Great marketing and business development techniques are fundamental to many law firms looking to attract more clients. Intellectual property and patent law firms are no exception. Having a strategy in place that will build your firm’s reputation and lead generation streams is imperative, especially in a competitive space like IP law.
Continue reading to check out our top 7 marketing and business development tips that IP and patent lawyers can use to get more clients signed up faster and more effectively.
1. Networking and Business Development on Social Media
Networking and building business relationships on a personal level is a powerful way to generate new business. Social media is increasingly popular as a go-to method for attorneys that want to take a hands-on approach to marketing themselves and their law firms.
Use the social network that makes sense for your practice. For Patent and intellectual property lawyers, LinkedIn makes a lot of sense, since you can target and build an audience constituting your ideal clients. It’s also great for connecting with lawyers practicing other areas of law. Staying top of mind with your peers can help generate referral sources and mutually beneficial relationships.
If you’re looking to incorporate social networking into your marketing toolbelt, check out our social media tips for lawyers.
2. Go to Consumer & Trade Shows
Consumer and trade expos such as the CES (consumer electronics show) are excellent opportunities for IP attorneys to find clients and prospects. I’ve had friends who were startup founders that were approached by patent lawyers and later consulted with them regarding their business and protecting their intellectual property.
Don’t bet the farm on a single show, though. CES, for instance, is a very big and well known event. Many attorneys already have the idea. If you promote yourself at an expo like this, your prospects are likely to receive dozens of business cards from your competitors.
Instead, look for smaller or more niche venues where you can focus on a subset of your target audience and will be presented with less competition.
3. Join Online Forums
Forums can be an excellent place to establish and cultivate your authority for IP law.
Specific channels (or subreddits on Reddit) are focused on a particular topic or field. You can find channels or subreddits focused on topics such as IP and patent questions and issues, business and trademark channels or on particular types of science and technology that can be fruitful for identifying and targeting your ideal clients.
Many people within these forums post questions and situations they’re facing, looking for community advice and support. Respond with thorough and well-prepared answers that stand out from the other comments.
4. Add the Full Range of Services to Your Website
Your website should be one of your most valuable marketing assets. Part of developing its value is letting your potential clients know exactly what you do, who you help and what you offer.
One set of pages can address the components of what you do and offer. Dedicate at least one page to each of the following topics that apply to you:
- Patent Search
- Provisional Patent Applications
- Infringement & Litigation
- Licensing (Patents, Trademarks, Copyright, etc.)
While you may focus on all of these or only a subset of IP law, each of these should have their own page, rich with content to introduce the subject and how the law is applied.
The second set of pages you can develop for your website are for the sectors and industries you serve. You can create a page for any industry you specialize in, including the following:
- Computer Science
- Energy, Oil and Gas
- Sporting Goods
For each page you create, include the common categories of applications, challenges and solutions you deal with in these industries.
5. Boost Your Online Search Traffic with SEO
A major source of clients are searching for a patent or IP attorney in their area every single day. By implementing an effective search engine optimization strategy, you can generate a lot of new calls and consultations for potential clients.
Law firm SEO is highly competitive, but is somewhat less competitive for IP and patent attorneys than other practice areas.
When planning your organic search strategy, create a plan that summarizes the different types of IP legal services you will offer. While SEO can be effective, your strategy must be very deliberate and calculated to see returns in the right areas of your business.
Many of the pages we’ve covered in the section above are excellent for building a foundation of content for your website’s SEO. The same applies to the content discussed in the section immediately below.
6. Publish Helpful Content
Content marketing is a highly effective way to increase the number of new files you open on a monthly basis. Like the name suggests, this marketing strategy is content-centric. The channels of distribution will vary depending on how you plan to promote your firm’s content. For instance, content marketing goes hand-in-hand with both SEO and social media marketing.
Ultimately, the marketing channels you use are only as good as the content you produce. There are many IP law topics to write about. Some ideas for articles or groups of articles include:
- Different types of patents and their differences (utility, design, provisional, etc.)
- US and International Patents, the same topic applies to Trademarks
- Reissue applications
- Legal Opinions on IP (right-to-use, infringement, validity)
- Patent Application process
- Enforcement and Defending IP
- Trademark protection for domain names
- Domain name disputes
- Trademark searches
- What is and how does copyright law work
- Determining if an Idea is Patentable
These are just a few different topics to investigate and consider publishing content for.
Powerful resources for finding new content ideas to write about are Google, Quora and Reddit. By searching for IP law keywords, you can find troves of ideas and topics to produce an article or series of articles.
7. Produce Lead Magnets for Entrepreneurs & Inventors
All of the marketing tactics discussed so far deal with grabbing attention from your ideal audience in an ephemeral sense. People can find you on social media, at an expo or through organic search. However, the majority of people who don’t convert into a lead are lost opportunities once they’ve come and gone.
This is where lead magnets come in and can be a very powerful marketing tool.
Create a lead magnet that gets prospects to exchange their email for a free, but gated piece of content. This content could be in the form of a pre-recorded webinar or video presentation, or more traditionally in the form of an eBook.
After signing up, they will receive a download link via email to the lead magnet and you in turn, build an email list that you can nurture over time to later convert into paying clients.