Why Marketing Your Firm with ‘No-Win, No-Fee’ is a Waste of Time in 2019
When ‘no-win, no-fee’ marketing was first introduced by a handful of solicitors and law firms in the late nineties it kickstarted an entirely new chapter for legal marketing – and a new way of doing business. Fast-forward 25 years and what was once potentially a standout marketing technique for your firm now seems to be offered by every other legal firm in the country. Furthermore, with the saturation of the NSW legal services market further increasing over the past 5 years, getting your brand to stand out from the crowd has never been more challenging. The Law Council of Australia estimates that 41.6% of all solicitors in Australia are registered in NSW, compared with only 24.5% in Victoria. The days of simply offering a ‘good deal’ to attract new clients to your firm are over. Instead, a greater focus on developing a comprehensive and integrated marketing strategy that encompasses a strategic approach is necessary to generate new leads and to secure new clients for your firm.
Public Relations. At first glance, public relations (PR) initiatives by top-tier legal firms in Australia are in no short supply. But for smaller and more boutique practices and firms, PR is perhaps one of the most underutilised marketing techniques available. Often, firms can only see the value of using PR for “damage control” to protect themselves from bad publicity. This is a reactive position that doesn’t fully utilize the power of PR. An effective PR campaign can protect, enhance and actually build the reputation of your company. When it comes to consumers selecting firms for legal counsel or advice, word-of-mouth is king. Now, more than ever, the reputation and perception of your brand could not be more important. PR is not about paying consultants to promote your brand or to sell your services directly. PR is all about the art of storytelling. A PR manager will create messages that encompass your firm’s values to create a story that resonates with your prospective clients. So how do you use PR to create awareness in the services and brand of your company? At a local level, through exposure in local newspapers and radio stations, you can effectively create interest and conversations about the value that your firm delivers. Through utilising a variety of communication channels, however, such as the media, social media and self-produced content in the form of blogs and newsletters, you can create a more saturated and widespread message about what your firm can do for your clients. Word of Warning: It is important to note that PR is by no means, the fastest way to generate customers for your practice and is unlikely to fill the May gap in your calendar. But PR is nevertheless a vital strategy in creating long-term, strategic benefits for your company through building your firm’s reputation and creating brand awareness.
SEO and PPC. SEO (search engine optimisation) involves targeting keywords that people commonly use to search for the services that your firm provides. These keywords are then targeted throughout the content on your website to gain better placements on search engine results. In such a saturated market, SEO optimisation and pay-per-click advertisements can be a good way to increase the visibility of your firm. A quick Google Search of lawyers in Sydney will yield thousands of results. If your firm does not appear in the first few pages of a search, a prospective client WILL NOT FIND YOU. An intelligent SEO strategy is therefore vitally important to ensure that your site will appear in the first few pages. The higher your company appears in search rankings, the more traffic and leads you will generate. SEO is the first step to marketing your firm to generate and take advantage of “organic” traffic – leading people to you who have never heard of you before. Additionally, you can also use “offsite SEO”. This involves the creation of quality backlinks to your website and including them in websites that have good domain authority rankings. This technique allows you to piggy-back on the success of someone else’s sight to help to improve your own firm’s search engine ranking. Another Warning; As a long-term strategy, SEO can yield impressive results. However, it usually takes several months before any real difference can be seen in your firm’s website ranking. In the short term, pay-per-click marketing (PPC) as part of your company’s marketing strategy, can be a good strategy to see visible results immediately. PPC refers to a type of paid advertisement that is offered by search engines such as Google AdWords, that require users to pay every time that someone clicks on an advertisement. Unlike SEO, PPC will require your firm to pay ongoing fees to search engines to continue to feature at the top of search rankings associated with particular keywords. So while PPC is the more expensive option available to you, however, it also has the fastest results.
Our Top 5 Ways to Generate More Traffic and Leads for your Firm.
1. Do not make your website a brochure. Chances are that by the time most people are looking at your firm’s website, they probably already know what a divorce / commercial / criminal lawyer does. However, your website is often the first interaction that prospective clients have with your firm. Instead, take the opportunity to target your buyer’s journey – to speak to them in their language through their experiences – after all, more than 70% of their decision has already been made before they contact your firm. Make sure your website contains original images and reviews from satisfied clients and take the opportunity to present solutions to the common problems that your clients face. This will make your firm appear more personal and approachable to prospective clients.
2. Create MEANINGFUL Relationships. This idea of creating relationships, whether that be with your colleagues in the industry or clients, is hardly a ground-breaking idea, but it’s nevertheless something that’s too-often forgotten. Creating relationships with your clients that hold real meaning to them will ALWAYS translate into referrals and positive word-of-mouth for your firm. Remember, word-of-mouth is king and recommendations and positive experiences from family and friends is the best form of marketing for your firm, especially given the personal nature of your service.
3. Establish Trust with Reviews. Just like referrals, reviews are a great way to establish trust in your practice. Asking current and past clients for honest reviews of your service and displaying them prominently on your website or Google reviews of your business will ensure that your firm is in the forefront of the minds of every prospective client.
4. Share Your knowledge. Showing your prospective clients that you are an expert in your area of law will build confidence in your brand during their buyer’s journey. Yes, you are giving away free advice in blog posts and social media discussions, (just like reading this is essentially free advice) but this will help you to position yourself and your firm as thought-leaders in the industry. Furthermore, in order to act on any of the advice that you have provided, they will still need to hire you. Establishing yourself online as a reputable source of advice will ultimately help to convert the leads that have been generated by other marketing strategies.
5. Be Consistent. Unfortunately, no marketing strategy will work overnight, nor will it work if it is never implemented! This means being consistent in producing your content, engaging in PR and actively implementing SEO and PPC strategies all the time. Not just during the quieter periods.
Conclusion Developing an integrated and effective marketing strategy that encompasses traditional PR aspects as well as SEO, PPC and content marketing will generate new leads and more traffic for your website. Given just how saturated the legal industry currently is, means that standing out from the crowd is imperative in establishing a pipeline for year-round work. A “No Win, No Fee” strategy is no longer enough to make you stand out. You are much better off investing your energy and time taking advantage of your knowledge and experience with clients AND telling prospective clients about it!