Referral marketing is when a law firm turns its happy clients into their business’s most powerful advocates without spending money on advertising.
Imagine this. You have recently separated and want to find the best family lawyer in your local area. What do you do? If you’re like many people, you might reach out to a friend for a recommendation. That’s the power of effective referral marketing.
Law firm referral marketing does take effort, but referrals can be one of the most effective, affordable, and sustainable ways to drive more clients to your practice.
According to the second annual Smokeball State of Small Law Australia Survey conducted in 2022, 84 percent of Australian small law firms still rely heavily on referrals and 82 percent on word-of-mouth to attract new clients or matters.
In this blog, we delve into what referral marketing is and share four actionable tips you can put into place to ensure that your law firm’s referral marketing strategy is top-notch.
How can I enhance my firm’s referral marketing strategy?
1. Keep your clients happy
Satisfied clients will tell their family and friends about their exceptional experience with your law firm. How do you acquire more happy clients? By delivering excellent service.
Despite law firms knowing that delivering an outstanding client experience is the difference between thriving, and not, many lawyers still hide behind the fact that they are “too busy”. For instance, not phoning their clients back on the same day when they received a call.
However, the truth is that if lawyers want their clients to tell their family and friends about their firm (without any incentive) - they need to ensure that clients have a wonderful experience. This can include:
- Responding to calls and emails in a timely manner.
- Being patient with testing clients.
- Providing regular updates. If you are a Smokeball user, the Communicate feature can assist you. It automatically updates your clients as their matter progresses, to ensure they're always up to speed.
- Ending a matter with a handwritten thank you card and/or gift.
- Going the extra mile and treating each matter as unique.
2. Be visible
Sometimes, the biggest part of bringing in referrals is just by being seen. You can increase your law firm's visibility by:
- Attending local community and professional networking events. For instance, BNI is a networking organisation that allows you to generate business through referrals.
- Getting involved with causes that they are passionate about.
- Putting yourself out there on social media (think Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter) so you can show what you do at work and what it is like to work with your law firm.
- Share positive testimonials. If you’ve provided a good experience and your clients are talking about it, share those testimonials whenever you can in an ethical way.
3. Track your referrals
Looking to launch, or assess the success of, your firm’s referral marketing campaign? You should consider investing in legal software with inbuilt lead management and profitability reporting tools. For example:
- Record any referrals you receive. For instance, Smokeball’s Lead Management feature gives your firm the tools you need to keep track of and follow up with your future clients. Easily create new leads with a click of a button, and add notes, plus crucial details. The Firm Insights dashboard allows Smokeball users to see detailed breakdowns of referral sources, which matters drive the most referrals and area-of-law specific data.
- Determine how satisfied your past and current clients are with your law firm’s service. For instance, how many referrals have you received this month from past or existing clients?
- Track who your firm’s biggest referral sources are and how well you convert clients. For example, Smokeball makes it possible for firms to see how many leads were successfully converted into clients.
4. Express gratitude
If someone refers a client to you, show how grateful your firm is by:
- Sending them a handwritten card that tells them how much you value their referral.
- Providing them with a general update after your initial consultation. If you did not manage to convert the client, it is likely that the referrer may have insight about why.
With the right strategy in place, referral marketing can be a great marketing tool that will help you put your law firm on the map without you spending any money on marketers.