Solo Law Firm Marketing on a Small Budget or for Free
As a solo lawyer, marketing can be frustrating. There are only so many hours in a day. Between you and your staff (that is, if you have any staff), it’s hard to be the Chief Marketing Officer and still take care of clients and run other aspects of your practice. How can you market and practice law at the same time? First, you need to prioritize your solo law firm marketing strategies because some admittedly are better than others. You have limited time and a limited budget, so consider your practice area, the likely “hang outs” of your potential clients and your available time and select the strategies that will work best within those parameters.
Here are some solo law firm marketing methods to consider:
- Free Online Listings: While they may not seem fancy or high-class, some prospects search for legal services on platforms like Craigslist, Ebay, Backpage, PennySaverUSA and so on. Some local newspapers also have classifieds in which you could place an ad. If your prospects aren’t to be found on Criagslist or other such sites, you have no need to be there. But if that’s where they are, that’s where you should be (as always, within the advertising and ethics rules set by your state bar).
- Promote Your Personal Brand: You are your best representative, whether you try or not and whether you like it or not. You are your own solo law firm marketing guru. Be aware that you are the equivalent of a walking billboard. Give yourself a boost by being known as a giver to your community through pro bono efforts, community activities or a useful blog. If you believe in karmic marketing, you’ll get back far more value than you give. But also as part of your personal brand, create a logo that reflects your personality and desired persona, have matching letterhead and business card prepared to be consistent with all your marketing effots. Read more about your personal brand in Attorney Boost’s “Legal Marketing 101” report.
- Local Online Presence: From optimizing content and videos to link building and sharing, there are many ways to boost your local online presence on search engines for little to no cost. It’s easier said than done, so if you want to dive into it, we recommend the excellent book by Vanessa Fox titled Marketing in the Age of Google.
- Referrals: Why would anyone refer anyone else to you? Is it your outstanding track record, niche practice, years of experience or willingness to take on the most challenging cases? Maybe it’s your community involvement or your position on a local nonprofit board. All of the wonderful things you do are wonderful marketing tools if people know about them. Promoting yourself in a professional and helpful way is not the same as being an egomaniac, and can lead to referrals. Be aware that the most common referral killer is this: not asking.
- Paid Leads: Leads cost money, but when you buy from reputable lead providers, it is almost always money well spent. To make leads work, you need a solid preplanned conversion strategy to turn leads into paying clients. Some lawyers rely on leads for their entire solo law firm marketing efforts and some use leads to supplement other marketing strategies. Either way, when it’s done right, you will see a healthy rate of return.
We recommend trying several strategies simultaneously (like casting out a few fishing lines in different spots at the local fishing pond). Check each line once in a while to see what it lands. Evaluate each strategy for its effectiveness and return on investment (including not just dollars but hours invested). Keep the ones that work. Ditch the ones that don’t. If it sounds confusing, it’s not. It just takes discipline to track each strategy separately. Sometimes it’s as simple as asking each prospective client “where did you hear about us”. If you don’t track each strategy accurately, you may end up sticking with ones that don’t work, and that means you’ll be leaking dollars and time with no return.
If you come up with other solo law firm marketing suggestions that you want to share, let us know! We love to share great ideas with lawyers, and we welcome guest articles on substantive topics. You can reach us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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