Marketing Your Law Firm From Home
With your phone and your laptop, you can serve the needs of your community, clients and friends and change the trajectory of your firm.
COVID-19 presents a lot of challenges to lawyers. Many have been forced to close their doors. Some are limiting in-person meetings. Court dates, depositions and settlements have all been delayed. Phones have stopped ringing. Tried and true forms of marketing just aren’t working anymore.
We get it - this is a scary and uncertain time for every business owner. But it is also a time of great opportunity.
Over the last two weeks, we have seen our clients, friends and colleagues show tremendous resolve in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges. Lawyers, legal professionals and vendors across the industry have pulled together in the most unexpected ways to adapt to this new business environment.
This is time that every lawyer should be taking a step back and re-evaluating their business and how they serve their clients. We are being forced to evolve, adopt new technologies and bend to the needs of our communities. In the end, the legal profession will be stronger and better because of it.
Will you adapt and thrive? Or will you stick your head in the sand and struggle to survive.
Before COVID-19, there was a table that all of us were sitting at (or maybe wish we were sitting at). Everyone knew each other’s place. There was a hierarchy. There were influencers, thought leaders and champions of the industry. Breaking in was difficult. Working your way to the top of the table was impossible.
But now the table is gone. The old way of doing things, the old way of thinking, is out the window. No one is certain where they belong, or where they will be sitting once COVID-19 is behind them.
For lawyers everywhere, this presents an opportunity to step up, demonstrate leadership and shape the future of their practice and the profession.
The best part? You can do this from home. You don’t need to be on stage giving a keynote speech or published in the latest journal. With your phone and your laptop, you can serve the needs of your community, clients and friends and literally change the trajectory of your firm.
I’m going to break it down for you here.
This is a time to reshape the narrative of the lawyer’s role in a community. Rather than asking for something (a phone call, for example), we can give. We can create resources, share information and provide leadership that our communities are starving for.
It seems like every hour, there is an update. New laws, new policies, new ways of preventing the spread of COVID-19. People are on their phones. They have their laptops open. They are searching for information.
Lawyers are in a powerful position to provide that information. They are educated, trusted and (should be) community servants. COVID-19 is a great time to remind people of that.
What would that look like? Here are just a few examples:
In all of the examples above, the attorney can perform these actions remotely from their office or from their home. It is as simple as using the tools already at your fingertips. And the best part is that you are actively providing a service through information. It not only helps strengthen current client relationships, but will also strengthen your referral pipelines for new clients once COVID-19 has passed.
Creating helpful resources for your community is great, but it is only one aspect of marketing your law firm from home. You also need a way to share it with your community. Fortunately, it has never been easier to do that in a quick, inexpensive and scalable way.
So far, I am telling you things that either you already know about. These strategies are not new. They are the foundation of basic content marketing. But actually creating a strategy and implementing it is much easier said than done.
That being said, I am going to give you one simple workflow that I have personally used for clients that allow us to create and share content at scale.
Everyone wants to feel that human connection, now more than ever. Video allows us to do that. If we can’t meet face-to-face for drinks or coffee to discuss how COVID-19 will affect cases, businesses and other legal matters, creating video assets allow us to preserve the human connection in our communications.
Creating video assets is not difficult, either. The point of creating a video is not to have a highly polished final product. In fact, the more raw and authentic the video is, the better. Using your smartphone or laptop, you can create short information videos that can be published to YouTube, shared on Facebook and embedded on your website.
Video also allows you to create a lot of content fast. Rather than spending an hour writing a 500 word blog post, you can shoot 5 - 10 short 2 minute videos. Think of frequently asked questions, new developments that you are seeing in the news and other types of information that you would like to share with clients, hit record, then talk.
Now that the video assets have been created, you can create a transcript of the audio and edit it for a blog post on your website. There are a lot of free and easy ways to do this.
First, you can upload your video to YouTube then download the transcript. You will need to remove the timestamps and edit the punctuation, but the transcript itself should be fairly good quality.
Second, you can use the “Voice Typing” feature in Google Docs to transcribe your video. Simply pull up the tool in a blank Google Doc, hit “Click to Speak,” then play your video. Your internal speakers will pick up the audio and Google Docs will begin transcribing. Like YouTube transcripts, you will need to go back through the transcription and add punctuation.
Another paid transcription tool that we have used in the past is Temi. Using AI, Temi can transcribe full podcast episodes, for example, in less than 5 minutes. There’s also a really useful editing tool on the backend that allows you to make edits as you listen back to the audio file. Once completed, you can download the transcript to a Word document or text file.
Before sharing the content you created, you should add it to your law firm website. This should always be the home of resources and information that you want to share with your clients and potential clients. Not only will you have more reliable data, but they will be one step closer to the bottom of your sales funnel.
Now that you have the content created and it is hosted on your website, it is time to share it. The best place to start is with your current email contacts. Creating a mailing list has never been easier, and using a platform like Mailchimp makes it so easy to generate beautiful email designs that won’t get trashed as soon as they hit an inbox.
Remember, sharing this information is intended to be a service. You are not spamming your email list with advertising copy or irrelevant information. This is designed to provide support and encouragement during an emotionally turbulent time.
After you hit send, head over to your social media accounts. This is your last stop for getting the resources you created out into the world. Create a captivating description, include links to your website and publish the video along with the post.
Right now is the best time to engage with users on social media. Facebook, for example, is seeing surging usage in response to COVID-19. It’s quickly become the platform for individuals to connect with quarantined family members, find news and share humorous memes and videos. But don’t forget about other platforms like Instagram and Twitter. Although the format of these platforms varies, the premise is the same. Serve, serve, serve.
Not familiar with social media? There is no better time to learn how to use these tools. Again, we’re not looking for perfection. We’re looking for authenticity.
Facebook usage is up, but revenue is flat. Why? Because everyone is scaling back their ad spend right now. Lawyers, on the other hand, should be running to boost posts and develop targeted ad campaigns.
Using the video and information that you created following the steps above, you can boost your video to Facebook users outside of your current network. And the best part? You can retarget users who watched your video and engaged with your post months later once COVID-19 has passed.
COVID-19 is a chance for us to rewrite the narrative about our law firms and about the profession as a whole. This is what great marketing should do.
Using the knowledge you have gained from years of experience, the reputation you have built in your community and the powerful tools at your fingertips, you can engage and reach your community right from the comfort of your home.
When COVID-19 passes, the world will look different. Your law firm will look different. The way you talk about your services will be different. Be proactive and begin adapting to this new narrative - don’t let the moment pass.