There’s a tradeoff to hanging up your own shingle. On one hand, it allows you to build the practice you want. On the other, it puts all of the work on you. Doing all the work, paying the bills, dealing with the management of your solo practice and all of the different hats you have to wear with it. Dealing with everything can be a lot, but add on top of that the chore of actually getting clients. That’s a full plate.
Many solo attorneys, whether new and starting out and needing to attract their first few clients or already established and wanting to open more files, wonder how they can flip a switch and generate new clients for.
There are many strategies that solo attorneys can use generate new clients, below we’ll cover some of the most effective, including:
- Leveraging Social Media
- Business Development and Networking
- Building up Your Online Reputation and Reviews
- Own Your Traffic with a Website
- PPC ads
- Search Engine Optimization
- Blogging and Content Marketing
So no matter your budget, amount of time and energy you’re able to commit to your firm’s marketing, at least several of these tips will fit into your marketing strategy as a solo attorney.
Engage in Social Media Marketing
It’s not new, but it’s a powerful channel to grab the attention of your ideal, prospective clients. When you approach it from the right angle, it can have a profound impact on the number of inquiries and leads that you can generate.
It works wonders for several reasons:
- It builds a personal connection with your audience over time.
- People get to know you and develop trust, making the process of taking them from an initial consult to a paying client easier.
- The effects can snowball over time. It may take a while for you to develop a rhythm to your participation, develop a following and get good exposure and produce results from social networking, but over time the results can really add up.
Now that you see the benefits, let’s go over some tips to get you started on the right path.
Focus on using social media from your personal profile rather than from your law firm’s account. Social networking is primarily about people so if you want to create strong relationships, use your personal account and post about things related to your promotion. The trick to this is to post about your work without being sales-oriented or overly pitchy. Check out these social media tips for law firms to really generate results for your business.
Start Networking and Level up your Business Development
Networking is one of the most powerful, organic methods for attracting new clients for your law firm. As a solo attorney, whether you’ve just hung up your own shingle or are seasoned but are looking for more cases, networking could be your answer. Here’s are some things you can consider participating in right away:
- Register and spend time at local business networking events
- Join local business groups and chamber of commerce
- Seek out local referral partners
- Search for local events on Facebook and websites like EventBrite
When you start participating in these events and with groups, connect with members and talk to them. Provided you don’t need the business tomorrow, be patient, add value and work on building meaningful and lost-lasting relationships with these people. It could pay you dividends for years to come. When you do see an opportunity, reach out to the person and let them know what you’re thinking.
When seeking out referral partners, you can get strategic with your approach based on the areas of law your solo practice focuses on. Some examples of this include personal injury lawyers developing relationships with physiotherapists, estate planners networking with financial advisors and planners and property lawyers and realtors.
The reason these work is because they already do law firms and solo attorneys alike. Many physiotherapists may refer clients to a solo personal injury lawyer they know and trust. The same is true of financial planners and wills & estates attorneys. If you’re able to find new, creative ways to find strategic referral relationships that aren’t abundantly obvious, this could be highly useful for a solo practitioner’s prosperity.
Note: Always be aware of ethical and attorney-advertising rules when soliciting your services, even in these conversations. This is general advice and the rules of your governing bar association apply.
Get More Reviews to Build a Strong Online Reputation
Online Reviews and ratings have transitioned sometime back from a ‘nice to have’ to an absolute essential. If your online reputation isn’t as close to 5 stars as possible or is non-existent, then this is an area you need to work on. It’s a simple thing to do and provided your past and existing clients are happy, it shouldn’t be hard to acquire.
Take the image above. If you were searching for a lawyer near you to handle your case, would you be more inclined to choose the one that has 17 reviews and an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars or the attorney with only 4 reviews and a lower rating?
Many attorneys still today have no reviews on their profiles. This is easy business being left on the table. If prospective clients only saw that you were reputable enough for past clients to care enough and leave a review, then that attorney’s number would get dialed far more often.
As a solo attorney, you’re busy doing all of the work, making all the calls and making sure all of your clients are happy. So once you’ve closed a file and the client has paid their bill, follow up with them via email requesting a review. It’s an easy step to add to your checklist for closing a client’s file. Do it and you’ll be happy you did.
