Launching and promoting a new legal practice area has advantages over starting marketing from scratch. A law firm introducing a new practice area enjoys the benefits of an established client base, standing in the community, and an existing marketing strategy. These can all be leveraged in the effort to make the new legal practice area a success.
We previously discussed How to Create a Legal Marketing Campaign. Introducing a new legal practice area starts with a legal marketing campaign. The new practice area is the product to be promoted and, like any successful campaign, it requires targeted audiences and messaging. Ideally, the law firm’s marketing strategy is in place and provides the foundation, team, and processes to reach the right people with the news. Reviewing the tactics the firm already uses in its legal marketing plan, from websites and social media to networking and advertising, is the best place to start.
No need to re-invent the wheel if the law firm already has an effective marketing strategy. Evaluate what’s currently being done with the new practice and its potential clients in mind. For example, if the firm’s focus until now is on people who have suffered catastrophic injuries, but the new practice area is for people involved in landlord-tenant issues, look for ways that the existing marketing plan works and where it should be adjusted. Both groups are likely looking for empathy and zealous advocacy, but how the messaging is delivered may need to be tailored.
This is also the time to look at competitors in this practice area. What are they doing well and where can they be doing better with marketing and the services they provide? This review should also include a thorough look at the firm’s content to ensure the new practice area is represented on the website and that educational material specific to the new practice is drafted and published. Be sure to consider advertising and public relations tactics.
Cross-marketing legal services can either be done directly or passively. When it’s direct, colleagues within a firm communicate to their clients about the services other attorneys in the firm provide. When it’s passive cross-marketing, attorneys share information with their clients that is educational or newsworthy, relying on the subtleties of content marketing to share experience and expertise found elsewhere in the firm. Both are great and can be used in tandem.
A best practice is to let clients know you can be the first call they make regarding any legal situation. Even if the matter is not related to your area of practice, the client will appreciate having a trusted advisor to turn to for a referral. Your immigration law client who is now having child custody issues may not know that attorneys at your firm handle family law. Being the first point of contact creates opportunities for you, your colleagues, or attorneys outside the firm whom you trust.
Speaking of attorneys outside the firm, there is marketing value in referring clients to other attorneys, who will remember the gesture and likely repay it in kind when given the chance. Those same attorneys can also be valuable for marketing a new legal practice area. Make sure they are aware of the new practice area by sharing a firm announcement in an email or mentioning it at the next networking event. Likewise, existing clients are also great referral resources, as we previously discussed in 7 Steps to Building a Book of Business. It’s perfectly acceptable to casually mention to a client that the firm is launching a new practice area, especially if conveyed with excitement and messaging about how it will help people just like you helped them!
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