Why you are your firm’s best competitive advantage
One of the challenges involved with marketing your law firm is that there are likely many competitor firms in your area. And while you may know what makes your firm stand out from another firm down the street, potential clients probably don’t. It’s hard for people who aren’t familiar with the legal industry to distinguish between what they perceive as similar firms offering comparable services.
The good news is that you’re already an expert on what differentiates you from peer firms—it’s you. Keep reading to learn how to use aspects of your personality, career, passions, and practice to your competitive advantage.
Differentiating with demographics
Start by taking a look at yourself and others who work at your firm. Is it a woman-owned business? Do you employ any veterans? Is there anyone on staff who speaks more than one language? Many consumers take these types of things into consideration when making hiring decisions.
If someone at your firm speaks Spanish, make sure “Se Habla Español” appears on your website somewhere. If you’re honored at a chamber of commerce event for being a minority-owned business, be sure to post a photograph from the ceremony to your Instagram account.
Niche practice areas
Even law firms in the same area that do the same type of work are different from one another in subtle ways. If your firm is known for its guardianship practice and other estate planning firms in your area rarely accept such work, your website copy should make clear that you specialize in these types of matters. If you are certified by your state bar association for a special skill in a practice area, don’t hesitate to tout that on social media. Do reporters regularly call you to comment about how cannabis legalization may impact drunk-driving laws? A blog post on that topic can amplify your standing as an expert in your legal field.
Don’t make the mistake of writing a giant laundry list of all the things you do or could do. Instead, pick three aspects of your practice (for example divorce, child custody agreements, and adoptions) and focus on one or two types of related specialty work (maybe “palimony lawsuits” or “contested child custody cases”). This approach helps ensure you’re covering your bases by letting potential clients know you handle common legal issues, but can also take on more specialized cases.
Life before law
If you had a career before you became a lawyer, use that to your advantage. Mentioning what you did before enrolling in law school can help potential clients see that you have a unique perspective and can identify with them in ways other lawyers cannot.
Weave mentions of your pre-law career(s) into any and all biographies. For example, you could say “Before starting law school, I worked in the financial industry. Today, I use my accounting background to help small business owners understand certain tax implications.” Likewise, your Twitter bio may say something like, “Reporter-turned-First Amendment lawyer.” To make this work, be explicit. Don’t make the reader work to figure out why your resume is relevant.
Legal consumers want to know who you are and what matters to you outside of your legal practice. When reviewing your website or social media presence, potential clients want to gain a sense of who you are, not just what you do.
Consider ending your attorney biography with a line about what you do outside of work. For example, “Tim is a coach for his son’s little league team,” or “Mary volunteers for the Elm Street Community Garden.” On your firm’s LinkedIn page, mention how many pro bono hours you contributed last year. The key here is that less is more. Any more than a sentence or two will seem self-serving and out of place.
There are many ways to distinguish your firm from competitors but one of the easiest and most effective is to start with what you know best—yourself. When it comes to winning over legal consumers in need, the things that make you unique and set you apart may be your biggest asset.