Marketing in a crisis: what can law firms do?

Jess Carey Posted By Jess Carey
from Burlington Media

Strange times eh?  EVERYTHING has changed in the last three weeks.  The travel, leisure and hospitality sectors were staring over the edge of a cliff, not just those sectors, but pretty much every sector in the UK economy. The Government’s Job Retention scheme is a lifeline for many businesses in the UK.

Law firms that have a strong balance sheet, or decent cash reserves will come out of this stronger than ever. Will there be casualties? Of course there will, but the demand for legal services will not drop when the market returns. Sure, the residential property market may take longer to come back, but we have already seen clients with 100% increase in demand for Wills (and not just fuelled by NHS employees). If you were already planning on separating from your spouse, or are already separated, that divorce is still probably going to happen. And the cyclical nature of legal services just like Wall’s sausages (now owned by Kerry) and ice-cream (now owned by Unilever) has never been more true.

So, here are some ideas, thoughts, musings that I have had, have collected or been given by clients over the last two weeks.  I have the permission to share all of these and you can take them and use them, this week.

It’s a long post, so you might want to jump to the section that most interests you :-

  • Over communicate
  • Should I cancel my SEO contract?
  • Free/discounted Wills for NHS staff in your area & other charitable acts
  • What are your Employment Team doing?
  • Online document signing
  • Instant leads via Google or Facebook Ads
  • Keep existing clients REALLY close. Weekly Zoom calls
  • Work as a ‘not-for-profit’
  • Massively increase your LinkedIn activity
  • Coronavirus update page on your website

Over communicate
Now is not the time to be shy. Over communicate with your clients.  At least twice per week by, yes, good old-fashioned email!  Not just telling them what you can do with them, share what you see other people doing. Reassure them that you have ‘got their back’.  And please, do not over think GDPR.  If they are a client, you can email them applying ‘legitimate interest’ given the circumstances.

The key is that you do not want customers complaining that they did not hear from you.  I would rather hear that we are 'over-communicating' than 'under'.  If you are not communicating with them, who else might be?

And, why not communicate with prospects too?

Should I cancel my SEO contract?
Cancel? No.  Reduce? If you have to.  You have to be visible lest you disappear from Google. We coined the phrase ‘doubling-down’ not with the idea of firms spending more money, but with the idea that if you do not ‘pull’ your budget then, as others around you do pull theirs, your money, in effect goes twice as far.

We have seen two clients increase their SEO spend by 58% and 81% respectively.  This really is ‘doubling-down’.

We reckon that for every month a law firm stops spending on SEO it will ‘cost’ them two months to get everything back up to speed.  But I understand, if you do not have the cash, it does not matter.

I read this great phrase the other day. “Plant an SEO tree for a rainy day”. There is no other marketing investment you make right now that will yield fruit every month onwards.

Free/discounted Wills for NHS staff in your area & other charitable acts
We have had one client report a 100% increase in enquiries for Wills. Supported by this article in The Gazette.

We have three clients offering discounted or even free Wills for NHS staff in their local area or supporting charity :-

  1. Hedges Law in Oxfordshire offering 50% off a Will.  Nikki Poole the MD was invited on to BBC Radio Oxford last week to talk about the scheme. And they have a simple form on their website to collect some basic information to allow a really simple Will in the first place which can then be polished later.
  2. Talbots Law in the West Midlands have gone one step further and are offering to do a simple Will for frontline NHS staff for free.  Read more about this here.
  3. Gepp & Sons in Essex offering 50% off Wills for NHS staff and Key Workers. LinkedIn post here.
  4. Pearson Legal in Oldham have been supporting Maggie’s Cancer Centre as their charity of the year for 2020. But since this crisis started, they have been popping in a pot all the money they would have spent on drinks whilst at work and once they are all back at work, they will tot it all up and donate to the charity. It got them some nice coverage in the local press.

What are your Employment Team doing?
Are your employment team pumping out 'How to treat furloughed employees' tips every week, not the law, just helping your clients understand how to be nice to your people and keep them 'included' even though they cannot work?  No business owner in the country has been through this situation before. The global financial crash was a walk in the park by comparison, so you need to help them.

Online document signing
Never tried it?  Now is the time. Get clients to electronically sign off documents. We have agreement from Signable for a three month trial for law firms rather than their standard two weeks.  Give it a go. It’s dead simple to use. We use it now in our business for all our contracts and orders.

Instant leads via Google or Facebook Ads
If you have the cash, Google or Facebook ad campaigns can be turned on pretty much instantly and, done correctly, will generate instant leads.

But you absolutely need to get the ‘messaging correct’.

Keep existing clients REALLY close. Weekly Zoom calls
Particularly for B2B clients, what are you doing to keep them close to you through this difficult time?  Where is your weekly Zoom call getting your clients together to talk about what’s working and what’s not?  Be the ‘glue’ that connects them all through you.  We do one at 1pm on a Friday. Feel free to register. Heck, we even have a few prospects on the call as their existing agency are doing nothing like this for them.  They were invited by other law firms who found it invaluable.

Work as a ‘not-for-profit’
Why not make an offer to clients (or prospects) who have had to furlough staff to do work for them that they would otherwise have done inhouse in a ‘not for profit’ way? Get creative with your pricing to help them out. The theory says this will pay off in spades when this crisis is over.  We made an offer just like this last week.

Massively increase your LinkedIn activity
Particularly if you do B2B work.  It’s the new Facebook.  I am seeing a much more ‘relaxed’ posting style since this crisis kicked off, which I think is entirely appropriate. In less than four weeks I have added 98 new LinkedIn connections, which takes me to 6,567 connections and have added LinkedIn posts over the last three weeks that have received 60,216 views all tolled.

My first post since the crisis really started explaining how I’d rescinded three job offers got over 20,000 views alone. Heck, even a post about my slippers and trainers got over 1,100 views!

How many connections have you made in the last month? What are you writing about on LinkedIn?

Coronavirus update page on your website
I’m guessing you have this already? If not take a look at what Harrowells, Buckles and IBB have done.

And remember. Stay home. Protect the NHS. Save lives.

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