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Are you a bankruptcy lawyer looking for a few ideas to revamp your legal marketing strategy? Read this post for four tips we suggest ensuring are a part of your well-rounded legal marketing plan.
While many expected bankruptcies to increase during the COVID-19 pandemic, data showed that they actually decreased (at least for the first year), likely due to government programs and financial support for both businesses and those who lost their jobs. As things slowly get back to “normal,” the new trends in the practice area remain to be seen. However, regardless of whether bankruptcy filings are increasing or decreasing, bankruptcy attorneys need a strong strategy for reaching clients who require legal assistance in the bankruptcy world.
In this post, we’re offering four strategies and tips bankruptcy lawyers can implement to take their legal marketing plans up a notch.
1. Provide Free Bankruptcy Resources
Some would say that bankruptcy is the wild west of the legal world. It can be incredibly confusing for lawyers without a strong bankruptcy background. Naturally, you can only imagine how difficult understanding a bankruptcy proceeding can be for a non-lawyer. Therefore, many of your future clients will start out as people simply hoping to better understand the process and their options.
Providing free resources is a great way to reach these potential clients. Focus on the issues many people face, including state and federal bankruptcy exemptions, as applicable, that may allow people to protect and keep some property. Examine different issues, such as how marriage and divorce relate to bankruptcy. Discuss the various types of debt that can lead to bankruptcy, such as medical bills, credit cards, taxes, and loans, and which ones people can and cannot get relief from through bankruptcy, such as student loans (typically cannot be discharged) and credit card debt (frequently can be addressed through bankruptcy). Finally, offer basic financial advice, such as paying off higher interest credit cards first and debt reconsolidation, as well as offer insights into which debt relief companies and agencies are credible and trustworthy.
Consistently leverage your law firm blog to share original, high-quality content that offers relevant information on these common issues, changes and updates to the law, and government programs for those in need. Don’t be discouraged if you do not consider yourself to be a blogger! We have suggestions for creating an effective lawyer blog post for you. You can also check out some of the common grammar mistakes to avoid in the drafting process.
If you do not have a law firm blog already, consider starting one. A strong blog can be a great way to increase your online visibility and further enhance your SEO strategy. If you need help with the technical aspects of starting a law firm blog, the Justia Elevate team can help.
Related Post: Should Your Legal Blog Have a Separate Domain? The Pros, the Cons, and Our Recommendations
You can also use other channels to share your bankruptcy insights. You almost certainly want to have a strong FAQs page on your law firm website that shares your knowledge. In addition to being user-friendly for your website visitors, FAQs increase the chances search engines match your content to long-tail searches, such “Can I keep my car if I file for bankruptcy in Texas?” When creating your FAQ page, make sure to use schema markup to increase the chances that your answer will show up as a featured snippet in Google search or the “People also ask” section of the search engine results pages.
Some bankruptcy lawyers find it useful to offer eBooks and downloads, rather than just on-site content and resources. Putting these items behind a form that requires people to provide an email address can also help you grow your database of potential clients for future marketing efforts. However, be sure to remember to check the legal ethics rules for marketing in your jurisdiction before reaching out to anyone on these email lists.
Social media is a great tool for reaching clients in a space where they are already active. We suggest focusing your efforts on social media platforms where you are more likely to reach your ideal clients. For instance, if you typically handle personal bankruptcies, you should focus more heavily on platforms like Twitter or Facebook, rather than LinkedIn. In contrast, if you handle business bankruptcies, LinkedIn may be more important for your firm.
Additionally, consumers are becoming increasingly interested in video, with 54% of consumers indicating they want to see more video content from the brands and businesses they support. Therefore, you can also leverage video marketing strategies to share knowledge with potential clients.
You can also take a more traditional approach and offer pamphlets and other hard copy guides of resources to local libraries and aid organizations where people may seek information. Likewise, you could offer one free consultation per person to discuss their questions about the bankruptcy process, or host a live question and answer session.
2. Position Yourself as an Expert
As discussed above, bankruptcy is often an intimidating and foreign process for people (and businesses) faced with financial hardships. When they seek help with a bankruptcy matter, they want competent, trustworthy advice from an authority on the subject. Therefore, bankruptcy lawyers should implement strategies designed to help them position themselves as a leader in the practice area.
You can do this in several ways. As a digital solution, consider an online workshop or webinar where you provide helpful information on the topic or engage in a personalized question and answer session. When planning your webinar, discuss your credentials briefly, but let your knowledge speak for itself. Explain the different bankruptcy chapters and what they mean to the audience in clear, accessible language, rather than legal jargon. Offer participants resources they can take home (download) and keep express marketing pitches for your firm to a minimum, such as at the end of the presentation. For a lower technology option, you could also partake in in-person learning sessions and seminars where you share similar information.
