How to Get More Work for Your Law Firm

Did you make a New Years’ resolution to get more work for your law firm this year? The year is flying, how are your resolutions going?

Many law firms want to kick start their marketing this year, this article will make sure you do!

If you know in your heart you are not getting the flow of new enquiries or matters that you should be getting, you also know you need to do something different this year to reignite your law firm and get more work coming through the door.

If you have been practicing for a while you know that there will be a lot of people looking for legal help now that the school holidays have finished and the silly season is over.  The real question is what should you do and how do you do it. So if you are serious about your New Years’ resolution here is where to start.

Law firm marketing comes in all shapes and sizes and we have outlined below our responses to some typical questions that we have already been asked by Principals of law firms, to help them achieve their marketing goals this year and get their firm’s growth strategy going.

Should we start to advertise in the local paper?

Advertising is the most expensive form of marketing and in our view produces the least loyal clients. Firms from one end of the country to the other who have done this usually advise us that it was both expensive and futile. Barely producing enough work to cover the ad, if that.

Advertising can take many forms for example print advertising and online advertising but our answer is the same. Unless you have a very large marketing budget and you measure every single matter that comes in and after that the return on investment stacks up then that’s fine. Realistically unless you are doing this you are more likely than not throwing good money after bad.

Do you advise us to continue with our Yellow Pages ads?

Most lawyers we speak to know, either anecdotally or by ‘gut feel’, that the Yellow Pages won’t provide the leads it once did. Most people these days simply do a search on the internet, rather than to flick through the Yellow Pages. We feel that there are better marketing options available to you.  Sure, you might have your firm listed in the Yellow Pages but keep it to a bare minimum.

The same goes particularly if you have previously paid for a large ad in the Yellow Pages. Sure you may have a great position and I know many firms have been advised that they will lose their position in the book.

The problem is that the book is no longer as popular as it once was.

We are happy with our website … is just having a website enough? Or we don’t have a website do we need one?

All law firms should have a website it’s as simple as that. So if the question is “should we create a website” the simple answer is yes.

Some firms have a ‘presence’ on the internet by being referred to in some lists. This is not enough in our view.  Your firm’s website needs to set out the areas of law you do, who is in the firm and should say something about your values and how you can help your clients.

Your firm’s website doesn’t need to be any bigger than about 10 pages particularly if you have not had one before.  For firms that have a website the key is to make it interesting for the reader and have content that makes the reader want to remain on your site. Importantly, it needs to have sufficient content to assist your clients/readers about the areas of law you undertake.

Having a website is great but unless you drive traffic to it, hardly anyone will know it’s even there.

We rely on ‘word of mouth’ wont that do?

Getting work by ‘word of mouth’ is fantastic and we would be the last to suggest that it should stop. Relying on word of mouth as a major strategy for getting work is simply not enough.

It is not uncommon that firms that say this are unwilling to consider alternative marketing strategies because the ‘old guard’ refuses to budge (the same ‘old guard’ that will one day want to be paid for goodwill at some future point).

Want to know the best marketing strategy?

Keeping in regular contact with your clients is a far better strategy. I know we say this all the time …..and that’s because it’s true.

It’s cheaper to keep an existing client than to go out and get a new one. It’s a widely held belief that in many industries it costs five-to-ten times more to acquire a new client, than it does to keep an existing client.

In Pricing for Profitability: Activity Based Pricing for Competitive Advantage John L Daly says:

“Conventional business wisdom contends that it costs 10 times as much to obtain a new customer as it does to retain an existing customer.”

This applies equally to law firms as with other businesses.

Plus it is cheaper than paying for advertising in the print media or the Yellow Pages and has far more traction because you are communicating with people who already know and trust you. Your clients and referrers will appreciate you keeping them informed about different areas of law and for the small percentage who don’t want to receive your communications they can easily opt out.

By communicating with your clients regularly you can update them with messages about the firm – a new senior employee…a milestone event…a charitable donation or community involvement. Plus you can drive traffic to your website.

More reasons why you should keep in regular touch with your clients

You want to be remembered by all your clients and referrers when they need legal help or hear of someone who does. Sure your closest friends will probably always use you but apart from that inner circle you need more help and you need to do more – much more.

A strategy based on thinking that everyone outside the inner circle of friends will remember you, or automatically assuming they will use you, should they need legal help is no strategy at all.

So your marketing needs to be by way of regular communication; contain helpful practical information and at the same time say something about your firm and those in it. When your clients (or their friends) have a problem, or your communication alerts them to a potential issue they hadn’t realised, they think of you and your firm. You want them to also think of others – a neighbour, a relative or friend – who may need this help too. You want to be ‘top of mind’, when they need a lawyer.

How to do it as a busy lawyer

If you need help getting started please contact me. A 10 minute phone conversation or a quick email might be all it takes.


Peter Heazlewood

M. 0407 018109

About the author
Brian Hicks

Brian Hicks

Brian has more than twenty years’ experience in marketing and management across diverse industries including legal, real estate, tourism and technology. Brian lives in Sydney with his wife and two daughters.

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