If you are setting up your own law office or branching out to offer your attorney services independently, you need a professionally designed brand to make an impact in the market place and attract new clients.
Everyone will need an attorney at some point in their life. Whether it’s to buy a new property, deal with a divorce, apply for citizenship or to undertake litigation in a personal injury claim, people can’t progress without the services of an attorney. The Canadian legal system, as in every other country, is a minefield for the average person – overly complicated legal terms, seemingly antiquated laws, confusing rules and regulations, all of which can bewilder and dismay. When someone just wants to bequest their belongings to their family members in their last will and testament, if it’s not legally binding, it’s not worth the paper it is written on.
Unless very well read or a keen viewer of accurate court dramas, people who have never come close to the long arm of the law are frequently bamboozled by the legal terminology used. Garnishment sounds more like a cooking term rather than a court order ending the legal ownership of property. Party and rest mean something completely different to the man on the street compared to an attorney: ‘my party is the defendant’ or ‘I rest my case’.
So in many ways this gives your new law firm a great advantage – your services will always be in demand because people need an attorney to guide them through their own legal quandary. But there are thousands of law firms in Canada so how will the average Joe in need of legal assistance find your law firm and choose to hire one of your attorneys?
The only way you can raise the profile of your law office or attorney services is to have a solid, reassuring and highly professional brand – these elements are far more important for the brand of a law office than for many other business which don’t deal in life altering situations. And the only way to achieve a successful brand is to bring in the experts – a company who is as professional as you are but with expertise and experience in field of brand development.
A professional brand development company will require your brief – not a legal written argument as you may be used to – but full details of your company objectives, your services, your target market and how you want to be perceived. Your brand is how you present your company to the whole world and this is why it is essential to have a remarkable one. A mediocre brand just won’t do if you want to stand apart from your competitors.
As an exemplary law office your brand needs to send out essential messages to people who are seeking an attorney, so they have confidence that:
If these areas are not demonstrated through your brand identity, you simply won’t attract any clients.
In addition, you may feel you have some important and unusual aspects that you want new clients to know all about. Perhaps you guarantee that all enquirers will be able to talk directly to an attorney, at least on the phone, within 24 hours of contacting you. Maybe one of your attorneys is revered in his field and seen as an expert. Or as a defense attorney, perhaps you have an exceptionally good track record for winning your cases. Whatever makes you different from the rest, you need clients to understand and see the benefits for them.
This means there are an awful lot of elements to be tied up in one solid brand design. So bring in a brand development company to work with you. Your law office can be marketed effectively and become highly successful and sought after. Not only will they advise and guide you through the brand development process, but they will also use their artistic graphic designers and communication experts at every step of the way. The most important items your new law office or independent attorney services require are as follows:
Logo and Tagline: Frequently the company logo is an artistic depiction of the company name or initials. This type of logo is very apt for a professional law office as it appears formal, appropriate and far from frivolous. The tagline is one short phrase or sentence to completely sum up your overall philosophy and explain what you want clients to understand about you. Good examples of taglines for law companies and attorneys include, ‘Genuine, Knowledgeable, Effective, ‘Lawyers you can Trust’, ‘Representing our Clients’ Best Interests’, and ‘We provide our clients with creative, effective and affordable legal solutions’. All of these are excellent taglines and should give you inspiration for your own unique version created with the assistance of the brand development company.
Business Cards and Stationery: Your business cards and stationery need to be fully branded with your company name, logo, and contact information, and printed on the highest quality paper. You have to give the right impression from the very first interaction with a potential client. They want to know you are successful – for them a successful attorney means a lot of people are hiring him or her. And if the attorney is retained by many, that in itself is an endorsement of their capabilities.
Website: In today’s digital age, a website for your law firm is absolutely essential. It’s impossible to over emphasize this. If you check out the websites of some of your competitors you will no doubt be very impressed – most of the attorney and law office websites in Canada fulfill all of the key areas outlined below, which you too can excel at using your brand development team:
Homepage: This needs to clearly state your practice areas and how you achieve results. It needs to be punchy and succinctly explain what you can do for a potential client. When there are so many great competing websites out there, you need to use the communication skills and expertise of the brand development team to help you nail the content on this page. Only when a visitor likes what they see on the homepage will they delve deeper.
Practice Areas: Clearly list all the legal areas your attorneys practice so a visitor knows immediately if you cover the area that they need help with – whether it is real estate law, divorce and family law, personal injury and litigation, estate planning, criminal law or other areas of specialization.
