This post was written in partnership with FocusWorks Marketing.
As we head into 2021 still mostly working from home, your firm’s marketing choices are poised to do some heavy lifting. With limited social contact, many people are making decisions about which services to hire based on what they find and see on the Internet.
Marketing strategies in 2021 may matter even more than in the past. So, where should you start?
Strategize with combinations
When it comes to marketing, there’s no single silver bullet – no matter how much we wish (read: try to convince ourselves) there is. You don’t need to pursue every platform under the sun, but do use a combination of tactics.
And know you have options – like newsletter emails, paid ads, social media, content curation, blogging, and search engine optimization (SEO). Which approaches you focus on will depend on who you’re trying to reach and where they are. Some of these tactics can work in tandem, such as creating a social media post for your new blog article.
But for certain practice areas, some channels will make more sense than others. If you’re focused on potential clients with an “Of Counsel” title rather than a consumer audience, then you don’t need to jump on TikTok just because everyone else is – LinkedIn is likely going to be more effective for you.
The most important thing: stay consistent. Marketing is all about continuing to stay top of mind, so don’t expect to send out one email newsletter and get a return (although it does happen!). Regular, ongoing marketing is going to create a snowball effect that will build on itself.
When it comes to social media, get specific
Love it or hate it, social media gets people all kinds of worked up. The driving force behind so much of the excitement is the promise of free advertising. But what many would-be social media marketers overlook is the not-so-free side: time. And for lawyers, your time comes with a very clear cost per hour.
It takes a while to hit your stride on a platform. And the journey and maintenance can suck up valuable minutes – even hours. So rather than spreading yourself thin, focus on one or two platforms.
For instance, if you want to use curated content to position yourself as a thought leader, then you may want to direct your efforts toward Twitter or LinkedIn.
Blogging: showcase your expertise
Blogging dovetails well with SEO, boosting your website on the search page. And it’s a chance to show potential clients all your expertise. If done right, a blog can even help convey your professional personality – reassuring clients that you’re a relatable person they can work with in moments of high tension or excitement.
The key to blogging is planning. Don’t wait for inspiration to strike. Instead, create an editorial calendar and stick to it. Regular content helps build a readership.
Blogs also provide material for social media posts and firm emails. Either way, what’s important here is having a plan for how you’ll get articles in front of people. Don’t take the “if I build it, they will come approach” to getting readers – being proactive in getting your content in front of people is going to make all the difference between it being a worthwhile endeavor or one that doesn’t generate a return.
Looking for some tips to make your blogging a success? Check out 11 Blogging Tips for Lawyers.
Video is still hot
Video is a marketing power move – it catches attention in a way that text can’t and social media platforms tend to prioritize them thanks to their engaging nature. The good news is that these days it’s more than okay to shoot a video with your phone, especially during Covid. You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to get started and most smartphones give you the tools for basic editing.
But with video – and blogging – you need to know your audience. Target content for your ideal client and once you get started, you’ll find that knowing your audience will help you come up with ideas for content. Start off by thinking about the questions you get asked the most often, or an interesting application for a rule that you just used in a case.
The first few runs might not feel the smoothest, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes.
Brand presence ties everything together
Your ideal client should also factor into your branding strategy. While it can be tempting to think that a brand will develop as a natural offshoot of your practice area or preferences, know that it’s worth far more thought than that.
Branding is about building consistency and connection. It ties together all the different pieces of your marketing – and it’s especially important on your website. Putting in thought early and writing down your approach will help you stay consistent and bring in clients who are a perfect fit for your firm.
If you don’t have time, delegate
If you’re reading through and thinking that marketing sounds nice but you don’t have the time, know that you don’t have to do all of this alone! And it’s worth acknowledging that many lawyers could do their marketing tasks, like writing blogs or prepping social posts. But with a long to-do list, billable hours to fit in, and the aim of marketing pieces that result in a return, sometimes it pays to hand off the tasks to someone else.
One thing to keep in mind: a good marketing agency should earn you much more of a return than what you pay.
Making 2021 your year
After last year, none of us can say for certain that we can predict the future but one thing is for sure – planning for your marketing now and creating an effective plan (along with a solid intake process) will generate more leads and more profit for your firm in 2021.
There are plenty of options, but focusing on a few key channels is going to be the most effective way to build your firm’s brand and create an impact with potential clients and referral sources.
Amanda Sexton is the founder of FocusWorks Marketing — using the power of digital marketing to grow brands and businesses. For the past 14 years, she has shaped brand development, created award-winning content and built communities for everything from small businesses to global brands. She was selected as one of the 40 Under 40 Marketing Professionals in New Jersey in 2019 . She is a self-confessed numbers nerd — combining data and creativity to drive campaigns to their maximum potential.
Beyond FocusWorks, Amanda holds leadership positions on regional legal committees and associations, holds a standing column with the New Jersey Law Journal and has spoken across the country at bar association events and industry conferences, including ABA TechShow.