We’ve all heard the saying “it takes money to make money.” Oftentimes, it’s the truth. For example, buying stocks or properties, starting new business ventures, or launching marketing campaigns will usually require a significant upfront financial investment in order to generate a return. However, that does not mean that it’s impossible to achieve success on a tight budget. In almost any line of business, you can usually find ways to stretch your dollars and achieve growth without spending more money. In this post, we’ll provide our top ideas for ways to grow your law practice for free to help get more bang for your marketing buck.
1. Publish Helpful Legal Content Online
The internet is an incredible marketing tool because it enables you to potentially reach billions of people around the world with your content. And it’s pretty much the only channel through which you can do this for free.
Why It Works
People frequently use the internet to research their legal issues before contacting an attorney. So, the best type of content to publish is something that can help answer their questions and give them guidance about the risks they might face.
When people discover and engage with your content online, you will start to build their trust. They will inherently be more likely to reach out to you than the next guy whenever they do decide to get help from an attorney.
The content should be comprehensive and high quality, not just a short blurb without any substance. Longer content will not only rank higher in search engines, but most importantly, it will appear more credible and provide more value to prospects.
How to Do It
Creating this content should not be hard, but it will take time. Just think about the common questions and concerns that your clients have, and write a piece of helpful content to address each one.
You can produce written content and publish it on your own blog or other publications like Medium or even LinkedIn. Or, you might consider creating video content and uploading it to YouTube.
Video content can be particularly easy to consume for prospective clients, and it can help you build rapport when someone can see your face and hear you speak.
All of this content can be shared on social media and sent out through email marketing in order to get more exposure.
2. Build Relationships with Targeted Professionals
Building up your network certainly does not happen overnight, but it pays dividends over the long term. It also doesn’t cost anything to keep in touch with people, so you should plan to devote time to business development every single week.
Why It Works
Your network equals your net worth, as they say. In law, this couldn’t be more true. It tends to be a relationship-based, word of mouth business.
As much as online marketing has changed the game, referrals will still always be one of the best sources of new business for an attorney. If you intend to grow your practice, you simply cannot ignore the importance of building up your referral network.
Client referrals are great, but they are somewhat less reliable than referrals from other professionals. You never know which clients might refer you business or when.
But when you form a strong relationship with another professional in a relevant field, you can expect to see a steady and more predictable stream of referral business.
How to Do It
Building up a referral network doesn’t cost money, but it does require time and effort. You just have to get out and start networking, usually in-person.
Here are some easy ways to start meeting more potential referral partners:
- Go to industry events and conferences
- Get involved with your local Bar Association
- Use LinkedIn to connect with other professionals in your area (learn how to do this here)
Once you make contact with these people and get to know them, look for synergies between their business and your law practice. If possible, start sending them some referrals to prove that you can reciprocate and provide value to them.
Another important tip to keep in mind is that relationships will gradually get stale with time. You must make a concerted effort to keep track of your referral partners and stay in touch with them.
The Lexicata CRM actually has features designed for this exact purpose, such as our custom tagging feature, referral linking between contacts, and our MailChimp integration to send out marketing emails and newsletters. Learn more in our guide on managing your referral network.
3. Improve Your Intake & Conversion Process
Sometimes we focus so much on marketing to acquire new business that we overlook the importance of the existing potential clients we already have. Doing a better job managing your existing prospects won’t cost you anything, but it can deliver meaningful results.
Why It Works
Most law firms do a poor job with lead management. Whether you are losing track of your leads or simply not following up enough, chances are, you are leaving at least some money on the table.
By focusing on conversion optimization, you can ensure that you maximize the revenue you capture from your existing referrals and marketing campaigns.
Even if it means landing just a few more clients per year, it can make a meaningful impact on your revenue, and help drive more potential referrals in the future. Both things will lead to growth of your law firm without spending any money.
How to Do It
The problem at most firms is that the intake and conversion process is completely disorganized. When you rely on Post-it notes, unread emails, or spreadsheets to keep track of your potential clients, inevitably some business will slip through the cracks.
In order to improve your conversion rate, you should consider using a CRM and implementing a more systematic approach to client intake. Each step of the intake process should be tracked so that you know exactly who to follow up with and when.
Think of your intake process like a funnel. New leads are captured into the top of the funnel, and they gradually flow downward through the other stages: consultations being scheduled, intake forms being filled out, fee agreements being drafted and sent for signing, etc.
Naturally, some people will drop off along the way. The actual clients who end up hiring you are the ones that make it all the way through the funnel and come out the bottom.
Having this kind of system for tracking your prospects through each stage of the “funnel” makes it much easier to follow up with people and keep them flowing through the process.
If you use a tool like the Lexicata pipeline, you can even visually see which stage of the process each particular client is currently in, ensuring that nothing will slip through the cracks due to poor organization.
Law firm marketing is notoriously expensive. Pay-per-click search terms can cost upwards of $100 just to get a single web visitor from Google, and marketing agencies will usually charge thousands of dollars on a monthly retainer.
But, paying for expensive marketing strategies is not the only way to achieve law firm growth. There are some simple strategies you can use to grow your law practice for free.
Our top three recommended strategies to grow your law practice for free are…
- publishing free legal content online;
- reaching out to other professionals to build a referral network; and
- optimizing your intake process to maximize conversions.
Yes, all of these things will require time and effort. But none of them will cost you nearly as much money as paid marketing will. So if you are looking to achieve law firm growth on a tight budget, this is where you should start!