Making Legal Directories Part of Your Law Firm’s Marketing Mix

In previous posts on this blog, we’ve talked about the importance of having a mixture of tools to implement the most effective marketing plan for your small law firm or solo practice. That’s sage advice, but it’s worth noting that even the most refined marketing plan should not do without the very fundamental elements that can be critical to success. In the small or solo law firm context, that means directory listings.

At its simplest, a legal directory is a listing of attorneys by location and/or practice area that is organized so as to be searchable. The purpose is for the user to quickly find what he or she is looking for. Use of the word “quickly” is worth calling out specifically, since consumers in need of legal representation move very swiftly and have little patience for wasted effort.

In the interest of providing the right information to the right audience at the right time, FindLaw maintains four directories:

  • The granddaddy of them all, so to speak, is the Internet’s most comprehensive and best-established legal directory. It’s designed for people who think they may need a lawyer, but want to inform themselves about their situation first, and then want a few pointers as to where to look if a hiring decision is to be made.
  • A more streamlined directory, is built for speed. It’s especially useful in circumstances where a consumer feels time is of the essence, like DUI law.
  • This year, the number of Spanish-speaking consumers is estimated to rise to 43 million. This Spanish-language directory puts your firm in front of this increasingly important demographic.
  • Attorneys who have been recognized by Super Lawyers can be listed in this directory, which has a certain cachet by virtue of being open only to selectees. It’s more curated, which can speak especially powerfully to clients in delicate circumstances, like those making estate planning decisions.

Directories certainly aren’t the flashiest of marketing instruments, but they can be immensely important. There’s no sense in investing in the finer points of a marketing plan if the foundation has not been lain properly. Four of the chief benefits directories provide are:

1. A targeted audience 

Unlike, say, Craiglist, where people are looking for everything from a couch for their rec room to a set of slightly used golf clubs, legal directories cater to people who are looking for just one thing—a lawyer to hire. An audience that’s in the market to hire you is the best kind of audience there is.

2.  Legitimacy

With the wealth of readily available information the Internet affords, modern legal consumers are leery of doing business with someone who has no web presence. It looks suspicious. An up-to-date directory listing provides some assurance that you’re reputable and equipped to help.

3. Increased visiblity 

If you want your solo practice or small law firm to become better known for a certain kind of work, there’s no better place to start than a directory listing. It’s the building block on which you can construct the rest of your brand awareness plan.

4. A launch plan 

Depending on the directory, a listing can be a jumping-off point for testimonials, reviews or ratings. Those are solid gold for potential consumers who are used to looking up restaurants on Yelp or checking out reviews before making an Amazon purchase.

If there’s one last attribute to recommend about directories, it’s that it should be fairly simple for you to take advantage of their value. Once you’ve decided which directory (or directories) makes the most sense to you, it should not require ongoing time and energy from you beyond making sure your listing or listings stay accurate. It’s one of the very few aspects of marketing your law firm that can be “set it and forget it.” The playbook “Legal Marketing 110: Getting More Out of Legal Directories” takes the ideas presented here and explores them in greater depth. It is available for complimentary download now.

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