The legal market is hugely competitive. Whether you are a globally renowned name or a local office, it has been a tough few years. Firstly, GDPR came into effect and ripped up the data management playbook. Then Brexit forced a review of policies and practices to be in line with the correct legislation. Finally, COVID-19 has crippled finances, created case backlogs and caused firms to lose retainer clients. However, in addition to all of these, law firms have been making one critical error. There is a big mistake law firms make when presenting themselves. This error in judgement is why so many older firms are struggling to adapt in the digitalised world.
The Legal Market – A Breakdown
To establish exactly why this error happens, we have to look at the market in general. The legal market is split into 3 segments:
- High-street family law firms
- Small-to-medium sized firms
- The Top 50 law firms
The first group of these firms can market themselves quite simply. They rely on local trade, being THE reputable legal representative for their town. Often they span over multiple generations, correspondingly there is the benefit of experience too. From a digital perspective, what you see is what you get. They don’t try and compete with the bigger names because they don’t need to. It’s not their target market.
The top law firms have no end of how they can market themselves. Their name alone conjures prestige and respect. They have an international, sometimes global presence. Their staff roster is a roll call of reputable names within the legal industry. They are the voices and influences that appear in legal periodicals like The Lawyer. These companies have fully adopted and embraced digital transformation. Already, they use RPA, AI and Machine-Learning to ensure they focus on adding value elsewhere for their clients. They are the big fishes in the legal pond.
This leaves the final group. Small to medium size law firms. They don’t offer the same comfort and reassurance of your local law firm. They can’t realistically compete with the portfolio of services offered by the top law firms. This means they often find themselves relying on niches within the legal market. This isn’t necessarily a problem on it’s own. Even if a market is a niche, if there is a lot of demand for it, you are guaranteed to have opportunities to grow and succeed.
The Perpetual Big Mistake Law Firms Make
It’s very difficult to find a niche in law. The oversaturation of the market means the customer is always in control. A slow response, or a lack of assurance on your part – they’ll go elsewhere. The big mistake most law firms make when presenting themselves is they assume the customer will not bother to look elsewhere. In reality, the increasing need for personalisation and customisation means it is the first thing they WILL do.
The Solution To This Issue: Content is Key
How can a law firm combat this? The simple answer lies in changing the way of approach. People don’t necessarily want to deal with blanket lawyers and solicitors anymore. Entrepreneurs want patent attorneys to manage their copyright. Property owners want conveyancing specialists to manage property buying and selling. Family businesses want inheritance tax experts during estate management and succession planning.
The best thing that law firms can do is start thinking like their customers. What are the most common questions they field? What are the biggest concerns people have? If you start to answer these questions in your content, you develop a unique perspective. You know exactly how to pitch yourself to reassure and educate your prospects towards becoming a client.
Once you have those questions, it’s time to answer them. Use your content in a way that engages with your audience in a relatable manner. Allegories, comparisons or analogies are all good tools for helping to make topics digestible.
You should always support written content with appropriate visuals. You can choose between diagrams, imagery, videos or infographics, or any combination of those. The important thing is all content matches the right tone of voice and pitch for your desired audience. It should also be in line with your main brand principles.
You will find that once you create the first piece of relatable, relevant content, it will be easier to write future content. Don’t be afraid to ask your audience for feedback. It’s an absolute goldmine if you can find out what they liked, or disliked about your service, or content. A big mistake law firms make is their content stagnating. Only by staying on the ball and keeping your finger on the pulse ensures that your content remains timely and relevant.
The Final Word: Avoiding the Big Mistake Law Firms Make
Not every piece of content will be immediately popular. Creating content is a timely process and you can expect some bumps in the road. However, once you start tapping into the way your clients think about the law, you have a much better chance of convincing them you are the right law firm. Furthermore, it also means you avoid that first big mistake law firms make.
Revolutionising your content strategy, on it’s own or as part of a wider change of marketing, can be the first step to maximising your performance as a law firm. Put yourself in the customer shoes, understand their problems and the solutions (and the ways to market them) will present themselves.