When husband and wife team James and Alene Fowler opened the doors of the Fowler Law Group in 2014, they knew they were taking a chance. Today, 75% of all practicing lawyers are in private practice, and roughly half of these people are solo practitioners. Many small firms and solo practices don’t survive their first two years of operations, so what would they do to beat the odds? They put their trust in the implementation of a strong marketing campaign would help them build their practice. “Our firm specializes in criminal defense and trial work, and we needed to distinguish ourselves from the competition while connecting with our target audience,” James explained. Their efforts paid off and they have added a third attorney and two support staff to their growing firm.
Know Your Audience
James understood that social media would play a significant role in his marketing campaign and used the platforms to research his target audience. He started with identifying the key words and phrases that best resonated with this target audience. He explained, “Once those keywords and clients were identified, it was much easier to adjust my online marketing efforts to engage those demographics.” By taking the time to know his audience, James was able to identify which marketing channels and techniques were the best fit to engage them. “It is important to understanding what age group you are targeting and match them with the best social media outlets, ads, and other forms of marketing,” he stated.
Use Social Media
James uses social media for a variety of purposes, including identifying trends in the market and what clients are searching for in an attorney. Social media also gives him several advantages. As he explained:
- It provides constant feeds into the minds of my target market as well as the people who interact with my target market.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) helps me get the most benefit from my efforts. With each social media outlet that I post on, it has a positive effect on all SEO rankings for my website page.
- It provides a constant insight into what my viewers and target market are interested and not interested in. Each post I upload has the opportunity of being interacted with by a potential client or source of referral. Each interaction gives the feedback in mention.
James has experimented with a variety of social media platforms and found Facebook to be the most useful. “Facebook has proven to be the most efficient in terms of marketing to clients for criminal law and it tends to be more responsive and accepting of advertisements,” he said.
Analyze Your Results and Look for New Opportunities
While conducting marketing activities is critically important, it is also important to analyze their performance. James explained, “After creating each and implementing each marketing effort I go back at the end of each month and analyze the results to better understand the effectiveness of my efforts.” If something doesn’t work, he finds another avenue for marketing efforts and is a strong believer in searching for new opportunities. “I make sure to take time to research possible new opportunities in the attempts to not fall into a marketing myopia. I don’t want to ignore another great online opportunity just to sub-optimize another.”
Connect with Your Community
Marketing is about connecting with others, and while social media is an excellent tool to accomplish this, the Fowler Law Group sponsors multiple local non-profit fundraising events each year. He stated, “I believe it is important and encourage all the members of my team to participate in each event that we attend and/or sponsor. And while sponsorship is important, I have found that sponsorship without actual volunteering and involvement is much less effective.” Encouraging the members of his firm to participate in community activities benefits everyone and is a core component of his marketing strategy.
The Marketing Budget
The Fowler Law Group created a marketing budget to promote the practice and brand. The quarterly budget has funds allocated based on the effectiveness of various marketing activities. In addition to print materials, there are two primary budget sections:
- Digital Marketing. “I have found that my digital marketing efforts have been the most successful to date. They have brought in traffic and are typically lump sum investments that continue to work on a long-term basis,” James explained. He uses analytic tools to assess performance and adjusts the budget accordingly
- Community Involvement. “I believe in investing in the community and my firm has benefited from these efforts,” he said. Due to the cost in time and money, he limits these events to twice a month. He makes sure to take multiple pictures to use on social media.
The marketing budget reflects his commitment to engagement and has proven successful to drive clients through his doors.
Small law practices must be prepared to create and implement a successful marketing plan to establish and growth their firm. The Fowler Group has applied best marketing practices and succeeded in expanding their law practice.