Small Town Law Firm? Don’t Think Small When it Comes to Marketing
Small town Minnesota is an “everyone knows everyone” type place. Where I grew up there were a few stop lights, the church was packed on Sundays and if you needed a lawyer you know who you were going to call.
Today those same lawyers face increasing competition in some rural areas and changing demographics in others. But many of them still have the small town mentality that things don’t change, believing that they can generate all their business by word of mouth alone instead of a sound digital marketing plan.
I’ve spoken to enough attorneys in rural America to know the mistakes that are often made by assuming that even a small town law firm doesn’t need a digital marketing plan. If you’re one of the firms that aren’t using the internet to find consumers, let’s look at why it’s time to change that way of thinking.
Your future clients are online
I totally understand when I hear attorneys in rural areas say that their prospects don’t use the internet, especially more experienced lawyers. Rural regions of the country were some of the last to receive the infrastructure required to provide trustworthy internet service. That said, this was truer 15 years ago than it is today.
Now almost the entire country has wireless internet capabilities on top of mobile access to the web. Where once your prospects would see your billboard, they are looking for you on their computer or phone now more than ever. In the digital age, a website is the new foundation for any legal marketing efforts, even in towns where you may know most of the population.
Keep in mind though that you do have competition, especially if you’re serving a larger land area. Your website alone may not be enough to stand out. For that, you need mobile and SEO optimization. Speak to your digital marketing provider. If they aren’t offering these priorities already, then they should right away.
It’s time to think bigger
The attorneys I speak to say they service several counties. That’s a large swath of legal consumers that you theoretically could help but who, in reality, probably haven’t heard of you. Add that to the competition of a handful of lawyers in each town, some of whom already market on the internet, and there’s a possibility that you’re losing clients you didn’t even know about. While you may not see the competition out your window, they’re out there.
Digital marketing can help you stand out among your peers while also allowing you to reach a broader population without the guesswork of say billboards or Sunday newspaper ads. On the internet, you have any number of options to reach consumers no matter how far you’re prepared to drive. PPC can attract consumers that are using search engines while paid social media’s precise targeting means you can place your brand in front of the right legal consumers – even when they’re in the next county.
Think ROI, not cost
If your law firm was built on years of positive word-of-mouth business, it’s intimidating to go from no digital marketing budget to one that encompasses an integrated online solution. Instead of looking exclusively at the price tag though, take into consideration your return on investment vs. your yearly spend.
A quality marketing company will provide you with the information you need to track not only what you’re spending, they will provide you the means to track how your marketing efforts helped your firm’s bottom line. If the cases you received were worth more than you spent, then the price tag was worth it.
Optimize a legal directory listing
Legal directories are often the first place consumers turn when they need help. That’s because directories are a one-stop shop for anyone in a legal situation. They could be in the first stages of research or looking through attorney profiles, ready to hire someone. Investing in a legal directory listing places your law firm in front of eager consumers no matter what your practice area.
Speaking of practice areas, you should be as specific as possible when you’re creating your profile. Many legal directories have the option to tag your firm in multiple PAs. This is especially handy for small-town attorneys who see cases that run the gamut from DUI arrests to personal injury to family law.
If you’re in a small market, don’t think small. Even in rural areas legal consumers are turning to the internet (on both their phones and their computers) to research legal needs and hire the lawyer they want. Reaching those prospective clients isn’t always easy, but there’s valuable action to be taken on the internet no matter where your firm is located. The first step is reaching out to someone who understands where you’re coming from.
Let’s have a chat about where your firm wants to go next.