Attorney Profiles: As clients want to deal with real people, for each and every attorney detail their education, bar membership, practice areas, experience, and what professional bodies they are members of. And add a photo of each.
Company Background: This is a common section on websites but is often under-utilized. Interested clients will want to know the background of your company and will feel reassured when someone who has a family history in the legal field founds the company.
Legal Information: Make it easy for interested clients to understand a little more about their predicament before they even meet with you. Some people do like to read up on a subject so add in links to useful legal documents and include some short user-friendly articles of your own that can help to answer most FAQs.
Testimonials: Include provisions for a client testimonial section on the website where satisfied clients will leave feedback as you get up and running. Potential clients who are undecided about which law office to use will definitely research what others are saying about your service and performance.
Location and Contact Details: While this sounds obvious, include your address with a link to a Google map, phone, fax and email address in an easy to find place on your website.
Call to Action Steps: Of course you want your visitors to find your website useful and informative, in reality you want them to take some kind of action. This may be to contact you for more information or to make an appointment to meet with one of your attorneys. So make it easy for them. The graphic designers can ensure all of these call to action steps are highly visible on your website and easy to use.
Online Marketing: Once your website is up and running, there is no point it just sitting there looking fantastic. You need to drive traffic to it and there are a variety of ways to do this. Your brand development team can assist you and ensure your brand identity and message is clear in all.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO): When people are searching on the internet for legal advice, they will type in keywords that mean something to them, for example, ‘Family Lawyer in Toronto’ rather than ‘Corollary Relief Judgment’ which to you means the court order issued as part of a divorce proceeding but which means absolutely nothing to your target market. So as part of the creation of your website content, your brand development team must identify keywords that your potential clients will actually use in their website searches. Once agreed upon, they must appear in your content in the right place at the right keyword density so that your law office website will rank highly on the search engine results for these specific keywords. This is the basis of search engine optimization and can be effective when done properly by your professional brand development team.
Another important way to flag your website to the all powerful search engines is by having plenty of inbound links pointing to you. This is where an external website links back to yours. The search engines love to see this – they start to see you as an authority and this gives more weighting to where your website is shown in the rankings. To get more inbound links keep spreading the word by issuing newsworthy press releases. If the media picks up one of your releases and runs with it your law office will get more exposure and potentially you will receive more inbound links to your website.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that as a legally orientated business social media isn’t for you. It’s not all about trivia and checking out friends’ newest photos. If you create social media pages for your new law office or attorney services, you can share your own articles. The more shares and re-tweets an article gets, the more people will hear about your legal services. In addition the search engines use ‘social signals’ in their ranking algorithm, and the more social activity there is about your articles, the more your website ranking will improve. The brand development company can easily set up your social media company pages on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and others retaining brand harmony throughout.
Pay-per-click: This advertising option is today’s digital equivalent of traditional newspaper advertising. The brand development company can set up and manage these marketing campaigns where your advert will appear at the top of a search engine result in the “Sponsored links” section – but you only pay if someone clicks on it. It is better to have this type of campaign professionally managed to ensure your online advert is accurate and interesting to your target market and to stay within budget.
Traditional Marketing: Don’t overlook traditional marketing opportunities for your new law office. Some traditionalists will always reach for the newspapers to find an attorney to suit their needs. When advertising in newspapers, on billboards or in selected, appropriate magazines, your adverts must maintain your brand identity visually and in your company’s tone of voice. Work with the brand development company to ensure the services are clear for all to see as well as your unique selling points, all wrapped up in an outstanding design.
When launching your new law office or promoting yourself as an independent attorney, the fundamental building block has to be a strong and forceful brand identity. Choose a brand development company with expertise and experience in the legal area. New Design Group is such a company, based in Toronto with over 10 years experience in brand development. The team comprises website and communication experts, and gifted graphic designers, and creates effective brands that deliver results. When Shulman Law Firm hired them they were asked to create a brand that communicated the ability to protect and defend. See what a great brand design they developed for this brief at Shulman Law Firm.
If you choose to work with New Design Group you too will have a professional and apt brand that will carry your law firm forward successfully. Your website and marketing material will all be perfectly designed and effective, and with online and traditional marketing strategies fully defined and implemented, you will have new clients approaching you at the earliest opportunity.
If you are interested in working with New Design Group call to discuss your needs at 647 271 7463 or complete the contact form on the website.