Clients have a lot of choices. And it just isn’t other lawyers anymore. Companies like LegalZoom, Rocket Lawyer, and other non-attorney online legal services providers will just continue to grow. I have had attorneys tell me they are not in competition with such providers. Keep telling yourself that…people want their legal problem solved, most won’t care who does it, as long as the problem gets taken care of.
So, with all the competition how can you stand out? Here are three ideas that can help you rise to the top:
#1 – Be Different
If you are just starting to market your practice online (or if you have been doing it for years) take a look at what other attorneys are doing. There are some great attorney bloggers out there and the popular ones have a few things in common: First, they are consistent. You don’t see one article and then two months later stumble on another random post. Week in and week out they are there. If you want to be “top of mind” you need to be present.
Second, they are different – and by different I a mean they are simply interesting. They express ideas and opinions that are engaging and presented in a way that is not your typical lawyer-speak. Don’t be afraid. Share your opinion. Advocate for your soon-to-be new clients. Let them know that they are dealing with someone who is going to be on their side.
#2 – Change the Way You Deliver Information
Blogging is a great way to communicate with people. It is also natural for lawyers because writing is what we do. But a sure way to stand out is to change the way you deliver your message. I have found podcasting to be a great way of connecting with people and a much more intimate way to build the relationships of trust that are necessary for a client to feel comfortable hiring you. There is somewhat of a learning curve in starting a podcast, but once you get up and going it is a great way to differentiate yourself.
A quick look in iTunes podcast directory will show you that there are few legal podcasts out there and you will find that many of them haven’t had a new episode in months (if not years). You can jump to the front of the line in this realm and with a little effort can become a rock star (or radio star)!
Another great medium is video. These don’t need to be expensive fancy videos. These can be five minute videos filmed with a flip-camera. There is a good article in this month’s ABA Journal on marketing your law practice with video entitled “Gone Hollywood: Video’s the Ticket for New Legal Business.”
#3 – Don’t Be Afraid
Lawyers operate on fear. We are afraid of everything. And usually with good reason. In our profession the consequences of failure can be devastating for both us and our clients. So we worry, and fret, and have sleepless nights. However when it comes to creating an online presence for our law practices we have to learn to be unafraid.
Don’t worry what other attorneys will think – they aren’t your audience anyway. Tell the world what you know and don’t be afraid of getting it wrong every now and again. You can always go back and update things. If you can get over the fear of putting yourself and your law practice out there, there is no limit to what you can accomplish. Don’t be afraid.
As we start a new year, take time to look around at what other attorneys are doing. Often, the lawyer at the top of the pile isn’t always the best, the smartest, or even the most experienced. Often it is the person that is willing to lay it all on the line and jump in with both feet.
What are you going to do differently this year in marketing your law practice?