Law Firm Marketing for Small Law Firms - Strategist
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The point of most marketing is to solve a problem. Most of the time, the problem is pretty easy. When your product is dog food, the problem you're solving is that dogs need food. Then the strategy comes in: Why do they need your food, and not your competitor's?

Legal marketing is a little different. People contact attorneys for lots of different reasons, so in order to effectively determine your strategy, first you have to know what problem you're solving. Deep within FindLaw's 2014 Consumer Legal Needs Survey lies part of the answer.

Between Facebook, Twitter, and a website (and, if you've been reading here, podcasts!), maintaining your Internet presence can seem like a full-time job, or at least a half-time job. And, wait, don't you have a law firm to run? All that marketing won't matter if you don't have to do any actual lawyering.

That's why you might want to consider hiring a social media manager -- a full- or part-time employee who not only manages your Twitter feed, but functions partly as a marketing manager who knows how to leverage social media.

OK, so you have a blog. You have a Twitter account. You have a Pinterest, a Tumblr, an Ello, and even a lawyer Tinder (but we should talk about deleting that soon). What tools are left for solos and small firms to use to market themselves?

Podcasts! You've probably heard about them, you may have listened to them, but did you know it's dead simple to make your own? All you need is a laptop, a USB condenser microphone, and an hour a week to record a show about a topic of your choice.

Acritas' list of the strongest law firm brands is here! At the top, for the fourth year in a row, is Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, known to its friends as just plain old "Skadden."

The competition for law firms is heating up as each one tries to muscle the other ones out for the same money coming from the same clients. Even if you're not in the same level of classification as a Skadden, this list still has some valuable insight.

Business people know that one of the best ways to figure out what you're doing right or wrong is to spy on what the competition is doing. Back in Ye Olde Times, that might have involved sending a "secret shopper" in to report back what happened at another law firm's intake interview.

Today, though, it's as easy as visiting another firm's website -- and it can be other firms anywhere in your state, or even elsewhere in the country. It pays to take some time to see what the competition, or even your non-competition peers, are doing.

What can you learn from visiting other attorneys' websites?

We talk all the time on FindLaw's Strategist blog about branding and how it's important to you as a lawyer. Truthfully it is -- and you can, and should, use branding to differentiate yourself from other law firms.

Tossing around the word "brand" can be a little bit inside baseball, though. You all out there reading this in Internet Land are lawyers, not advertising executives. So just what is a brand, anyway?

Well, this one hits close to home. At the end of last year, the State Bar of California proposed a formal ethics opinion on attorney blogging. We here at FindLaw's Strategist are all in favor of attorney blogs (well, when they're good, anyway), but the California opinion raises a few issues that blogging lawyers will want to consider.

Public comment on the proposed opinion is being solicited until March 23, 2015. So why does the State Bar want to harsh our mellow, man?

Is Your Marketing Plan Working? 3 Ways to Tell

Every lawyer knows that marketing is important. But few spend the time to evaluate the success of their marketing campaigns. Most will try a few things and if they fit in the budget, and there are enough clients coming in the door, they will look no further.

Your integrated marketing strategy most likely contains multiple avenues of attack: billboards, newspaper ads, phone book ads, a website, TV and radio ads, in-person networking, sponsorship of community activities, and more. Some of those are likely working for you (online), while others likely aren't (the Yellow Pages).

How can you tell which marketing efforts are working and which are worth cutting?

We conducted an informal survey here at FindLaw's Secret Volcano Headquarters, and for the life of us, we can't figure out what LinkedIn is supposed to be. Ten years after it launched, we know we're members of LinkedIn, but why are we there?

All of us get requests to add co-workers and friends of co-workers, and to even endorse people for skills that we may or may not know they have (you know you've done it). So what are lawyers supposed to be doing with LinkedIn, anyway? After puzzling over it for a bit, we came up with some ideas.

Lawyer's 'Admit to a DUI' Scholarship: Deterrent or Marketing Ploy?

Is this a noble attempt at deterring teens from driving drunk or a marketing ploy? We'll let you decide.

Christian Schwaner, a DUI defense attorney in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is offering a $1,000 scholarship to the winner of a contest for teens who admit to driving drunk. Applicants must also research the dangers of doing so and come up with a plan for avoiding such missteps in the future, reports The Denver Post.

Critics, however, are already lining up, with some saying that it might implicitly encourage drunk driving and others worrying about the ethics implications of the contest.