LaFleur
MENU Scroll

Successfully Brand Your Law Firm With Strategy, Empathy, and Consistency

What’s in a Brand Identity?

You may not think of your legal practice as a “brand,” but just like Gap, Target, MasterCard, or Subaru, it is. Done well, a law firm brand creates a memorable picture of your firm, builds trust with current and potential clients, and helps your firm stand out in the legal industry. So how do you effectively manage your brand and develop a brand identity?

Successful brands share three common traits:

  1. A foundational strategy
  2. Acting in empathy
  3. Maintaining creative consistency

Below, we will discuss these three core facets of effectively building and managing your law firm’s brand.

Defining a Successful Law Firm Branding Strategy

The first step to establishing and maintaining a successful brand is developing a comprehensive brand strategy. Begin by thinking about your ideal clients: Who are they? What do they struggle with? How can you help them relieve their struggles? Using what you know about your clients, you can shape your brand to speak to and connect with them. Today’s legal consumer is more sophisticated than ever. In fact, 42% of people with legal issues research their situation online, and 10% of people who hire a lawyer continue to do legal research on their own. Everything you do should speak to your ideal clients, offer them helpful tools for addressing their legal issues, and direct them to your firm for help solving their problems.

The first step to establishing and maintaining a successful brand is developing a comprehensive brand strategy.

Many law firms struggle to build a brand that speaks to their ideal clients. For example, they might overemphasize accolades, board appointments, and recognition in the legal community. Unfortunately, these factors don’t resonate your target audience, because most people are skeptical of awards and can’t put them into context. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t include them on your site, it just means that your Super Lawyers badge shouldn’t be your main selling point.

Instead, your law firm’s brand should be rooted in your perspectives and beliefs as attorneys and clearly communicate how you help clients meet their needs and solve their problems. This is known as your brand promise. It can include information about your track record of success, your ability to handle complex claims, and the empathy you have for people facing a tough legal situation. By leading with value statements that relate to your target audience’s current troubles, you’re establishing your firm as a human, helpful, and relevant brand.

The data supports this approach to branding. In a survey of over 1,500 people conducted by Casey Meraz, none of the people surveyed indicated that awards, recognition, or honors were important in their decision-making process. Instead, some of the top qualities people look for include ratings, results, ethics, honesty, trust, and competitive price. Another survey by FindLaw discovered that the four most important factors for potential clients included expertise (such as your years of experience and your practice areas), recommendations, cost, and trustworthiness.

Some of the top qualities people look for include ratings, results, ethics, honesty, trust, and competitive price.

In short, branding for law firms is not about how great you are; it’s about how great you are at meeting your potential clients’ needs.

Understanding Empathy and Applying It to Your Law Firm Brand

Successful brands understand their clients at a deep level. Your clients reach out to your firm in times of real need. Rarely does someone seek out legal services in a time of great joy. Time and again when we read and listen to testimonials from our most successful law firms’ clients, we hear, “he took care of me,” “she listened to me,” “he made me feel like I was his only client,” and “they treated me like I was part of the family.”

Bringing empathy into your branding process requires time and effort on the part of anyone who interfaces with your clients and potential clients — from your receptionists to attorneys and partners. The good news? There’s a good chance you and your firm are already operating with an empathetic approach to client service. You just need to integrate it into your branding strategy.

In short, branding for law firms is not about how great you are; it’s about how great you are at meeting your potential clients’ needs.

An empathetic approach isn’t limited to how you treat people who come through your doors. It’s also part of your logo design, the colors and design of your website, and the words you use to communicate your message. People are coming to your firm in their hour of need; everything client-facing needs to be human, helpful, and empathetic. Your brand’s messaging should speak to where consumers are, and reiterate the ways your law firm can help them solve their problems. Even the smallest details, like where a form appears on your website, your typography, or your color scheme communicate your brand message proposition on an unconscious level.

If you’re not sure how to bring your brand to life, it’s time to consider working with an experienced team to help develop your brand through logo design; brand colors and typography; mission, vision, and value writing; brand voice exercises; website development; and more.

RELATED: The 10 Essential Elements Your Law Firm’s Website Needs

Creating Branding Consistency for Your Law Firm

Once you’ve established a brand strategy, you’ll need to apply it consistently across all your assets and marketing efforts. Creating a set of clearly articulated brand guidelines can help. Your brand guidelines should outline how your law firm uses images, logos, typography, voice, and tone to express its brand.

If your brand is established, you’ll now need to perform a careful audit of all your branded assets (publications, web pages, social media profiles, directory listings, letterhead, etc.) to make sure they adhere to your brand guidelines and communicate a consistent, empathetic message to clients. For new brands, you’ll want to create new, branded assets that reflect your brand guidelines as you expand your online and offline presence.

Strategies for Maintaining a Consistent Law Firm Brand Identity

 

  1. Work in Campaigns: Marketing campaigns have a consistent central message or theme that is shared across platforms or outlets. For instance, a personal injury firm might launch a campaign trying to reach people injured in a car crash that includes paid advertising, sponsored Facebook posts, optimized organic content, and local billboards. Promoting a message through a campaign also gives you a tremendous amount of control over your messaging and the ability to measure campaign success through careful analysis.

