How Inbound Marketing can Help Lawyers Build their Practices

Lawyers Should Blog

Before I wrote this post, I talked to U.S. Waterproofing’s chief content officer who is a lawyer and former bar association executive.  He’s always enthusiastic about Inbound Marketing but he really got excited about everything it can do for law firms so this isn’t just the opinion of a basement waterproofing guy.

How much rain have you made lately, counselor?  Are you and your firm finding it more and more difficult to generate new business, whether your practice is focused on individual or corporate clients?

Legal marketing has come a long way from the days when silk-stocking lawyers looked down their noses at any sort of advertising, preferring to let the clients find them.  Today, any member of a firm, partner and associate alike, has to find ways to raise their profile, to draw attention to their abilities, to bring in business if they are going to survive, let alone thrive, in a profession that is continually changing and in an economy that is perennially staggering.

Inbound Marketing is NOT Advertising

Now, we all know that some lawyers have taken things to extremes.  I wouldn’t suggest that a prestigious law firm start slapping up billboards or running commercials on late-night TV.  If there were a way to market your firm broadly by drawing on its expertise and accomplishments and doing it in a way that enhanced rather than detracted from your reputation, you’d be interested, wouldn’t you?

I run one of the country’s oldest and largest home improvement companies, U.S. Waterproofing.  We have been a successful, family-owned business for more than 55 years but, like any business, we discovered that the old ways of selling our services weren’t working as well as they once had.  I knew that the future of our business lie on the internet but I wasn’t sure at first how to make it work for us.  After trying many approaches, including technical Search Engine Optimization and various website designs and approaches, I discovered blogging.

Actually, what I discovered was Inbound Marketing; the blog was just the vehicle.  What I have done, and what you can do, is to develop a whole new kind of client, one that looks to you for solid information in an effort to become educated and capable of making a wise business decision.

Lawyers Were Blogging Pioneers

One good thing, counselor, is that you lawyers were among the first professionals to jump on the blogging bandwagon, using your communication skills to discuss online many aspects of the law, with “blawgs” talking about practice tips, referrals and legal technology, all matters of great interest to other lawyers. 

Since you’ve already developed your blogging muscles, it’s time to take all that training and put it to use to find new clients.  Yep, I am telling you that you can find new clients by blogging.  Please understand that your blogging has to be strategic, educational and informative because not only does it have to provide value to potential clients but it must enhance your firm’s reputation as well.

I believe that you, counselor, are in an even better position to succeed because what you have to sell, if I can put it that way, is your expertise, knowledge and advocacy.  You can put enough of those “products” into blogs without giving away the farm that you can quickly become a great source of information for potential clients.  The informed client is the best client, as I’m sure you know. 

You’re Not Giving Anything Away

Let’s face it; most people who search for legal information online aren’t looking for a website to fix their problem (Robert Shapiro’s efforts notwithstanding – and those aren't your ideal clients anyway).  They’re ultimately looking for a lawyer.  Why wouldn’t they choose the lawyer who educates them, who gives them the most helpful information, who inspires confidence?  That’s a lot better than using your website as just an electronic firm brochure.

Even your existing clients will benefit.  For example, when I started Inbound Storm, I had questions about the right business organization for the new company.  Should it be an S Corp or an LLC or something different entirely?  I have a lawyer – a very good one – but I wanted to be more educated on the topic before I talked to him about it.  I’m not alone among businesspeople or individuals in that respect. 

And for you or your firm, how much better a client can you find than the one that already knows you and trusts you because, without ever having met them face-to-face, you have helped them understand just a little bit of the law and made them comfortable with your advice?  Sounds like a good client to me. 

Adapt or Die

Still skeptical?  According to a recent survey of more than 1,300 attorneys conducted by Avvo (the web’s largest expert-only legal and health Q&A forum and professional directory) and LexBlog (the world’s largest legal blogging network):

  • 81% plan to spend the same or more on marketing in 2012
  • 24% said they spend more than 75% of their marketing budgets online
  • 54% said they utilize social media to grow their practice
  • 56% read and follow blogs for professional development

These numbers will continue to grow year after year.  The good news is it isn't too late to start producing content - yet.  The majority of law firms, to be frank, aren't fully harnessing the true power of the internet.  We can show you ways you can become a prominent source for legal information online right away. 

Look, counselor, when it comes to rainmaking wouldn’t you like to create a storm?  At Inbound Storm that’s what we’re all about, generating a storm of new leads, a flood of new customers and clients, a downpour of new business. 

Feeling a bit of a drought from your marketing efforts?  Get in touch; we’ll help whip up a storm.  .