How to Use Free Marketing to Build Your Law Firm

I’m a big proponent of investing in the right marketing strategy, and including having a digital marketing company on your team at some point. But, if you build your law firm solely through one marketing avenue and focus on-page strategies, or you’re throwing your money behind SEO/ pay per click marketing, you are going to be far more vulnerable when there are economic changes.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Low-cost and free marketing tools to expand your opportunities in marketing.
  • How important is having a topic of interest to educate your ideal clients.
  • Having a free piece of follow-up content to the initial communication will draw attention.
  • By having 5 to 10 touch points about one and only one topic will engage people easily.
  • One of the most effective ways that we leverage free marketing is by talking to people.


Allison Williams: [00:00:05] Hi, everybody. It’s Allison Williams here, your host of The Crushing Chaos with Law Firm Mentor podcast. Law Firm Mentor is a business coaching service for solo and small law firm attorneys. We help you to grow your revenues, crush chaos in business, and make more money.


Allison Williams: [00:00:33] Today we’re going to be talking about how to market your law firm for free.


Allison Williams: [00:00:46] Now, for those of you that have followed this podcast for any length of time, you know that I’m a big proponent of investing in the right marketing strategy, including having a digital marketing company on your team at some point. But we all know that if you build your law firm solely through one marketing avenue if you’re only focusing on-page strategies, and if you’re only throwing your money behind SEO or pay per click marketing or other forms of digital marketing, you are missing opportunities and you are going to be far more vulnerable when there are economic changes. So we of course know right now we are in a state of time where there’s a lot of economic contraction as a result of very high inflation. And inflation has soared for a lot of reasons, but in particular because of the war going on between Russia and Ukraine.


Allison Williams: [00:01:37] Now I am recording this podcast in late April of 2022, so that is what’s going on in the world outside of ourselves right now. But of course, what happens in the world affects us all and this is one of the key areas. And so for a lot of lawyers that are feeling the pinch of what’s going on in the marketplace as a result of that particular war, a lot of people are struggling with the idea of is it wise for me to invest more in marketing. And even if I’m inclined to do that, what is it going to ultimately cost me in my law firm? And so, I wanted to make sure that we cover the topic of how you can use marketing in ways that is not simply throwing dollars behind your marketing strategy, but you are using low-cost and free marketing to ultimately expand your opportunities in marketing, but also to get yourself launch pad if you’re just not in an economic place yet where you can afford a digital marketing company.


Allison Williams: [00:02:34] So today we’re going to talk about three different key strategies, things that you need to keep in mind when you are creating a marketing strategy around free or low-cost marketing tools. And then I’m going to just give you just a laundry list of different ways that you can start to contemplate how you can use some of this free marketing for yourself in your law firm.


Allison Williams: [00:02:54] So the first thing you have to remember always is that you have to have a topic of interest to educate your ideal clients, right? When you are trying to get information out into the marketplace about your law firm, it’s really important that you think about what your ideal client wants to hear about, not necessarily what they need to hear about.


Allison Williams: [00:03:15] Now, that doesn’t mean that when you ultimately have them come into your office and when you sell them your legal service, that you’re not going to be selling them something that they need. Most legal services are not optional, right? Most of them are not choices that people can do with or do without, like a new outfit or a dinner out one night. Right. Legal services fall into the category of necessities for most legal services, but there are, of course, going to be some topics that are within the sphere of knowledge that a client might be seeking when they’re first contemplating hiring a lawyer that may or may not line up directly with what is the most sexy topic that you can talk about, or even the thing that you know that they need to know about the most. So you have to really think about what is going to draw their eye, what is the necessary information that they would be seeking when you are starting to create content, but also what are the things that are going to keep them interested? How are they going to engage with your content and how are you going to ensure that what you’re talking about is something that will keep their eyes on your site and not seeking information elsewhere.