 

  1. Meet Prospective Clients Where They Are: With consistent campaign messaging across digital and traditional outlets, you can share your message with potential clients wherever they are. Digital and traditional marketing tactics can work together to deliver a consistent, persuasive client experience. And even if people don’t need your services right away, your firm will be top of mind when they do. In fact, pairing a search engine optimization strategy with billboards boosts its effectiveness by an astounding 40%.

 

  1. Stay True to Your Values: The heart and soul of your brand is your firm’s unique position and perspective. Your brand has the best chance of staying consistent, recognizable, and trustworthy if it is based on values you truly believe in, rather than trends or personas you adopt to appeal to more people.

 

  1. Build Brand Champions: Once your client’s legal matter is resolved, it is not the end of their journey with your brand. Don’t forget to collect a positive review to post on your website, on social media, and everywhere else you can online. True success stories about real people will build brand equity with prospective clients faster than the best ad campaign ever will.

 

Consistent branding reinforces what you want to be known for no matter where the client meets you: in print, online, or even in conversation. When your brand effectively delivers on its promises time and time again to the people who interact with it, you will start to see the rewards of good strategy, empathetic legal service, and creative consistency. Those rewards include emotional connections, high-quality ratings, referrals from satisfied clients, a growing following of brand advocates, and — most importantly — trust.

Consistent branding reinforces what you want to be known for no matter where the client meets you: in print, online, or even in conversation.

Develop a Brilliant Legal Marketing Plan With LaFleur

At LaFleur, we’re proud to work with law firms from across the country, helping them develop strong brands that translate to more clicks, conversions, and clients. To learn how we can help your firm elevate your brand identity, reach your target clients, and stand out in a competitive legal industry, please don’t hesitate to reach out! Simply give our office a call at (888) 222-1512 or complete this brief online form.

We look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

References

Kabiri, N. (2016). Sink or swim: How to adapt to the New Legal Consumer. Avvo. Retrieved from https://www.martindale-avvo.com/wp-content/uploads/how_to_adapt_to_the_new_legal_consumer_avvo_whitepaper_2016.pdf

Meraz, C. (2016, April 18). Hiring a lawyer: What potential clients really care about. Jurisdigital. Retrieved from https://jurisdigital.com/what-consumers-are-looking-for-before-hiring-a-lawyer/

Sesto, G. (2018, August 25). Out of Home by the Numbers: 64 Amazing Outdoor Advertising Stats. DashTwo. Retrieved from https://dashtwo.com/blog/out-of-home-by-the-numbers-64-amazing-outdoor-advertising-stats/

Wilson, M. (2014, July 29). FindLaw survey: 4 factors clients look for when hiring a lawyer. FindLaw. Retrieved from http://blogs.findlaw.com/strategist/2014/07/findlaw-survey-4-factors-clients-look-for-when-hiring-a-lawyer.html

 

Digital Marketing for Law Firms: Our Comprehensive Guide

At LaFleur, we’re committed to educating and empowering law firms. We publish blogs, webinars, newsletters, and podcasts that teach lawyers and law firms about digital marketing, branding, and other tools that can boost their practices and help them capture the right leads. Now, we’ve taken it a step further: we wrote a book.

Digital Marketing for Law Firms: The Secrets to Getting More Clients and Better Cases, published by Trial Guides, is our comprehensive guide to legal digital marketing. We’re incredibly proud of this resource, and we hope you’ll find it to be a powerful tool.

Keep reading to learn why we wrote the book — and what’s inside!

Turning Decades of Experience Into a Legal Marketing Treatise

Chip LaFleur founded our agency with a not-so-simple mission: to provide exceptional, data-driven marketing strategies to law firms and act as their partner, educating and empowering legal professionals. Since then, we’ve helped firms across the country harness the power of digital marketing, helping them build their brands and get better cases.

Our approach is grounded in four core values:

  1. We commit to excellence: At LaFleur, we’re a driven team of lifelong learners. We take immense pride in our work and our commitment to our clients. We are responsive, creative, and tireless.
  2. We invest in what matters: LaFleur sees itself as part of a greater community that includes our team, neighbors, and those in need. We do our best to respect our teams’ health, wellness, and personal needs. We also give back to the community with our time, skills, and financial support.
  3. We value relationships: We’re committed to building lasting relationships with both our employees and clients. LaFleur believes that transparency, mutual respect, and shared goals are essential to building these bonds.
  4. We act in good faith: You should never have to doubt your marketing agency’s motivations. At LaFleur, we believe that honesty and integrity are paramount.

Our first published book is a reflection of these values and our approach to digital marketing.

Chip and the LaFleur team worked tirelessly on Digital Marketing for Law Firms, taking our decades of shared experience and perspective and turning it into an easy-to-use resource that explains complex concepts like pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, website development, and organic search engine optimization (SEO) in plain English. It’s also filled with real-world examples, checklists, and samples that help inform and improve any law firm’s digital marketing plan.

