‘Most would be happy to consider using a legal advisor anywhere in the country’59%.
That’s how many people would think about going national when choosing a law firm or solicitor.
According to IRN Research’s UK Legal Services Consumer Research Report 2021, ‘for the first time since the survey began three years ago most would be happy to consider using a legal advisor anywhere in the country.’
In 2019, 46% agreed with the statement.
The report also shows ‘more adults than before are turning to digital sources when they are looking for a legal advisor, including search engines and comparison sites.’
The trend is clear. But the question is, how can local businesses harness this?
Something about seeing it as an opportunity rather than a concern. If small businesses can take the things that make them great – personal service, something, something – and deliver it on a national scale then they’re on the path to success.
1. Invest in SEOYour potential clients are now everywhere. Your law firm should be too.
SEO remains an untapped opportunity. The IRN reports 25% of consumers are using search engines to find a lawyer.
Yet, the 2021 study Digital Effectiveness in the Legal Sector shows ‘on the whole, the sector misses the opportunities offered by organic search and has been slow to adopt ‘SEO’ best practice.’
It’s the larger firms taking advantage, ‘ranking for industry-relevant keywords, suggesting that SEO was a priority across the board.’
Prepare your practice. If you thought the sector was competitive now, wait until many of the smaller firms catch on to proper website optimisation.
Use SEO as a tool to make your company feel relevant for different areas. By creating location-optimised pages and microsites, you can target people who are searching for family law solicitors in certain locations.
Manchester, Liverpool, Kent, London, and so on. Search volumes range from 590 to 20.
It’s that important to think ‘local’ wherever you are. The content on these pages will show customers how you’re going to deliver a personal service, from anywhere in the country.
2. Research large competitorsEvery law firm watches their local competitors – but don’t neglect the ‘big brands’.
The UK Legal Services Consumer Research Report sheds lights on consumer awareness of leading legal brands. Only three brands (InjuryLawyers4U, National Accident Helpline, and First4Lawyers) reached a 50%-plus awareness levels. Irwin Mitchell, Slater Gordon, Admiral Law and the Co-Op Legal Services are the only other companies to have awareness levels of more than 30%.
Your SEO and marketing team should be watching these brands like hawks.
This is important, but perhaps not for the reasons you may think.
It’s unlikely many local or mid-level law firms can compete with the likes of the National Accident Helpline or the Co-Op. But watch what these companies do.
You should identify the strengths and weaknesses of the big competitors and work out how you can fill the gaps.
So, if clients like Admiral Law because of X, but complain about Y, then you can swoop in by being good at both.
3. Invest in the tools you need for growthIn the old days, geographical growth was clear: it usually meant opening up an office in a new city or leafleting the next town over.
Today, technology rules. Choosing the right tools help you scale the business and drive better results with less work. It makes marketing a local firm at a national level much simpler.
A platform like The Law Superstore, for instance, lets you reach clients across England and Wales, but also automates the process – delivering leads to your inbox and easing the amount of manual work and admin required.
Whichever tools you need, they must be closely aligned to your objectives. Wherever possible, choose systems that integrate with others for a seamless experience, of those that feed into the wider business strategy.
But always invest wisely.
Introducing new tools into a business can be perilously expensive if approached hastily or haphazardly. Take the time to trial and demo before roll-out.
4. Build your networkUnless you’re a large brand, even with a strong local presence, your firm likely isn’t well-known beyond your immediate area. 38% of consumers, after all, are guided by word-of-mouth recommendations.
Competing nationally demands a national network.
You’re undoubtedly already networking to some degree; ramp this up. You want to attract clients from far and wide in every way possible.
Best practice recommends your law firm should be acquiring clients from five sources. What those sources are depends on your objectives, what works for you, and what you want to achieve.
Digital marketing channels, review and comparison sites, your personal brand, and community events like LegalEx are all valid great ways to find new sources while boosting the profile of your firm to build relationships and your reputation.
5. Join review and comparison sitesYou may not have the time to fix up your website just yet, but there are plenty of other ways for potential clients to find you.
One quick fix: add or update your firm on Google My Business.
Next, get your business on relevant review and comparison sites. You’re future-proofing the practice.
In what’s being dubbed a ‘watershed moment for digital comparison sites’ like The Law Superstore, the IRN Research shows ‘the percentage using consumer review and comparison sites in 2021 reached double figures (10%) from 6% in 2020 and just 4% in 2019.’
Once again, the trend is clear.
Comparison sites have an added benefit: clear pricing.
According to the IRN, ‘83% would be influenced in their choice of law firm by price information on a law firm website, i.e. when choosing between law firms they would choose the one giving clear price information on their site.’
As champions of the SRA’s Price Transparency rules, The Law Superstore displays clear price bands to users – giving them the confidence to choose the legal advisor that’s right for them.
Flexibility is built into our platform. You set and change your own prices and coverage area, so you can reach potential clients within a mile radius, right up to the whole of England and Wales. In effect, you’re virtually operating in their area. In any area.
The Law Superstore helps you begin scaling up the business, operating across a larger geographical area, connecting with a broader client-base, without diverting time and resources.
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