Allison Williams: [00:04:23] The second thing that you need to have as a part of your free marketing strategy is you need to have a free piece of follow-up content. So when you think about creating content that you’re going to put out into the marketplace, we are talking currently about putting things out in a electronic format, but of course, there are also ways that you could have something produced to present at a trade show or at a Sealy or when you’re out networking 1 to 1. But whatever you are creating, you need to have a piece of follow-up content to the initial communication that drew someone’s eye in. This could be a book, it could be a free report, it could be a webinar, right? You want to send something out to people after they have expressed some initial interest because what you’re doing is ultimately you are growing their interest in your service. You are communicating to them not only that you have something of value that got their eye initially, but that that value is going to continue to increase. And I want you to think about this about from the perspective of momentum, right? If we put a rock at the top of a hill, we know that it is going to pick up speed as it moves to the bottom of the hill. The very first moment it starts rolling, it is not going to be moving at the same rate of speed as it will when it gets to maybe the middle or even the end of the hill. So as we pick up steam, as we pick up speed, as the rock continues to roll, what you are going to notice is that there is going to be an increased energy production as a result of increasing the speed at which the rock is traveling. So think about that same imagery when you are thinking about your law firm marketing communications, right? When you send a message out into the ecosphere and it starts to pick up steam or pick up speed as you are rolling downhill, what’s ultimately happening is more energy is being expended by virtue of the speed with which the communication is going out. So applying that to the eyes and ears and interest of your prospect, more energy is going into what your prospect is putting into consuming your content, when that content is in a state of momentum, when it is moving rapidly forward, you don’t just have one piece of content and then separate and apart from that another piece of content, and then separate and apart from that, another piece of content.


Allison Williams: [00:06:50] I’m sure you all have heard that the number of marketing touchpoints that you have to have a number of times that a person has to engage with your message in order to take action upon it is increasing as our marketing and advertising landscape has become more glutted, right? So now, instead of six touches for a person to make a buying decision, some people believe it’s 12 somewhat approximate it’s over 20. But however many of you ultimately say it is, you know that it is certainly not just different touchpoints. It is the continuation of, of touchpoints about a particular topic that is really going to increase the extent to which a person wants to engage with you. So in other words, if you’re talking about 15 different things, those 15 different touchpoints are far less valuable than if you are having 5 to 10 touch points about one and only one topic, right? So the very first communication that you have is the kind of the seminal touchpoint.


Allison Williams: [00:07:48] And then the second free piece of follow-up content is really going to deepen a person’s awareness of the value that you have to add to them how you can help them with your service and the different ways that your service can ultimately add value to their life. So I want you to really think about that follow-up piece of content being related to the initial topic of interest that you used to grab your prospect’s interest.


Allison Williams: [00:08:14] All right. Third, in this sequence of things that you have to have in your free marketing strategy is an automated, personalized follow-up system in which you consistently communicate with your ideal clients making regular offers and giving new reasons to invite them to come in and meet with you or a sales conversation.


Allison Williams: [00:08:35] So what’s really important about this is that you want to be asking people to come and have you help them with their problem. This is probably one of the greatest overlooked components of marketing that people just kind of say, Here’s an FAQ video, you know, Top-10 Reasons Why You Need a Divorce Attorney, or here are the, the three most effective tools that you need when you incorporate a new business, or when you are approaching the research of your potential new trademark, here’s what you need according to the USPTO, right? Whatever your content data is, if all you do is data dump on people and you end with here’s my contact information, you are missing a critical piece of opportunity there. You are missing the part that is most likely to get people in the door. It’s most likely to get those butts in seats, and that is directly asking people to schedule an appointment.


Allison Williams: [00:09:35] You would be surprised how much you spur people into action by simply inviting them to take action. When you put content out into the marketplace and a person consumes that content and then they get that great piece of follow up content. So you’re deepening their relationship with you. And then the communication simply ends with, here’s my number, that passivity, that kind of leaving it out there and hoping for the best does not urge people to take action. And by the way, that urge is often what they need in order to have a trigger point inside of them that says, yes, this great content I just got it is let me know that I have certain legal remedies available. It has gotten me at least emotionally on some level, connected with the source of that information. I see this source as the one that help me and now I am being asked to reach out, schedule an appointment, deal with my problem. Yeah, I think I’m ready to do that.


Allison Williams: [00:10:33] The indecision that a lot of people persevere in oftentimes comes from the fact that there is so much information that people believe that they have to go out and seek 15 different pieces of information in order to consume it all and create a strategy for themselves. And that oftentimes comes from the fact that dealing with the problem feels like a much bigger burden than simply allowing the inertia to continue. So you have to give a pattern interrupt of that inertia by inviting people to have a conversation with you, by asking them to do something about their problem, to let you help them with their problem. And if you continue to ask every single time that they are engaging with that piece of follow-up content and getting that automated follow-up system with you, then you are giving them the opportunity to get out of that inertia.


Allison Williams: [00:11:24] And by the way, when you invite people out of their inertia, they see you as a source of help because simply making the decision to do something is a value in and of itself, it is moving their life forward. They intuitively recognize that whether they are immediately inclined to write a check to start the process or they simply are moving forward toward solving their problem by having the conversation with you. So it’s really important that you make that ask that you have that strong call to action in that personalized follow-up system.


