Marketing your small law firm during a global pandemic

While it may be many weeks or months before we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis, law firms – like all businesses – are learning to adjust quickly to the new normal.

It’s not business as usual at the moment and no one knows how or when the pandemic will finally end. However, the things we do now will affect how ready we are to move forward when it does finally end. That’s why marketing is more important than ever.

You may have to adjust your marketing strategies. Or, if you’ve neglected marketing, you may have to start working on this part of your business that you’ve never had much time for. Whatever you do, though, don’t ignore the opportunity to market your firm effectively during this crisis.

Here are four tips to get you started with marketing your firm during this global crisis.

  1. Be sensitive to the times

    We can’t pretend that it’s business as usual. We all need to acknowledge the seriousness of the situation and be aware that there are people behind the statistics in this pandemic. The stress and upheaval affects everyone, whether we’re impacted by economic, social or health concerns.

    Whatever you do in your business during the crisis, always keep this new normal in mind. No professional would want to ignore the impact of the virus or take advantage of this crisis. However, always keep in mind what your marketing efforts might look to an outsider. While your intentions may be good and genuine, in these times of heightened fear and uncertainty, things may be interpreted in a different way. Add a little extra critical thinking to your ideas, and consider a variety of angles, before proceeding.

  2. Have a plan

    If you’ve not had much time to market your firm, you may be wondering where to start. The best place to start is with a plan.

    Your basic marketing plan should cover these things:

    • What makes you different from your competitors? What do you do better than anyone else? These answers will support your unique selling proposition.
    • What services do you offer? Do you have a niche? Your practice area or the clients you serve may help define your niche.
    • Who is your ideal client? Describe the person or organisation in detail.
    • What are the three biggest issues or problems you can help that ideal client with?
    • What is the key message you need to get to your ideal clients?
    • How can you get that message to your ideal clients? Think about how traditional marketing, content marketing and social media marketing might work for you.
    • Thinking about the ways you can get your message out, what are your goals for each marketing channel?
    • What resources do you have to devote to getting your message out?
  3. Keep your distance and isolate – but keep reaching out

    Handshaking is out and a 1.5 metre gap between individuals is in. While social distancing rules have spelled the end of traditional networking events and client meet-ups, now is the perfect time to reach out to clients in a virtual yet personal and authentic way.

    Are you wondering how your clients are faring during the crisis? Why not pick up the phone or send out a simple email to touch base?

    Technology can also help you maintain your connections. Some events are still going ahead online, while Zoom chats or Facetime on your mobile phone can easily be set up to replace a face-to-face client meeting.

    It’s also a great time to nurture or establish relationships with other legal practitioners, helping to build and strengthen your future support and referral network.

  4. Tick off small tasks that deliver big wins

For many, the crisis has opened up gaps in the day. This presents the opportunity to tick off the tasks that have been languishing for years. Creating a contingency plan is at the top of the to-do list for many lawyers.

There are also many marketing tasks that can deliver big wins with minimum effort:

  • Write or update your professional bio and LinkedIn profile. Your bio is critical in capturing interest, so write it with your intended audience in mind. Make sure you answer these questions: What do you do? How can you help clients? What makes you different?
  • Experiment with social media. If this is an area that you’ve always avoided, now is the perfect time to jump into it. Look at others doing well in the space and experiment. With organic social reach coming at zero cost, there’s much to be gained.
  • Testimonials and reviews are another powerful – and free – marketing tool and are sometimes overlooked. Google reviews in particular, can be helpful in promoting your business and building trust. Create a template for requesting these reviews and then use that as a base to create a tailored request to recent clients. Tell clients how you intend to use their review, whether it’s on your website, in proposals or elsewhere.
  • Review your website and other digital content. Do you routinely include a call to action at the bottom of the content?   A call to action is an invitation to your reader to take the next step. Think about what you’d like your reader to do. Call for an appointment? Connect with you on LinkedIn? Download a free eBook? Whatever it is, guide your reader to take that action.
  • Write blogs, case studies and other educational content that will help your clients and potential clients and promote the content via LinkedIn and other social media channels. Establish yourself as a thought leader in your area of expertise.
  • Get in touch with societies, organisations and social communities related to your practice area or niche. Consider the benefits of joining or partnering with these bodies.

There will be an end to this crisis. By taking small marketing steps now, you’ll be ready to take leaps ahead in your practice once we’re on the other side.

Find the latest news, business updates and research materials to keep you on top of the current pandemic crisis at LexisNexis' exclusive COVID-19 information centre.