This is the first in a series of articles that will take you step-by-step through the process of building your law firm through what I call content-based, niche marketing.
Let me say right up front that this is not the only way to market your firm. That statement should be self-evident, but for some reason, the gene that makes people want to be attorneys, also apparently makes them think things can only be done one way. When teaching my system of content-based, niche marketing, I encounter the occasional attorney who will say that referrals are the way to go, or billboards, or radio advertising, or public speaking, or cable-television, or whatever. As I always say, the best form of law firm marketing is the one that works for you. If you have built a practice based on one of these methods, then I salute you for finding a strategy that worked for you.
But here’s the deal. My form of law firm marketing works in conjunction with any other form of marketing, and just because you found something that works for you, does not mean that this won’t greatly supplement it, or even work better. On the day that I am writing this, I heard a podcast interview with a bankruptcy attorney, who built a thriving practice based on referrals. She said that when she started her practice, one-third of her business came from people she knew, one-third came from people those people knew, and the final third came from attorneys who had heard about her. But with the advent of the Internet, those sources began to dry up. The people she knew would still use her, but someone needing a bankruptcy attorney would not take the time to ask around for referrals. They would just search for one on-line. She adapted to this new reality, and now 90% of her cases result from people finding her on the Internet.
Content-Based, Niche Marketing
So, what is content-based, niche marketing exactly? Simply put, you break your practice areas down to their component parts and create websites to discuss those narrow areas of the law, setting forth the solutions you can offer. Since you select narrow niches, it is far easier to rank on page one of Internet search results. People find you, and since you have offered detailed information on that narrow practice area, you are perceived as an expert; far more so than attorneys who only discuss the broad areas of the law. (And the beautiful thing is, you will be an expert in that area due to the time you spend researching and preparing the content for your niche websites.) It’s really that simple.
Content marketing is not some new Internet marketing technique that will fade when the next fad comes along. Most attribute the first application of content marketing to the John Deere tractor company. In 1895, instead of distributing information about its tractors, John Deere created a magazine called The Furrow that contained articles about farming. Farmers looked forward to receiving the magazine and learning new farming techniques, and John Deere became a recognized authority on farming, and its tractors were associated with that expertise. That magazine is still going today.
The Internet changes that advertising model a little, but the fundamentals remain the same. If you become the recognized expert in your practice area, you will gain the long term benefit of referrals from other attorneys who know you are the best choice for that type of case, as well as the immediate benefit of gaining clients who find you through Internet searches.
I love this form of law firm marketing because it accomplishes what I got into the law for in the first place – helping others. I get to help many more people than I could ever assist one-on-one, and for doing so I am rewarded with a big pipeline of new clients to my practice. Every week, I get emails from people who were in some type of crisis, who write to tell me that they were losing sleep over some issue until they came across my article that finally explained the situation in clear terms (don’t worry, all my websites have the necessary disclaimers that they are not offered as legal advice). Potential clients show up in my office with printed copies of articles that I have written, complete with highlighted text and notes in the margins.
Many attorneys have this attitude that the legal knowledge in their minds is an asset that can only be accessed by a paying client. They blanch at the idea of giving any of that information away for free. In reality, that legal knowledge in their brain is invisible to all potential clients, and the only way to prove its existence is to put some of it on display. The best way to get paying clients is to first give them valuable information for free. That generosity is what builds the trust and makes them want to hire you.
My goal is to make the following guides the best that are available at any price. Please feel free to write me with your questions, and keep me posted on your progress.
You now have the broad overview, so let’s get down to some specifics. To promote your business through content-based marketing, you’ll need to follow these simple steps:
- Pick the niche or niches that you want to pursue.
- Build a website for each niche that you have chosen.
- Fill each website with epic content so that you become the recognized expert.
- Get that website to rank well so potential clients will see it.
Repeat the process as necessary until you have grown your practice to the level you desire.
Ready to get started? Great! The next step is to figure out which niche you want to dominate.