Allison Williams: [00:11:55] Now, one of the most effective ways that you can leverage free marketing is to start employing some of the strategies we’re going to talk about next. So I’m going to give you some ideas. This is literally just a list I want you to think about what could work for you. Don’t write out or write off any of the strategies. Simply let them set and think if this something that I can do in my law firm and if you haven’t done it before, don’t assume that it can’t be done or that it shouldn’t be done. This is just a way to spur your interest in excitement and possibility for your law firm.


Allison Williams: [00:12:29] So again, one of the most effective ways that we leverage free marketing is really by talking to people, right? So I want you to think about speaking to relevant groups in your community. These can be groups that align with the mission of your law firm. This can be your, your ideal prospect pool, right? The people that you know are in need of some type of service. Right. I see this probably most effectively done by estate planning attorneys. Estate planning attorneys will host summits where they will bring people in to educate them about the power of having an estate plan, the power of making end-of-life decisions. Now, to avoid the burden being left on a family member to make that decision for you in your absence. And a lot of people, when they start to realize that they are either on the decline in life or they simply want to be proactive and not have to think about it when they’re ailing, when they’re older, when they’re more vulnerable, they will come to these meetings to learn and then in that session be offered the opportunity right then and there to get booked for an estate planning session. Right. And so that’s one of the most effective ways to actually speak directly to your prospects. But this speaking can be to your referral sources, right? You can speak to other lawyers who regularly encounter clients who have a need for the service that you offer that they personally don’t offer. It can also be that you’re speaking to community leaders, people who come into, into contact with members of the community that would be a potential client of your business.


Allison Williams: [00:14:01] Another opportunity is luncheon learn sessions. You can literally throw lunch and learn sessions at other law firms. You can throw them at your own law firms. You can partner up with other professional service providers, so you can partner up with psychologists, with, with medical professionals, with mental health professionals, with accountants. And however you get your group together, your goal is ultimately to partner so that what you are offering to the public is not just your knowledge, but it’s kind of like a panel of knowledge, right? When you think about putting together a series of experts and there’s likely going to be someone who’s coming for the accountant, who’s going to hear from the lawyer and say, Ah, I need what the lawyer is offering me as well in order to have the best strategy for my life. Launch and learn sessions are a great way to build rapport. It also triggers that universal law of reciprocity, right? The idea that when I give something out first, that I am more likely to get something back in return than if I simply go up to a stranger and say, Hey, do you want to buy my X, Y, Z? Because when you’re inviting someone to make a buying decision, oftentimes their thought will go to, I’m going to be losing something. I’m going to be losing my money in order to acquire your thing. But if you first give them something, you give them that free launch. They’re going to be more favorable toward you, they’re going to be more likely to buy from you. Right.


Allison Williams: [00:15:24] We all have, as lawyers, I’m sure, gotten the ten of cookies from certain digital marketing companies. Right. Or the the the box of cupcakes or the, the tin of flowers. Right. It’s something of value that’s given to you so that they call you and they are more likely to get you on the phone. They’re more likely to have you say, yeah, I will at least give them a phone call since they fed my office, or since they sent us sweet treats, or since I got that bottle of wine or whatever it was. So consider the law of reciprocity as a really big part of the launch and learn session. It is also to a lesser degree, but still triggered by things like teaching CLE’s. Right. When you teach your fellow attorneys, you are giving something of value to them and thus making them more favorable to you in the referral sense. But giving something that’s personal to the individual right, I immediately get the value of a lunch versus I have to actually apply the knowledge you’re giving me at CLE. The lunch is actually a stronger pull there.


Allison Williams: [00:16:26] Okay. Some of the other opportunities that you can use for free or low-cost marketing include educating members of parents clubs, right? If you are a parent, you are likely to encounter other parents in the course of doing things for your child or with your child. Think about getting to those clubs where parents associate so that you can speak to them because you never know who might be in your target market for that particular group that ultimately would need your service.


Allison Williams: [00:16:53] Community service organizations, another great choice there. Community service organizations, you are giving yourself an opportunity not only to do something of good for your community, but also to market your law firm right, to let people know that you support a certain cause, that you are helping in certain ways. And this, this idea of putting your why out there, right, that something about a particular organization gels with you and your value system is likely to attract people that have a comparable value system when they are making a decision to hire a particular provider.


Allison Williams: [00:17:26] Real estate brokers. Real estate brokers are a great choice no matter what your practice area. Real estate brokers encounter a lot of different kinds of people, and they typically are encountering people that have some level of economic stability because they are purchasing real estate. Right. So they’re more likely to be the kind of person who can afford your service when and if the need arises.