What You’ll Find in Digital Marketing for Law Firms

You’ve probably experienced a client or jury’s epiphany when you’re able to clearly explain a complex legal theory or fact pattern to them. Suddenly, they can see the circumstances clearly and make better decisions. Our book aims to do the same thing for legal marketing.

From the essentials of branding to evaluating how your key performance indicators (KPIs) impact your return on investment, Digital Marketing for Law Firms guides readers through the essential elements of any well-built marketing plan. The 436-page book covers a wide variety of topics, including:

  • Legal branding
  • Identifying your firm’s target audiences
  • Website design and development
  • Building content strategies
  • Social media
  • Newsletters and email automation
  • Networking and brand ambassadorship
  • Paid advertising
  • Data analytics

Rather than just churning out marketing jargon, which can rival legalese in its complexity, we carefully walk readers through each step, using a fictional law firm and its clients to help illustrate our strategies and tactics. The book also contains a roughly 20-page glossary that defines and explains most of the marketing terms you’ll encounter as you construct your firm’s digital presence.

Digital Marketing for Law Firms was a labor of love,” says Chip. “Our team has seen first-hand how the right lawyer can positively change a client’s life. Unfortunately, many lawyers don’t know how to maximize their marketing investments and miss out on these opportunities. We’ve worked hard to educate the law firms we partner with, but the book lets us reach a much broader audience.”

Advice for Both DIY Marketers and Law Firms in Search of an Agency Partner

Your law firm deserves more than a one-size-fits-none website and marketing plan. Instead, your marketing solutions should be tailored to your precise needs and goals. For some firms and sole practitioners, that might mean DIY marketing — using your in-house resources to create content, nurture leads, and build a client experience. As you grow, however, you may find that hiring a marketing partner makes more sense.

Our book serves both populations (and everyone in between) by explaining legal marketing best practices, showing examples of what (and what not) to do, and discussing “red flags” that indicate a marketing agency isn’t acting in your firm’s best interest. Armed with this information, you’ll be able to accurately assess your internal marketing capacity, build effective strategies, and select the best digital marketing partners.

“At LaFleur, we reject the ‘smoke and mirrors’ approach to agency-client relationships,” notes Chip. “While there’s an art and science to digital marketing, many of the fundamentals are easy to understand, once someone’s taken the time to explain them properly to you. I know that when lawyers get these fundamentals, they can make significantly better decisions, invest more wisely, and select the best possible agencies for their goals and budget.”

Ready to Boost Your Marketing Reach? Connect With LaFleur

In addition to ordering Digital Marketing for Law Firms, you can always reach out directly to the LaFleur team. We can answer your questions about your legal marketing plan, suggest ways to improve its reach, and educate you about our approach and solutions. To reach Chip and the team, you can either complete our online form or call us at (888) 222-1512.

7 Questions to Ask When Reviewing Your Digital Marketing Plan

Is your current digital marketing plan not producing the results you expected, or did you fail to set expectations in the first place?

To lay a foundation that establishes a clear direction for your business, you need a marketing plan that includes goals, strategies, tactics, key performance indicators, and proven evaluation techniques. Regardless of your available resources, you should create a marketing plan that empowers you to determine what is and isn’t working — and make adjustments as necessary. If not, you’re bound to repeat the same mistakes with the same results. Worse yet, you won’t know which campaigns are working, so you won’t know how to get the most out of these promising initiatives.

Developing an effective marketing plan requires an in-depth knowledge of various digital marketing strategies and how to execute and optimize them, which is why many businesses turn to digital marketing agencies for help. Skilled and experienced agencies will comb the data and ask the tough questions to conduct a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) of your organization to better understand your business goals, what’s working, and where you need to improve. The marketing team will then use this material to develop a digital marketing plan for your business — but the plan is never set in stone. You should review your digital marketing plan regularly to ensure that you have a roadmap to achieve your goals and grow your business.

In this article, we’ll cover seven questions to ask when reviewing your digital marketing plan.

Ask Yourself These Questions When Evaluating a Digital Marketing Plan

1. How Do the Proposed Strategies Support Our Goals?

Ill-defined goals that are either too narrow or too broad are a surprisingly common shortcoming in many organizations’ digital marketing plans. You need to establish specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely goals, as well as how these objectives fit in with each strategy. If the marketing plan is not structured to achieve and support your company’s goals, it won’t measure up to your expectations.

2. Are the Strategies Targeted to Our Ideal Client Audience?

The strategies outlined in your digital marketing plan must be tailored to target your ideal client audience. Depending on your industry, there will be marketing strategies that are more effective for reaching your unique buyer segments. For instance, social media marketing can be an easy and effective way to reach your clients. So, you might include paid and organic Facebook campaigns in your digital marketing plan because you’ve read that it’s one of the most popular platforms. However, although Facebook remains immensely popular, if the statistics show that most of your potential customers are actually using LinkedIn more often, concentrating the majority of your time and money on Facebook won’t generate the results you’re looking for.

