Developing the strategic message for your law firm
If you’re a lawyer, you probably like to believe that your hard work and track record for successful outcomes are enough to keep new clients coming your way. For a long time, that was exactly the way it worked in the legal field. The best lawyers proved themselves time and time again, both in and out of court, and they relied solely on the strength of their reputations to keep their practices growing. But in today’s legal environment, with increasing competition – on its own, word of mouth is no longer enough to sustain profitable growth.
Instead, law firms need to establish a compelling brand identity to draw new clients in, and with that, they need a clearly defined strategic message to support it. Like in just about every other industry in the world right now, a strong marketing approach is the key to prosperity. Quite simply, once you make the effort to define your brand and develop a clear-cut messaging strategy to go along with it, you give your target audience everything they need to know about who you are as a firm and why they should hire you over the competition.
Identifying Your Brand
Historically, law firms have shown a tendency to define themselves according to a series of generic characteristics that every other law firm identifies with as well. It makes them all interchangeable on a high level. In the past, firms could get away with this approach because the reputations of their individual lawyers spoke for themselves, and that’s what drove business. But in today’s climate, a generic existence is not going to cut it.
To establish your brand – one that really speaks to your audience – you first have to define who you are and what your strengths are as a firm, and then turn that into a series of identifiable characteristics (logo, messaging, etc.) that you carry through every aspect of your business.
Developing Your Strategic Message
Simply put, your messaging strategy is an invaluable tool that’s built to establish trust and cultivate relationships with your target audience, existing clients, and current employees. A good messaging strategy will illustrate the values you stand for as well as what sets you apart from the competition, and it should communicate those points clearly and concisely. To actually construct your message, however, requires a bit of work.
To get started creating your messaging strategy, you’ll need to…
- …dig deep within the core of your firm.
Just as you did when creating your brand, you’ll need to pinpoint exactly who you are as a firm. On the surface, your geographic location or the type of law you practice can be a great start in helping you identify what makes your firm unique. Then take it a step further: What are your value propositions (what makes you particularly attractive to your customers)? What are your differentiators (what sets you head and shoulders above the competition)?
- …conduct market research.
Once you’ve got a firm grasp on who you are, you’ll need to establish who your audience is. Talk to your existing clients, and find out: What are their common interests and needs? What other characteristics do they share? This will help you identify who actually falls within your target audience. From there, you’ll want to find out what makes this group tick. Understanding what they find valuable, what their pain points are, what their buying triggers are, and what their impressions of your products and services are will go a long way in helping you establish the foundation of your message.
- …survey the competition.
You’ve got a handle on yourself and your audience. Now it’s time to analyze your competitors. Who are they? What do their websites look like? How are they describing themselves? Identify what the competitors are doing well, and compare that to what your audience thinks you do well. If you don’t quite measure up in some areas, you’ve found opportunities for improvement. And on the other hand, anything you do well that your competition lacks – those things translate directly into your competitive differentiators.
- …analyze your results.
Take the information you gathered from your clients and your competitors, and put it to use. What have you learned about your firm? The data you collected should help shed some light on the ways in which you excel in the industry; the types of services your clients need that only you can provide; and the type of marketing approach that would be most captivating to your audience. Together, these elements will provide the base upon which to build your messaging strategy.
Implementing Your Approach
With your brand and messaging strategy in place, the final piece to the puzzle is consistency. It’s imperative that you take ownership of your brand and operate consistently – in all aspects of your firm – according to your messaging. When you live and breathe your brand, you illustrate to your audience that this is who you are, this is what you do – and you mean it. It shows them exactly why they should hire you and leaves no question about the credibility of your firm.
For additional help building your brand and your messaging strategy, contact us today to schedule a consultation.