Build a Professional, Fast and Effective Website
As you start to generate clients as a solo attorney, you’ll want to own your marketing assets. There are several elements that make for a good website:
- It’s trackable, meaning you can see where people are finding you from, what marketing and advertising campaigns are working and be able to track which campaigns produce the strongest ROIs
- It receives sufficient exposure from online organic sources, such as search engines like Google and Bing and social media websites
- It’s professional. Make sure it’s well designed, not too simple but not too complicated, shows a professional, high-quality photo of you (the lawyer visitors are considering to hire)
- It’s very user friendly
- Shows your expertise while in many places, attorneys can claim to be experts or specialized in an area of law, many places also do not. Regardless, many attorneys still choose the types of cases they do and don’t work on. While you may have to watch the language you use on your website, you should use your site to position yourself as an attorney that handles cases you want to take on.
- It’s valuable to you and prospective clients. It should have lots of useful content and information that describes what areas of law you practice, the types of situations that clients may be facing that you’re able to help with. This will help you attract more of the rightrights types of clients and also allow potential clients to qualify themselves while browsing your site’s content.
Whether you’re just getting started as a solo practitioner and desire to make future hires or want to practice on your own in the foreseeable future, running a solo has its pros and cons. One con is that you can’t build a firm that “works for you”. There aren’t any other lawyers working on cases and billing when you’re sick or on vacation, so in many ways, the business stops when you’re not there.
Buttress the impact of this by having a website that acts as your online property, open 24 hours a day, on holidays, never gets tired or sleepy and is always there to answer questions for prospective clients and convert them into leads.
Use PPC Ads to Drive Results Quickly
The methods we’ve talked about so far are tried and tested to attract more clients for firms and solo practitioners. However, your practice may need more clients as soon as possible. If this is the case, then consider investing in PPC (pay per click) advertising. You can start seeing results for yourself in a very short amount of time and get your phone line ringing.
PPC ads can range from the banner ads you see all around the internet to Facebook ads and other social media platforms. However, the most effective way to attract new clients quickly isare via search engine marketing ads such as Google Search Ads (formerly AdWords) or Bing Ads. There’s a lot that can go into building a successful campaign, so consider engaging a professional law firm ppc management services. It can make all of the difference between wasted advertising dollars and a successful marketing campaign.
You could see leads within the first several days to a week of advertising and should be signing up new clients shortly afterwards.
Optimize your Solo Attorney Website for Search Engines
Above, we briefly explored the benefits of PPC advertising channels such as Search Engine Marketing through Google Adwords and Bing Ads. But, what if you didn’t have to pay for it?
Search engine marketing has two sides to it – a paid component and an organic component. Paid ads in search engines like Google Search Ads / AdWords. It can be a highly effective method to get new clients for new and established firms, large law firms and solo attorneys.
However, it can be expensive, especially when you pay for every individual click. For lawyers that don’t want to be limited to the amount of qualified visitors and leads they generate through search engine marketing, the solution is to drive organic (free) search engine traffic. This can be done through search engine optimization and can pay off in spades when performed correctly.
Again, it’s recommended that you engage professional services for attorney SEO as it’s very competitive and amateurs attempting to optimize their websites themselves can do more harm than good. If you’re interested in learning more about search engine optimization for lawyers, check out these law firm SEO tips.
Start Blogging and Marketing your Law Firm’s Content
A great way to promote yourself on social media is through sharing your expertise and skill as a lawyer. Blogging and content marketing can be a great staple to add into your social content publishing calendar and share with your audiences. Blogging is also becoming a more critical part of a successful legal SEO strategy so by writing articles and more helpful content on your website, you’re able to boost your returns from both social networking and search engine optimization.
Even if you’re only actively engaged in SEO or social media marketing, blogging is a great way to take your strategy to the next level. If you’re uncertain if blogging is the right fit for marketing your solo practice, check out these blog content ideas for lawyers. When marketed correctly, your blogs will find their way in front of potential clients with related legal matters. In turn, a percentage of reach will decide to reach out to you and inquire about how you may be able to help them.
There are so many ways for solo attorneys to get new clients. These 7 tips and methods are highly recommended for doing just that. All of these tips are designed to work on their own (more or less), but combining them into a complete and comprehensive marketing plan will ignite your practice’s client acquisition strategy and generate some powerful synergies.