Law Firm Marketing: Finding an Online/Offline Balance

There is no shortage of evangelism out there on the importance of the Internet as a platform for marketing law firms. I’ve certainly attempted to be a strong voice on this topic for well over a decade.

According to Toronto law firm marketing consultant, Sandra Bekhor, however, the legal marketing landscape has evolved, and the question has now shifted.

The importance of a well-positioned, frequently updated online footprint remains a given for law firm marketing.

The critical question today is whether that, alone, will be enough to guarantee success. In other words, can we do it all via our websites, blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media platforms?

In her recent blog post, The single biggest web marketing mistake everyone (almost) is making,  Ms Bekhor suggests that professional practices take a renewed look at marketing opportunities offline, and argues for a new, coordinated balance between online and offline marketing efforts.

She offers the following tips:

  1. Weave back and forth, from online to off – my personal favourite. Whether it’s to network with prospective clients or referrers, go to or create your own live events, anything from seminars to cycling and wine tastings. Get out there (with your team) and press the flesh. And for those of you that are already doing so, stop keeping those activities in a silo. Use the internet to share your experiences, post photos and reconnect with the very same people you met in the flesh. They will remember you far better than having briefly scanned your profile and your online efforts will continue to solidify the connection. Keep doing it and your internet marketing will be more targeted, one degree at a time.
  2. Market to the neighborhood – especially fitting for medical clinics and other services targeting the local client. Every neighborhood has its own culture. Read the local paper, visit complementary businesses and generally tap into the comings and goings of the area to discover the best opportunities to get the word out about your firm. There are ample opportunities from sponsoring local events or teams, public speaking, networking opportunities and promotional partnerships. Start walking and talking. You might even enjoy yourself. What’s wrong with that?
  3. Use snail mail to pop from the clutter – That’s right, snail mail is the new internet! How many letters do you get these days? Would you notice if you received a personalized package from someone in your professional network? And what if it included a handwritten message, clever marketing materials or a surprisingly likeable keepsake? Don’t be too quick to dismiss direct mail as a viable option just because you had a couple of bad runs. There may very well be a logical explanation. Objectively, was the message clear and compelling? Did it reach the right audience? Did they even receive it? Did you follow up with subsequent mailings to build up to the appropriate frequency? Investigate.
  4. Pick up the phone, you know the part with the numbers that can actually call someone?! – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard from clients that nobody calls anyone anymore. Our phones may be smart, but are we? We’re so busy texting, emailing and ‘liking’ that we’ve forgotten how to connect as human beings. Remember that a short call is a lot more powerful that posting something on LinkedIn to the audience that never showed up to read it.
  5. Better yet, go for coffee! And don’t let distance stop you, skype coffees count too!

(Full disclosure: Sandra Bekhor is, among other things, my significant other, and is currently the thought-leader in our home on this topic. I’m glad to share her comnents with our readers. I think she has this entirely right.)

– Garry J. Wise, Toronto

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