Digital marketing: How SME law firms can harness brand power to attract clients

David Ricketts, head of marketing at Quiss, shares his thoughts on how SME law firms can improve brand recognition to win clients

I was delighted to take part in another episode of Osprey Approach’s webinar series, Build Better Habits, where I was joined by fellow guest speakers Sophie Mayjonade, SEO specialist at WorkPR, and Sarah Amies, PR consultant for professional services firms.

Our host for the webinar was Osprey’s marketing manager, Amy Bruce, who was keen for us to share our practical tips and advice on the digital marketing fundamentals all SME law firms should implement to improve brand recognition and win more clients.


Why should SME law firms market their brand?

Since marketing is often considered as being ‘nice to have’, Amy asked why it’s important for law firms to actively market their brand. The panel was in agreement that it enables firms to stay competitive in a saturated market.

I cited three reasons why firms need to do this. The number one reason is to drive profitable revenue by attracting new clients. Second, you need to increase your visibility in the marketplace, because even if you’re not actively marketing your firm, your competitors are. And third, to increase the amount of spend from your existing clients.

But what does the term brand mean and how is it related to business habits and marketing?


Defining your brand

A brand is more than a logo or aesthetics: it’s the identity and personality of the business, which determines how people – your clients, employees, prospects – feel about your firm and how you’re perceived in the market.

A firm’s brand is a multitude of elements coming together to form an identity. It’s not something you can create in a week. It’s needs to be an ethos for your team because it affects every touchpoint, like the way you answer your phone, how you talk to clients, and what your website looks like.

I referenced the story I’d heard of Mercedes F1 principal, Toto Wolfe, who went for his initial interview at Mercedes. There was an out of date Daily Mail and an old coffee cup in reception, and he asked, ‘is this what Mercedes stands for?’ It’s the little things that create hooks and impressions in people’s minds.

Sophie agreed and added about the importance of people across the firm: – “We work with firms who are so concerned about their colour scheme or their logo, wondering whether it’s memorable enough. But it’s actually your lawyers who have the biggest impact. Your brand is only as effective as your people.


Digital marketing on a budget

Amy asked the panel what law firms, without a dedicated marketing role and / or limited budget, should do in order to implement digital marketing effectively.

There are various marketing tools available which law firms can leverage to stay competitive on a limited budget. The focus is to ensure that every client touchpoint is intentional and represents your values.

I highlighted five things that firms should focus on above anything else, to gain the most impact from marketing efforts: define your target audience, segment existing customers to share different messages with them, optimise your website, leverage social media, and implement email marketing.


Seven digital marketing habits SME law firms should adopt

The panel discussed some of the digital marketing habits that law firms could adopt to help improve brand recognition and ultimately, win more clients. Below is a summary of the top seven habits your firm should consider: –

  1. Track and measure

If you have little resource, it’s important you’re putting your time and money into the right channels. You can’t manage what you can’t measure, so make sure you’re utilising digital tools – some are free, some you’ll already have – to track and monitor your digital marketing performance.

  1. Showcase expert knowledge

Your employees are your biggest brand advocates and a great way to share the human side of your brand. Firms should implement a strategy for how you can share your expert knowledge and understanding of a particular practice area.

  1. Be client-focused

Sarah recommended that a firm’s marketing message “should resonate with your target audience, otherwise you’re wasting your time. Your marketing strategy needs to have a client-centric approach: you want your clients to become evangelists for your business, so it’s important they have a great experience.”

  1. Focus on reviews

Sophie recommended that firms “encourage your team to ask for Google reviews…[these] are paramount to local SEO, which is how most people will search for your services. Often, when looking for a service, people will type ‘near me’ at the end of their query. So, I would definitely make reviews part of your lawyers’ workflows.

She also said that it’s important that firms respond to all your Google reviews, “especially the negatives ones because Google will see you as resolving the problem.”

  1. Optimise service pages

The content on your website is your digital store front, so you need to treat them as your pitch. Sophie suggested that firms, “optimise service pages if you don’t have time to write blogs. If the text on your service pages is only 150 words it’s not enough text to tell you customer what you offer, your approach, how knowledgeable you are, about your team or your case studies.”

  1. Work on backlinks

Sophie recommended that firms work on backlink, which create a link to your website from another: “The more backlinks you have, the more authority your website has, and the more Google favours your site.

“Make sure you’re on all the online directories, for example, The Legal 500, and Yelp. Then you can start thinking about digital PR.”

  1. Ask for advice

You don’t have to go it alone, even if you have little budget. Sarah advises that firms consider consultants or agencies for advice, “even if you can’t afford to keep them on a retainer for project work, you can pay for one-off consultancy sessions that can help guide you in the right direction.”


The digital fundamentals all SME law firms should adopt

Regardless of your budget or resources, there are several fundamental actions all SME law firms can take to improve their digital marketing. By utilising your employee’s knowledge, putting the client at the centre of your decisions, and reviewing all client touchpoints, you can start to make small tweaks which will have a positive impact on your brand and ultimately, help you win new clients.

You can watch the full digital marketing episode on-demand for free – click here to view.

You can also watch all episodes of the Build Better Habits webinar series on-demand now. Across the series we cover the fundamental business habits SME firms should adopt to stay competitive and improve long-term success.

Alongside having a digital-first mindset, we’ve outlined four fundamental habits that a modern law firm should adopt for long-term success. We’ve covered all four habits in our Build Better Habits webinar series, which you can watch on-demand now.

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