Upping the stakes

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27 August 2010

Posted by Alastair Moyes, director of Legal Futures Associate Marketlaw

Moyes: firms need to come up with different marketing ideas in the face of new competition

QualitySolicitors is continuing to blaze a trail into the future of legal services. Its TV ad that premiered earlier this week demonstrates an intent that needs to be followed carefully. Craig and his team have moved the profession on significantly since their arrival a couple of years ago and we should thank them for that effort.

Our esteemed editor of Legal Futures remarked that “the advert… is streets ahead of anything I can think of that came before from any other law firm or claims company” (see blog).

While I agree that the ad itself fits the bill and other, mostly personal injury ads have been less good, may I suggest this is missing a lot of hard work in other areas. TV advertising is a high-profile activity and a high-cost commitment to the market. But other firms are quietly moving the market on in other ways that are just as effective but will not be seen outside the target group of clients.

Promoting the benefits of the services your firm offers needs to be focused on delivering that message to those who can understand it, see it as valuable and can take action to access it. QS has a national audience to entice; commercial or high street firms can look more locally and use other methods to get their message across. This can be as simple are regularly writing to past clients, reminding those people that they can easily contact your firm for further advice and help.

Picking groups of identifiable people that can use particular services then helps focus the services offered. Farmer and rural businesses might like to see a firm at an agricultural show, business people working in a city centre may like to know your firm is nearby for lunchtime appointments, residential areas can respond well to promotion of a drop-in hour for family advice. All these basic examples can be as effective as TV or radio advertising in both retaining past clients and gaining new ones.

Taking targeting further, an Oxford firm used a membership card for groups of private clients and businesses that produced valuable enquiries and an element of loyalty. This is all on top of ideas like regular (and interesting or useful) newsletters, seminars and events.

To choose which method or media to use to promo the services you offer, first you have to understand who your clients are. From there you need to consider how they might benefit from your services and put a communications plan together to regularly remind or re-enforce that message. And keep review and revising that plan for each group of potential future clients.

As new legal service providers continue to enter the market (two or three more before Christmas) and QS TV ads roll on, firms will have to continue to come up with different ideas and ways to retain and gain their clients. Thinking big is good but make it relevant to your firm in your area first.

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