Many law firms subscribe to the referral myth: the idea that around 90% of their traffic comes from referrals anyway, which means that they shouldn’t have to worry about marketing. If most of your business is coming through referrals, chances are, there’s little reason to move forward with marketing, right?
Unfortunately, there are a number of key problems with this strategy.
The Problems with the “Referral Myth”
The referral myth creates a number of critical problems for your law firm.
Referral Rates are Variable
Referral rates often come in waves. One month, you may have three or four referrals come through your door, eager to talk to you about your practice. The next month, however, you might not have any–and there’s no guarantee that the month after that will yield the foot traffic you need, either. Many law firms experience a “feast or famine” business flow when they rely on referrals alone to help them bring in new business.
Referral Fees Can Be High
Sometimes, you can get referrals through professional relationships. While this is a great way to get traffic, you may end up paying more than anticipated for those referral fees–and in many legal fields, that can quickly eat into your profits.
Sources Move On
Your referral sources may retire. They may change jobs. They may move away from your geographic area. If you’re relying on referrals to form the basis of your business, you have to constantly keep creating new sources for referrals–and in some cases, that can take considerably more effort and money than more traditional marketing. Not only that, if you aren’t constantly working to build your source base, you may be surprised by the loss of a specific source–and it may cut into your income until you have the chance to build new connections.
Referrals Need to Know More
Today’s referrals aren’t going to call you as soon as they get a number from the source. In most cases, the first thing they do is pull out their phones to see how you compare to other legal names they may have been given. If you don’t have a strong online presence that will make it easy for you to find–and provide the information your customers need–chances are, you’re going to end up struggling to bring those referrals in. Referrals want to know who you are and what you have to offer: not just the type of legal services you handle, but your past results, what support you can offer in their specific position, and even why you stand for what you do. Your online presence is an essential way to draw in referrals and let them know that you really do have the expertise they need when you stand at their side through their legal concerns.
The Importance of Marketing
There are several critical questions when it comes to managing your overall legal marketing efforts. First, is your mobile presence optimized? Chances are, if it’s not, you’re leaving money on the table, since many of those referrals may actually end up calling another firm. Next, how are you securing your referrals? And finally, how are you supplementing your referral base during times when referrals run low?
Building a Solid Brand Foundation
Having a solid brand foundation and a highly targeted online presence is critical to both securing your referrals and casting a net that will help you bring in clients when referrals are running lower than usual. You need a solid online presence that establishes who your firm is, what you have to offer, and why clients should choose you over your competitors. Lawyers in any legal field are not a dime a dozen. Your firm has many attributes that set you apart, whether it’s your determination to see solid results for your clients or your commitment to helping your clients through the difficult situations in which they find themselves. However, if you don’t have that solid online foundation, you may find it much more difficult to generate the traffic you need.
Raising Brand Awareness
Awareness of your legal brand is important on a number of levels. First, you need to establish who you are so that customers can find you. Many people do not need a lawyer until an emergency crops up: a serious injury that requires a personal injury claim, a divorce or child custody battle, criminal charges, or the need for estate planning. Often, they need to make a fast decision about which law firm will best fit their needs. If you have a solid brand presence and clients are already aware of your brand, they’ll be more likely to choose your firm.
Next, brand awareness is essential for building your presence within the legal community. You want other lawyers to know who you are and even refer clients to you when necessary. The better your online presence, the greater the likelihood that those law firms will know who you are.
Do You Really Need Online Marketing?
Your law firm may have started out with a relatively small online presence–or even none at all. You may have continued to grow your client base without marketing efforts. If you’re considering whether you really need an online marketing presence, however, ask yourself these vital questions.
- Would you like to stabilize your cash flow during months when no referrals are coming in?
- Would you like to attract new sources for referrals?
- Would you like to make sure that your online presence is strong enough that people who are referred to your firm will actually pick up the phone and call you?
If your answer is yes to any of the above questions, all you need to do is click below to schedule a free 30-minute consultation to see how we can help you build your brand and optimize your online presence. We’re here to help you establish that essential brand presence and market your law firm online. Contact us today to learn more about what online marketing can do for your law firm.