How to get more clients from the comfort of home

In a passage from Ernest Hemingway’s novel, The sun also rises, Scottish war veteran Mike Campbell is asked how he ended up after going bankrupt. His answer: “Two ways. Gradually then suddenly. »

Campbell’s response was not just an apt description of how riches are lost, but an echo of the human condition and our stubbornness in the face of change.

Although our society is still recovering from a global pandemic, it is clear that the world has changed permanently. Meetings are now Zoom-oriented, conversations are more typed than spoken, and working from home is a priority for employees. Due to these changes, industries are facing upheaval and businesses are struggling to find new ways to reach their customers.

In law, the change has been more gradual, but interest in meeting in person is waning, and building an online presence is becoming more vital than ever, with virtual law firms increasing by 30% in 2021. This may seem daunting, but the benefit of moving to virtual media means you can reach a wider audience and attract more customers from the comfort of your own home.

As the world continues to digitize, legal professionals need to embrace this change as soon as possible to stay competitive. Below are five steps to growing your online following before you find your business gradually, then suddenly, abandoned.

Configure your web presence

First, decide if you want to use your online presence just to connect with new clients or as a way to supplement your practice. Essentially, is the internet just another point of contact or are you going to be providing services online? Either way, you should follow a few industry best practices:

    • Adhere to the rules and ethics listed by the ABA for your licensing state.

    • Implementation of secure customer reception and data software.

    • Integrate technology to help streamline your practice.

Once these necessities are met, you need to lay the groundwork by creating a mobile- and desktop-optimized website, creating social media accounts for your practice, and registering yourself and your partners on online platforms. high visibility tailored to your audience.

Understand your niche and your audience

Companies spend $37 billion every year on ads that don’t engage their audience. The reason for this is that most companies don’t take the time to learn about their actual demographics rather than the ones they imagine. Understanding who you connect with is key to establishing an online presence.

As a lawyer, you are in an advantageous position to build the profile of your target audience. First, your specialty in law determines who you will represent. Divorce attorneys won’t handle a murder case, while a corporate attorney typically won’t handle a child support case. There are obviously outliers, overlaps and special circumstances, but defining your niche is easier for lawyers than for most other professions.

However, this may not be precise enough. Within your niche, a target audience is always waiting. To find it, audit your existing customer information and see if you can identify any patterns among your customers. Analyze the demographics of your audience, why they connect with you, and what type of post interests them. For more information, you can conduct surveys, make phone calls, or ask them to fill out questionnaires. This will help you determine your true target audience.

Create a marketing plan

After finding out who your audience is, it’s time to make an action plan on how to reach them. A marketing plan should include not only what you are going to do, but also why and how you are going to do it. Every marketing campaign should have a clear strategy to appeal to the needs and interests of your target audience.

Questions to consider:

    • What social media sites and platforms do our potential customers use? How can we build our presence there?

    • Are we currently focused on short-term or long-term growth? (Pay-per-click ads/PPC or SEO?)

    • Who are our competitors and how do we differentiate ourselves?

    • What is our marketing budget and how can we maximize it? What is worth paying more for and what can we accomplish for less?

Become a thought leader

After building a lasting online presence, it’s time to evolve your business into a brand that grabs attention and fills your inbox with potential customers. Using your expertise to tackle popular topics with a single purpose builds credibility in a place where everyone can access it.

When it comes to thought leadership, 88% of organizations believe it builds trust in their brand and, by extension, their revenue generation model. Customers don’t want to hear about second or third best but about industry leaders who move with change and help others understand what the future looks like. As thought leaders, you and your brand are considered entities with deep knowledge of the law.

You can define your reputation as a thought leader through different mediums. From white papers to social media posts addressing current societal issues, creating material for thought leadership must take a fresh approach and cut through the monotony with fresh perspectives.

Reward referrals and recommendations

When it comes to finding a lawyer, 62% of people ask for a recommendation from friends and family. Even on an online platform, word of mouth is still the best indicator of your trustworthiness, so it pays to encourage referrals and referrals or endorsements, especially from other attorneys, whose referrals often carry more weight.

For example, you might write an online recommendation for a lawyer you respect and hope that colleague will reciprocate.

Preparing for the future

Going online may seem like a big step forward, but the ROI of building an accessible brand can set you up for years of success. Establishing your brand voice and creating a path for customers to reach you online helps your business stand out and stay competitive in an increasingly digital landscape.

In law, the protocol for reaching new customers is only gradually changing. However, 65% of millennials and Gen Zers prefer getting services online, so if your current customer base tends to be older, your business may decline “suddenly” as those customers age.

To avoid this fate, it’s time to diversify your customer base by appealing to online audiences. But you don’t have to take this trip alone!

Neal Nagely is the founder and CEO of BookLawyer, a free legal information site for individuals and small businesses. Nagely practiced law in Dallas for 10 years before founding BookLawyer to help make the law accessible and help people find the right attorney when needed. Nagely focuses on providing informative articles to lawyers who are just starting out and people who are currently going through legal proceedings.

Mind Your Business is a series of columns written by lawyers, legal professionals and others in the legal industry. The purpose of these columns is to offer practical advice to lawyers on how to manage their practices, to provide information on the latest trends in legal technology and how it can help lawyers work more effectively and strategies to build a successful business.

Interested in contributing a column? Send a request to [email protected]

This column reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily the views of the ABA Journal or the American Bar Association.

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