(*This article originally ran on typemonkeys.com, where I work with an awesome graphic designer to create websites and other marketing materials.)
Congratulations on taking the plunge and launching a legal startup! You’ve joined the ranks of those who want to the maximum ability to shape their own futures.
A key consideration is figuring out what clients you want to help, and then attracting these clients to you. In short, you’ll want to make sure you’re branding your legal startup in a way that suits your long-term marketing and practice goals. Even if you’re pretty certain you’ll represent a wide range of clients and legal matters to keep the doors open, now is the time to shape your marketing so you can in turn shape your law firm startup.
Everything you do will brand your firm. You might as well do it consciously, and with intent.
Here are a few factors to consider:
1. Is your target client base small companies? Mid-sized? Will a GC have to justify his or her actions to a board of directors? The image you need to attract General Motors will be different than the image you’ll want to project to attract a local restaurant. You’ll want your logo, cards, website, and other marketing materials to project an image that others can, in turn, sell.
If you want to attract local businesses, the content in your website should be crafted in a way that contains the terms small, local business owners will search for. Similarly, if tech startups are your client base, you’ll want content that reflects knowledge and understanding of their concerns. You might be able to get away with a website that was created in 2006 with certain clients, but if you want tech-savvy clients, you need to project a tech-savvy image.
2. Similarly, does your branding subtly say you understand your targeted client base? If you represent families in estate disputes, the look and feel of your website should be different than if you do criminal defense work.
Your branding should projects the image you want. Beyond the scales of justice and a picture of the local courthouse, what images will you use to communicate the right look and feel for your practice? How do the images you have in mind influence how potential clients think about you? Do you offer creative legal solutions? Then your website should be creative … in a professional way, of course.
3. What type of work do you enjoy doing for your targeted client base? If part of the reason you’re starting your own firm is to control your own destiny better, you’ll want to know what type of work fits in that profile. Do you like challenging matters that take weeks or months to resolve? Or do you like to get in, get ‘er done, and get out? In addition to the type of client you want to represent, consider the types of legal matters you want to handle one year, five years, even ten years from now. Then use the content in your website and elsewhere to focus on the work you want.
[weaver_widget_area] - Area donation not defined.
4. What type of personality do you prefer to work with? Do you prefer to communicate with your clients in person, by phone, or by email? When you have your own practice, you can take steps to draw in those you find easiest to work with. If you want to attract clients who will email instead of call, make sure they can easily reach out via your website. If you want to work with clients who are comfortable reviewing documents online, highlight the convenience of that process on your site.
Once you decide how you want to brand your firm, be consistent! Remember to use the same image and message in any marketing materials you create, in any print or online ads you run, and during any seminars you host. It’s that consistent image that will help reinforce the message you want to deliver to your future clients.
What are you going to do to brand your new law firm? Send us a message and let us know how you’re branding your firm.