People Buy People

Ben Trott, Managing Director & Law Firm Consultant, Marketing Lawyers

  • Tell us a bit about yourself and your professional journey.

I started my career at a national UK corporate law firm in administration before deciding to study law at university. This gave me a good grounding in how law firms operated, the terminology and working in a corporate environment.

Fast forward 3 years to graduating from university in Law and Business and I found myself helping to market Barristers at a Chambers in Nottingham, England. After working with Barristers for around a year, I moved in-house to a Solicitors practice as a junior marketing executive.

I spent 7 years at that firm, working my way up to be a director, sitting on the board of the firm, helping to manage 280 staff and 20 offices across England. I was responsible for Marketing and Business Development and over the years I took their website from bringing in £250,000 per year to well over £2million per year.

I then left to set up my consultancy and agency (Marketing Lawyers), helping other firms in all areas of marketing. Today I have advised over 60 legal clients across 4 continents and helped to win millions of pounds worth of work for clients.

  • Why is marketing & personal branding important for lawyers and law firms?

We are all building a personal brand whether you realise it or not. Marketing just focuses on that strategy to help you achieve your professional and business goals.

Human relations are built largely on associations. If you have positive associations about someone or a service, you are then drawn to them and are more likely to recommend and refer other people. ‘People buy people’ and so promoting your experience helps you to find new business and build a reputation/following.

Some lawyers think that they do not need to invest in personal branding since they are already part of a law firm that has its own brand identity and website. This is not the case however, as you already have a personal brand, but you may want to improve on the foundations you have laid.

Simply put, personal branding is controlling (as best as we can) how others perceive you. It shows how you are different from other lawyers and legal advisers and why you should be the ‘go-to’ in your chosen field.

Advertising and marketing both yourself and your law firm’s services over a sustained period are one of the primary ways to build a company or following that is built on both name recognition and reputation.

We live in a digital world and therefore online networking and presence have never been more important to build connections in a marketplace where legal clients have a huge amount of choice.

A clear plan and communication strategy can help distinguish you or your firm as the best option for clients.

  • Which channels of communication are the most effective for the legal sector?

Website content, blogging and videos are the most effective types of communications for law firms. Now more than ever, people are more likely to select a law practice based on the quality of their messaging, reputation, and collateral.

Website content, including blogs can help your firm to be found online and you can use that content to showcase your experience. Any law practice that wants to attract new clients must have a strong online presence, provide high-quality content, and then promote that content via digital marketing.

The best social media channels to use if you are in the legal sector are LinkedIn and Twitter, as they target the most relevant audiences and can also be excellent platforms for networking. This in return can provide higher levels of referrals and engagement, helping to build your firm’s brand and online reputation.

You can also build a following by reaching out to potential clients in key target markets, and with the help of LinkedIn and Twitter, people can post or advertise their skills or service – where appropriate.

You can also use these platforms to comment on topics and provide opinions. By sharing quality advice or thoughts, you can help build a relationship of trust with existing, potential clients and referrers.

TikTok, Instagram and Facebook provide a much lower return on investment currently, as the demographic and purpose for the platforms is different to LinkedIn and Twitter.

  • What are the basic marketing principles that law firms should incorporate into their business strategy?

The basic principles of law firm marketing are the same that apply to all businesses; to set out your shop stall, understand what you are offering to clients and breaking down your services. This is achieved online through a strong content marketing strategy, combined with a well-designed, Search Engine Optimised (SEO) and easy to navigate website.

You then need to understand how you price, what’s profitable and what value you can bring to clients who instruct you.

Next, you need to work out who your target clients are, where they are, how they think and instruct legal providers. Then you can devise a strategy of how you might engage with those prospects and what would make them choose your firm over others.

Legal services are often either a distress purchase or a considered purchase. Often the client is in distress and therefore will ask friends, family, or other professionals for recommendations on who to go to. Your marketing campaigns therefore must be different in terms of touch points and terminology. Most people are concerned about transparency of price, the outcome, time frames and the quality of service that they will receive.

Finding your niche and carving yourself out as an expert in each field and marketing that information is a good place to start.

Using these marketing principles in your law firm strategy will over time help attract more clients, increasing revenue and hopefully profit for your firm. Often building a following has a snowball effect bringing in more work as you grow your reputation. 

  •  In your opinion, what will be the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on marketing?

With more people than ever before going online for everything they needed during the pandemic, there has been a continued increase in online advertising both on search engines and social media.

Everyone has now woken up to the benefits of digital marketing, online promotion, social media, and website content to help reach potential clients.

Although some firms tightened their marketing spend early in the pandemic, we are now seeing pent up demand for services coming back and law firm marketing budgets are starting to be expanded or moved over to digital services rather than traditional media.

We are seeing more firms investing into webinars, videos, online content, new websites, website live chat, payment gateways, email marketing, app communication, online brochures, and Google advertising.

I believe there will still be a big place for face-to-face networking and marketing events, however, far fewer than before and much more investment in digital advertising.

It is now more important than ever that law firms pivot to this new normal to make sure they do not get left behind moving forward.

  • What books have you read in the past 12 months / are you currently reading?

I currently listen to audiobooks as it is more suited to my lifestyle, enabling me to learn from more books quicker than by sitting down to read.

A couple of recent books, include:

  • Rich Dad, Poor Dad
  • Business for Punks
  • The E-myth Revisited

My favourite book is –  ‘How to win friends and influence people’ by Dale Carnegie.