Neither online media nor social networks will replace the personal skills of a lawyer to win clients.
However, digital marketing tools can help you raise your law firm's brand awareness more efficiently.
Then let your personal skills do the rest.
The Internet era
Remember when Google bought YouTube for USD 1.65 billion in 2006 or when Facebook
bought WhatsApp for USD 19 billion in 2014?
These numbers are few. I know. However, they set a milestone in every market. They proved what a company could do when it knows how to operate using the internet.
They proved what a company could do when it knows how to operate using the internet.
The new online distribution channels
Today there are thousands of companies that changed their operation to promote their services online, and crushed their competition.
However, this success was not only because they created a website. It is much more complicated than that.
This success is due to the correct execution of a marketing strategy focused on its customers.
Understanding their pain points and create specific solutions.
These companies are taking advantage of online tools to reach thousands of people in seconds from their cell phones.
That's the key!
Sales v. Marketing
It is crucial to make this big difference: marketing activities are not the same as closing a new client.
Law firms cannot evaluate the performance of their marketing department by the number of new clients they bring.
Because clients hire lawyers.
Lawyers are in charge of knowing the clients, of understanding their problems, of liking them.
The objective of a marketing department is to execute strategies to increase the law firm's brand awareness.
Once a potential client knocks on the door, it is the lawyer's job to close the deal.
Definition of sales and marketing
On many occasions, I have seen how lawyers transform their faces when I ask them if they have worked in sales.
As if this were something terrible or that could affect his reputation.
The truth is that sales are the engine of any company. It is what defines your success in the market.
A company without sales is a company without profit, and a company without profit is doomed to fail.
On the other hand, we have marketing activities.
Philip Kotler, a professor at Kellogg School of Management and one of the most important marketing experts in the world, defines marketing as:
"Marketing is the science and art of exploring, creating, and delivering value to satisfy the needs of a target market at a profit.
Marketing identifies unfulfilled needs and desires. It defines, measures and quantifies the size of the identified market and the profit potential.
It pinpoints which segments the company is capable of serving best, and it designs and promotes the appropriate products and services.”
However, what exactly is the difference between marketing and sales?
In my opinion, marketing activities aim to identify needs in the market and design products and services to meet them.
Sales are the closing of a transaction.
Digital marketing: the new traditional marketing
Until very recently, people considered online marketing as something different from traditional marketing.By traditional, I mean media advertising, conferences, or newsletters.
Very few managers paid attention to the content of their corporate website or social networks. This mindset has changed.
Now, online marketing is an essential element of any company. There is no longer a marketing strategy that can ignore social networks or Google.
Advantages and disadvantages of digital marketing
The success of social networks and Google is because everyone uses them daily, for hours.
LinkedIn, YouTube, Google, Twitter, and Facebook have become part of our daily lives and has helped us to communicate with anyone anywhere in the world. They have become a source of knowledge and entertainment. While it is true that communicating with anyone can be done in seconds through our cell phone, the reality is that today there is an oversaturation of information.
We receive hundreds of emails, thousands of notifications on all networks, WhatsApp messages.
The trick to win is to know how to get the attention of your niche market, and the most important thing to win their attention is to share valuable information.
Something that can solve a problem they are facing, or at least entertains them. Otherwise, your posts will go unnoticed, and all the time you invested will go to the trash.
Remember the rule of the 7 seconds of Google: You have 7 seconds to gain the attention of a person when entering your site. Otherwise, they will go elsewhere.
Creating relevant and consistent content
I read Joe Pulizzi's Epic Content Marketing book, and it changed completely the way I thought about marketing and business.
There is one fantastic quote I will never forget:
"Customers don't care about you or your services. They care about themselves, their wants, and their needs.”
Content marketing is about creating information that helps your customers solve real problems. It helps your readers to discover (preferably on their own) that you are the best lawyer in your field.
You have to know the pain points of your target market and create the content of value to position yourself as an expert and gain the trust of prospective clients.
Then use online marketing tools to get your message across and build awareness.
I built Red de Firmas implementing these same marketing strategies, and business has been growing great.
What happens in law firms?
Until recently, few law firms paid attention to marketing activities. I don't know why.
During the 80s it was perhaps not necessary to have to leave your office to bring customers.
Lawyers could sit back and wait for clients to ring their phones.
Law firms' directories
Then came the law directories, starting with Martindale. During his golden years, Martindale was the only way for potential clients to know your signature.
They had a monopoly on the "yellow pages" for law firms.
Then, Chambers and Partners appeared and created a new advertising model for law firms: the rankings. These new magazines allowed law firms to publish the transactions they represented during the year.
The reputation of lawyers in the digital age
An essential element to promote yourself as a lawyer is to provide excellent service.
There is no better marketing than that which comes from highly satisfied customers.
Our reputation as a lawyer is our most valuable asset.
Digital marketing tools are nothing more than devices that allow us to communicate with a much larger audience in seconds.
To have better communication with our online audience, we must follow the same principles as when we talk to someone personally.
You cannot arrive from anywhere with the CEO of a company and offer them to change their lawyers and hire your firm.
First, you need to work on creating a relationship of trust, and then you will have the opportunity to offer your services. So, the first thing you have to be aware of is to focus on helping.
Communicate information that helps your target solve problems they face in the day-to-day work.
The key to an efficient marketing strategy is to help. Helping people brings trust and builds a good reputation. Good reputation and personal skills bring clients.
Use your time wisely.
Raising your brand awareness or improving your client’s loyalty is a long-term strategy.
The most important thing to remember is that you have to be relevant and consistent while executing your marketing strategy.
We all want to bring new clients to our firm. Closing a deal requires a lot of effort and patience.
However, if you have a great marketing strategy, execute it correctly, and have excellent people skills, you will be successful.
Remember that B2B sales do not close as fast as we wish. Consider that you will take around 6-8 months on average to work on your prospects.
Continue giving away valuable content and gain the trust of your prospects.
About the Author
Pepe Toriello is a Mexican lawyer graduated from ITAM and alumni of the LLM/Kellogg program in Northwestern Law.
Before founding Red de Firmas, he worked in three of the most important law firms in Mexico in the fields of M&A, energy and project finance.
He currently advises big law firms to implement marketing strategies, and also advises corporations to become for efficient by implementing legaltech in their processes.
He’s been a guest lecturer to speak about legal innovation and online marketing at schools like ITAM, Northwestern, and Fordham