4 things small law firms can do now to stay strong until year’s end

Three lawyers in office setting around a table

It seems like time slows down in late summer, and even solo attorneys and lawyers at small law firms — who normally have to-do lists a superhuman couldn’t get through — can find themselves with a little more time than work to fill it (temporarily, at least). While you may be tempted to take your foot off the gas when it comes to marketing outreach, remember that a little investment now could pay off handsomely by the end of the year.

If you read that and thought, “It’s too soon to start thinking about finishing the year on a high note,” bear in mind that any marketing strategy needs time to start yielding dividends. In the interest of keeping potential clients engaged and ensuring that your pipeline of new work stays robust, here are four things your firm can do now to ensure a profitable year end.

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Meet your clients where they are

Ask clients for reviews

Audit your to-date-marketing

Look into trying something new


Meet your clients where they are

In the awareness stage of a legal consumer’s journey, they realize they have a problem that needs attention. They become focused on learning and gathering information and often turn to online resources that pertain to their specific issue. To capture a potential client’s interest at this point in their hiring journey, you have to meet them where they are — online.

One way to do this is to answer questions people commonly have and publish them to your website in an FAQ format. Another is to highlight your experience and accolades, and a third is to produce content on consumer-friendly topics that relate to your practice areas. These methods reach potential legal consumers where they are and position you as a helpful, knowledgeable advocate — exactly the type of lawyer people want to hire when they realize their legal need won’t get resolved without professional assistance.

Ask clients for reviews

Reviews and ratings help build and boost your reputation and encourage word-of-mouth referrals, helping you draw in new business. While building a positive reputation takes time and effort, you can help the process along by using reputation management tools. When you have a solid archive of positive reviews, prospective clients are likely to develop a positive first impression of you. Overall, reviews show a potential client what it’s been like for other people to work with you (and win that client over before another firm does).

Audit your to-date marketing

At the halfway point of the year, it’s a good idea to look at what you’ve done thus far and assess whether it has worked. Determining whether a given marketing tactic has paid off can be tricky, but a good general formula is to ask two things: Is the payoff so far worth your investment of resources (time, money, effort) and has this tactic had enough time to develop?

As to the first question, if you find that you have been pouring money and time into, say, appearances at a monthly local bar function and that hasn’t resulted in a single new referral, it should be quite clear that you want to reduce the times you attend such functions, at the very least. On the other hand, if you’ve noticed that your blog has been drawing visitors to your website and has resulted in more calls and emails, it’s possible you’ll want to increase the effort you devote to keeping it stocked with useful, current, and optimized content (bearing in mind that diminishing returns will set in at some point.)

On the second question, far too many attorneys expect marketing to deliver overnight results and get frustrated when it doesn’t. Before making any changes to any particular marketing strategy, take a step back and ask whether your hopes for it were realistic or whether more time might be needed to get the payoff you’re looking for.

One thing not to do here is decide that marketing is taking up too much of your time and abandon it. Given your heavy workload, it’s natural to feel like you want to stop doing something that isn’t fee-generating legal work, but that would greatly hurt your ability to draw in new business. If you’ve been trying to handle your firm’s marketing on your own and are feeling like it isn’t paying off, it might be time to look into working with a marketing partner.

Look into trying something new

If the work slows down in the summer, take advantage of the lull by using the downtime to explore whether a new marketing initiative would make sense. For example, if you have been thinking social media might work well for you, now could be a good time to come up with a plan for how you want to position yourself and launch a presence. Or, if you had previously thought you don’t have the budget to advertise, it might not be a bad idea to look into more cost-effective means of advertising, like pay-per-click ads.

The point here is that a quiet period, like late summer, is a far better time to look into something new than a time when you’re busier, because you can be thoughtful and thorough and reach a fully informed conclusion.

As a final thought, don’t take anything we’ve recommended here to mean you have to devote every second of your waking hours to developing your law firm. Lawyers are infamous for overworking themselves and putting their well-being in peril. Rather, think of what we’ve shared as food for thought if you find yourself with the capacity to mull it over.

Many solo attorneys and small law firms opt to work with marketing partners so they can attend to their practice and leave the work of drawing in new business to the professionals. Learn more about FindLaw’s portfolio of services and how we can help you grow your practice.


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