How do law firms get clients?

Whether you’re starting out with a new boutique firm,  you already have an established business or perhaps you are in a new role, you may have been asked to investigate new client acquisition and business development strategies for your law firm. 

In this article, I cover five key tips to help you get more clients to your law firm.

Tip 1: Leverage Your Referral Network

The first tip that I have is one you have likely heard of plenty of times before, and that is to leverage your professional relationships, otherwise known as your referral network. For many lawyers a referral network may include accountants, financial planners, other lawyers and even counsellors if you are in the Family Law space.

There are a whole range of other professionals that you can be connected to, but you need to forge strong relationships with them so that they are acutely aware of exactly who you work with, or prefer to work with. The problem is that people often have a great referral or professional network, but the people in that professional network don’t understand who you work with because every firm has a particular type of client that they want to work with across particular services.

In order to leverage your referral network, you need to instill in your entire team of lawyers the value of networking. When an individual has a solid relationship with their referral network, they will know exactly the type of people to refer to you and that will happen more readily. 

When people refer clients, it is common that they know a number of professionals who are capable of assisting them. So, you and your lawyers want to stand out from everyone else. To do that you will need to have a number of touch points with those referrers over time, so that they will automatically think of you first when the ideal client comes to them and they have an opportunity to refer business onto you. Don’t make the mistake of only educating your referral network on what you do and how good you are doing it. When they also have a good idea of who you like to work with, that is how you more fully leverage your professional network.

Tip 2: Think About A Client's Next Steps

The second tip to help your law firms get more clients is to think about the type of people or the position that they are in when they visit your website.

Typically people will be either ‘ready to engage’ or ‘not yet ready to engage’ your services. The people who are not yet ready to engage are considering their next steps. Maybe they’re not going to take action perhaps because they have time or there is not any urgency. Perhaps they are contemplating whether to take the next steps at all. Whereas people who are ‘ready to engage’ are looking for a lawyer or firm like yours. Most businesses tend to accommodate only the ready-to-engage market. They have call-to-actions like ‘Phone now’ or ‘Book now’ which are important but do not take into account the market that needs more before they will pick up the phone or book in a meeting time. 

What is important is to engage both of those markets. One way of engaging with the market that is considering their next steps is to answer their queries, in a general sense. You will know the typical questions people have early on in each area of the law you practice and the broad answers you can give them without having given specific advice.  When you do this and share this information on your website and across platforms, you can develop rapport at a distance.

Sometimes, people don’t want to make calls or book appointments and they’re just doing their research or looking around. Then, they will think about what they’re going to do. A good way to develop rapport with a market of people who are not yet ready to engage is to create content for them or a downloadable, for instance, that is specific to them based on the fact that they are considering the next steps. A good title for a download might be ‘Are you considering X?’ You have an opportunity to give them some information that is of value to them in exchange for their email address. Then potentially you can reach out to them over time through a lead nurture sequence.

A lead nurture sequence is an automated series of personalised communications that they receive over time, after subscribing to your email list. Then, when they are ready to engage a lawyer, you are the individual or team that already has their trust. You have the ability to convert them into clients more effectively than your competitor that only accommodates the individuals that are  ‘ready to engage’.

The other component to this is that when people do their research online, they are not always searching during business hours. So it is important to have the ability for people to book an initial discussion with you, in the moment that they are searching online, not just during business hours.

Tip 3: Set Up a Website Appointment Setter

When potential clients are thinking about their needs it is often late at night, sitting on the couch or even in bed, with their phone or tablet in hand. 

Those are the moments where if you give people the option, and if they’re ready to book a time with you, then the deal is essentially done as they can, in the moment, late at night, lock in a time for your first meeting. The goal is to always get that first appointment because that is where you can connect, either in-person or online, and develop the rapport and trust to get them to become your client. Not offering this online booking option is a wasted opportunity.

An additional tip I have to help your law firm get more clients is another one off the back of visitors to your website. If you have your website set up in a way that is connected to your email software, then you can set up site tracking.

Site tracking is when you can monitor if someone (whose email address you already have in your database) visits a particular page. You can then create a personalised and automated email off the back of that visit to a particular page. It is a great way to follow up interest in a particular service or product.

Often people will visit a website multiple times because the first few times they’re not ready yet to make a decision. Having site tracking set up with communications to follow up that interest is a powerful engagement tool.

Tip 4: Determine Keywords and Do SEO

Another way for law firms to get more clients is through search engine optimisation (SEO) and the use of keywords. For law firms, this means the words people type into Google (or other search engines) when they are looking for legal services. 

Generally people type phrases into search engines in two ways. They either type in words that indicate they have an intent to engage a service like yours or they have a query or question that relates to the work you do.

An example of ‘intent to engage’ is when potential clients type in keywords such as ‘family lawyer Brisbane’ for instance. Whereas a query is, for example, ‘How will my children cope with our divorce?’ or ‘how can I protect my children during divorce?’ 

So a keyword query is a question because it’s something that the potential client is interested in or concerned about. They may not yet be ready to engage a solicitor or a family lawyer, but the query is leading them to an information source. If you answer that query for how to best protect your children during your divorce or your separation, then potentially you have an opportunity to put your brand in front of potential clients.  

Keywords are great because you can gain trust and credibility through answering the most pertinent concerns that a potential client has.

Related: What SEO is and why SEO is a necessity for law firm and legal websites in 2021

Tip 5: Publish Content Regularly

Publishing content regularly adds to your firm’s visibility and is a highly effective way to get the attention of clients and referrers alike. 

Creating and publishing content that relates to the problems that your clients face rather than only promotional content, is the goal here.

Publishing content like articles regularly can demonstrate your skill and boost your market prominence. As mentioned in the last tip, there are a number of keyword phrases that people type into Google when they are looking for specific questions to be answered that are connected to particular areas of law. If you are answering those queries effectively, then you are able to develop rapport with those potential clients because you’re helping them answer the things that concern them the most.

 I am writing this article because my team has done research to determine what queries people are typing into Google that relates to the issues affecting law firms. I know at the time of writing this article, that the phrase ‘how do law firms get clients’ is searched over 70 times a month in Australia. So for me, that’s a really targeted query because it is specific to law firms, my target audience, as you are the people we help with their law firm marketing. 

By having my team do this research I have insights into what people like yourself are seeking answers to. And, if I write articles about other topics that are helpful for you, in time, you may well wish to engage us to assist your firm with activities like these.

By creating content that is targeted we can create content that is highly relevant and ultimately develop trust along the way.

I hope you’ve found these tips helpful. There are a number of other client acquisition strategies that we have in our toolkit. I look forward to sharing them with you in future articles.

Want our help with keyword research and content development for your firm? Book a time to speak with one of our project managers here.

Looking for assistance to get some initiatives like these off the ground in your firm? Consider our Strategy & Coaching options, perfect for firms looking to do this work in-house.

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