If you feel you’re at a disadvantage because you run a small law firm, think again.
Sure, larger practices can outspend you on advertising and marketing. They probably have more resources. And, they likely have greater name recognition.
Yet, you have advantages too.
Of course, speed is the obvious one. You can make changes, adapt to trends, and connect with potential and current clients quicker, as well as on a more personal level.
However, this is just the beginning …
Keep your eyes open for flaws, and you’ll see you have many opportunities to beat the behemoths in your market. You just have to demonstrate your differences.
Here are five places to start focusing your attention:
1. Take advantage of today’s available marketing tools.
It used to cost a small fortune to reach a target audience via major media channels. Furthermore, your options were limited to TV, radio, newspapers and Yellow Pages.
But today, smart use of the Internet can repeatedly put you in front of many potential clients, while making a strong impression, for a minimal investment.
For example, consider the story of William T. Bly, a criminal defense attorney in Biddeford, Maine. A solo practitioner, Bly admittedly didn’t have a differentiator that worked to his advantage until he started using video on his website:
He credits a cinematic feel and high-end imagery as keys for attracting the best cases. The combination also created the differentiator he needed to compete at the highest level in his market.
Within just a year of adding his branding video to his website, Bly’s revenue doubled.
2. Create marketing you can use in multiple places.
Repurposing content is among the easiest ways to save on your marketing (and grab an advantage over competitors). With this approach, you create content that you can use in many places. You can either repurpose part of the content or the entire piece.
Educational articles, special reports or guides, podcasts, and infographics are all possibilities. FAQ videos similar to the following are an option too:
Content like this can be used on your website, blog, YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn. You can also use it in email communication and newsletters.
The added bonus of an educational approach is you establish yourself as an industry authority. As you put out more valuable content, people see you as a helpful resource – not just another attorney pitching legal services.
3. Tap into Facebook’s extensive reach.
Imagine walking into a room and seeing all your best clients. In fact, not only are these clients all hanging out at the same place, they also brought along friends who are just like them.
That room is essentially Facebook.
Every 15 minutes, 7,246 people get added to the social giant’s user base. In fact, roughly 20,000 people use Facebook every second, including many of your ideal clients. Facebook advertising is one affordable way to reach them.
You see, large law firms shell out big bucks on major media to advertise to the masses. The messages – for the most part – all sound the same. Because of your size and smaller budget, you need to be more strategic with your approach.
Look to John Berry Jr. as an example. A veteran’s disability attorney and owner of the Berry Law Firm, John turned to Facebook to reach his target audience – people who were denied disability benefits.
In addition to his a branding video, John used FAQ videos to share educational information, while establishing credibility and trust.
Of course, the videos were also optimized for research-based keywords and shared on YouTube too. (Note: According to YouTube, the average YouTube mobile viewing session lasts more than 40 minutes. Imagine what you’d pay for that time using traditional media.)
After a mere 2 1/2 months on Facebook, the branding video alone received 119,000 views, 1,151 shares, 1,700 likes and 89 comments. Berry then added a couple more ads, resulting in 171,000 views, 8,030 likes, 2,783 shares and 229 comments.
“By the time they reach out to us [now], it’s not a question of do they want to hire us, it’s ‘Will you take my case?’” Berry said.
4. Stick to your strengths.
It’s tough to compete with larger law firms in areas where you’re at a clear disadvantage. So start using your marketing to emphasize only your strongest skills.
Who knows? You may even carve out a new segment within your industry.
Gourley, Rehkemper & Lindholm (GRL Law) is a small law firm in Des Moines, Iowa. Although they primarily focus on criminal defense and personal injury trial law, they also handle family and business law.
Yet notice how this branding video only focuses on one practice area:
5. Appeal to higher-end clientele.
Large law firms typically focus on volume. They seek quantity over quality because they need to keep a sizable staff busy.
You, though, have the freedom to target a more discerning clientele. You work closer with your clients and provide more personalized service, which should come with a higher price tag.
In bigger cities, you often see this approach with boutique businesses that cater to the wealthy. For example, the tailor who creates custom handcrafted suits — something you don’t find at big companies such as Men’s Wearhouse or Jos. A. Bank.
Eisenberg, Gilchrist & Cutt is a personal injury law firm in Salt Lake City, Utah. They only handle the most catastrophic injury cases. As such, they purposefully work with a small number of clients.
By taking on fewer cases, the firm’s attorneys can focus their resources. They can also do anything necessary to win a case.
Of course, this theme gets shared throughout their marketing materials, including on the firm’s website. Here are a few sample phrases from select pages:
We founded Eisenberg, Gilchrist & Cutt 16 years ago with three ideas in mind: “Focus on fewer cases, outwork the opposition and make no compromises.”
Our firm takes about 1/5 as many cases per lawyer as the average injury firm.
We have extensive experience in high-value cases involving brain injury, spinal cord injury, and other life-changing consequences.
If you’re dealing with a serious injury and want that extra level of service or a high-end experience, you likely appreciate this type of messaging.
The bottom line is, beating large law firms for the best cases takes a strategic approach. The above suggestions are a strong starting point. Simply apply them to your law firm, and you’ll likely start attracting clients you may not have thought were possible.
Want to discuss more ideas specific to your practice?
Schedule a 20-minute strategy session with our video marketing experts to learn how you can become the obvious choice in your market.
Over the past several years, we’ve worked with dozens of PILMMA attorneys to help them set themselves apart from the competition and attract better cases. In fact, our average client sees a return on investment of 300 percent and a 2-10x increase in their case values.
Michael Mogill is the President and CEO of Crisp Video Group, a national legal video marketing company that produces high-quality and engaging legal videos for attorneys all over the country. Crisp Video is consistently recognized for creating engaging legal videos that help attorneys see a 2 to 10 times increase in average case values. By simply bringing in higher-value cases, attorneys who produce videos with Crisp Video see an average return on investment of 300% and routinely double and triple their revenue — sometimes within just 6 months. He has been featured in Forbes, Avvo, ABA, PILMMA, The Huffington Post, and The Wall Street Journal.