Creative Marketing Ideas for Lawyers During Covid-19
During the 1930s there was one company that saw increasing profits and maintained their market share during the Great Depression. This company was considered a “non-essential commodity” and had many competitors that had the exact same “benefits” and business processes. That company was Lucky Strike, a cigarette company. Given those characteristics, how is it possible that one company could grow in the midst of the longest and worst economic downturn in American history? The answer is more simplistic than you’d think: they kept “an advertising agenda regardless of the political, social, or economic conditions the country faced and succeeded in the sale of nonessential commodities.”
It’s an interesting exercise to look back on history and extract some key marketing components of what may work in difficult economic situations. This becomes even more important if you consider your practice a “non-essential commodity” (aka a consumer based law practice) like the tobacco industry of the 1930s. Lucky Strike was deploying marketing tactics like self-promotion, sensationalism, screaming headlines, product placement, and escapism to name a few. Interesting how many of these marketing strategies still live on today.
Nifty wanted to help curate new-age ways in which a law firm might be able to break into a conversation and translate how these tactics of old might work in your law firm today.
Enter “The Creative Lawyers Guide to Marketing Ideas During Covid-19”, let’s dive in…
*Disclaimer* Not everything will work for every lawyer in this guide. Each Law firm has a brand and a personality. You need to be true to you, now and always. Our goal is to give as many options as possible so that you can determine what approach will work best for your situation. we’ll bet you find a nugget or two to put into practice immediately.
Escapism and Self Promotion
These forms of marketing, when used in moderation, may help your law firm stay memorable by invoking thoughts and feelings of happiness in spite of problems. You can also tastefully promote your law firm in uplifting ways. Let’s throw down some tactics:
Figure Out Ways to Give Back
One time while Mike was in line at a fast food drive through the car in front of him paid for his meal. They left a card that simply said “First Federal cares”. It was a bank and one that he didn’t bank with at the time. But, a small act left a lasting impression. Or ask people on social media every day if there is someone they would recommend that is in need. Maybe a bit of free legal advice or a roll of toilet paper. Heck give away a roll of toilet paper a day to the person that needs it the most. Just Give.
Serve When Possible
We were touched recently by a story related by a family member about an elderly man simply offering to stock shelves for a few hours while in the checkout line at Winco (a grocery store). The cashier was ecstatic and relieved! What if there were other essential ways to help your community?
You can be the answer. Find local ways to serve using JustServe.Org. JustServe.org allows someone, or anyone, to find ways to help serve their community. Heck, you could get your whole office engaged if the circumstances are right. Then take a few moments to self promote by taking some pictures, writing a blog and posting it on social media and/or adding it to your Google Posts feed. Show people, in a meaningful and sincere way, that you care about your community and sprinkle in some self-promotion to inspire others to do the same.
Post a video of some memorable moments that are happy or just plain funny from your childhood, business experience, or personal life. Put some real time into the story by learning how to storytell. This will actually show people you are a human! Jimmy Fallon did something like this from his home. It’s cheap, it’s silly, it’s real, and it’s raw. Share these memories with your social media audience and other groups of interest and see if you can get others to join in the challenge. You can boost (pay for views) those stories so that more people see them in their news feed. Break up the monotony and keep people focused on the good – this is escapism at its finest.
Focus on Local Presence
Nothing sexy here but if you’re looking for something simple, these ones are for you!
Utilize Google Posts Feed
Your Google Posts feed is a feature inside of Google My Business page that can easily keep your potential clients aware of important events, testimonials, or even how you’re engaged in the community (remember Justserve.org?). These posts are used by only 25% of top ranking law firms and it’s surprising how many law firms are unaware these even exist.
These posts expire on a weekly basis, so it’s something you can easily keep up. When you get this feed rolling, it’s almost like a mini-blog with a featured picture for your local traffic to see. Here’s another feed that does a great job if you need some inspiration.
Localize Your Google My Business (GMB) Page
Localize your Google My Business (GMB) page by adding pictures from your cell phone as you go about spreading good around your city. You can easily go to local landmarks (unless you are under quarantine) in your city and take a selfie as well. The meta-data from that picture serves Google in understanding exactly where the picture was taken and you could experience a boost in rankings too.
Update Your GMB Hours of Operation
THIS IS HUGE. If you have changed your hours to adjust for quarantines or social distancing – adjust them in your GMB stat! We’ve also seen Google come through and auto-update business hours of operation to “Closed” when business have actually been open. If you need more details on how Google is handling Covid-19 with suggestions and guided tutorials on how to implement, see here.
