Times are changing. The Yellow Pages have left the building. Competition seems to spring up in every corner, while you’re stuck spinning the same Rolodex. If you want your small practice to grow, you must get digital, which you’ve probably heard before. Having a digital presence isn’t special—it’s how you use your digital presence that is. Unfortunately, the steps to building a digital presence are usually redundant. They tell you to create an account on this site and— Voila! —new clients. This is hardly ever the case. While these are effective tools, many don’t take them seriously enough to have any impact on their practice.
1) Build A Clean Website
Let’s be honest. If you don’t have a website yet, stop reading this and set one up. Most lawyers though, no matter what size firm, have some sort of personalized digital portal for clients to reach them. But what does your website look like? Is it dense with words? Hard to navigate? Your potential clients are not lawyers and prefer not to read through the fine print to learn about your practice. Less is more here; be simple. Try putting yourself in the shoes of a confused client, searching dozens of lawyers with similarly dense webpages. The one that is clearly designed and presents the visitor the information they need to know upfront will always come out on top. With that in mind, you don’t need to be a millennial majoring in graphic design — don’t hesitate to reach out to those with more experience in digital fields.
Related Post: Want More Clients? Fix these 5 things on your website.
2) Participate in Social Media
Social media is a fantastic way to interact with existing and prospective clients. More so than your website, social media requires constant maintenance. Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are not static platforms, therefore you should not be. And for small law firms, it doesn’t stop at the basics. Yelp, Angie’s List, Google My Business — these are all platforms which your practice needs to monitor and engage with in order to compete against the big dogs. Comment on public posts. Share thoughtful links and “like” the content of your clients. The social media landscape resembles a party. At this party are two kinds of people — one sitting in the corner, talking to only his small friend group, while the other person is pouring shots in the kitchen. At the end of the night, who will have a larger “presence”? Who will get invited to the next party? Obviously, the more social one. But a word of warning: every once in awhile, there is a third guy at this party. He’s intrusive, rude, and talks only about himself. Be careful not to be this guy.
3) Send a Newsletter
Newsletters help maintain a thoughtful relationship with your clientele. For this relationship to succeed though, you must give them some space. Your emails are only as good as they are worthwhile. Similarly to yourself, your clients receive many emails every day, and spamming their inbox will only alienate you. Make them newsworthy, as it pertains to your practice. A bi-weekly newsletter should become familiar to your email base, sent regularly with a consistent format. A simple structure, without the pizzazz, will remind everyone of the friendly, professional lawyer you are.
Related Post: Does Your Law Firm Need a Legal Marketing Newsletter?
4) Write Blogs
Blogs give your practice a voice not easily conveyed through a website layout. Found in a unique tab of your site, blogs will serve as a way to establish yourself as a thought leader in the legal community. Local news that you have an opinion on? Blog it. Issues concerning the law? Blog it. Digitally speaking, your name, and the blogs you associate with it, will start to attract attention. Just make sure to write about things that people find interesting. Save the family vacation blog for personal reference.
Like I mentioned earlier, these four steps are not groundbreaking information. Most people with a computer have some sort of digital presence. However, it’s how you use these tools that differentiate yourself from the rest of the pack. To learn more about building a digital presence and how it goes hand-in-hand with your marketing strategy, download this free guide.