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Did becoming Lexcel accredited or gaining any of the Law Society’s accreditations help in marketing your firm?
It’s not likely you’ve seen a flood of new enquiries or noticed many clients seeking you out directly because of these standards. We can blame the Law Society for not raising the public awareness, but in reality, the cost to build that level of brand recognition would be huge.
So how can you squeeze some marketing advantage from your existing accreditations? I’m assuming you already have some mention of them on your leaflets, website etc but let’s revisit what you’re actually saying.
Analyse your text using these two easy techniques:
- Feature Vs Benefit – having any of the accreditations is a feature of the firm, but you need to be explicit in telling the client why it’s of benefit to them.
- WIIFM (What’s in it for me) Every time you mention an accreditation does it answer this question in a client’s mind!
You can vary the exact wording afterwards but my favourite phrase to use is “which means that..."
We have Lexcel Accreditation, the Law Society’s Practice Management Standard, which means that you benefit from:
- A clear explanation of what we can do to help, the options you have available and how long it will take.
- You will be kept up to date by phone/text/email, which ever you prefer, so you’ll know what’s happening and what the next stages are.
- We’ll let you know as soon as possible if anything is likely to affect the original estimate we provided, which means no nasty surprises.
- We will let you know if we do not have the expertise to provide help on a particular area of law so that you can select a firm with the experience you need.
- If you are unhappy in any way we have a complaints procedure in place, which means we will investigate any issue reported to us and let you know the outcome.
Where did I come up with this from? The good old Law Society, just adapted slightly. http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/for-the-public/quality-marks/legal-practice/
If you have CQS….
We have the Conveyancing Quality Scheme Accreditation….
- Which means that we can act for all mainstream mortgage lenders
- Which means your mortgage lender won’t need to use a separate firm to act for them
- Which means that you’re not having to pay for two firms
- Which means the process will be as efficient as possible
- Which means there’ll be fewer delays and you’ll move home sooner
- Which means your children will get into the school you want next year
An exaggeration of course, but the point is valid.
Final thought. I started off using the example the content in your marketing materials, but where this is really valuable is in your enquiry handling over the phone, face to face and on quotes. It’s a horrible phrase, but ‘sell don’t tell’ is exactly right when it comes to explaining why a client should instruct you.
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Whether it’s a one-off event or an ongoing relationship, if you are paying for sponsorship make sure that you are getting the most from it.
It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of repeating the same old sponsorships year in year out, which effectively become donation requests. What are you really getting in exchange for your hard-earned fees? For me the promise of a logo on a programme or brochure doesn’t really cut it.
A simple way to maximise your return if you are sponsoring an event, is to think about how you are benefitting pre-event, at the event and post-event. This should cover the full range of marketing channels that the company/team/group have access to.
For example, can you include?
- Press release before and after the event (with photos)
- Social media mentions for a given period that extend beyond the event
- Access to the database of people/businesses that attend – whether postal or email, this could provide the best immediate return
- Exclusive tickets to meet the cast/team/manager/sportsperson that can be used for corporate entertainment
- Speaking opportunities at the event or at least mentions on the day
- Banners and branding – think creatively about how and where your name appears
- Mentions in the post event write up
Make sure you are thinking both online and offline when it comes to sponsorship. If the organiser has a significant social media following, then focus on this and agree a schedule of messages. If they employ or use a large number of people (in a theatre or sports team for example) can you offer an immediate incentive for them to use your services?
Some organisations will present you with a very formal list of benefits, yet many come simply asking if you will sponsor them. This is your chance to shape the list of benefits. Ask them about the above options and you might be surprised how much more you can get from the relationship. Not only that, but you will help them improve their packages for the future.
When it comes to deciding what to sponsor there’s plenty to consider, but number one is your target market. If you’re looking to raise your profile with potential clients, then you should be sponsoring something that they will see…. I know that sounds obvious, but it’s often the case that Partners choose to sponsor the things they like. I’m not going to run the risk of gross generalisations here but think about the demographics of your clients. If they are more likely to enjoy football, darts and boxing then why would you sponsor rugby and cricket and vice versa!
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This month I have been on the Agent Accelerator social media masterclass with Laura Rietdyk-Johnson. The course has been insightful because instead of giving an overview of typical ‘social media tips’ Laura spent her time researching Thornton Legal and our competitors’ online presence and provided me with a foundation of content ideas to help improve our social media platforms.
