The strong and successful launch of any new business – in this case, a law firm – is critical to lead generation, sustained relevance, thought leadership and ultimately new client engagements.
Traditionally, entrepreneurs like you and me had a limited number of marketing options at our disposal to let others know that we had “hung out a shingle.”
We might have sent out a news release announcing the new firm, as well as a letter or personal email to former clients, intermediaries, referral sources, friends, other attorneys and fellow alums of the schools we attended. Or we may have taken a display ad in our local yellow pages, as well as publications read by potential clients and thought leaders in our key vertical markets.
But faced with today's plethora of digital and social media marketing options, you might find yourself wondering whether to abandon such time-honored options in favor of adopting new ones, or just sticking with “what’s worked.” I believe the answer is to do neither. In fact, the best solution is create a balanced blend of traditional strategies and tactics with digital and social media options, resulting in a strong and dynamic marketing effort.
Top 9 Marketing Tools
When considering which tools in your marketing toolbox you should use, consider how each of the following can be implemented to the benefit of your firm:
- A well-written and professionally designed website that clearly explains your “brand” and the practice areas in which you excel.
- News releases and bylined articles that establish your thought leadership and contribute to effective management of your reputation.
- A robust LinkedIn profile – With 111 million members in the U.S. alone, LinkedIn is the #1 social media site for those marketing to a professional audience. You can’t be successful today without it.
- Blogging – Contributing blog posts to your own website or others allows you to impart knowledge and engage targets without appearing as if you’re “selling” anything.
- Landing pages – Such customized pages can exist within your own website or stand alone with unique URLs, drawing targets to specific marketing messages you want to communicate.
- Facebook – Though it’s the most popular social networking site because of its vast consumer appeal, more and more professional services firms are creating Facebook for Business pages and creating links to them in their online marketing materials.
- Twitter – Once seen as little more than a dumping ground for gossip and fluff, it has since grown into a legitimate tool for professionals. You can use the 140 characters allowed in a tweet to draw your targets to a landing page, a bylined article, your website, you name it!
- SEO (or Search Engine Optimization) enhances the “searchability” of a firm's website with specific keywords, increasing its visibility among the Internet’s leading search engines, primarily Google, Bing and Yahoo.
- Email blasts to specific targets – or your entire professional database, if appropriate – can be an effective outbound marketing method, and online email marketing providers like Constant Contact and MailChimp make it easy.
While finding the right balance of tools is important, nothing is more critical today to the launch and sustained success of a new firm than content. To be effective, your toolbox must contain content, and plenty of it!
According to Top Rank Marketing’s Lee Odden, “Content isn't King, it's the Kingdom.” Odden is among the 86 percent of B2B marketers who use content marketing to attract and retain clearly defined target audiences and encourage profitable client behavior. As you determine which marketing tools will best serve your firm, remember that high-quality, relevant content will ultimately drive users to your website, your landing pages, your LinkedIn profile, etc.
Finally, don’t overlook the fact that any content that you (or others) create can be repurposed: A blog post you’ve written can become a long-form post on LinkedIn, just as news that’s relevant to your firm our your target markets, insightful presentations, interviews and relevant articles can become content in YOUR toolbox to be shared with existing clients and new prospects.
In making decisions about which tools are right for you, don’t hesitate to ask other attorneys what choices they made and why, or seek the guidance of a qualified law firm marketing professional. Then prioritize your tools based on what your marketing budget will allow.
Once you’ve gathered all the rational data to make smart marketing decisions, close your eyes and go with your gut. After all, it was Steve Jobs that called intuition “more powerful than intellect.”