Now that we’ve bid adieu to 2020, it’s time to start planning for the new year. The good news is that after a challenging year, things can only get better. That’s why there’s no better time than now to build a strong foundation for success in 2021.
There will be many different keys to prosperity in the coming year, one of which is a strong marketing plan for your firm. Without a successful marketing plan, your firm’s ability to reach potential clients and referral sources will be greatly limited, which could very well impact your firm’s bottom line.
But by creating a forward-thinking, flexible marketing plan, you’ll ensure that in the months ahead your firm has the necessary tools in place to allow remote connection and interaction with potential clients. This will require some creativity and an up front investment of time and energy, but your commitment to an innovative marketing plan will undoubtedly pay off in the end.
Of course, there’s no right way to market your law firm in 2021. The elements of a successful plan will vary greatly from one firm to the next. That being said, with every new year comes new online platforms for marketing and engagement – and new ethics opinions that regulate how and when lawyers can interact online. With that in mind, here are my top three 2021 marketing tips for lawyers.
Be the first to establish a presence on emerging platforms
I’ve been tracking social media and how lawyers can use it for over a decade now, and until recently, there weren’t any new social media sites that I felt would be valuable for lawyers to use. For years, I didn’t encounter any new sites that I felt would be of interest to lawyers – until now that is.
By getting in on a platform when it’s new, you have the opportunity to establish yourself on the platform, making a name for yourself and your firm before everyone else jumps on the bandwagon and competition for attention increases. And with two new platforms quickly gaining momentum, there’s no better time than now to make your mark. Those two platforms are Clubhouse and TikTok. I’m really excited about both sites because I believe each one has a lot to offer lawyers.
First, there’s Clubhouse, which is an audio chat platform. For now it’s only available as an iOS app and is invite only. Clubhouse consists of user-created drop-in audio chat rooms. The topics for these rooms are incredibly varied and can be created spontaneously or scheduled ahead of time by you or other user. Clubhouse is a great fit for lawyers since it is a format that is comfortable and familiar to most lawyers, and provides many different ways to showcase expertise, connect with professional colleagues who might be potential referral sources, and generate exposure for your law firm.
Another new app that shows promise for lawyers is TikTok. This mobile app makes it easy for users to view – and create – short, informal videos that are one minute or less. There’s lots of educational content on TikTok which is why it’s such a good fit for lawyers looking to connect with potential clients by providing informational videos. The key is to ensure that you follow ethics regulations relating to engaging online and ensure that you provide legal information, not advice. There are already many lawyers using the app for this purpose, so seek them out for some ideas to help get you started.
Take advantage of online review sites, but respond to negative reviews with care
Next, don’t forget about your firm’s online presence and the reviews that often accompany your firm’s online business listings. The digital world is now an extension of the brick-and-mortar world and as a result, online reviews are becoming increasingly useful tools for consumers since they allow them to make more informed decisions when making purchasing decisions about products or services. When your firm’s online reviews are positive, it can be a boon for business. Negative reviews, on the other hand present issues for lawyers seeking to publicly rebut them since responses to reviews, both negative and positive, are decidedly public. That’s why it’s so important to ensure that when you determine whether to respond to any negative online reviews, you carefully consider all applicable ethics rules.
Fortunately, the American Bar Association released Formal Opinion 496 last week. This opinion provides guidance and best practices for lawyers seeking to ethically respond to negative online reviews. Make sure to give the opinion a thorough read since it offers both a rundown of the ethical issues and commonsense advice regarding how to ethically respond to any negative reviews that your firm might receive.
Use online intake forms to remotely connect with new clients
Finally, don’t forget about updating your firm’s website to conform to the expectations of clients in 2021. Because of the pandemic, legal consumers are increasingly seeking out contactless ways to interact with businesses, including law firms. So make sure that your law firm’s website provides them with this type of functionality.
If your firm’s website does’t already have online intake forms in place so that potential clients can retain your firm’s services no matter what the situation, then what are you waiting for? Online intake forms simplify client intake and make it easy for potential clients to provide contact information from any internet-enabled device, at anytime, day or night. The convenience and flexibility online intake forms offer potential clients start each case off on a positive note while streamlining the remote collection of necessary information from potential firm clients. And if your online intake forms are part of your law firm’s law practice management software, then all the better, since all information collected using online intake forms is then immediately accessible in your case management software.
So what are you waiting for? Get 2021 off to a strong start by implementing some of these marketing tips. But don’t stop there! For even more ideas on making 2021 the best year possible, make sure to download this FREE guide today: “The 2021 Law Firm New Years’ Checklist.”