January 25, 2019
Is your law firm fully utilizing the power of the Internet for marketing and recruiting? The legal community, as a whole, came late to the Internet revolution and many firms still retain the conservative and static websites they established years ago. If your firm falls into this category, here are five ways to enhance your marketing and recruiting campaigns by creating a more dynamic online presence.
1. Develop and Communicate the Firm’s Brand
One fundamental element in developing strong marketing and recruiting campaigns is to create a brand-driven website. Establishing a unique, solid message can differentiate your firm from the competition. The brand message should identify the firm’s capabilities, as well as present a strong vision for your principles.
Each area of the website should present a compelling story about the firm rather than list static facts. Include downloadable brochures that give clients, prospects and recruits a more complete picture of the firm but also develop communications specifically tailored for the Web.
You can tie your firm’s website to a branded, timely e-newsletter sent directly to clients, prospects, referral sources and recruits. Drive traffic to your website by linking to pages from the e-newsletter. Some firms also send material on a regular basis to former employees when they want to “keep the door open.”
2. Tailor Web Sections for Each Audience
Your site should have distinctive sections for marketing and recruiting, as well as separate areas to address the subgroups of each of these categories. For example, the marketing sections should include existing and potential clients. The recruiting sections can have different links for: general applicants, experienced attorneys, law school students and headhunters. In the student section, you can list the dates and law schools where your firm will be holding on-campus interviews.
Your website should also have the potential to collect relevant information from visitors beyond simply leaving a contact email. Brainstorm with partners and associates to determine the specifics that are important to collect and work with a Web developer to create templates to best collect that information.
Adding a potential client intake form to the marketing section can also be valuable in securing new clients. Additionally, intake forms can help screen out serious potential clients from those that are just seeking general information.
Consider distinct sections with in-depth information for each of the firm’s legal specialties. A firm that handles corporate law, criminal law and matrimonial law, for example, may even benefit from creating individual websites. Having a practice-specific site can cause your firm to get to the top of search engine results because the content is more relevant to the search phrases entered by typical users.
3. Consider Developing Extranets as Audience Networking Tools
An extranet is another tool your firm may want to consider to target specific audiences. These private communities can be joined by individuals who possess certain credentials and establish passwords.
Extranets can be helpful in:
- Securing lawyer-to-lawyer referrals.
- Answering direct questions from recruits.
- Communicating with existing clients.
- Creating a feeling of community that has the potential to bring people back to the site regularly. Extranets allow partners and associates to establish a private, personal path of communication with different groups.
- Protecting confidential information. For example, if you would rather recruiters did not have access to personal associate information, you could choose to isolate those details in other areas of the site. This precaution might prevent recruiters from ‘poaching’ candidates for their other job openings from your roster of prospects.
4. Add Compelling Firm Content and Links
Rather than just having a historical timeline of the firm and generic biographies of partners and associates, consider including anecdotal stories about the firm’s successful cases. Articles explaining legal issues in the news — and what they mean to clients — can position your firm as an authority. Work to keep your content timely and fresh. Speeches, lectures and articles from law journals are other ways to make the law firm come alive.
Establishing links to relevant information is another component to a firm website that can garner “stickiness” — in other words, getting visitors to come back to the site repeatedly and stay there for extended periods of time.
5. Leverage the Newest Technology for Marketing and Recruiting
Once your firm gets its revamped website up and running, you might consider utilizing the latest technological tools to assist in marketing and recruiting. Adding electronic media is one way to help you stand out among competitor firms. For example:
- Some attorneys publish blogs to address interesting legal questions in their specialties.
- Podcasts and videos are cutting edge venues that appeal to young and technologically savvy audiences. They can be utilized to answer frequently asked questions and communicate specific messages.
- Some law firms have developed videos and podcasts that contain client testimonials and discuss the reasons why recruits would want to work there. The Department of Justice has a series of recruiting videos that profile its attorneys and interns and describe what it’s like to work at the “nation’s largest law firm.”
Developing new online strategies for marketing and recruiting can seem overwhelming. But once you begin to develop more cohesive, targeted online messages, you may wonder how you ever operated without such a systematic approach. With a little forethought and planning, it can be a strategy that will pay off for years to come.