Marketing is a tricky thing. While it seems like a simple concept, there are many different ways to go about it. Most firms focus on getting more traffic, but very few consider building authenticity while at it. Digital marketing agencies may have many powerful marketing and search engine optimization tools to offer you, but authenticity is never one of them.
Yet, authenticity could be the one thing that positively impacts your return on investment in the long term. But this is not built just on positive reviews and social media posts.
Here are 13 tactics to include in your future marketing strategies to build your firm's authenticity and branding.
1. Know where you fit
The first step in creating a successful marketing campaign and building authenticity is to know exactly where you fit into the legal landscape, what sets you apart from others, and why clients choose you over the competition.
As simple as it sounds, it is not that easy when you have to deal with your own mental filters just to take an objective look at your own business. However, once you get over this hurdle, you need to know your target market by developing a deep understanding of your ideal client and how you want to position your brand around them.
Understand the problem you are trying to solve, not from your perspective but the clients'. You can then start thinking about the best way to address it in a way that resonates with your target clients.
Knowing this will help you develop your core message.
2. Have a core message
Many firms confuse the term core message and key message. What's the difference?
The core message refers to the essential thing your potential client wants to hear about your practice. In other words, it's the one statement you want your prospective clients to remember. If you don't know your core message, you won't be able to communicate it effectively.
The key message, on the other hand, is simply the next step in your marketing plan. It's the next thing you want to tell your prospects. For example, if you are a divorce lawyer, your key message might be, "I am here to help you navigate the process of getting divorced." You could even say, "If you are considering filing for divorce, I'm here to help you understand how the process works and how much it costs."
3. Find a Niche (and Stick to It)
To grow your practice, you need to have a strong brand personality. That is built over time with a consistent experience for the clients.
Find a niche where you can truly shine. That means you need to choose an area that you feel passionate about. Being involved in it should energise you rather than drain you.
You want something that speaks directly to your target audience and not a generic message that appeals to every possible client out there.
Do thorough research around it holistically and not just from a legal angle. Learn everything you can about them. Make sure it's something you understand well enough to write great content around. And then, most importantly, stick to it. Don't be tempted by the next shiny object and stray off course. This can be done by having a clear brand message map that keeps everything you put out keeps you on course and on-brand.
4. Develop a value proposition
A value proposition is what makes you different from competitors. In short, it tells people why they should hire your firm over someone else.
What can you do that others are not doing or not willing to do? Make this clear to your target audience. Let them know that you really understand how to work within the system and yet are willing to go the extra mile.
Your value proposition could be the basis of establishing a unique selling point (USP)—something that sets your firm apart from others. For example, Hello Divorce, an online divorce platform, helps people navigate the divorce process without going through a lengthy court battle. The firm established a USP around helping people avoid litigation. They have built their practice on being able to help people who don't want to fight over money. They aim to ensure they do everything possible to keep things civil and easygoing.
The firm uses social media to highlight its approach to divorces. For example, they post videos of couples getting along well during mediation sessions. They also use social media to connect with families struggling with the stress of a family breakup.
They even have a Facebook group called "Divorce Support," where they answer questions about navigating the legal system. They encourage people to join the group and ask questions directly to the attorneys.
Sounds scary? Today such things are doable by automating all repetitive processes, leaving you dealing with only the most essential parts.
5. Craft humanized brand stories.
Most law firms market themselves by telling stories about how great they are. They talk about being an expert, award-winning, client-oriented, and so on. But what happens when you start hearing those messages repeatedly? You end up sounding like everyone else.
That's why building your brand story around something unique is important. Don't just say you're caring and compassionate. Use human stories to illustrate your difference and your unique approaches.
"Storifying" your marketing messages humanises what you do. And human stories are the most powerful marketing technique for connecting with your target audience and making your brand sticky.
6. Embrace thought leadership
The best way to become a thought leader is to convert your expert knowledge and opinions into valuable content.
When developing your content, think about your goals. What are you hoping to achieve with your content? Do you want to attract clients? Educate prospects? Increase traffic? Build credibility? Then figure out what type of content will help you reach each goal.
You don't necessarily have to do it yourself. You can hire someone to write it for you. But make sure the writer understands what you want to accomplish with the content. For example, having a writer who doesn't understand how branding works isn't likely to produce good results if you're trying to build brand awareness.
