It is a known fact that we live in a highly digitized world, and the legal profession like all others operates in this environment. One other undeniable fact of our twenty first century world, is that a lot of things in life are generally harder than they used to be. On the flip side of that very same coin, there are also many things that are much easier to do than they used to be.
Want an example? With regards to lawyers and the law profession for example, it is generally accepted that it can be relatively easy and cheap to start a law practice, once an individual has acquired the necessary education and license to practice law. In this day and age, an attorney can get all the resources he or she needs to run a law practice at the press of the button, and oftentimes without needing to invest the large amounts of money that it previously used to require. From being able to very cheaply rent a virtual office which comes complete with all the resources that would be needed in a regular physical office such as a PABX system, secretarial services, mail handling and forwarding; to being able to outsource the accounting, marketing and sales function of the practice, and much more.
On the flip side, while it may be relatively easy to start a law practice, it is perhaps much more difficult to grow that practice, and perhaps turn it from a freelance or ‘solopreneur’ practice into a small or mid-sized law firm. The enormous size of the competition, the savviness of today’s legal client, stricter regulations within the legal industry, and much more, are just some of the things that has made it much harder to grow a law practice. Definitely much harder than it used to be several years or decades ago.
Having said that, while growing a freelance practice can be hard, it is not impossible. So much so that it is arguable that the most important skill that such a solopreneur lawyer needs to have to make that practice flourish, besides being a good lawyer of course, is great digital marketing skills.
The High Cost of Traditional Advertising and Marketing
It is often generally accepted that it is harder and much more expensive to reach your target customer than it used to be. For instance, the cost of advertising in traditional offline media outlets like television and radio can be astronomical. The same can be said of print newspapers and billboards. Given that a freelance or solopreneur lawyer is often one who has limited financial resources, it is highly unlikely that such an individual will be able to afford to advertise in these traditional media outlets.
Conversely, people don’t engage with traditional forms of media as they used to. A lot of people have now exchanged the TV for the computer and other mobile devices, and therefore get much more information from a PC and smartphones than they do from the TV and radio. Similarly, websites have substituted print newspapers and magazines, and so on. It is for these exact reasons that, even if by chance a freelance attorney is able to afford the exorbitant cost of traditional marketing or advertising, he or she will likely still not reach their target customer, or at least, not in the numbers that will be needed to make a difference to their business. This is basically because, as has been implied, these customers are much more likely to be in front of their digital devices than other forms of traditional media, and also they are likely to turn to their digital devices to find information than to a TV, radio or newspaper.
The Low To Non-Existent Cost of Digital Marketing
It is from this standpoint that the title of this article argues that, digital marketing is perhaps the most important skill that will be needed to grow and sustain a freelance law practice. Yet another argument for the value that digital marketing, and by extension digital advertising, brings to the table, is the fact that today’s consumer, eight or nine times out of ten, will likely turn to their computer or smartphone to look for information, rather than the TV, radio, or print newspaper. The free nature of search engines and social media as well as their pervasiveness in the lives of a great many people means that these attorneys, whether it is a solopreneur commercial lawyer in New York, or a family attorney in Texas, have a somewhat level playing field when it comes to being able to compete with other more established law firms in getting their services out in front of people who may be looking for it.
When it comes to the digital space and law firm marketing, the very low to sometimes virtually non-existent cost is the one advantage that is available to any lawyer that other forms of marketing or advertising do not offer. No other source or form of marketing has the potential to put a freelancer’s law practice in front of so many people who may be looking for it at such a low price.
It is exactly for this reason that it is in the best interest of the freelance attorney to learn learn the best digital marketing tactics that can be used to help grow the practice, while keeping abreast of the latest trends in the digital marketing world. Also, it is noteworthy to mention that given the fact that a solopreneur attorney will usually be a one man army, oftentime performing multiple functions by him or herself. Such a person will therefore do well to be strategic in how they divide themselves, so as not to wear themselves thin. Therefore making sure to focus much more heavily on the aspects of their practice that has the biggest impact and potential to grow it, such as marketing or advertising, good customer care, and of course, top-notch legal services.