February 2023

Table of Contents


Marketing Matters Boost Your Firm’s Brand

Punch Above Your Weight: The Do’s and Don’ts of Small and Midsize Firm Marketing

Many small and midsize firms feel inadequate when competing against the big guys with big money behind them. So how can a smaller firm compete effectively?

Neville Pokroy

It’s actually quite simple as long as you follow a number of proven strategies that are easy to implement and cost effective to self-finance.

Here are the 10 most important MUST DO factors that have led to success.

1. You are running a business and a law firm.

Firms with professional management that are focused on the business of law are best placed to understand and leverage this approach. Sometimes this is left to you, the legal administrator. You might not be trained specifically in business, yet are expected to utilize a foreign skillset to implement. If this has fallen on your shoulders, look to get professional development to finesse your business skills — and reduce your stress levels.

2. Be smarter than the big firms (and your immediate competitors).

Think strategically — you don’t need to overspend to be successful. Find things that are meaningful to clients that your competition has overlooked. It requires some self-examination and self-reflection on the firm’s behalf but will be worth it.

3. Create differentiated positioning and clearly define a target audience(s).

Both referral sources and end clients are prerequisites for growth. Potential clients need to understand how they will be treated and why they should use your firm, rather than a competing firm.

Referral sources will be expecting to know that as well — after all, they need to have confidence in making the referral. By showcasing that difference, you are giving your firm and your lawyers a way to compete like never before.

4. Relevance is key.

This is the most important thing one needs to communicate to clients and referral sources. If the positioning is not relevant to the audience, why would they care to hire the firm?

5. Focus and expand your market.

Remain laser focused on the desired target audience(s) with the marketing investment. It should always have long-term benefits. This brand-building and positioning approach has led to sustainable growth without excessive marketing budgets when combined with some of the factors that follow.

6. The combination of brand and lawyers are raw materials for legal business.

Your lawyers, their expertise and their reputations are vital for growth. Legal administrators should be encouraging lawyers to become part of the business solution as the combination is crucial.

7. Content is king.

Showcasing lawyer expertise through content builds the firm’s and the individual lawyer’s reputation — something that resonates over time. That content can be shared through writing or speaking. If lawyers cannot be easily found on an internet search, they are not perceived as being a leader in that topic. You can encourage them to take this task seriously and to build their reputations in this manner.

8. Magnify content reach.

It can be increased significantly if one uses the capabilities of digital tools such as LinkedIn, Lexology or Mondaq. These give legal content significant boost and respectability.

9. Provide individual lawyer coaching on personal business development.

Getting lawyers to buy in to the fact that they are all business developers is often an important part of your job. Not every lawyer has the same skill set, particularly as it relates to business development. Helping individual lawyers develop their personal skill set in this regard — and making them feel comfortable doing so — is an important task.

10. Market across all levels of the firm.

This is the final aspect that ensures that the firm (brand), its areas of law and the lawyers themselves are aligned. By working at all levels of the firm, the marketing initiative can be facilitated by legal administrators to maximize success.

Like with anything in life, the must-do factors need to be offset by the DON’T DO factors. Here are a few that legal administrators should be aware of:

  • Don’t try to compete with your budget. Without smart marketing, you’ll never have enough to compete head-to-head with bigger competitors. Instead, outflank them.
  • Don’t simply copy your competition. The right marketing will differentiate you from them as long as what you do is relevant. Know what they do, but never follow them blindly. Become a leader in your market.
  • Don’t see social media or digital marketing as the savior of your business. This has been a false promise that so many firms have bought into. It can fail dismally. If you use these tools as simply a part of your strategy, you are more likely to have them contribute positively. Thinking you can use them all on their own can come back to haunt you.

Applying creative and strategic thinking to improve performance will allow your firm to punch above its weight — and its budget. Leadership is the key; if you don’t have the buy-in from the top, success will be limited. These steps will help you lead the firm to commit to a higher level of business performance.