Allison Williams: [00:17:47] Accountants. Another great option, right? Accountants know who are the people that are within the economic sphere of being more likely to afford your service? Now, having said that, of course you can have someone who has high income but also has high expenses. So not every person with high income is actually ideally capable of affording legal services, but they tend to be more likely to be able to afford legal services. So, of course, accountants are a great choice.


Allison Williams: [00:18:15] Churches, right? Churches are a really good avenue. Now, a lot of people, as soon as we start talking about church and we’re talking about doing something that’s going to get money, a whole lot of muddled feelings come there. So for anyone that hears this, please know that my suggestion is not that you bastardize your faith or that you try to exploit a faith community by virtue of going to sell there. But the goal really is to help people, right? That’s what you’re doing when you offer your legal service. So whether you are approaching a church or a synagogue or a mosque or any temple, faith based community, what you’re ultimately doing is saying, we are here to help. Right. And presumably, if you are speaking to that group, you are either a member of that group or you are a person favorable to members in that group. So in other words, you would be somebody who would be an open ear and the right source of support for members of the faith-based community. You might not be offering something related to their faith whatsoever. Right. But you are more likely to be perceived favorably by virtue of speaking there, because presumably you wouldn’t go there unless there was something about that community that you ultimately intuitively wanted to serve.


Allison Williams: [00:19:26] Another great opportunity is to make sure that when you have speaking engagements that you are being very intentional about translating them into at least one booked initial consultation, right? So in other words, going in with the strategy, not simply going and saying, hey, I gave out this great information if you need me, here’s my information. Right? We talked about the passivity of simply throwing out your contact information and hoping for the best. You have to make a strong call to action, but you also need to go in with a strategy. And that strategy is not simply to have a call to action. It’s also to lead people who don’t convert at that event into being favorable toward your next call to action. So that could mean gathering emails so that you can continue to educate people following your event about the substance of your event. Right. So if you spoke on a particular topic, you want to have that free content, right? That free, strong piece of content that follows up with what you’ve already spoken about. But then also a follow-up sequence and the follow-up sequence in those emails is going to ultimately lead them to a strong call to action. Right.


Allison Williams: [00:20:37] And you want to make sure that you have some form of direct touchpoint with those who are in attendance. So if you were able to get someone booked at the event, that’s great. They’re in the booked category. But for everyone else, that’s not in the booked category. If you’ve identified that they are in fact an appropriate prospect, they are within your ideal client avatar. They are somebody who you would be inclined to want to represent. Right? So they’re a lead when they’re in your ideal client avatar pool, but then they are a viable lead when you have determined that you’d be inclined to represent them. Right? Because somebody can have all of the attributes of what you say is ideal for your law firm, but you’re not inclined to work with them because they don’t have the right attitude or their matter is too time sensitive for the needs of your or for the the bandwidth of your current law firm. Right.


Allison Williams: [00:21:27] So lots of different things can make someone not viable even though they are a lead. But assuming that you have viable leads that you’re speaking to, you want to make sure that you engage with them in a way that has that likelihood of increasing chances of conversion. Don’t assume that if you don’t get a person to book a consultation directly at the speaking engagement, that you’re going to miss the chance to be able to do that in the future. Because a lot of people don’t make buying decisions the instant they have a need. They stew over it, they persevere over it, they ask questions, they want to gather information. Some people are just slower at making decisions than others.


Allison Williams: [00:22:05] All right. Today we have talked about free and low-cost marketing in your law firm and I want you to really contemplate how you can use some of these strategies to create opportunities to get the right people to your office, because ultimately your goal is to speak to as many people as possible in order to convert those people that are appropriate to be converted into paying clients if you’re a law firm. All right. I’m Allison Williams from Law Firm Mentor. You’ve been listening to The Crushing Chaos with Law Firm Mentor podcast see you on our next episode.


Allison Williams: [00:22:47] Thank you for tuning in to the Crushing Chaos with Law Firm Mentor podcast. To learn more about today’s show and take advantage of the resources mentioned. Check out our show notes. And if you enjoy today’s episode, take a moment to follow the podcast wherever you get your podcasts and leave us a rating and review. This helps us to reach even more law firm owners from around the country who want to crush chaos in business and make more money. I’m Allison Williams, your Law Firm Mentor everyone. Have a great day.

Contact Info:

My favorite excerpt from the episode:

TIME:  00:10:33(35Seconds)

The indecision that a lot of people persevere in oftentimes comes from the fact that there is so much information that people believe that they have to go out and seek 15 different pieces of information in order to consume it all and create a strategy for themselves. And that often times comes from the fact that dealing with the problem feels like a much bigger burden than simply allowing the inertia to continue. So you have to give a pattern interrupt of that inertia by inviting people to have a conversation with you, by asking them to do something about their problem.