Help Other Attorneys
Help other attorneys. If you haven’t already done so, join the Covid-19 Support Group for Lawyers. Nifty and other attorneys are building a community that can help with marketing tips and advice, hacks and solutions for business operations, news and industry updates, and general support all centered around Covid-19. This community will lead the conversation and give real solutions to law firms during a challenging time. Your input and ideas are needed!
Sensationalism and Screaming Headlines
Facebook ads are a great way to take some risks using sensational and captivating headlines.
Take Advantage of Facebook
Recently, we published a mega-piece about the power of Facebook ads and their effectiveness in leveling the playing field for solo and small law firms.
Social media ads on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn are your best way to reach people who are at home right now. These ads serve as the replacement for billboards and TV ads at a fraction of the cost with way better targeting. They are also a great way to take some risks using sensational and captivating headlines. Targeted social ads allow you to compete with that deep-pocketed TV ad juggernaut of a law firm in your local market.
**A Word of Caution When Deploying Facebook Ads**
Choosing the emotional style of your brand at this stage is an important first step. By no means are we saying any firm can pull off these ads. The point is to be intentional in choosing an emotional advertising approach that fits your brand and to offer a solution to a problem. There are a handful of approaches to take that range from using humor to trust. Let’s explore a few approaches…
1. Empathetic Approach
Take your local community into consideration. People want to feel comforted and safe right now. Letting people know that you are concerned about the community and what you are doing to help do your part can go a long way. Giving back, donating time or resources, or just sending out a message of support.
2. Peace/Trust Approach
People want to feel peace during this time. They want to know how you can take care of their concerns when it comes to legal matters. Especially in a time when everything is starting to close and people can’t get out. First off, let them know that you are available and open and can work with them remotely. Then educate them on what is going on in the legal system. With courts closed what can they expect? If they had a case that required quick action because of the statute of limitations, are those being extended? Use ads to bring peace of mind and instill trust in people.
3. Fear Approach
Fear can motivate people to action. A lot of people may have procrastinated crucial life decisions and may now be realizing that they are being forced to do something about it. People that don’t have wills desperately need them, people may be on the verge of bankruptcy and are afraid. You can use fear to your advantage in your ads to speak to them and offer a much needed solution. For example:
4. Humorous Approach
Taking a funny approach is often the riskiest but offers a high potential reward and large reach. Here are some funny ads and that we put together so you could sample what could be done in law.
*Disclaimer* We are not saying to default to funny ads. They definitely aren’t for everybody. They can lighten the mood with all the negativity going around, but they could also cause a lot of backlash. Use at your own discretion.
Look through these ideas/options and see what matches up to your style. Then do something about it and take action.
Nifty’s Origin Story and Final Thoughts of Encouragement
Nifty is a success story for overcoming poor circumstances when starting a company. Few attorneys know our company’s origin story but Nifty was born in the midst of the 2008 housing crisis.
Mike had been working in the pest control industry but decided to pursue the digital marketing space and started Nifty while he was building a house in Burley, Idaho with his wife pregnant. It was a complete do or die situation.
The small business world at the time was doing what they could to be effective with every dollar that they were spending. While some businesses cut back on marketing budgets out of fear. Others looked for opportunities to be more effective, more aggressive, and more set on weathering the financial storm. So, many companies began pulling budgets from TV, Radio, BIllboards, and YellowPages to put money in the new world of online marketing. Mike knew that the biggest risk for businesses was who to trust. So, instead of being focused on “trade secrets”, Mike focused on sharing everything he was learning about the local digital marketing space. The more he shared, the more information that he gave away, the more businesses saw that they could trust the information and “bet” on Nifty for their digital marketing needs.
So, while many other advertising companies were trying to hang on to profits, sharing as little about the changing landscape as possible, Nifty took the opposite approach and it paid off… big time.
Nifty has steadily grown and solidified over the years. This post of 20 different lessons Mike learned while building the company has been read and applied by tens of thousands and is still inspiring us today. In fact, several of the lessons we learned as we grew in our infancy from $0-$1,000,000 are still applicable and extra poignant given the recent Covid-19 pandemic. In an eerie way recent events feel familiar to us, we’ve been there and we made it through, and you can too. We want to show you that there is always an upside when things look down and demonstrate how taking action will always propel you forward.
You can be successful by working on improving and growing your business when others are too afraid to. Be smart, be proactive, be rational. Don’t operate your business from a place of fear. Outpace your competitors and make things happen.
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