Guest Column by Jennifer Clarin, Boardroom Communications
Florida law firm marketers know that marketing a law firm is a skilled task, and all law firms are NOT created equal.
What works for one large law firm might not work for a small or solo law firm. Deborah Hrbek and Jill Miller, each an attorney in a small or solo practice, authored a comprehensive article on this subject for American Lawyer Media, which brings up quite a few relevant issues and suggestions.
The most important point this article makes is, for a small or solo firm, business development is as important as client service—and both must be managed efficiently and effectively for a firm to succeed. You can’t rely on the business you have to always be there. You have to be constantly looking toward the next matter and obtaining the next client.
Identify your key markets and go after them, even if you have a steady client flow. The best time to look for business is when you have business – the busy attorney is always more attractive. When you have a good business flow, you are less ‘desperate’ – and can be more selective, and more successful.
Both authors are attorneys in New York. Despite the obvious differences in climate and billing scale, New York has a similar competitive legal environment as South Florida. They suggest that, in a crowded marketplace, you need to create a brand, stick by the brand—and stand out. According to Hrbek and Miller, small firms have the unique opportunity to leverage inherent benefits in small firms including personalized service and accessibility. Use these items to your benefit in your branding and have one or two key points of differentiation from your competition. More will clutter your branding attempts.
Finally, they stress the importance of customer service and authenticity. Small firms have to arguably be more accountable and accessible than larger firms, because of the personalized approach. It’s the compelling reason companies use smaller and solo firms, so capitalize on this opportunity to the best of your ability.
Make it the hallmark of your firm. Remember, being smart is what gets you in the door, but how you handle the matter is what keeps you there.
The full article is available at http://bit.ly/be50nA
and outlines additional considerations in marketing a solo or small firm practice, that apply equally to New York and South Florida law firm marketing. The key is to find your niche, find your target audience and go for it—all while remembering that business development and client service should always play a large role in the practice.