How Integrated Marketing Gets You More Legal Clients
Let’s say you’re interviewing a new lawyer for your personal injury firm.
His name’s Cooper. He makes a strong impression in his initial interview, so you invite him to meet more of the partners.
When he comes back, you notice that he’s dyed his brown hair blond. And he suddenly only answers to the name “C.J.”
A little odd. So you start digging around on his LinkedIn page. His resume talked about his personal injury experience, but his page is all about real estate transaction work.
Now you wonder, “Who is this guy? Is he really the right person for our firm?”
Imagine an entire law firm that behaves like C.J.
Its billboards are red, but its website is blue. Its TV ads—let’s face it, they’re getting outdated—talk about workers’ compensation claims, but the firm now focuses on employment discrimination. In some places, the firm is called Acme, Smith & Doe, APLC. In other places, it’s The Doe Law Group.
How can a legal client be sure this is the right firm for them?
What the firm and Cooper (or C.J.) need is a consistent voice across all their channels of communication.
When your messages sync up, each part of your marketing reinforces the others. Your marketing dollars go further because your potential clients recognize you better—and come to your door.
But at our national legal marketing agency, we see law firms struggling with this all the time, losing their focus, lacking a distinct identity and ending up with scattershot marketing.
In this post, we’ll explain how you can grow your firm with an integrated marketing approach:
- Why branding consistency is so important
- How law firm marketing gets out of whack
- How to bring order and potency back to your legal marketing
Why Integrated Marketing Works
The power of an integrated marketing strategy comes from reinforcement of your messages.
This idea applies across many professional services. Consistency in marketing emerged as a key trait of successful practices in a study of more than 400 financial planners by the Journal of Financial Planning in 2011.
The Journal quoted a business consultant to financial planners: “The secret to good marketing is on the back of a shampoo bottle: lather, rinse, repeat. Pick a few things and repeat them. Pick the things that are right for you, your brand, your target market, and execute them consistently.”
It sounds simple: to have a distinct brand, the look and feel of your messages has to be cohesive. But the execution takes some thought, planning and work.
Take this example: one of our clients was shopping around for someone to make a billboard. They asked Firmidable and a company that focuses on billboards to mock up designs, so they could choose their favorite.
Firmidable built and operates their website and produced their TV ads, so we used established elements—the same logo, the same color palette, the same slogan, etc.—for the billboard. When potential clients see the billboard, they get a clear impression of the firm.
The competitor? Working in a silo away from the rest of the law firm’s marketing strategy, their design lacked connection to the firm’s identity. Different colors, no logo, no slogan.
If someone saw that billboard, then opened their phone to visit the firm’s website and saw something totally different, the disjointed experience would create friction in their path toward hiring the firm.
They went with Firmidable’s design.
“You want to be recognizable,” said Ellie Platt, Firmidable art director. “Branding consistency is so important to establish loyalty with your clients. You don’t want to make people feel like they ended up in the wrong place, especially when they’re coming to you at a tough time in their lives.”
Another one of our clients, attorney Danielle Beaver, practices disability law in Hawaii. In recent years her former partner retired, which prompted a brand change for her firm.
Our legal marketing firm prioritized branding consistency for her. Her identity as a local, Hawaii attorney is a crucial part of her strategy. So we created a logo featuring a ti leaf, a special plant in the lore of Hawaii, and used it across all of her marketing—from her TV ads to her website.
This consistency is important because it eases the way for people to hire you.
“Marketing people talk about the concept of ‘the funnel,’” said Mark Waller, senior writer and editor at Firmidable. “If you can make a distinct impression on your clients starting with their earliest awareness of you, by the time they’re ready to decide on a lawyer, you’re already there with them. Consistent messages build on each other.”
The funnel represents the steps a client takes toward a decision.
Your TV ads or billboards create that initial awareness, even before someone needs to hire you.
Then they have a legal issue and begin searching for law firms online. They’re actively shopping, moving through the funnel.
When they see your website, they recognize you, thanks to your consistent marketing. They give you a closer look.
After that, you might serve them a digital ad that more directly urges them to call your firm. Now you’re catching them right at the point where they’re ready to become a client.
If you do this well, it sets you apart from your competitors.
“You generally look at law firm websites, there’s not much cohesion,” Ellie said. “There’s a good chance the other law firms in town are not paying as much attention.”
How Law Firms Lose Focus
We see law firms all the time who have different vendors producing their different marketing efforts. They’re often frustrated. Their search engine optimization (SEO) vendor is telling them one thing; their paid search advertising agency is telling them another.
Over the years, they plugged different elements into their marketing, gradually creating a mishmash.
“A lot of firms and businesses, over time, slowly spend more on marketing,” said Alex Ludwig, senior account executive at Firmidable. “So they’re piecemealing things together as they go along, rather than sitting down and doing one comprehensive look at their strategy.”
“When it gets fragmented, it becomes an issue.”
You also have to question the motivation of different vendors who specialize in different services, each having natural biases in favor of the service they offer. Are they giving you a recommendation because it makes perfect sense for you, or for them?
“You don’t know what’s actually working, or who’s telling the truth,” Alex said. “We run into this issue often.”
How to Restore Harmony to Your Legal Marketing
To achieve marketing that’s consistent and builds upon itself, you need someone at your firm to be the point-person for enforcing your brand standards across all of your platforms.
If that doesn’t sound like a job description anyone wants, a legal marketing agency with the capacity to manage multiple marketing channels can do the work for you.
“If you have someone who does it all for you under one roof, you can be agnostic about which marketing techniques to use,” Alex said. “They’ll make sure you have the best solution for your budget and your market.”
We’ve seen the importance of a cohesive, integrated marketing plan even in our own business as a legal marketing and advertising agency.
Just over two years ago, Firmidable commenced a complete rebrand.
Ellie developed a purple and black color palette and look for all of our materials. Most importantly, she implements the same style everywhere—across our website, emails, social media ad campaigns, printed pamphlets, the design of our conference booth and even the sign outside our door.
“Everything fits together,” Ellie said. “We’ve created this brand that, when you think of purple, you think of Firmidable.”
We were able to achieve that because all the pieces—the content, the design and the execution—came from one place. Everything worked in harmony because we had a unified vision.
This is also how we think law firms should deploy their marketing efforts—because we’ve seen it work for firms across the country.
If you’re looking for a more efficient, integrated marketing plan, get in touch with Firmidable today.
Firmidable has been a national expert in legal marketing for almost 30 years. It brings law firms customized, data-driven marketing strategies and services, including online and traditional media for a wide range of legal practices. From Maine to Hawaii, it has transformed the lives of attorneys—and their clients.