RELATED: How to Run Timely, Effective Social Media Campaigns on a Budget

3. Can Our Digital Marketing Plan Achieve Results Within Our Available Budget?

Marketing plans should include a specific and detailed budget that also provides a flexible cushion for new opportunities that arise throughout the year. Most companies do not have the experience necessary to understand how much time, money, and effort is required to execute the various strategies in their plan successfully. When you fail to recognize the resources necessary for effective campaigns, you’re destined for failure. And if your budget is compromised before the completion of the plan, your marketing initiatives could grind to a sudden halt.

4. How Does the Plan Utilize Our Current Marketing Strategies?

Even new and small companies usually have at least a few digital marketing strategies in place, such as a website or email newsletter. Unless your current strategies require a complete overhaul, your plan will need to address which changes you need to make to your existing campaigns. Will the website need to be redesigned? Are your email call-to-action (CTA) assets not suited for your target audience? If either of these strategies need to be revamped, you can likely repurpose much of your existing content (blogs, eBooks, video, images, graphics, etc.) to conserve resources and capitalize on your strengths. Your digital marketing plan needs to address your current campaigns and assets to determine what can be salvaged and what needs to be completely reworked.

RELATED: When Digital Marketing Plans Fail, Reboot for Success

5. Have We Addressed All of Our Digital Marketing Strategies?

Website optimization, content marketing, social media management, email marketing, and paid advertising are the five main strategies of digital marketing. Your marketing plan needs to address each of these areas and detail your short- and long-term approach for immediate, scalable, and sustainable success. For instance, your website might be in good shape, so you’d rather focus your resources on paid search and social media marketing. In this case, you should detail the strategies and tactics (remarketing, content syndication, boosted posts, etc.) you want to use to improve your outbound demand generation efforts, as well as the proposed budget, goals, and timeline for each.

6. Does the Plan Include Our Expected ROI?

The cost of the strategies and tactics included in your marketing plan will vary substantially — from thousands of dollars per year to thousands of dollars per month. Be sure to compare these costs with industry averages and your return on investment from previous digital marketing campaigns to ensure that your strategies and tactics are worth your time and effort. Bear in mind that not every strategy or tactic will yield an immediate result; for example, SEO optimization and social media marketing can take more time to deliver tangible results.

7. Is Our Marketing Plan a Reflection of Our Company’s Values?

We aren’t here to preach, but you should consider whether your marketing plan reflects your company, your community, and how you want your business to be positioned within your community. Does the plan express how you handle client relationships and how you participate in the betterment of your community through volunteerism and financial support? For some businesses, more leads might not matter if the tactics that deliver them also undermine your sense of who you are.

LaFleur: Custom Digital Marketing Services

If you are unhappy with your current digital marketing plan or are considering enlisting the help of a full-service digital marketing agency to create a new plan, please contact LaFleur today to schedule a free consultation. We will provide objective, unbiased information about the strengths and weaknesses of your current marketing and business plans and offer suggestions for how we might develop strategies that support your business model and drive maximum results.

At LaFleur, we pride ourselves on:

  • Creating original content that our clients retain if we discontinue our business relationship.
  • Employing an expert in each pillar of digital marketing — including website optimization, content marketing, social media management, email marketing, and paid digital advertising.
  • Offering regional exclusivity to clients. We do not accept new clients within a predetermined radius of existing competing clients.

Please call (888) 222-1512 or complete this brief online contact form to get started. We would love to review your existing marketing plan and campaigns to offer feedback or even create an entirely new plan from scratch!

Want to Attract and Retain Top Talent? Focus on the Three Bs: Balance, Belonging, and Breakfast

3 Ways to Attract Top Talent to Your Team

If you’ve talked with anyone who’s in the business of hiring top talent, you’ve heard that “it’s just hard to find good team members these days!” It is. In a recent survey of senior executives conducted by Gartner, 63% of respondents indicated that a talent shortage was a key concern for their organization.

While finding good talent is a hurdle, retaining your top performers is even more difficult. Follow the three Bs in this article to keep your top team members engaged and enthusiastic about their work for years to come!

Before You Can Hire, You Need to Pique Desire

While improved interviewing systems and HR processes can streamline your hiring, they can’t guarantee that you’ll get the best candidates for your team. That’s why you need a healthy workplace culture that converts your existing employees into brand ambassadors.

You also need to celebrate your amazing team and culture on your website, social media, and in real life.

  • Make sure that at least one-third of your social media posts are about your team; candid photos are better than posed.
  • Dedicate a page on your website to your organization’s culture.
  • Photos, photos, photos! Words are lovely, but pictures speak volumes.
  • Don’t forget about video. Seeing the way your team interacts with each other is such a valuable resource for recruiting.
  • In your initial interviews, talk about your workplace culture and what makes your organization stand out.
  • Do things that give your employees something to brag about on social media: volunteer together, share meals, and bring your dogs to work.
  • Use language on your website and in your communications that reflects your culture.

These steps will help attract employees that embrace your values and work ethic. They should also be simple to implement if you’re being honest in your communications and are really dedicated to your workplace culture.

Practice What You Preach

Everyone, not just your leadership team, should buy into and support your culture. That means setting clear expectations, consistently enforcing your rules, and carefully considering culture fit for every new hire. One bad apple can impact an entire department, so it’s something you must take seriously.

