Times that require forward-thinking are often those that make such thinking the most difficult. And 2020 certainly lives up to that description.
Attorneys have adapted to working remotely. They have shifted marketing focus from in-person networking events to virtual discussions, webinars and content marketing, and they have learned to maneuver through online courtroom proceedings. All while coping with myriad unforeseen personal challenges.
Maybe you have a little more time on your hands than you did before the pandemic. Or, maybe you are navigating changes in your business and client needs that are forcing you to reassess your marketing and business development. In either case, action can both fill those gaps in your days and set your firm up for success even through uncertainty. Here are six ideas that will make an impact now and into the future.
Personal and Business Branding
1) Update your bio
Attorney bio pages are consistently the most visited pages on a lawyer website. People are interested in understanding how an individual attorney — not the generic idea of an attorney — will specifically address their needs. Make sure your bio correctly represents the services you offer and speaks directly to the clients you would like to attract. Add any accomplishments, press mentions or testimonials that you have received recently to help show readers why they should contact you. Set yourself apart by letting potential clients know how and why you practice and what drove you to enter law and be of service to them.
2) Beef up your LinkedIn profile
If it has been awhile since you have visited your LinkedIn profile, go take a look. You may be surprised at how out of date some of the information is. Start by updating your experience and accomplishments. Add links to any articles you’ve written or in which you have been featured. Review your headline and bio information to see if it can be strengthened in any way.
After you have addressed the items you can on your own profile, look to be a resource for others. Recommend trusted colleagues. Congratulate people on new jobs or job anniversaries. Share positive news about your connections, like awards won or articles published. Such engagement both helps build your network and makes it more likely others will return the positive attention.
3) Evaluate your visual brand
Is your headshot out of date? Do you use inconsistent photography or other graphics from platform to platform? Between the demands of handling clients and deadlines and the drive to produce content that can seem at times relentless, it is easy to lose sight of visual brand consistency. Make sure your headshot and any other firm-related images are recent and consistent everywhere. Think about the personality you want to portray online and create a system for choosing photos to accompany social posts that reflect that personality. Create a set of standards for anyone within the firm who uses online design tools to create graphics that includes a list of branded color and font choices. A little effort now in creating standards will keep your firm on track well into the future.
1) (Re) focus on practice areas
Law firms should regularly assess their areas of practice to see whether there are places for potential expansion, or whether there are services that need to be scaled back and de-emphasized in marketing efforts. This is true at any time but particularly so in times of substantial external change. Take some time to create short- and long-term goals for service offerings. It may be best for your firm to beef up some departments temporarily while making a plan for returning to or expanding others in the future. Your goals will help create a roadmap that can serve your firm through to more stable times.
2) Create a realistic plan for value-added content
Currently, most firms — and content creators generally — are writing about pressing issues, many of which still have to do with the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis. In the immediate short-term, create a plan for writing specifically targeted content that is relevant to a set of narrow demographics. This will make it more likely your content will reach valuable leads and stand out in an environment saturated with similar ideas.
In the long-term, take some time to review cases and think about common questions potential clients have as they go through the intake process and those they ask after they become clients. Brainstorm on some evergreen topics — those that are relevant over a long period of time — from which you can draw when you need future inspiration. Establish a process now for a realistic schedule of idea generation, creation and posting as business returns to normal.
3) Build and maintain relationships
As time away from social and networking events grows longer, nurturing the connections you have becomes even more important. To this end try the following:
- Check in on clients and former clients: Make it a point to touch base with clients, even those you have not spoken to in some time and see how they are doing or how their circumstances might have changed given current challenges. No sales calls, just human connection.
- Volunteer: There are countless volunteer opportunities available from alumni and bar associations and pro-bono projects to local charities and food banks. Pick one that is meaningful to you.
- Find ways to help contacts: If someone has a need you can fill, make an effort to do so. This can build relationships in meaningful and unexpected ways.
- Ensure everyone is sharing client-related content: Everyone in your firm should be sharing the successes of their connections. When a client receives a press mention or is involved in an event, share it. If they are in the news or post an article, mention it. Boosting others benefits everyone, including your firm.
Try to do at least one small thing a day to flex your marketing muscles. This will help maintain your firm’s business in the short and long term, and it will help you stay sane and engaged through both slow and hectic times.