piece of the legal market by offering clients fast, transparent services in niche areas of law. Although their market share is still low, the market share of alternative legal service providers is growing at rates of up to 20%.
They are accomplishing this by utilizing technology and implementing the types of marketing strategies that were proven successful by today’s top brands.
Additionally, surveys and consumer research studies indicate that fewer people are relying on referrals from their friends and relatives to find lawyers and legal advice. Instead, people are using the internet to find lawyers just as they do for any other product or service.
To compete with other lawyers and the growing industry of alternative legal services, your law firm needs a full array of digital marketing strategies to stay on top of search engine results, convert website visitors into clients, and reach new markets.
To start, you should consider your law firm a brand.
Brand Recognition Works in Other Markets
Since long before the creation of the Coca-Cola logo, branding has been one of the most important marketing strategies for businesses that market to consumers. A brand establishes a cultural identity for an organization that is distinguishable from its competitors and easily shareable among customers.
If your law firm provides outstanding service to clients, you want those services to be associated with a brand to inspire brand loyalty. Although many people associate branding with company logos, branding is not that easily defined.
It incorporates elements of design, messaging, quality of service, pricing, and organizational culture. In today’s markets, branding is an essential tool for leveraging the marketing power of social media, as 71% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a brand they follow on a social media platform.
Branding Your Law Firm
If you’re ready to consider your law firm a brand, you should take a look at the steps you’ve already taken. You’ve likely created a logo, established a website, and placed messaging on your web pages. This is a good start, but if your initial branding efforts aren’t effective, you may want to consider redefining your law firm in your marketing spaces.
By doing competitor research, you can discover how your competitors brand themselves and work to distinguish your own law firm. There may be simple ways to do this, like changing the color schemes of your logo and your website so you stand out more. But you may also want to do a full overhaul of your marketing strategy.
In the process of branding, you should determine which market you are attempting to target. For example, if your law firm specializes in a particular type of law, the messaging on your website can be edited to be more precise. You want to stand out as the ultimate authority in that area so that people searching for those services find your website and don’t hesitate to call.
If your competitors have all taken a traditional approach to their legal branding, you can stand out by utilizing contemporary web designs and service features that use technology to bridge the gap between you and your clients.
For example, you could set up a live online chat service on your website. This gives visitors an easy chance to connect while they browse.
You can create a legal blog to establish yourself as an authority in specific legal matters and as a way to answer frequently asked questions. When you consider your law firm a brand, every blog post is an effort in brand messaging that spreads brand recognition.
Branding is All-Encompassing
Entrepreneur Magazine defines branding as “the marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products,” but more specifically, branding is “your promise to your customer.”
The way in which you deliver that promise and how you generate perceived value in your law firm is what constitutes your brand. When you consider your law firm a brand, that brand should be all-encompassing. In other words, your brand should permeate through all of your services and everything you present to potential clients.
The key to establishing brand equity and performing brand maintenance is consistency. Design elements that you include in your law firm’s website should speak to the design elements of all your other marketing materials, including business cards and other print collateral.
Messaging should be consistent across all of your marketing, advertising, and client service channels as well.
Consider Your Law Firm a Brand
Over time, clients and potential clients will begin to associate your brand with quality, integrity, and outstanding legal service. Referrals will come effortlessly because your brand will be easily recognizable to prospective clients.
When you engage in digital marketing, your brand will be present in every post or comment so anyone who engages with it will immediately recognize you. Your brand will become reliable and steadfast, which will allow you to rise above the competition in every marketing channel and earn more clients for your law firm.
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