Is the status quo sinking your boat? The reason may be that the legal market is changing. With clients demanding more for less and new competition rapidly emerging, it’s been difficult for small law firms to manage it all.
Luckily, advancements in technology have the ability to breathe new life into your practice. If you want to grow your firm and have long-term success, you need to adopt a new way of doing business. Here are some tips to point you in the right direction:
1. Figure out the basics of marketing
To be a contender in today’s legal market, it’s imperative that you stop putting all your eggs in one basket – at least digitally. Sure, your firm’s website is a critical stop on a prospect’s journey to contacting your firm, but it’s not the only place to focus your marketing efforts. Have a holistic approach to digital marketing that combines a mixture of methods such as social media, pay-per-click advertising, legal directories and more. It can be a daunting undertaking, and starting small is often a good approach. There’s no need to master everything at once. Prioritize your firm’s most urgent need, like growing your client base or maximizing brand exposure, for example, and go from there.
Once you have your digital marketing tactics and channels identified, always remember to analyze and optimize. The data behind your digital marketing initiatives can help you determine ROI and where to make changes, but it takes time to see the story within the numbers. Each month, look at how well each channel is performing and where there might be areas to improve.
A good place to start? Read the playbook Legal Marketing 103: Beyond a Basic Website for what it takes to market your firm in the digital age.
2. Get rid of paper
It’s said that old habits die hard, but don’t let resistance to change impede your success. Embracing a paperless office is one of the best things you can do for your practice. When you move all of your files to a cloud-based software, it creates a secure, centralized location for your firm to access information. Not only does that eliminate the need to be physically present in the office to get work done, it also saves your firm precious time, space and money.
If those benefits aren’t enticing enough, consider safety. As an attorney, the security of client information is crucial to your practice and reputation. Moving critical information to a cloud system that is built to handle legal files can offer protection in the form of private encryption to secure valuable personal information.
3. Accept that “efficiency” isn’t a bad word
In the legal profession, it’s vitally important to be smart with your time. When it comes to billable hours, you want to produce the best results with minimal time wasted. With that in mind, imagine being able to conduct legal research more swiftly and without increasing your headcount. That is what AI-powered legal tech is all about.
Fear not. This kind of technology is not your replacement. Rather it is an aid to help you work faster and smarter, freeing up valuable time for more lucrative work. Let’s face it. Clients are demanding more for less, creating a challenge for the traditional firm to make up for lost dollars. In order to satisfy your clients and come out ahead, you’ll want to invest in ways to work more efficiently.
4. Understand the importance of reviews
Online reviews can be an uncomfortable topic for attorneys. The thought of receiving a negative review can scare legal professionals away from wanting to deal with them entirely. In reality, they are essential to your prospective clients and the overall success of your firm.
According to the Thomson Reuters U.S. Consumer Legal Needs Survey, 89 percent of prospects want more information about a lawyer’s reputation, and 68 percent want to read reviews from former clients. What those numbers mean is simple: for the sake of your firm, you need to care about online reviews.
When it comes to asking for reviews from past clients, consider sending a personal email after the case has ended while the experience is still fresh in their minds. And make sure to keep your eye out for new reviews you receive on platforms such as Google, Facebook, FindLaw and Yelp. Taking the time to respond with professionalism and integrity will show potential clients that you care about them and their experiences.
Get the full scoop on online reviews for law firms with the white paper, You Can’t Control Your Firm’s Reputation (But You Can Manage It).