However, if everyone in your organization knows your expectations for living out your cultural mission, it will be simple to enforce standards and uphold them in your daily work.

The First B: Balance

Many workplaces shout “flexible schedules” from the rooftops. But giving your team flex time to go to an occasional doctor’s appointment or work from home one day a month isn’t the kind of balance we’re talking about here. Work-life balance comes in different shapes and sizes for every employee, and you can’t put it into a nice, little rule box.

That’s the point of offering true balance, which only comes with hard work and dedication. At LaFleur, we offer flexible schedules, work-from-anywhere options, and unlimited vacation time. These foundational benefits aren’t earned; they vest the minute you become a team member here.

We’ve found that people who feel respected and are treated as adults who can manage their workload and personal schedule will work harder for your organization.

When I tell other business leaders that we offer unlimited vacation time at LaFleur, I almost always get this response, “Must be nice! So, you can take a whole month off if you want to?” Sure, I could. But our average team member takes about 14 vacation days per year.

It works because we have a communicated expectation that time off is taken when you are caught up and covered. Our team consists of people who respect one another so much that they wouldn’t set sail for the islands and leave their team members with a steaming pile of hot garbage. Our approach to balance works because our hard-working team members take pride in their work and respect one another’s time and talents enough to work together.

The Second B: Belonging

Since we spend so much time with our coworkers, it’s important that we feel a sense of belonging at work. It’s great to have a friend at work, but it’s more valuable to have a tribe.

Introvert, extrovert, or intextrovert, everyone wants to find a place to truly belong. When you work hard to develop a workplace culture where individuals are valued for their unique gifts and talents, you will innately create a place where your team members genuinely like each other.

A top performing team member who feels connected to their coworkers will stay with your organization longer than one who feels isolated.

Encourage your team to spend time together both inside and outside of the office. Give them a chance to talk about their hobbies, their weekend plans, and their families. Throw pity parties for team members going through a tough time. Celebrate new milestones together. These are the things your team will talk to their friends and family about when they go home at night, and it’s what will keep them coming back, ready to work hard for your organization every day.

The Final B: Breakfast

Any daily meal, really. It’s amazing what covering your team members’ essential needs can do for your productivity and culture. By supplying healthy snacks, simple-to-prepare lunch items, and bringing in the occasional box of donuts, you’re letting your team know you care about them.

You care so much that you don’t want them to have the stress of packing a lunch before they head out the door. Or even the stress of having to buy a box of granola bars to cover their breakfast needs for the week. It’s small, but the impact is big. When I surveyed our team last year for an article on work-life balance, “the food” made it into the top 10 list of things our crew loves about LaFleur.

A team that eats together completes together. Through our bellies, we find wellbeing and energy to take on client work, conjure up new ideas, and focus on the next big thing!  So, give your team the comfort of knowing that you’ve got their back when their stomach starts rumbling.

Related Articles: Building a Better Workplace: LaFleur Takes Work-Life Balance Seriously Serious

Top Talent is Yours to Lose

If your organization is dedicated to making your place the place to work, you need to take your workplace culture seriously. Each hire should believe in your cultural mission and live it out every day. Through a carefully curated team of stellar individuals, your organization will soar to new heights together!

LaFleur: Creating a Better Workplace (and Brilliant Digital Marketing)

To learn more about our approach to workplace culture, or to speak with us about digital marketing, contact LaFleur today. Call us at (888) 222-1512 or complete our online form. We’re passionate about the work we do and the people we work with and for. We look forward to starting the conversation.

References

Gartner survey shows global talent shortage is now the top emerging risk facing organizations (2019, January 17). Gartner. Retrieved from https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2019-01-17-gartner-survey-shows-global-talent-shortage-is-now-the-top-emerging-risk-facing-organizations

10 Minutes With Content Developer Leigh Ebrom

10 Minutes With Content Developer Leigh Ebrom

Leigh Ebrom is a writer, researcher, and marketing strategist extraordinaire at LaFleur. Leigh earned a B.A. in international relations from Michigan State University and a J.D. from Valparaiso University, then worked for several years as an attorney practicing disability-related law. She later decided to transition into a career as a digital marketing professional, working as a freelancer for several companies before joining the LaFleur team as a full-time content developer in early 2018.

We sat down to talk with Leigh about her unusual journey from law to marketing, the seminal work of fiction that inspired her to start writing at a young age, and the last great rock and roll show she saw with her five-year-old.

***

LaFleur: I know you had kind of an interesting journey from being a practicing personal injury and disability attorney to a digital marketer. Can you tell me a little bit about how that happened?

Leigh Ebrom: So, I had for a very long time done digital marketing work for my old law firm, and I found I liked doing that. I didn’t have any formal training in marketing, but I was the youngest attorney there, and I think they probably thought I knew more about how digital media worked than most of my colleagues.

I’ve always really liked writing and storytelling and explaining things to people, and I found marketing really appealed to me on that level. So, when I had an opportunity to reassess my career, I decided to explore the digital marketing world — and it’s been a blast.