If you want to build a following and develop a reputation, consistency is key. You should not limit yourself to one webinar or seminar occasionally. Instead, you will want to also find ways to continuously solidify your position as an authority on bankruptcy. One way to do this is to create a podcast where you share new episodes weekly or monthly. You can choose a schedule that fits around your legal practice, but make sure it is consistent.
You can also work with local news organizations to answer questions they may have as part of a particular series or simply to offer insights as appropriate. This kind of exposure increases your visibility in the community while also adding additional third-party credibility to your expertise.
Notably, while this suggestion is very similar to offering free resources, there are a few key differences. First, the information shared in the course of positioning yourself as an expert does not necessarily have to be free (though it most certainly can be). However, the bigger distinction is your personal presence and involvement in this strategy. While free resources are a bit more hands-off, your presence is a key part of building trust in your expertise with potential clients and the community. You want them to always see and/or hear you as part of this effort.
3. Carefully Craft Marketing Messages
The consequences of bankruptcy can be serious. For a business, especially a small business, someone is likely losing their livelihood. For individuals, bankruptcy can present real concerns about their ability to keep their homes, cars, and other valuable items.
In such a circumstance, it can be tempting to transform these worries and doubts into forceful messages that urge people to contact your firm. However, special care should be taken to avoid opportunistic messaging that preys on people’s vulnerable state.
While every individual is different, messaging that capitalizes on hardship is more likely to drive a person into another lawyers’ office. Instead, you should carefully create compassionate messages that recognize the reality and seriousness of the situation while also offering help and hope.
For example, one lawyer may lean into the fear aspect of bankruptcy with messaging such as “Contact me or you may lose your home!” However, another lawyer might say something along the lines of “Worried about losing your home in bankruptcy? Help is a phone call away.” While both of these messages may be compelling, one offers a solution to a real potential problem, while the other only increases anxiety. Our recommendation is to strategically choose messaging that acknowledges the problem while offering a possible solution, especially when working in a sensitive practice area like bankruptcy.
4. Take Advantage of PPC Advertising
People are arguably more likely to look for a bankruptcy lawyer online than in almost any other practice area. Why?
Most people do not anticipate having to file bankruptcy and often lack familiarity with bankruptcy lawyers. While many remember lawyers in other practice areas due to frequent exposure to their ad campaigns, bankruptcy lawyers may not utilize large, public marketing campaigns as frequently as lawyers in other disciplines. Moreover, even if you do use a widespread campaign, people who never expect financial hardship to strike are unlikely to remember the limited interactions they may have with bankruptcy attorneys.
Additionally, while there is no shame in utilizing the relief that the legal system has provided to people with financial difficulties, many are uncomfortable discussing their finances and may feel embarrassed about needing bankruptcy assistance. Therefore, unless they have a close personal relationship with someone who is a lawyer or who has previously filed for bankruptcy, they may be uncomfortable with seeking a referral or lawyer recommendation.
Accordingly, your law firm wants to be there when they begin seeking answers and representation. Despite the importance of online visibility in the modern age for all practice areas, however, results of a Justia legal marketing survey in late 2021 showed that less than a quarter of participating lawyers used Google Ads to market their firms last year and even fewer were using non-Google PPC (pay-per-click) solutions. This means adding PPC to your marketing plan can help you increase your visibility while also potentially helping you get ahead of the competition.
One of the biggest advantages to running PPC Ads as part of your law firm marketing strategy is that they complement SEO (search engine optimization) strategies to help you better manage your firm’s appearance in search results. With PPC, you have more control over the types of audiences and you can gain valuable insights into how your campaigns perform. You are also empowered to choose the messages that your potential clients see about your firm through your ad, which is not entirely within your control through the organic search results.
Some popular PPC advertising platforms include Google Ads, Microsoft Advertising (formerly Bing Ads), and Facebook Remarketing. While there are differences in how each of these platforms works and the types of campaigns you might run, all can offer positive results for your firm. On each platform, you should carefully tailor your campaigns. For each segment of potential clients on which you are focused, select appropriate keywords, ad text, and landing pages. For example, you would have a different ad group tailored for those dealing with medical bills, as opposed to those managing large credit card balances.
If you are unfamiliar with PPC advertising, start by learning the basics. Review our glossary of basic PPC terms and check out some of the additional resources available through PPC blogs. You can also learn more about the various Google Ads bidding strategies. Finally, if you need a PPC consultant to help you get started, take a look at the questions lawyers should ask before hiring a PPC provider.
Final Thoughts: Why Do You Care?
Implementing targeted strategies that consider the nuances of your focused practice area, in this case bankruptcy, can help you reach more potential clients and, ultimately, grow your practice. While there are certainly more elements to a well-rounded legal marketing plan than the tips presented in this post, incorporating some or all of these practices can help you achieve your goals.