(January 10, 2020, 1:02 PM EST) -- You don’t have to spend a fortune to start marketing your law firm. Here are 11 free or almost free places to start.
1. Set up a LinkedIn profile if you still don’t have one. LinkedIn has more than 500 million users worldwide. Of those, more than 800,000 are lawyers. Studies conducted by the American Bar Association (ABA) show that in-house counsel check out a lawyer on LinkedIn first, even before his or her own law firm website. Here is the ABA’s 2017 Report on Social Media, including LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a good place to go fishing — it’s all about business: no funny cat videos or political jokes. This is not Facebook. About 93 per cent of lawyers are on LinkedIn. Don’t wait any longer. It’s free.
2. Start connecting to people on LinkedIn who might be referral sources. Segment your existing referral sources: lawyers in complementary practice areas; financial advisers; business valuators; real estate brokers and agents; legal suppliers; former clients, etc. Make a plan to connect with five or 10 new people each week. This may seem like a lot, but LinkedIn is optimized to having at least 1,000 connections. The sooner you get to that number, the better for you. The basic edition of LinkedIn is free.
3. Join LinkedIn Groups that would be useful to you. Here are some groups to get you started: Law Firm Profitability; Legal Marketing Association; and Marketing the Law Firm.
4. Post content on LinkedIn that you have written. Post links to content you have written on your blog, published on other blogs, legal publications or business magazines. Comment on other people’s posts. Only one per cent of people share content every month — a huge wasted opportunity. You can help fill this void and use it to your advantage. Free.
5. Hone your “elevator speech.” This is what you tell someone about who you are, what you do, and where you do it — all in the time it takes to go up or down in the elevator. Your elevator speech is a commercial about you and your law firm. Here is a tip to help you craft your elevator speech:
6. Ask your clients to give you Google Reviews. You will need to set up your Google My Business (GMB) account first. But there are huge benefits to having clients comment positively on the work you have done for them. Free.
7. Set up a Google Analytics account for your website. You will learn how visitors locate your website, which pages and links they click on the most, and new versus returning visitors. Free.
8. Set up a Google Search Console account for your website. Learn which keywords people use to find your website, learn which are your most popular pages, learn which countries visitors are coming from, which devices people are viewing your site on (computer, tablet/reader, smartphone), see which sites link to you, and learn when you have broken links. Free.
9. Join your local chamber of commerce or board of trade. Most towns and cities have either a chamber of commerce or a board of trade that has business programs as well as opportunities to do good works and socialize with things like an annual golf tournament and a holiday mixer. This is where many local business people go to network; they could be your potential clients. Annual fees to join are $200 to $400 annually. Moderate.
10. Join your local Business Improvement Association (BIA). If your law firm is on Main Street or part of a trendy neighbourhood, many have a BIA whose job it is to promote all the local businesses. If your town or city doesn’t have one, consider starting one. Annual fees to join are $200 to $400 annually. Moderate.
11. Take an active role in the Federation of Ontario Law Associations (FOLA). Like most things in life, you get out of it what you put in. The single biggest problem of all associations is member engagement: people join and then do not get involved further. If you take on an active role in your local law association (sit on the board, chair a committee, start a new committee, etc.), you will be able to reach out to other lawyers in an official FOLA capacity. And you will be able to enlarge your personal “sphere of influence” at the same time — bonus!
Jana Schilder is co-founder of The Legal A Team, a marketing, public relations and social media agency for lawyers and law firms. She also wrote the book on public relations for lawyers, available at Lexis Practice Advisor (LPA). Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 416-831-9154.
Interested in writing for us? To learn more about how you can add your voice to The Lawyer’s Daily, contact Analysis Editor Richard Skinulis at Richard.Skinulis@lexisnexis.ca or call 437-828-6772.
This article was originally published by The Lawyer’s Daily (www.thelawyersdaily.ca), part of LexisNexis Canada Inc.
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