LF: That’s very cool. What do you enjoy most about working in digital marketing with the LaFleur team?

LE: I’ve always liked taking complicated concepts and really parsing them down, and we work with a lot of legal and healthcare clients who have a real need on that level — where people need help and don’t understand these environments. And when you can go in and not just market products and services but actually engage someone and educate them and give them a richer, deeper experience, it’s really gratifying. That was my favorite thing about practicing law, and now I get to continue that in a different way.

LF: And from here, where do you see yourself going? What do you still want to learn and accomplish in your marketing career?

LE: I am learning so much every day with the folks here who are incredibly smart and willing to share and collaborate. Just workshopping ideas and having that great synthesis of criticism and collaboration and all the things that make everyone a better person and marketing professional — it’s been great. So, part of me doesn’t know where this is all going to go, but I’m just enjoying this deep dive into the marketing profession, and I’ll see where it’s leading when I come back up for air.

LF: Sounds like you’re feeling good about where you’re heading in terms of your career. What’s your life outside of work like? I know you have a young son, so I imagine that keeps you pretty busy.

LE: Yes, you guessed right. That does keep me busy, but besides that I love music, and I love to travel…

LF: Your whole family loves music, right?

LE: Yes. My little one is obsessed with rock and roll. We maybe aren’t the best parents in that regard — he knows some lyrics he probably shouldn’t.

LF: Hey, he has to learn those words eventually. I grew up listening to ‘90s hip-hop, and I still knew when to be careful with my language.

LE: That’s true. We do talk about how words have power, and how sometimes grown-ups forget about that. But yeah, we go to a lot of concerts with him.

LF: What’s the last great concert you guys went to?

LE: Queens of the Stone Age at 20 Monroe Live [in Grand Rapids] with Royal Blood opening. Seeing them at a smaller venue like that was amazing.

LF: What about an all-time favorite concert? Or, do you have a bucket list band you really want to see?

LE: I got to see the original Beastie Boys lineup, and it was probably kind of wrapped up in the mystique of that moment, but it always comes up when I talk about great concerts I’ve seen. I was studying abroad in Europe and managed to catch them, and I look back and it’s one of those things — just kind of the combination of youth and nostalgia and really great music.

LF: You’re a writer, which I hope means you’re a reader too.

LE: Definitely.

LF: What do you like to read?

LE: I like to read really weird, diverse stuff, like nerdy books about geopolitics, because I studied that for a long time in college. I’m just wrapping up The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen, which is about a Vietnamese refugee who has this very complicated history and unusual life. It’s kind of hard to summarize, but it’s dark and weird and interesting, and I love stuff like that.

LF: Do you remember a particular book or work that made you realize you wanted to write?

LE: That’s easy. Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis.

LF: Interesting. Not a popular choice among — I was going to say readers of your age, but maybe just among anyone. I think of that as a story that kids get assigned to read in high school or college and groan through.

LE: That was the first story that made me realize a piece of literature could make you think in ways that weren’t so obvious. And I do remember reading it the first time and being so angry with the book because I thought it didn’t make sense, and I was upset that this guy woke up as a bug one day, and he never questioned why he’s a bug, and it doesn’t even exactly say he’s a bug — and then I found that all of that irritation just made me stop and think about the aspects of it that are a commentary on human existence and all of this other interesting stuff.

I think that was the first moment when I was like, “Oh — just because a book is about something doesn’t mean it’s about that thing.” And it really just made me fall in love with complicated narratives and thoughts.

LF: Anything else you really enjoy, in whatever precious few minutes you have when you’re not working and reading and writing and going to concerts and raising a child?

LE: I love to travel, and I love wine — we’re really big wine nerds in our family.

LF: What’s your recommendation for a great affordable wine to bring to a dinner party or a friend’s house?

LE: Barbera d’Alba from Italy. It’s medium-bodied and not super fruit-forward but still an interesting everyday drinking wine. Italians would say it’s a “spaghetti wine.” You can’t go wrong.

 

5 Common Marketing Mistakes and How to Correct Them

Without a solid marketing strategy, it’s easy to make mistakes. Unfortunately, many law firms don’t know how to identify and correct their errors. Before you spend another penny of your marketing budget, take some time to reassess your tactics.

1. You Lack a Comprehensive Marketing Strategy

Without a strong marketing strategy, it’s easy to waste time and money on inconsistent and ineffective initiatives. Sometimes, companies throw their budget at the proverbial wall and hope that something sticks, and while you can approach marketing on an ad hoc basis, it’s not in your best interest.

There’s a difference between a marketing strategy and the tools you might use to implement it. Your marketing strategy is your roadmap and foundation; it identifies your core audiences, sets standards, and frames your marketing choices. Your website, social media profiles, pay-per-click ads, podcasts, and email campaigns are great tools, but none of these elements composes a strategy in and of themselves.

Without a marketing strategy, it’s hard to ensure brand consistency and foster quality leads. For example, suppose your law firm purchases a generic, late-night cable television ad. It doesn’t include much information about your personal injury practice, because a big-box referral service created it from a stale template. Instead, it simply tells viewers to call you with their car accident questions. You and your partners figured you could easily recoup the few thousand dollars you invested if you got one good case. However, most callers have undesirable cases — or no case at all.

