One of the misconceptions typically maintained in both business and law is the idea that being an SMB means you are unable to compete with larger organizations. While this might hold true in some respects, being a small firm does have its advantages — you can quickly and easily employ strategies to improve your viability and ensure your firm’s competitiveness when it comes to attracting and securing clientele.
In reality, it comes down to thinking big in terms of how you’ll approach your practice, instead of feeling outgunned by the number of lawyers and variety of practice areas available in larger firms. You’re likely already on the right track, but here is a short list of competitive strategies that have worked well for many firms across the state.
1. Stay Innovative
Large firms find plenty of reasons not to move beyond old operating systems and traditional office procedures. It might be that they’re dependent on their legacy technologies and processes and don’t feel it necessary to upgrade. Or, they might balk at the “expense” of investing in new and innovative technology.
Neither of these makes sense, especially when you consider how automating and streamlining processes improves productivity and efficiency, and saves both time and money.
As a smaller firm, your ability to stay nimble in the face of change gives you a serious advantage. Not only are you able to make faster decisions on upgrading your technology — by virtue of not having to go through miles of red tape — but any upgrades you make will offer you a higher return on your investment, and maximize your capabilities in a shorter amount of time.
2. Market Yourself Locally
If you have areas that you consider yourself a subject matter expert in, you’ll want to explore new ways of reaching out to potential clients who need help with these matters. To begin staking your claim on people searching for the services you offer locally, optimize your website by inserting high-value SEO (search engine optimization) keywords into your site’s content, and also optimize your firm’s local listings in platforms like Google Business Profile, Yelp, and lawyer-specific directories.
Beyond your website’s landing pages, you can also draw new clientele by publishing content on subjects you’re an expert in, either on your own site or as a guest post for another publication. Look for paid ad opportunities on Google Search and different social media platforms that specialize in finding prospective users in your area.
3. Be Personal and Human
No matter what type of law you practice, having the ability to provide extraordinary customer service, fair value, and a trustworthy reputation is key to word-of-mouth advertising. Typically, whatever gains are made through social media and website optimization pale in comparison to direct referrals from friends and family.
Here are a few ways your firm can become more successful at getting new referrals:
- Handling every aspect of your clients’ cases versus handing them over to paralegals or junior partners
- Returning phone calls within a reasonable amount of time, and encouraging clients to use secure client portals through your case management software
- Keeping your overhead low and passing these savings on to the client, offering more value for their money
- Giving your clients confidence in your abilities by speaking to them directly, being candid about your fees, experience, and the potential of winning their case
Being a small-to-medium-sized law firm doesn’t mean you can’t compete against the goliaths, it only means you have to work smarter, use more effective approaches, and minimize preventable mistakes.