5 ideas for successful legal marketing through recommendations

It is well known that business development in the service sector works very much through recommendations. In this article, we give you ideas on how to market yourself even more successfully through recommendations.

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5 ideas for successful legal marketing through recommendations

Importance of recommendations in legal marketing

It is well known that business development in the service sector works very much through referrals. These "referrals" are also at the heart of legal marketing. Referrals - where they are particularly numerous - are even used as a reason to forego new, digital marketing measures.

We have already pointed out elsewhere the importance of referrals for law firm marketing.

In this article, we give you ideas on how to market yourself even more successfully through recommendations.

One important insight in advance: when we think about recommendations, it is usually only our clients who come to mind. But that is not the only source of recommendations. People who are not (yet) clients can also recommend us. And: This actually happens regularly.

Types of recommendations

We distinguish between three types of recommendations:

  1. Experience-based: The classic recommendation that someone gives because he/she has worked with you or your company. These are clients or partner companies who have successfully implemented a project with you. These people give first-hand accounts. You should try to bring together as many leads as possible with these people.
  2. Reputation-based: These are recommendations from people who have not (yet) worked with you. They recommend you because they know you have a certain expertise. Or they know someone who has already worked with you and was satisfied. Or they know content that you have written - for example in a blog or professional article.
  3. Unconditional: This smaller group is made up of close acquaintances from your (private) environment. You have no professional overlap with them. They may not even know exactly what your expertise is. But they appreciate you as a person and therefore recommend you unconditionally.

If you want to strategically collect more referrals, it's a good idea to keep these distinctions in mind.

What activities promote recommendations?

Note: In the legal industry, communicating a client-lawyer relationship is of course a sensitive issue. But even in law firms, clients are increasingly willing to communicate their relationship with a law firm on a project-by-project basis and under certain conditions. The scope for the following strategies is therefore not huge for law firms everywhere. But it is there and should be explored.

For other service providers who are not subject to professional secrecy, making a business relationship visible - in consultation with the client, of course - is an important strategy anyway.

1. identify top sources for recommendations

One might think that this is obvious: identify the sources of the recommendations and treat the recommenders well! Unfortunately, this actually happens far too rarely. An experience I have also made myself several times when making recommendations.

Your best referral sources absolutely need to know that you value their commitment.

2. networking with experts from your sector

People who are highly visible in an industry can be valuable sources of recommendations. These people are well networked and are usually perceived as experts. As such, they are often asked for specific recommendations. It is therefore important that these industry experts know you and your competencies. If you succeed in convincing this person of your expertise, your chances of a recommendation from this industry will increase.

Important: These can be both vocational college students and people from a specific industry (e.g. art, tech, crypto or automotive).

3. your specialisation

A common mistake: service providers describe their expertise too broadly. Of course, this happens out of fear of cutting into their own turnover through overly focused communication. It could be that potential clients feel excluded. In fact, however, this does not lead to many recognising the competence, but rather to no one really knowing for what kind of work the person should be recommended.

The fact is: the more people know where your specialisation lies, the more recommendations you will get. At the end of the day - especially with lawyers - we only recommend someone who we trust to have the specific competence. So you have to communicate your specialisation widely: Lectures, professional articles, online publications, social media posts, etc. Through such activities, the market increasingly attributes specialised knowledge to you.

This increases the likelihood of referrals outside of existing customer relationships (reputation-based referrals).

4. Joint Project Descriptions (Case Studies) with Your Best Clients

The more people know about your work with a client, the more likely it is that a third person will ask said client for their opinion on you. It is often even conceivable that this person might know someone who also works in your client's company. Suddenly the distances become short and the probability of an (experience-based) recommendation increases significantly.

If you want to go even further, you can, for example, publish a list of (selected) clients. Here, too, lawyers rightly feel uneasy. But not all clients shy away from publicity.

And the advantages are obvious. Logos or names of top clients make an impression. Depending on the composition, this can set a certain focus and, for example, indicate a specialisation in a sector. Of course, this is only possible with the consent of the client.

For potential clients who are evaluating a collaboration with you, this offer is an advantage: they have sources for references right in front of them and can easily collect positive information about you.

5. Help Other Experts in Your Company

Unfortunately, in every service company there are designated experts who are completely invisible to the outside world. It is no different in law firms. Usually, (some) partners are visible to market. Side note: There is usually still potential for optimising the visibility of specific expertise there, too.

The invisible experts are hidden potential. If you support each other even better within the company, then your chances of being noticed as experts in your field will substantually increase. You help each other to communicate your expertise to the relevant target groups. This in turn promotes recommendations of the second category (reputation-based referrals).

Besides additional recommendations, the visibility of all experts of a company has the many advantages. For example: strengthening of the brand, generating new leads, achieve better margins through higher prices and reach easier sales processes.

How HeadStarterz Can Help!

Do you want to further improve your marketing through recommendations? We would be happy to look at the ideas from this article with you in concrete. Together we will develop strategies and implement processes that help you achieve additional success.

Interested? Feel free to contact us at any time: hello@headstarterz.com