Business Development


Business Development:

5 ways to start marketing your law firm

Jeff Dennis
Columbus, OH

Marketing is what drives clients to the doors of our firm. Before people can ask for legal counsel, they need to be aware that it exists and know where they can find it. If, like many law firms, yours is suffering from a lack of marketing appeal, these five steps will help you hit the ground running.

Step 1: Mission statement

A mission statement is a summary of the goals and values of your firm. This is the foundation of the firm and helps clients understand what you can do for them. Remember that this is meant to make you stand out among the crowd; make sure it is unique and reflects your personality. And whatever you do, don't use legal jargon.

As an example, The Dennis Law Firm says its mission it to "empower Ohio corporations and small business owners by sharing the recent case updates, regulatory changes, best practices and employment-focused growth strategies that help them build market share and reduce risk."

To prove that quality is better than quantity, here is another example from Kraft Foods, "Create delicious meal solutions that inspire amazing food stories which spread to drive sales and create value for Kraft Foods."

Step 2: Articulate goals

Before your firm can achieve any goals, you need to know what those goals are. The best way to figure that out is by writing them down. Since we're focusing on marketing, topics like branding, credibility, lead generation, engagement, client retention and cross-marketing should be addressed. These six areas will show weak points and more importantly, help determine goals.

To know where the firm stands on these issues, the following table describes what could be used to measure each topic.

Step 3: Secure distribution

After deciding on what areas need the most focus, the next step is to determine how they will be improved. Social media drives marketing in many ways. Platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, blogs and even Snapchat, Instagram and Pinterest can increase brand awareness and engagement, which can lead to new clients and engagement from existing clients. The trick is to update social media accounts regularly with quality content.

Step 4: Editorial calendar

After setting up social media accounts, it's time to put them to work. Sitting down and wondering, "What should the firm post on LinkedIn today?" isn't very effective for you or your followers. Content calendars are planned months in advance with details about what will be posted where and on what day. This can help alleviate the stress of searching for quality content at the last minute. It can also be used for tracking retweets, follows, likes, etc. Below is an example of a content calendar, courtesy of LinkedIn.

Step 5: Dive in

Try it out! Dive in head first and experiment with new methods. As all Nike marketing says, "Just do it."

Good marketing has the power to revolutionize your practice. By following these five steps, your law firm can reach a new audience and be more engaged in the community that you serve. If you can, hiring a content manager to handle social media on a daily basis may be helpful. The important thing is to open doors for the firm and grow with the community as it changes over time.

From "Young Lawyer Connect: Lawyer Content Marketing: From Loathsome to Lifestyle" Jeff Dennis, Kegler, Brown, Hill & Ritter. Adapted from PowerPoint presentation.

Want more ideas and advice for starting a law firm or solo practice?

Join OSBA CLE for Young Lawyer Connect on June 21 (available in multiple locations).