Business and corporate lawyers require different methods and strategies for acquiring clients and new business compared to other areas of law. Attorneys and firms that focus on these areas of practice need to position themselves differently within the market. While many lawyers don’t think about marketing, the partners, principals and managers of firms responsible for generating new business do.
In this article, we’re going to look at how business and corporate lawyers and practices can generate sustainable sources of new leads and clients for their firms. By the end, you as a practitioner and marketer will have a clear understanding of your options for developing your business and representing new businesses.
Why Generating Business & Corporate Clients is Different
The first thing to understand is that your law firm needs to think about its role in legal services and offerings. Understanding this is key, as it directly translates into how to think about your marketing and client acquisition strategy.
Many areas of law are consumer-facing. Therefore, they advertise through consumer-facing channels and use marketing tactics resembling their audience. Corporate and business lawyers, therefore, need to think about their marketing in terms of B2B advertising and marketing. There’s always a lot at stake when it comes to any type of legal issue. However, with business and corporate lawyers, like with many B2B companies, several things tend to ring true:
- the invoice the client or customer receives is ultimately going to be sizeable
- Work performed for the business doesn’t just affect one or several individuals; it affects an entire organization
As a result, before we jump into marketing methods, tactics and channels that will compose your strategy – there are some fundamental elements that you should check out.
4 Methods for Lawyers to Get Corporate & Business Clients
At this point, we can turn to look at tactics and methods that can be used to construct lead and client generation strategies for lawyers and firms.
While these are applicable to B2B marketing and business development methods to acquire business clients, it’s important to always keep in mind the fundamentals for these strategies. Consistency and credibility are most important in relation to marketing and advertising, while all three approximately bear equal weight when talking about referrals and business development.
Like in consumer-facing areas of law, advertising and social media can still be effective tools and sources for leads. It will depend on several factors, such as what type of clients you’re going after.
Google AdWords & Facebook Ads
Lawyers and firms looking to use AdWords and Facebook ads, know that this is going to work best for smaller business owners. These are people who are hiring their first business lawyer, whether to help incorporate, change corporate structures, create employment contracts and so forth.
These platforms will have targeting options that will allow your practice to end up in front of as many small business owners as possible at reasonable CPC costs. If considering doing Google AdWords, make sure to understand that this is going to be most effective for small businesses. Owner and founders of large businesses are highly unlikely to contact a lawyer to handle the legalese of their company after doing a search in Bing or Google.
Both tech giants allow you to run ads, however, Facebook doubles as a social media platform. We’ll discuss this a little later on.
Facebook is going to be the best social media platform to use for the lowest end in terms of revenue and business size. If you’re just starting a business and corporate law practice, then this could be a great opportunity for you to get started early on in your career. You’re unlikely to land any large accounts for a while, so hanging out where you can find people that own, run or are starting small businesses.
A great way to start targeting businesses in your area on Facebook is by targeting business owners and Facebook page admins in your local market. Most Facebook pages are built for a business or individual promoting and marketing on the platform. Therefore, by targeting individuals that administer Facebook business pages, you’re off to a solid start defining your target audience on Facebook.
LinkedIn can be another great social media channel. What’s unique about LinkedIn is the context of the entire platform is around business and working professionals. LinkedIn is the social network of choice, where your social marketing efforts will scale with you as your practice grows. Marketing and advertising for clients work for all sizes. The business social network is also much more accurate with targeting based on business characteristics than Facebook. If you’re looking to advertise or sponsor your content on LinkedIn, then you can define your audience targeting by company size, number of employees, job titles, etc.
LinkedIn is ideal for its flexibility in terms of the type of marketing you’re performing:
- Content Marketing
- Developing Connections & Relationships
SEO & Content Marketing
SEO and content marketing are popular for many types of practices. Many lawyers are compelled to rank their websites for the top keywords and generate new business from their home page and services pages. However, I would stress that for business and corporate law firms, you should focus more on answering business questions. Put the bulk of your SEO effort into blogging and content marketing. In the long term, the rest will take care of itself.
Writing Articles for Business Owners
When considering what to write about, there’s no better place to find topics than in a search engine. This works especially well for commercial attorneys and firms seeking to attract smaller clients. Keep in mind that you want to focus on topics that are most likely to be searched in your state or jurisdiction, as well as by smaller companies and individuals seeking legal information for their business.
Once you have published your articles, it will take a while for them to rank organically in search tools like Google and Bing. While waiting, start generating traffic and interest by sharing them on your social media channels like LinkedIn and Facebook.
Producing Video and Vlogs
Another popular medium for publishing and marketing content is video. The same topics you would write about will likely make great video posts. These again can be shared on social media platforms, as well as video platforms like YouTube. A simple format to follow for providing legal information for business owners is:
- Introduction (yourself and your firm)
- Make a quick offer
- Tell a story, leading into the main point
- Discuss the main point (what you want to get across)
- Close out with an offer
The offers will be the smallest segments, very quick and casual. The bulk of the video should be on the story and the topic you want to discuss.
SEO & Content Marketing Requires Patience
If you publish valuable and helpful information for small business owners, then these will be valuable assets and marketing channels for your practice. However, SEO and content marketing takes time to build up momentum.
How much time?
If your LinkedIn and Facebook targeting is performed correctly, you’ll see results trickle in fairly quickly. Especially if your business is new, since small amounts of new business will make a notable difference.
When looking at your content and SEO efforts to flourish, you should wait for content to age 6-12 months. At 35 weeks or so, your content will begin reaching 80-90% maturity in terms of the search traffic it’s able to generate for you.
Content Marketing for Establish and Mid-Sized Firms
SEO and content marketing will be important for firms of all sizes. I emphasized its importance on smaller firms, because the sooner they start, the better. However, organic traffic and content play a different role for larger firms.
For firms that are more established, you’ll want to expand your content marketing efforts to renowned journals and publications in the legal sphere. At this point, you want to establish your authority and credibility among your peers and larger companies that subscribe to magazines and journals. This is where your firm’s reputation will grow parallel to its revenue and size.
Develop Connections & Referral Sources
Arguably one of the best methods for generating new clients is through referrals. This is a large part of the overall objective from what is known as business development. For lawyers, there are two main channels for referrals:
- Other attorneys
- Your current and past clients
Generating referrals from other attorneys and clients is one of the most lucrative channels for new business that you can source from. However, your referability will depend upon some core principles that take time to develop.
Check out this article that goes in-depth into getting attorney and client referrals. In that article, we go over the methodology as well as applicable tactics for generating referrals. In short, it applies the tactics of content marketing, email and newsletters as well as in-person practices of business development.
In this article, we looked at the core methods that new firms and practitioners can go about acquiring clients and leads for their business and corporate legal practices. We briefly discussed methods for smaller practices as well as how those marketing methods will evolve as corporate-focused law firms become incumbents in their markets.