By Melissa “Rogo” Rogozinski
The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way the world does business, including the business of running a law firm. Pre-pandemic marketing techniques no longer deliver the number of leads or the depth of interest among clients they once did. Instead of developing a firm’s brand by focusing on the firm’s attributes and using “wide net” marketing strategies with hopes of appealing to a general audience of potential customers, the post-pandemic reality offers growth opportunities only to those who adapt their marketing approach to fit the new environment in which the law firm’s customers now live.
Pre-Pandemic Marketing – The Old Game Plan
Law firm marketing has always needed a special approach because the nature of the product, quality legal services, called for a presentation that communicated competence and solemnity without appearing to be a sales pitch. Many firms produced polished brochures highlighting their lawyers’ resumes and outlining the services the firm provided. Some firms shared the names of current and former clients whose patronage would impress prospective clients.
Other firms purchased advertising in trade publications, leased billboards, or ran conventional media ads. And some of these plans were successful promotions, to an extent.
The overall pre-pandemic strategy could be described as “Product and Service Focused.”
Pandemic Buying-The Evolving Game Plan
But the pandemic changed the law firm marketing landscape like a tectonic plate collision. The shift to an online-dominant business environment may have been inevitable, but its global scope and the pace at which the transition occurred surpassed even the most exuberant predictions.
A Pew Research study revealed that 90% of U.S. adults say the internet was “essential or important to them personally” during the pandemic; 81% engaged in video conversation since February 2020; and 40% used digital technology in either new or different ways during the pandemic, compared to before the outbreak. 
While your law firm has an internet presence, your competitors are also on the web, and their number has multiplied exponentially. Distinguishing your firm and your services from others who are only a “click” away is the new challenge that can stunt your firm’s growth if an effective post-pandemic marketing strategy is not adopted.
Post-Pandemic Marketing—The New Game Plan
There’s no roadmap to get from an ineffective pre-pandemic marketing strategy to the post-pandemic, client-centric, engagement-maximizing marketing system, but these are some key points to think about as you implement the changes in your law firm approach to sustained growth.
Moving from Product-Centric Marketing to a Client-Centric Strategy
Post-pandemic law firm marketing focuses on the prospective client and their needs instead of spotlighting the firm and its past accomplishments. Targeting new clients with more precision requires a deep understanding of key client characteristics that are common to your ideal clients.
Identify Your Ideal Client’s Persona
Is your client a nebulous, faceless, generalized being? No! Then think about who they are. Understanding the clients in your target market means knowing what they need. Driving revenue growth in the post-pandemic environment means identifying your clients’ characteristics before you meet them:
What do they do? Think about who’s running things in the new post-pandemic economy.
What role do they play in their business or organization?
Are they the decision maker or a decision influencer?
Are they older or younger than you?
What is their work-life balance? Married? Parent? Single? Driven worker?
Where do they obtain their information?
What are their major goals and challenges?
What is your client trying to accomplish?
What stressors are they dealing with?
What are the most difficult objectives for them to accomplish?
What communication method works best for that person?
Does the client favor in-person meetings, phone calls, video calls, email, or texts?
Do they prefer frequent updates or more less frequent, more comprehensive conversations?
What are your client’s pain points?
What are the obstacles they confront in their operations?
What problems do they need help solving?
What will you do to address those pain points?
How will you get them to know you can ease those pain points?
What information will catch their attention or interest them?
Building a persona is an exercise in constructing a working image for your hypothetical client. Once you begin to work with the persona, you will find you are thinking of the clients as real people with whom you can build a relationship. The process will help you start to frame your messaging to those client more precisely.
Engage in Thought Leadership for Growth
Thought leadership is one of the clearest illustrations of how distinctly post-pandemic law firm marketing strategies have evolved from the old, pre-pandemic approach to growing a law practice. Thought leaders demonstrate their expertise and build their reputation as authorities within their field by creating insightful and useful content to meet the needs of prospective clients. They write authoritative pieces or lecture about solutions to problems their target client face regularly.
Instead of telling prospective clients what the law firm can do to help them solve their problems, thought leaders use various media to communicate relevant, useful information that clients recognize as having immediate value.
Reveal the solutions to the prospective clients’ problem; don’t promise to reveal solutions only if the client hires the firm. Proving your mastery of a legal topic in a series of op-eds or during LinkedIn video presentations encourages prospective clients to rely on your expertise as resource.
Connecting with ideal prospective clients can be achieved by publishing blog posts, articles, or whitepapers focusing on topics of special interest to your client persona. Other thought leadership opportunities include participating as a panelist or seeking opportunities to become a guest speaker at a conference of clients who fit your client persona. Find scheduled meetings and events attended by the consumers of your legal services. Discover their pain points and share your specific methods of reducing their struggle.
If you pass up opportunities to create knowledge resources for your target audience, then you are inviting your competitors to take the lead as your community’s most credible authority in your practice area.
Adapt to Client-Centric Law Firm Marketing Means Post-Pandemic Growth
Leaving behind the static law firm marketing techniques of the pre-COVID era is essential to grow your law firm in the digitally dynamic marketing environment that emerged during the pandemic. No law firm or other business can afford to wait for clients to find them. The new paradigm requires law firms to actively seek connections with targeted clients whose specific needs they can meet and whose pain points can be remedied by the firm’s services and expertise in a selected practice area.
NEXT MONTH’S LAW FIRM MARKETING GUIDE: Making LinkedIn Your Favorite Client Source.
Notes  The Internet and the Pandemic, Pew Research, https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2021/09/01/the-internet-and-the-pandemic/ (retrieved August 17, 2022)
About the Author Melissa “Rogo” Rogozinski is a former litigation paralegal, legal technology sales executive, guest speaker, CLE presenter and trainer, entrepreneur, and a 2016 ACEDS eDiscovery Person of the Year Nominee. She is a regular contributor to LegalTech News, Law Journal Newsletters and Legal Business World. At RPC Strategies, she leads a “Dream Team” of consultants who specialize in legal marketing and sales strategies for law firms and legal tech vendors.