Marketing to law firms and attorneys can be rather daunting. Many attorneys have secretaries or assistants who screen out unwanted calls or mail. Online apps filter out unsolicited emails as well. And it is often unclear as to who the actual decision maker(s) at the law firm may be.
At A.L.T. Legal Professionals Marketing Group, we work with vendors that market their products and services to attorneys and law firms. Specifically, we help them to:
- Define their target audience
- Understand what they are truly selling
- Determine the best strategic approach for marketing their products or services
- Choose the most effective marketing vehicles
- Implement all branding and marketing initiatives
- Track Results
Defining the Target MarketIn many cases, if a provider is simply targeting “lawyers” or “law firms,” they may be making a mistake. In determining a target market, the agency always considers the following variables:
Type of Practice
A criminal law practice will have very different needs than a family law firm, which in turn may have altogether different requirements than a commercial litigation practice, a bankruptcy firm or even an organization that provides several legal services. Some products and services may cut across all practice areas, while others should be targeted towards very specific groups of individuals. Prior to implementing any type of marketing endeavor, it is critical to understand how the particular product or service fits into the needs of each practice area.
The Law Firm’s Target Audience
Law firms can also be categorized by those that target the general public and those whose prospects are other businesses. These different target audiences may demand very different types of services and thus different ways of marketing. For example, a Pay-Per-Click campaign may not make sense for law firms or practice groups that target the business community. This is because, as a group, business organizations tend to rely more on recommendations, referrals and published works as a means for determining their law firm of choice.
Size of the Firm
Very large legal practices have very different needs than those of small practices or even of sole practitioners. For this reason, businesses that promote certain products or services must allocate their marketing resources carefully. For example, some practice management applications lend themselves well to the needs of a large firm, while these same applications will be unnecessary for a smaller operation. Similarly, boutique bookkeeping services might find a positive reception amongst smaller practices, but may find less enthusiasm at larger organizations where such functions are performed in-house. At A.L.T., we work with our legal vendor clients to determine how best to target the right size law firms.
The Law Firm’s Decision Making Process
One of the major reasons why targeting law practices can be so difficult is because the decision making process (and the decision makers themselves) vary from firm to firm. In some organizations, decisions are made by committee. For others, that decision may be made by a managing partner….or a sole practitioner…or a chief administrator, a paralegal, the head of a particular department (e.g., IT), a CEO who is not an attorney or perhaps by the firm’s board. This means that in order to be certain one is reaching the “right” individual(s), one must often reach out to all of these various groups – sometimes an expensive proposition. Regardless of whether the marketing activity involves search engine optimization, email list procurement, advertising, etc, A.L.T. will work with you to reach the appropriate decision makers in the most cost-efficient manner possible.
The Culture of the Firm
Just as law firms vary by practice areas, their target markets, size and the means by which they go about making decisions, so too does the culture of the practice determine how a legal vendor should consider approaching particular firms. Some organizations are very set in their ways and are reluctant to embrace new means for doing things. Other firms may fall into the category of “early adopters” and are eager to work with the “latest and greatest.” In pursuing groups of target prospects, A.L.T. will develop appropriate selling messages in print, broadcast and online that resonate with the audience you are pursuing.
Determining What You Are SellingAt A.L.T., we often ask what it is that the provider is really selling. It is tempting to answer this question by simply defining the product or service to be promoted. In truth however, marketing to the legal community is really about much more. Yes, you are selling this kind of widget, that kind of a support service or your personal expertise, but from a broader perspective, what you are really selling are certain benefits. Most attorneys will not want to know the details of your application’s internet message protocol (IMAP) – only that you can help them work faster and more efficiently. They will not care that you finished first in your class in a particular discipline – only that your expertise will help them win in court. And they will not focus on how wonderful your particular service is – only that it will help them to obtain more revenue and/or save more dollars.
Most attorneys are bottom line oriented. At A.L.T., so are we and we push our clients to maintain a “benefits” approach to marketing.
Determining the Best Strategic ApproachIn marketing to attorneys and law practices, A.L.T. Legal Professionals Marketing Group will help you determine how your product or service should be promoted in the legal marketplace. Just three of the many issues we help legal vendors address are:
Determining the Nature of the Selling Message
For products or services that are similar or the same as others within an industry, success often hinges on how wisely you allocate your funds, the types of vehicles you utilize, the price you charge, and the creativity by which your selling message is crafted. As stated above, in almost all such cases, we strongly urge our clients to focus on the benefits versus on the features of their offerings.
If a product is truly unique, the challenge can be daunting in a different way. It may be great that your benefits far exceed what is currently out there, but now the marketing task involves one of educating the target market. For example, a new and better accounting application may be relatively easy to sell because people have a frame of reference. However, a new piece of software that requires a different set of input and uses different types of metrics may necessitate a marketing program that emphasizes minimizing the confusion.
Determining the Optimal Strategic Approach vis a vis the Competition
Mature industries in which there are well-heeled competitors can present a difficult playing field, most often best addressed by offering a “better” (i.e., more benefit-laden) alternative. Decisions need to be made as to whether to go up against the competition head-to-head or to pursue niche markets and/or sub-segments of the industry in which one might be a bigger fish, albeit in a smaller pond.
We have found that, for vendors who are in fact, the market leaders, hanging on to that leadership position requires a different set of strategies. Here, maintaining top-of-mind awareness, pre-empting the inroads made by competitors and consistently working to improve product offerings are all critical strategies to employ.