Laura also helped remind me that by having a consistent social media presence it will ultimately help build the Thornton Legal brand identity. This got me thinking about the importance of social media and reinforced what I already believe in, that social media has changed the dynamics of many businesses meaning you cannot afford to exclude social media strategies from your marketing activity anymore.
We are all spending more and more time on social media platforms, so why wouldn’t we take advantage of this and get our brand recognised by our target market online? Ultimately, social media is giving us all the platform to directly connect and interact with past, current and future customers. The more consistent and innovative we are, the more benefits we will gain from this.
However, there are so many different social platforms we could be using but we don’t want to be on every single one. Mainly because, what’s the point? We are best focusing our time and energy on the platforms that are most relevant to our businesses.
At Thornton Legal, our main platforms are Linkedin and Twitter, we are also visible on Instagram. Alongside our website and job boards, we put our energy into Linkedin and Twitter because this is where much of our target market is. Although the two platforms are used differently, it gives you the opportunity to connect with talented candidates that may not be on job sites.
We use Instagram because it allows us to mainly focus on Thornton Legal life giving us the platform to showcase our personality. After Laura’s masterclass on Instagram I will be utilising the benefits of this platform a lot more!
But to successfully put Laura’s tips into action, I need to go back and revisit our social media strategy and start to treat each platform individually because they each reap different benefits. For me to do this, I need to remember what’s the purpose, why am I posting this content?
At Thornton Legal we want to:
- Increase brand awareness
By us being consistent on social media it will help build our identity and give Thornton Legal a voice.
- Connect with our target audience
We have the opportunity to engage in conversations, post relative, memorable and consistent content helping to keep our business in the mind of clients and candidates. In return they remember Thornton Legal when they need our help.
- Boost our websites SEO
Having your website featured on the first page of google is what every business wants, so by us driving traffic to our optimized pages it will help us climb much faster in the search engine rankings. By us being consistently active, it will help increase the amount of website traffic received and, if our content is being shared, Google will then see us being more authoritative and in return help boost our website.
- Improve client retention
Same as connecting with our target audience, we can expand our communication out to potential clients and build positive relationships.
- Help increase trust in our business
One way I choose what service or product to go with, is by looking on a company’s social media accounts if I see they are active with good content it helps reinforce trust.
Many thanks to Laura for helping broaden my knowledge on social media and giving me advice on how best to manage Thornton Legal’s online presence. I believe the most important thing I have learnt is to constantly innovate. Every competitor and law firm I have looked at are all doing the same thing, posting the same content, same wording, same images. There is a gap in the market to switch things up and stand out from the crowd.
I would happily recommend the Agent Accelerator social media masterclass to anyone looking to improve their social media skills 😊.
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Since coming up with the concept for Thornton Legal, Joe and I have been thinking long and hard about how and where to spend our advertising budget. Do we do what so many recruiters have done and go big on the website? Are we happy to splash the cash on taking a big allocation of job ads on sites such as the Law Gazette or Simply Law? Is it sensible to market ourselves with a strategic but ultimately expensive online presence?
We tried to bear in mind that job boards work sometimes, that job ads work sometimes, that Linkedin works sometimes. These standard recruitment tools for finding new candidates are great if used in moderation but the fear was that we falling into the trap of many other recruiters in being overly reliant on them and that they could be perceived as an old fashioned, slightly impersonal, arm’s length ways of candidate generation.
After much deliberation, we came to the conclusion that by far the best way to get to speak with new and interesting candidates was by speaking more to existing candidates! They were the people with the wealth of information, the lawyer friends, the work colleagues; many of whom wanted a bit of career advice, market knowledge or insight into jobs or salaries.
We like talking to people, not by email but over the telephone or in person. It’s the best way of building trust and developing relationships. By and large the people we speak to on a daily basis like what we have to say. We give them open and honest advice. If we can’t help them, we can sometime steer them in the right direction. We think we are pretty good at what we do.
The fact that a significant proportion of our business comes about as a direct result of recommendations and referrals not only from candidates makes us happy. We got to thinking that some of the money we could spend on advertising could be better spent incentivising and rewarding existing candidates who recommend us to other people!
That’s why we have put in place what we consider to be one of the best referral schemes in the business! If you recommend us to a candidate or pass to us a candidate’s details and we end up placing that person into a law firm, we will honour stand by what the website says. We would rather people we already have a relationship with were rewarded for their efforts than spending our marketing budget on yet another pay per click or advertising campaign. Click on our “refer a friend link” for more details. In fact, give us a call for a chat! We’d prefer it!
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