When you have a well-defined marketing strategy, you and your team will understand who you want to reach and the best tools with which to do so. Your messages will be consistent with your brand, offer compelling information, and nurture leads. When someone initiates contact with you, there’s a better chance they’re exactly the type of client you’re looking for because they know exactly who you are and what you do best.

2. You Don’t Know Your Audience

Most businesses know their clients’ stories, their challenges, their idiosyncrasies, and their goals. But have you ever thought of them as a marketing audience, or more accurately, a series of marketing audiences?

Effective marketing is targeted at specific audiences who you know value your services and who you consider ideal clients. Typically, you will develop a series of “personas,” idealized characters that reflect your audiences’ preferences, motivations, and demographics.

When you’re building your personas, don’t just data-mine your files. You should also look for areas of potential growth and underserved populations. Ask your leads and clients questions, and listen carefully to their responses. Find out how they discovered your company, why they chose you, and what they appreciate most about your services. Do they recommend you to friends and family? Once you’ve answered these questions, review this information and other client data to identify common traits.

Once you have developed well-defined personas, you can create marketing messages that speak to each audience segment. Consider how your personas would search for your services and what might entice them to click on your contact form or other calls-to-action.

3. You Treat Your Services Like They’re a Commodity

There are thousands of law firms offering personal injury, tax, estate planning, and business services. And many of them use similar branding and messages: Pictures of people in suits! Free consultations! Millions recovered! This sort of messaging can quickly become white noise and will rarely differentiate you from your competition. It can also make your firm look like a commodity that’s nearly identical to your competition, charges similar rates, and offers comparable results.

 

“The longer someone spends reading your blog, watching videos, and downloading white papers, the more likely they’ll fill out your contact form or give you a call. An educated lead is more likely to match one of you.”

 

Your firm is unique, and your messaging should be as well. You might approach cases differently, have specialized credentials, or your staff might go above and beyond to make your clients feel welcomed and empowered. Your personal experiences or passions might add a depth of understanding or empathy that your competitors lack. These are your value propositions. Take advantage of your strengths.

You should demonstrate your added value on each page, post, email, and ad. This requires a lot of introspection, research, and effort. You should identify why your services are unique and desirable, and craft messages that clearly and concisely explain your value propositions. Then, share these messages in all marketing materials and client interactions.

4. You’re Too Self-Centered

You certainly should talk about how awesome your law firm is and share its success stories, but alongside these promotional pieces, offer thought leadership. Legal marketing sometimes seems like it’s all about the cult of personality, but most clients aren’t looking for a name — they’re looking for a product or service.  They’re also looking for information, guidance, and an interpersonal relationship.

When most clients start searching for law firms, they’re typically looking for basic information. They want to know how to file a claim, draft a document, or learn about their rights. Sharing knowledge not only shows your competence, it also encourages prospective clients to spend time on your website. The longer someone spends reading your blog, watching videos, and downloading white papers, the more likely they’ll fill out your contact form or give you a call. An educated lead is more likely to match one of your ideal personas, since they found your content appealing and informative.

5. You Don’t Value Data and Research

A good marketing strategy requires competitive research and data points. Market research involves studying your competitors’ brands and messages. What are they doing right? What weaknesses can you exploit? How can you differentiate yourself?

You also should assess the effectiveness of your content and tactics. This might involve using A/B testing, data analytics, SEO evaluations, and other activities. Data will also help you establish a digital baseline that will help you understand the relative impact and cost-effectiveness of your revised marketing tactics.

Finally, never rest on past success. Marketing, especially digital marketing, is constantly evolving. Unless you regularly assess your website’s performance and compliance with the industry’s best practices, you might be losing leads — and clients.

Feeling Overwhelmed? Learn How LaFleur Marketing Can Help Improve Your Marketing Strategy.

Most lawyers would rather practice law than focus on legal marketing, but that’s where we come in. At LaFleur Marketing, we help law firms, healthcare organizations, and other businesses reach their ideal clients through well-designed websites, brilliant content marketing, and customized marketing strategies. Contact us online or at (888) 222-1512 for more information.

The Waiting Is the Hardest Part: Improving Your On-Hold Messaging

Your digital marketing efforts are starting to pay off, and the phone calls are coming in at a high rate. The problem: prospective leads are hanging up before you get the chance to speak with them. Why, you ask? The answer could be much simpler than you realize. (more…)

What Is a Conversion? And How to Get More of Them for Your Firm

Conversions Are the Single Most Important Element of Legal Marketing

Today we’re going to condense the entire legal marketing enterprise down to a single word: conversion. That is, transforming a user into a lead by encouraging them to take a specific action that results in capturing some aspect of their personal information—usually an email address or a phone number.   (more…)

The Truth… The Whole Truth: The Value of Video Testimonials

The power and influence of video testimonials cannot be understated. Here we have two of the most effective digital marketing assets in one convenient package, which is great for any business. But it’s especially great for law firms because attorneys rely so heavily on building trust with their clients. And there’s no better way to build trust in a digital space (a concept commonly referred to as “social proof”) than by placing a quality testimonial in an audio/visual context. It humanizes the messaging, urging users to empathize with the subject in the process. This makes users far more likely to convert than they would be with a simple written testimonial. (more…)

LaFleur Marketing – Who We Are

Sarah LaFleur, Tiffany Ewigleben, Chip LaFleur, Dave VandeWaa, Kyle McCarthy (not pictured: Luke Gendron)

Any time you assemble a group of people toward a common goal, you end up with a sum of the parts. But outstanding groups are able to do outstanding things; in my mind, they are capable of exponentially greater things together than just combining the sum total of their individual work.