Also, find writers who can laymanize your expert knowledge. You are not reaching out to fellow legal professionals. Your clients need to understand and, more importantly, appreciate your content.
7. Invest in long-form blogs and articles
All things being equal, longer content tends to rank better than shorter content. While it's true that length alone doesn't guarantee higher rankings, some key factors make long-form content more effective.
Longer content provides more information about a subject, giving readers more context around what they're reading and thus making it easier for them to understand. This helps boost conversions and increase the likelihood of sharing. As a general rule, long blog posts tend to outperform short-form content. According to HubSpot research, nearly half (48%) of marketers say that blog posts perform best, while just 22% say that white papers do.
We process information differently depending on how we receive it. For example, when we hear someone talk about a product, we absorb the words and ideas quickly and easily. People read long-form differently than shorter content. A long-form blog post forces us to slow down and use our brainpower to digest the material. We take our time to think about each concept presented.
When thinking about your next article, consider whether it will be helpful to your readers or simply serve as filler content. Remember that most people scan the headlines and skim the body text before reading the full content. So if you want your piece to stand out among others, make sure that your headline grabs attention and makes sense. And don't forget to include keywords throughout the entire piece.
8. Use Video To Your Advantage
Youtube is the second largest search engine in the world, and Google owns it. Video content is a key area for law firm growth online.
In fact, Google ranks videos higher than websites in some instances. Therefore, we recommend lawyers develop a YouTube channel for their firm and populate it with several short videos covering different practice areas and specific situations that potential clients might face. Video will be the top investment for B2B brands in 2022 because it has directly increased their sales. (Content Marketing Institute, 2021)
Video is also an essential component of establishing an online personality. Use a ninety-second (or shorter ) video on your homepage, showing what you do and why you do it.
9. Host engaging webinars
Thanks to the pandemic and how it changed the way people work, including what they do and where they do it. Webinar has become an obvious choice.
But while webinars are becoming popular, they still aren't common practice within legal circles. One study found that Professionals video-based learning is their preferred format, and 85% prefer the video to be webinars. While 94% of respondents also report viewing webinar content monthly. (BrightTALK) It’s time to claim a spot in this lucrative space.
10. Craft engaging attorney biographies
Lawyer profiles are important because they help potential clients decide whether to hire you. But many lawyer profiles fail miserably. They're dull and uninspiring, with profiles looking like a CV. And no one wants to plough through a CV.
An excellent lawyer profile tells the story of what makes the person unique. It highlights the experience and expertise that sets them apart from others. It explains why they are qualified to handle the case. It provides information about their education and training. It describes the different types of cases they handled and outlines the client outcomes they achieved. And all that needs to be written in an engaging yet concise manner.
11. Capitalise on your personal brand intentionally.
Lawyers who know how to leverage their personal brand effectively are better able to position themselves as thought leaders and experts in their fields. You don't just make money from what you do. You make money from who you are.
A prospect looking for a particular lawyer will likely go to their website and look up their practice areas, experience, and reputation. It includes whether they're active on Twitter, Facebook, or Linkedin and whether they've published or been cited in articles.
It's one thing to have good practices and procedures but another to have great people doing those things.
12. Make your website well-designed, clutter-free and easy to navigate.
A recent study found that the average person spends about seven minutes reading online content. So if you want people to pay attention to what you say, ensure that your writing style matches that of the audience. This is a fundamental principle of brand communication and one that applies to every type of written material—from blogs to legal briefs to white papers.
The best writers know that writing clearly and concisely is the key to creating good content. You don't want to overwhelm readers with dense text. You want to communicate effectively. Content clutter is the biggest turnoff for potential clients.
13. Create practice area power pages on your website.
Your practice area pages are essential. Showcase the different legal areas you cover, ideally, each with its own page. This is where you build trust with clients and establish yourself as an expert by letting a prospect focus on the one area that they are interested in.
Marketing isn't just about making money. It can also be about building relationships with customers. Don't let your marketing efforts be just about driving traffic to your website. In Singapore, googling for a lawyer is rare. People always ask for referrals. Make your firm the most referrable of the lot.
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