At A.L.T., we work with our clients to determine the kinds of marketing budgets that are a) realistic and b) most likely to achieve the desired results.
Blitzing the Market vs. Maintaining Continuity
There are certain products and services where applying great deals of marketing resources towards a particular objective over a relatively short period of time makes good sense. This is especially true when the offering is deemed a necessity and/or where the purchase might be incentivized. For example, every law firm needs some kind of accounting package. Hence, providers of such can blitz the market with messages touting their particular application’s uniqueness, special discount offers to “purchase now, trial offers, etc., etc.
Then there are those products and services that are only considered when there is a need. For example, an expert in forensic accounting for healthcare cases may attempt to reach attorneys involved in this kind of litigation. But an attorney will only start to consider such services when he or she actually has a need for such a witness on a particular case -- just like most individuals do not have a “go to” orthopedic surgeon until something happens that requires them to find one. For such offerings, the idea should be to promote continuously so that when the time comes that a prospect is, in fact, in need of the product or service, your name is top-of-mind.
At A.L.T. Legal Professionals Marketing Group, we believe that determining the kinds of scheduling options that are most likely to yield the best results is an important part of our responsibilities to our clients.
For more information on marketing strategy, visit http://legalprofessionalsmarketing.com/legal-marketing-strategy.html http://legalprofessionalsmarketing.com/legal-marketing-consulting.html
Determining the Best Marketing Vehicles to UtilizeIn marketing to attorneys, it is important to understand the inherent strengths and weaknesses of the many marketing tools to which the legal vendor or expert has access. One would be hard-pressed to find a legal marketing firm with a greater understanding as to the benefits and drawbacks of these activities than A.L.T.
Some of the more common of these are noted below:
Web Sites and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Online resources have become the number one means for reaching attorneys. Therefore, it is important that legal vendors a) have an informative and professional looking website, b) make sure their business is listed as a “provider” in all of the relevant legal directories and c) that their business is ranked high on the search ingine directories through blogs and content management that consistently offers useful information to attorneys. This information can be original or can be reposts of online material.
In addition, banner advertising on relevant legal websites (e.g., bar associations) offers yet another means for generating online awareness.
Social media sites such as Twitter, Linkedin, and Google+ provide another way for reaching the elusive attorney target group. Such sites allow legal vendors to interact with prospects through postings, comments and joint membership in specific online groups. They also offer an opportunity to connect with multiple levels of contacts and provide a forum in which legal vendors can tout their expertise.
Email Campaigns and Direct Mail Targeted email lists of attorneys and other legal professionals do exist. The key is finding those lists that make the most sense from a geographical, firm size and practice area basis. At A.L.T., we can help you access existing databases and develop new, proprietary lists of attorneys and law firms. We accomplish this through a variety of activities that include leasing appropriate lists, promoting registration to vendor-sponsored seminars and webinars, through attorney sign-ups to vendor newsletters, social media platforms and web site inquiry forms.
A.L.T. Legal Professionals Marketing Group will work with you to create the email campaigns, direct mail and enewsletters that generate exposure, build databases and garner new clients and revenue.
Seminars, Webinars and Event Marketing
Developing seminars, workshops and special events is another way in which to get in front of attorneys – particularly if such an event provides the attorney with a tangible benefit (e.g., CLE credits). Most important, these happenings give your prospect an opportunity to get to know you on a personal level.
It’s been said that one is known by the company one keeps. If this is true, then advertising in legal trade publications offer yet another way to expose one’s message to the legal community. By being in such media with other well-known organizations, you are creating an “image,” communicating that you have “arrived” and have the resources to stand behind your product or service. It should be noted however, that in order to be effective, advertising should most often be ongoing – an expensive proposition that becomes even more costly when one considers declining print readership levels.
Depending on the type of attorney that you are targeting, exhibiting at trade shows can be a very viable means for getting your product or service noticed. It should be noted that in many firms, it’s the office manager or law firm administrator who really runs the show. These executives have their own associations and there are specific media that can be used to target them.
Implementation of the Marketing Program Addressing the range of strategic decisions and developing a plan is one thing. Execution is another. At A.L.T. Legal Professionals Marketing Group, we are proud of our ability to brand products and services that are utilized by the legal community. We take marketing programs from soup to nuts – from concept through to the actual writing, designing, programming and administrating of ads, PR campaigns, websites, pay-per-click and SEO programs, seminars, webinars, etc. While clever words and pretty pictures are important, they are just vehicles only as good as the results they produce.
In addition to knowing how to market, it’s important to know how to provide great service. Our approach to strategy is a comprehensive and holistic one. But our approach to service is one of getting our hands dirty. We believe in developing strong relationships with our clients that blends their knowledge of their products and services with our understanding of the legal marketplace.
How Best to Track Results We believe strongly in measuring the effects of our legal marketing efforts. Only then can we truly understand what is happening in the legal marketplace and work to continuously tweak our clients’ programs and attain even better results. Whether the means for measuring apply to a single marketing vehicle (such as Pay-Per-Click or SEO) or a multiplicity of different marketing tools, we will work with you to ensure that every dollar invested in marketing is returned multifold.
A.L.T. Legal Professionals Marketing Group is uniquely qualified to assist you in addressing all of the many challenges of marketing to attorneys. From targeting your best prospects to creating the best selling message; from determining the optimal strategies to implementing campaigns across all the print, broadcast, public relations and online marketing tools, we stand ready to help you meet and exceed your objectives.