This is a version of my first article for the Solicitors Journal which was published last week.
Life was so much simpler in Westerns: good guys wore white hats and the baddies black hats or used bows, arrows and tomahawks. The good guys usually won out.
In our new legal landscape post Alternative Business Structures (ABSs) we have new “black hat” marauders to contend with who are looking at taking our real estate in a legal services land grab.
The first shots have already been fired.
Law Firm Strategy in the New Wild West
In this new Wild West, I can characterise the available strategies for small (and not so small) law firms as follows:
"CIRCLE THE WAGONS"; carry on as before, drive down costs and drive out inefficiencies and keep fingers crossed that the Cavalry or the Lone Ranger in some form of regulatory or combined marketing venture or other will come to your rescue;
SURRENDER: wave the white flag, simply give up conveyancing, PI or legal aid and concentrate on other more contemporary or bespoke areas of the law;
FIGHT BACK; come out all guns blazing and truly set your law firm apart with great service, innovation and embrace the challenge of ABSs.
From my experience at my law firm lawyers can take up the fight using the Internet as the weapon of choice.
Why Now for the Internet and Law Firms?
The internet has been around for a while now, but many law firms in particular have been slow to recognise its benefits. The web is changing pretty much everything it touches.
Patterns of shopping are changing and so are buying habits including how clients look for and evaluate legal services. The Internet is increasingly the tool of choice for people preselecting solicitors and law firms.
Potential clients are able to judge the expertise of a law firm for themselves simply by the look and feel quality of the website content.
The power of pre selection without the need to have any interaction other than viewing a website cannot be underestimated.
Differentiating Your Law Firm
Differentiating yourselves from your competitors on the internet will allow you to grow your market share significantly.
At our law firm we’ve made our website the hub of all our marketing efforts, both on and offline. It’s a dynamic tool for attracting existing and potentially new clients alike by:
- CREATING remarkable content
Type “Chancel Repair Liability” into Google to see. As a result of that one post (often revised) we contacted by the BBC, Radio 5 Live and the One Show
- OPTIMISING that content for search engines (SEO)
- PROMOTING that content in social media, e-mail marketing and other channels
We’ve developed own law firm brand by blogging and writing articles and showing personality through social media channels such as Twitter.
Let your potential clients know who you are (and indeed your existing clients who may not be aware), where you are; what you do and hey presto, they will get to understand that you may indeed be bloody good at what you do.
Go Get Them
We received few Conveyancing instructions from a nearby town such was the blanket coverage of corporate Estate Agents.
Now as more people undertake their own research on the internet, Google obliges by pointing their enquiries to our blog posts. We as a result have regained large numbers of clients.
Will the Cavalry Save Your Law Firm?
Whatever strategy your law firm adopts, without an internet presence it will be increasingly more difficulty to compete, survive and thrive.
And for the winning law firms the internet and their internet marketing strategy may well be the cavalry coming round the mountain in the final reel