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We’re going to let you into a secret. What’s the thing lawyers are worst at when it comes to marketing? Backing it up with evidence. Yup… it’s the irony of the situation. In a profession that is so often evidence-based, you don’t have to look terribly far to find a firm that has made bold claims with little evidence to back them up. How are you proving that you’re the “law firm of choice” (You are, right? Everyone is, aren’t they?) or that you “take a commercial approach to advice, helping clients to achieve their business objectives”?

Over the years our consultants have worked with firms on all sorts of projects – getting better/different instruction, new clients, improving relationships with existing clients and everything in between. But it always seems to come as a bit of a surprise that potential clients aren’t going to take the marketing puff at face value. The thing is, most clients believe that you know the law. You have a certificate, insurance and you’re part of a reputable firm. But they don’t know if they like your approach, trust you or engage with your style of communication. They don’t know about your people and how they’ve tackled similar client challenges. If they’re going to care about all the same things as them. They don’t know whether your clients were happy with what you did, your real strengths or the value you add. Yet that’s what the majority will make a decision based on. Not your expertise or the granular list of areas of work… nope… they expect you to do that. Take it as read. All of the things that lead them to make a decision and to ‘buy’ are the things firms quite often forget to include. And even if they haven’t forgotten – particularly in the case of smaller firms – they’re too busy to spend time collating the information. It gets left to ‘phase two of the website project’ or rushed at the last moment.

We’re here to tell you that there is no substitute for the power of supporting your marketing with evidence. This can be case studies (real or fictional examples), testimonials, awards, press coverage or directory rankings. Frankly, our view is that you can probably do away with 90% of your website if you leave a good set of client case studies and supporting evidence.

Here are ten ideas for things you can do to back up your claims a bit more…

  1. Testimonials – We wrote, a while ago, about the power of micro surveys. Collecting feedback is useful anyhow, but getting it in a format that allows you to share it as ‘good news’ can be invaluable. We particularly like this web page from Blacks Solicitors, that allows you to filter it by area of law.
  2. Real case studies – We’re not talking about generic ‘what we did’ articles. We’re talking about linking the examples provided to the information provided in the marketing materials. If you look at this example by DWF Connected Services: Claims Management you can see that the case studies at the end are written to provide examples of the things claimed in the overview sections.
  3. Imaginary case studies – We understand that there are some legal disciplines where you won’t want to provide client names and details. That’s ok. You can still explain your approach either in an imaginary or confidential format. Harrison Clark Rickerbys is particularly good at this, with their family and clinical negligence work.
  4. Video and animation content – Linked to this, the DWF Connected Services: Claims Management page is good because it also includes a good example of using video and animation content to explain the value being provided. But it doesn’t have to stop there… one of the most exciting social media activities this year is Carpool Caselaw from Wilberforce Chambers (Jonathan Seitler QC and Miriam Seitler), where they do a simple discussion on case law. It shows their personalities and expertise in an accessible way. It’s little wonder it’s taken the legal social media world by storm!
  5. Directory submissions – So many people ask us why they should bother doing them but actually, we think they can be really useful. Not only do they provide peer review quotes and an opportunity to demonstrate ranking alongside others, they also force you to consider your highlights for the year. This is an annual opportunity to write case studies and to support your marketing.
  6. FAQs – Another great way to demonstrate your approach is to consider the questions that clients might ask and to answer them, in your own words, in your marketing. We love the section at the end of pages on the Wards Solicitors website.
  7. Awards – Ok, Stephensons Solicitors might not be a small firm but their approach to awards is one even the smallest can embrace. What we like about this is that they’ve thought about the things they want to promote, entering awards that back up their standing in this field. Harper Macleod is also good, remembering to include individuals in the list of awards.
  8. Trustpilot – This might feel a bit bold for some but it’s really the future of private client marketing. Irwin Mitchell is a great example of a firm that’s using Trustpilot really well to demonstrate evidence of skill and a strong reputation right up front, on their home page.
  9. Press coverage and news – Showing what you’re doing and your approach is important in your news articles, too. Clayden Law is a small niche practice in Oxford but they’re able to demonstrate expertise in innovation through their news articles about initiatives such as Venturefest, STEM Advisors Hub and The Rapid Challenge. And don’t think that thought leadership and news coverage is only for large firms. Niche employment practice, Menzies Law, wanted to be known for its work on Equal Pay and as a result was able to secure coverage on The One Show as well as a whole host of regional publications. It even beat significantly larger firms, as a result, to win the Legal 500 UK Regional Law firm (Human Resources) award.
  10. Making your marketing look like you’re smiling – This is a bit obscure so go with us… One of the best ways to demonstrate personality and that you can be trusted is to communicate in the right language for the audience. Including lots of pictures of real people, using bright colours and including calls to action such as live chat and enquiry forms can be a great ‘reassurance’ to a visitor. Quality Solicitors is particularly good at this.

At ELE Global we’ve worked with law firms of all sizes over an almost twenty year history. If you’d like some help backing up your marketing claims then feel free to get in touch.