3 Huge Mistakes of the Generalist Law Firm
We love marketing generalist legal practices? Why, because whilst there is this preoccupation with becoming the “specialist” and niching down, multiple opportunities open up for the generalist firm that can allow re-engagement and cross pollination of historic clients.
However, multi-disciplinary firms invariably make some big fundamental mistakes in how they market, or don’t market their legal services. Here are the biggest three that we find.
Don’t Engage with Past Clients
No matter how good you think online marketing is, a majority of your firm’s work will always come from referral sources, only if you’re harnessing those relationships of course!
When you have a generalist law firm with a legacy of past and current clients, the opportunities to engage with them are multiple and when done correctly will provide unique opportunities to move clients from one practice area (the point at which they first engaged your firm) to other, relevant practice areas.
The best place to start is to start segmenting your data, particularly contact data by practice area. In other words, group all your Wills and Estates contacts, Family Law, Personal Injury etc separately, with the view to start sending targeted “useful and client-centric” email campaigns to these lists, to entice them into other practice areas.
Don’t Create a Unique User Experience for Different Practice Areas
From an online design perspective, law firms default to a templated approach to the specific practice areas of their firm.
In other words, if it wasn’t for the relevant text on the web page, the user experience is the same on every practice area page on the website.
Now, I concede that you don’t necessarily want to run up design and development costs by having multiple design layouts contained within your firm’s website, but you can create a distinctly different user experience through predominant header images that shift the experience. For example, on Attwood Marshall’s website, we’ve strived to create diversity from a design perspective to better suit the interests of the potential client. The Family Law Page is overtly “children” focused which is a predominant concern for separating couples and the content is displayed as if it were its own homepage. We’re trying to focus the web visitor, rather than transport them to a generic, usual law firm web design that just looks like every other page.
Don’t focus web visitors to “download” something
Inbound marketing methodology works phenomenally well for law firms, and this is why we partner with the World’s leading inbound marketing company Hubpot. Inbound Marketing is all about providing great, consistent content that is written for a particular client persona, of which you engage and then through various steps, lead the web visitor through a engagement funnel to a nexus of them becoming clients. The most common strategy is providing useful content that leads the web visitor to download something further of value of which your firm acquires contact details, and if your firm is using a CRM, more than likely the capture of their IP address.
What this means at a practical level for your generalist firm, is that you have multiple opportunities across practice areas to design and develop downloadable guides of which you ask for specific, but brief details of the downloader to later engage with through a developed strategy.
For example, it may be the case that a visitor to your family law website page has downloaded your Separation Guide, of which the person then enters the funnel that activates a sequence of automated emails at various intervals. The content of these automated messages parallel the next questions that you know from your experience, pop in the mind of typical family law clients and that in turn drives the creation of content that you know they want to see or hear (if you’re harnessing podcasts or videos).
While it’s probably overstating the obvious, but law firms don’t pay enough homage to the business they have already on the table. It will always be easier rekindling old relationships, providing it was a positive one, than developing a new one!
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