The “New Normal” is a phrase we hear being thrown around a lot in the era of COVID-19.
So, what does this “new normal” mean for law firm marketing and the business development? To answer simply: It should not change much in the digital age.
Current Law Firm Marketing Efforts
If your law firm already has a digital presence or you’ve stuck with just traditional media (TV, radio, print media), you are already reaching potential clients regardless of stay-at-home orders and self-quarantines since people have more time than ever to browse the web or surf channels on TV.
However, for those that rely on personal referrals and networking to gain their leads and pad their pipeline, you should likely be looking at a change in your networking methods.
In-person meetings have been largely replaced with phone calls and video conferencing, which can have advantages and disadvantages.
How Can You Pivot Current Marketing Strategies?
Legal Back Office CEO Jaimee Hall shares some insights from her recent panel at the American Bar Association Small and Mid-Size Firm Committee webinar, as well as other resources developed by Legal Back Office to help law firms launch their social media presence.
How do we market during and after COVID-19 in a way that isn’t just continuing what firms have traditional done?
One trend that has emerged is the peeling back of professionalism. With Zoom meeting after Zoom meeting in your home office (or from your dining room table), many lawyers have forgone the professional apparel.
Additionally, everyday distractions such as pets and children in the background have become normal interruptions that barely get a second glance.
This has also translated to the tone of marketing, be it digital or print. Law firm owners are becoming more vulnerable and personal with blog posts and the things they share on social media.
For example, sharing photos of COVID hairstyles (or lack thereof), messy home offices and your furry four-legged “co-workers” is becoming more common and accepted. Believe it or not, this is still a form of law firm marketing.
Business Development Becomes More Personal
Gone are the days of exchanging business cards at happy hours or calling clients from your office landline (for the foreseeable future).
The future of networking with your referral partner attorneys may look like a virtual happy hour or a quick phone call check in versus email exchanges and rubbing elbows at the next bar association event.
Virtual meetings and events have allowed for more intentional networking. Rather than just “popping in” for a quick hello at a happy hour, virtual events are facilitated and moderated from start to finish.
This not only allows for a higher participation rate among the attending attorneys, but it also ensures that all the attorneys at the online event get to know each other instead of networking with just a handful of event attendees.
Don’t Be Weird
Just because the world around us is changing, does not mean the core values and branding of your firm should too. You should still remain true to your voice, service areas and avoid pivoting to a newer or more aggressive strategy – it can come across as inauthentic, or even worse predatory – during an economic downturn.
For example, some firms have started advertising bankruptcy or estate planning – both growing needs during the COVID crisis. However, if your firm wasn’t already practicing in that area, it is likely that your current marketing assets (website, messaging, etc.) do not reflect this new service area.
Instead, focus on the unique situations COVID-19 and the economy may bring to your current service offerings instead of investing in building out a new practice area for your firm.
Reframe Your Client Relationship Into A Business Partnership
Instead of thinking of how to milk your current clients and pipeline, consider ways to provide additional value to them.
Below are some examples of how our Law Firm Leadership Collaboration Circle members have partnered with their clients to level them up:
Offering Free Client Check-ins
Take the time to let your clients know you care and deepen the relationship by offering a free 15-minute (or longer) session for them to ask any questions relating to their current case or other areas of the law you practice.
Offer complimentary resources
Whether it’s a short webinar that lives on your website or a document outlining the basics of estate planning, think of ways to provide your client with tools that may educate your clients more on your practice areas.
Consider donating your time (or money)
A great example of donating firm resources to expand their branding, is Marler Law Partners’ “100 Wills for Goodwill.”
Consider how your firm can reach those who wouldn’t otherwise afford your services. Sending out a press release and sharing the program’s success with their community provided brand awareness and garnered goodwill in the local community.
Law Firm Marketing Social Media Tools
In order to boost firm’s organic social presence, Legal Back Office developed a July 2020 Social Media calendar for any law firm to use (with some tweaks).
You can access the drafted content and graphics via Google Drive.
Below are some best practices on how to tailor the material to your firm and efficiently schedule out posts.
Brand your graphics
Take the template graphics provided and brand them with your firm’s logos and colors using Photoshop or a free online graphic editor.
We recommend Canva as a good choice for graphic design beginners because it is free and super user-friendly.
By uploading the blank templates provided, you can simply overlay your own text and logo to make the post more personalized to your firm.
Share photos of your employees
In two of the examples provided, Legal Back Office personalized a post by sharing past photos of employees out at events or working with a business partner.
Sharing photos will usually garner more engagement and reach than a templated graphic image.
Schedule your posts in advance
Using a scheduler will not only save you time, but ensure that your content is being pushed out even when you can’t afford to spend time managing it every day.
Be sure to join us for our next Law Firm Leadership Collaboration Circle as we discuss “Goals and Strategies: How is your firm planning for the rest of 2020?”