When we created LaFleur Legal Marketing, we brought together a small group of people, including David VandeWaa, Tiffany Ewigleben, Kyle McCarthy, Luke Gendron, and Sarah LaFleur. We talked about what we wanted to do and created a plan to move that concept forward. Each part had to not only function, but excel.

A central component of our success has been – and continues to be – empowering incredibly talented individuals to leverage their strengths within the assembly of talent that makes up LaFleur Legal Marketing. I would like to explain how each part works toward the betterment of the whole, and how – by bettering LaFleur Legal Marketing – we improve the businesses of all of our clients.

David VandeWaa – In the world of English, literature, and grammar, Dave is a rock star. He can tell you where “fleur” branched from “flora” in the Middle Ages, and when you should use “effect” instead of “affect.” He would be offended by that example because he would struggle to imagine a scenario where someone wouldn’t know the proper usage.

Being a rock star in a field is exciting, but branching out of that field can be difficult. Imagine Jim Morrison showing up at a party with zero fans of rock and no awareness of the music of the 60s. But Dave jumped from academia and the accolades that accompany his career in that space to lend his skills and expertise to organizations that can benefit from his talents immediately and directly – not just conceptually.

Tiffany Ewigleben – Some people are not equipped with a reverse gear. They move toward a goal and remain unstoppable until they reach it. We say that we value education, and Tiffany epitomizes that part of our mission. She is driven toward the ongoing education of herself and everyone she encounters, and she always does so with a view toward practicality rather than notoriety.

Tiffany also has the rare quality of understanding what goes into a final deliverable and then pursuing its parts and pieces voraciously until the whole is not only assembled, but complete – and there is such a huge difference between the two.

Kyle McCarthy – We absolutely cannot overstock LaFleur Legal Marketing with thought-leaders in the content creation space. Another master’s degree recipient, Kyle has been able to lend his talents to a variety of projects, including writing captivating emails, informative blog posts, successful tweets, and text ads.

Creating a compelling argument in 140 characters or less has become ever more important – and Kyle has been able to create a point of differentiation for LaFleur Legal Marketing by helping us create the kind of short and statements that actually drive users to engage with and complete our initiatives.

Luke Gendron – Some people have the ability to view the world through another’s eyes. Luke has shown himself able to step back and look at the larger picture (along with the small details) from a client’s perspective. He can successfully advocate for a client’s needs while simultaneously weighing in the value of deliverables.

Luke is not only a veteran, but a special forces (Green Barret) veteran with combat experience – oh, and also a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt and a Philips Methodology of Return on Investment expert. In Luke’s own words, “I want to make a difference. I want to continue to change businesses for the better and continue to improve as a professional.” Of course, the simple truth is that Luke demonstrated his value to our organization and to our clients (and potential clients) long before he even came onboard.

Helping someone who has a need find exactly the right organization to fill that need is a valuable talent, and no one is as talented in that respect as Luke Gendron.

Sarah LaFleur – This was a tough hire because we are a transparent organization that frowns on receiving a position without the proper background and experience. Nepotism just does not work for us because every member of our organization can see through the layers of our agency to find parts that might not make sense.

Luckily, Sarah came from an outstanding organization (Pear Analytics) that successfully focuses on search engine optimization and marketing for national and international corporations. She brought with her a talent for analytics, link building, design, content creation, management, and user engagement.

Sarah leads our organic search efforts using the systems and the philosophy that we share with Pear Analytics – delivery of outstanding, measurable results in both paid and organic traffic generation.

In addition to these central team members, LaFleur Legal Marketing works with US-based writers and developers where they are able to contribute toward the goals of our clients. We use the same high standards in choosing our partners that we used in creating our team in the first place. The ability to understand – and further – the goals of our clients is an absolute must for any employee or contractor that we engage.

Ultimately, truly outstanding talent should come at a cost, and we are eager to pay it at LaFleur Legal Marketing. That cost is not simply related to monetary compensation, but is also interwoven with an organization’s ability to create fulfilling occupations that contribute to the happiness, satisfaction, and wellbeing of our team members rather than detracting from them. In future posts, we will expound on our policies related to attracting talent, our plans for employee growth, and the things we’re doing to enhance every employee’s individual career path. For now, suffice it to say, the talented people that make up LaFleur Legal Marketing are our lifeblood, and we will continually remind ourselves of the fact that our organization owes each of them a great deal!