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  • Writer's pictureDario Cavegn

Legal marketing: Why law firms are every serious marketer’s dream


Justice holding scales and complaining about selling
Good news: sleazy selling isn’t required in the legal industry.

Most law firms are unaware that they have plenty of very attractive marketing options at their disposal. Much as this might surprise you, they in fact have more options than most other businesses.


In our experience, nine out of ten law firms have one or several of the following marketing issues:

  • Limited time and resources. Other activities naturally take precedence

  • Limited budget. Since there is no clear plan what to spend it on, money can’t be allocated

  • Complex and technical language. It is often hard to express the finer points of law in everyday speech

  • Differentiation issues. Law firms often struggle to find their unique selling proposition

  • A visceral aversion to selling. Like most subject matter experts, lawyers hate having to sell themselves


So what really any law firm needs is an approach that addresses constraints and language, and takes the pain out of selling.


Stealth marketing: Flying under competing firms’ radar


For one of our more prestigious clients, a litigation specialist in the Zurich area in Switzerland, for reasons of reputation, public advertising wasn’t an option. Yet their email campaigns drowned in corporate inboxes, and didn’t get read. The low point was reached when one badly coordinated send-out got the firm’s server blacklisted with Google.


So when we came in, we took an alternative approach and opted for direct mail. This not only produced substantially better results, but allowed our customer to advertise almost entirely under the radar.


This produced the expected higher response rate and allowed for better audience targeting. It also offered a more tangible and personalised approach.


Perhaps that’s why direct mail has recently grown at nearly 6% per year. Yes: that’s old-fashioned paper letters outperforming trendy digital.


A letter stands out in a less cluttered physical mailbox. It is less likely to be seen as spam, and has a longer shelf life, making it more memorable and likely to be acted upon. And your competitors won’t have the faintest idea that you’re running a campaign.


PR and Thought Leadership: Your professional opinion, casually turbocharged


Journalists reporting the news need people to quote. For legal professionals in an area of specialisation that tends to crop up in the news, this is the perfect opportunity for PR.


One of Estonia’s foremost tax lawyers wasn’t getting the attention in the media he wanted. To change that, we set up a press list as part of the firm’s customer relationship management system (CRM). Whenever a tax-related issue came up in the media—and that happened a lot—we were able to send out a 500-1000-word opinion piece as a press release.


Too many PR companies do not understand that what they do comes down to advertising a particular brand of information. And one ground rule is to make it easy to buy—


So every time we sent out an op-ed to a paper or a digital publication, we did so complete with highlighted quotes, a featured image, a phone number to call to follow up, and the express permission to reprint part of the piece as a quote.


The same opinion piece could then be rewritten and repurposed across the firm’s blog, the related LinkedIn profiles, and in the firm’s newsletter.


White papers: Supply essential information to a very select target group


In the following example of the use of white papers, a partner at a client firm in Vienna is closely connected to the start-up scene. He wanted to use Crunchbase and Dealroom, popular start-up listing tools, to build leads.


In our research, we soon found out that the needs for legal advice and legal services of a start-up tend to change drastically when they are about to enter the scaling phase.


Once we had determined which indicators to look at to identify this exact point, we were able to target potential customers for the firm by sending their CEOs a 12-page overview of the worst pitfalls to avoid from a legal perspective when entering the scaling phase.


A specific offer of a free discovery session—much like the one we’re making on this website here—then got them to act, and ask for help.


White papers can be used in a variety of ways: to supply essential information to your prospects, to build relationships with stakeholders such as journalists and academics, to support your hiring process, and so on.


And finally, just like the op-eds mentioned above, they can be repurposed as a series of blog posts, as newsletters, and so on.


Painless selling: How to look for business partners, not customers


The antidote to feeling like a door-to-door salesman peddling your services is to treat your prospects not as customers, but prospective business partners.


You do that by approaching your prospects with information that is directly relevant to them. Another firm we’ve worked for wanted to capitalise on the fact that the vast majority of SMEs in the EU don’t have cyberattack contingency plans, so we created a campaign for them that made it urgently necessary for the target audience to at least read up on the problem.


To that, we added a simple, fool-proof offer that would get them talking to us at least.


And since at that point, they were already requesting information regarding their specific situation, what started out as an outbound direct marketing campaign quickly turned into an inbound campaign that didn’t require any intrusive selling at all.


What else can I say... Talk to us. We have the experience, the resources, and most importantly the ideas that will get you seen and heard by the people you’re after!

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