COVID-19 has upended 2020 and had a substantial impact on small businesses—including small and solo law firms. Regardless of your specialty, the impact of the economic downturn, job losses, and social distancing measures have probably changed the way that you are connecting with clients and managing your cases.
While the pandemic may pose challenges to your practice, it may also be a good opportunity for reflection, preparation, and strategic thinking. In the face of a “new normal,” it is the right time to review your marketing strategies and develop a new rhetoric for marketing your law firm that is both appropriate and effective.
As you plan for the rest of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, here are a few tips to guide your marketing strategy.
Highlight the Value of Your Legal Services
Unemployment rates are the highest they have been since the Great Depression, and other people have taken mandatory pay cuts to keep their jobs and keep their businesses afloat. This is not a time when people are spending money hand over fist.
Avoid going for the hard sell right now. People are feeling fragile and uncertain. The main goal here is to show clients that you are there for them, not to aggressively market to them.
Potential clients want to know their money is well-spent. In your marketing materials, emphasize your transparent billing practices and the value you offer your clients.
Dig Into Your Specific Audience’s Struggles
At this point in your marketing efforts, you should already know your target audience’s demographics, pain points, and motivating forces. Apply that knowledge to how the pandemic has likely affected them.
How can your firm make this stage of life a little bit easier for them? What struggles are they facing, and how can you help them address them?
Speak to these concerns in your written materials, videos, infographics, and ads to reach potential clients on a personal level. Use the materials you create to reach out to potential clients on a variety of mediums. Your website, of course, is the first place to publish new material. You can also republish material on your social media pages or industry blogs.
Take the Extra Step to Connect and Support
With stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders still in place across much of the country, people are looking for connection. If you can demonstrate that your firm is willing to go above and beyond for clients and for the community, you are likely to make a positive impression.
If you already engage in cause marketing, you can connect these efforts to your ongoing cause marketing. If you are not involved in cause marketing, this is an excellent time to start. Every population is affected differently by COVID-19, so find out how you can benefit local causes and associations.
If you are a family lawyer, consider giving back to domestic shelters, many of which have lost volunteers and financial support. If you work in immigration law, help immigration organizations supporting those who may have been left out of stimulus payments or who are in danger of being deported. If you work in employment law, you could offer pro bono services to employees being exploited by companies trying to cheat the PPP system.
The overarching message many people are seeing is, “We are all in this together.” Everyone wants to believe that and feel like this is a community effort, not something they are doing alone. Show them that you are just as invested in your community as they are.
Keep Your Website Updated
Depending on where you are located and which area of law you are in, you may be doing telephone, video, or in-person appointments. Ensure that this information is near the top of your website and very easy to see. Even if your office hours have not changed, post an announcement that your hours remain the same during the pandemic. If clients want to connect with you, they will likely look for updated consultation information before reaching out.
This is also an excellent time to check your attorney biography for accuracy and effectiveness. If you take a stronger “hard sell” tone on your attorney biography, consider dialing it back to be more in line with the service-oriented positioning needed for this time.
Explore Different Marketing Channels
In a recession, it is a knee-jerk reaction to cut a marketing budget. Unfortunately, this is one of the most damaging long-term decisions for the health of your law firm.
Instead of pulling back your marketing dollars, consider reallocating them to include new marketing options and limiting current investments. If you have largely relied on content marketing, dip your toes into the pool of paid advertising. If paid advertising is your go-to method, find out how content creation could bolster your reputation and demonstrate your expertise.
In addition, find creative ways to enhance marketing tools that are already working. If you have a thriving blog on your website, start looking into guest blogging opportunities which can strengthen your website’s backlink profile and position you as a thought leader to a new audience. Update or begin managing fallow social media accounts and create a plan to stay active on the platforms that your target audience uses most. If you do not have a robust funnel for capturing email leads, this is your chance to explore freemium content and how it can help your marketing.
Despite the obstacles that the pandemic has put in the way of your law firm’s success, this can also be a time of reflection and growth. Take advantage of the opportunity to explore new marketing ideas, connect with your community, and prepare for success being a key part of your law firm’s “new normal.”