Legal: Sales & Marketing¹
Inside the courtroom, lawyers must present the jury with good reason to rule in favor of a particular client. Similarly, attorneys must employ the same persuasive approach outside the halls of justice, ultimately convincing the target market to rule in favor of their services. Many industry insiders insist that advertising - combined with a solid case record - represents the key to success in the highly populated world of law. In short, practices must stand out to prosper.
The most recent count from the U.S. Census Bureau tallied well over 175,000 legal service firms nationwide, not to mention more than 1.1 million paid professionals. In a field so saturated with competition, marketing often determines if a firm scores a victory or loss when it comes to the bottom line.
Online legal leads present one way for practices to increase service sales. With this approach, Web sites draw potential clients seeking attorney help - usually by providing tips, lawyer search engines and info. The site then offers to find an attorney ideal for that visitor's specific law problem. Once the visitor agrees and enters contact information, the site company sends the details to an attorney member. Most related operations guarantee: The prospect faces a current legal issue, and they requested a lawyer contact them. Leads usually include:
- The prospect's first and last name
- E-mail address
- State of residence
- Work and home phone number
- Most convenient time to call
- At least one legal problem
- Ability to pay with a credit card
Moreover, the site company filters the leads based on each firm's area of specialty. The attorney receives the prospect's information within minutes of submission. Most legal lead sites charge by the number of contacts. On average, a lawyer will pay approximately $100 for 10 leads.
Hitting the Airwaves
Studies show folks in need of legal services tend to hire the firms they know and trust most. In relation, many PR specialists feel television advertisements represents the best way for lawyers to build their reputation and credibility with the public. Legal advertising agencies rake in millions of dollars each year on T.V. commercials alone. These businesses usually offer a variety of options for law firms looking to take to the tube. Services often include market research. During this process, legal advertising agencies conduct qualitative and quantitative research of the local market, providing a thorough evaluation of the scene. In many cases, clients receive a full spending report for the service area. Among other things, these reports usually focus on the amount of marketing dollars spent by competitors, as well as how they choose to invest the money.
Depending on the package, these media firms commonly provide planning and budget analysis when producing a T.V or radio commercial. Some such businesses even offer media placement. With this option, PR experts rely on tools like Nielson Strata to pinpoint the channel and timeslot in which the commercial will be most successful. In addition, the experts negotiate and network with numerous media outlets to purchase a spot at the lowest price.
Commercial tracking is yet another popular feature offered by some agencies. Advanced software lets the company follow, document and analyze the effectiveness of advertising. With certain agencies charging more than $15,000 to produce a 30-second television commercial, however, law firms should research all options before settling on a service.
You've Got Clients
Professionals in the field of law know that people often want free legal advice. While some attorneys view this as an inconvenience, others see it as a good opportunity to pump up profit. E-mail newsletters let attorneys pass on tips to hundreds - if not thousands - of prospective clients. Many lawyers include time-sensitive news about lawsuits and laws, telling the reader to contact them for related services.
In turn, these readers tend to head directly to that practice when such a problem does arise. For law firms lacking the time or software to produce their own e-mail newsletter, legal marketing companies provide assistance. A number of these businesses employ attorneys that conceptualize and write content. This, combined with the efforts of advertising gurus and the layout skills of graphic designers, makes e-letters a legitimate tool for branding a practice. In most cases, the marketing company handles all of the logistics. Nonetheless, law firms do have the option to produce their own material. Firms usually distribute e-mail newsletters weekly or monthly. Some particular legal marketing companies will convert past e-letters into printed brochures and leaflets. This allows law firms to mail the materials to subscribers, who often like having a hard-copy on hand for referral.