Business Development for Law Firms
To survive and prosper, your law firm increasingly needs to find ways of standing out from the crowd.
“Our solicitors are commercial and client focused”
“Our solicitors will always deliver what we promise”
“Our solicitors understand our clients’ needs”
Does the above sound familiar? Is this how you describe your law firm? Chances are, that is exactly what your competition is saying too. (Not convinced? Copy and paste any of the above into Google).
This type of language does not set you apart. Shouldn’t the above be the very least your clients expect from their solicitor?
In a competitive market place containing new entrants with marketing nous and budget to burn alongside Internet savvy prospects increasingly researching their choices online, it’s imperative that you find a way to differentiate your services and the way in which you deliver them.
Our guide below covers the following:-
- Business Development vs Pure Marketing for Law Firms
- Using the Internet to help you achieve your business development goals
- Market positioning
- Thought leadership
- Business development consultancy for the legal sector
Business Development vs Pure Marketing for Law Firms
What exactly is business development? It’s a question we’ve been asked on more than one occasion. It is not, as has been politely suggested to us in the past, “smoke and mirrors”! Depending on who you listen to business development is closely tied to sales, or is it marketing? The truth is, in our experience, it’s both. Typical business development goals include establishing market position, expansion, client acquisition, brand awareness etc., all of which are shared goals of marketing. Business development professionals will typically use tactics more closely associated to sales than marketing achieve those goals. Where business development differs from pure marketing or sales is the element of not only targeting prospective clients but nurturing existing ones through account management, listening to and acting upon clients’ feedback, and adding value to existing relationships.
If that sounds familiar, that’s because you are probably already doing that in some way shape or form (or at least you should be). To be successful in the new legal paradigm we find ourselves operating in, it’s not enough to be a good solicitor. Every fee earner in your firm has a responsibility to market your firm and develop business.
(To ensure a tied up approach to how individuals pitch the firm to the outside world, the development of a brand and style guide can be a huge asset. For further information on developing your brand and style guidecheck out our recent guide on the subject.)
Let’s look at some of the key tenets of business development and how your law firm can leverage the internet to help you achieve your business development goals.
Using the Internet to help you achieve your business development goals
Let’s look at a theoretical example. Your law firm specialises in IP law and targets tech start-ups. Does your online presence reflect that? Is your site mobile friendly? (which as of April 21 will be increasingly important to how your site performs in Search. See our recent blog post for more information) Do you engage with your target audience on social media sites? If the answer is no to the above, then it’s safe to say that your online presence would not be aligned with and supportive of your intended market position in this example. We recently spoke with a firm whose impressive international list of clients was at the bleeding edge of their respective sectors. The firm in question had a website that hadn’t been updated since a time when Apple’s Newton was considered THE must-have digital gadget. Not ideal. Ensuring that your online presence reinforces your market presence is important not just for generating new business, but for strengthening existing relationships too.
Is your brand identity and your brand image one and the same? Do your clients and potential instructing agents view you as you wish to been viewed? The subject of developing your brand is a subject for another time and another place, but once you have put the effort in to define your brand you certainly do not want to dilute the effort you have put in by presenting yourself online in a manner that is not consistent with your brand values. For further information on branding for law firms check out our guides here and here.
If your law firm’s website is nothing more than an online brochure then you a wasting a significant opportunity not only to impress potential instructing agents, but to cement existing relationships too. Yes, your website should be implemented in such a way that it drives new enquiries to your door, but it should also be an easily accessible portal of thought leadership and opinion. How is this achieved? Content! In our experience, few law firms pay as much attention to their public content as they do their private content, and, as a result, the public content produced rarely dovetails with a defined marketing and business development strategy or improves the firm’s market profile.
By designing and implementing a clear and concise content strategy it is possible to maximise the business generation potential of your public facing content whilst establishing key individuals within your organization as thought leaders.
For further information on content marketing see our blog post on the subject.
Generate more business – expert business development consultancy for the legal sector
If your law firm is struggling to find new leads to generate more business, a business development consultancy with Zellera Legal Technology can help. We will work with you to establish your business goals and client personas and help you to develop and implement a strategy designed to help you generate new business and nurture existing relationships. Tactics include, but are not limited to:
- Website design
- Social media marketing
- Content marketing
- Email marketing
- Branding and design
- Market research
- Database creation or cleaning
- Appointment making
For further information contact Chris for an informal chat today.
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