How to make personal branding and company branding work synergistically at family law firms.
By Martha Chan and Dan Couvrette, Family Lawyer Marketing Experts
Few family law firms go through the essential marketing exercise that is branding. It is almost unheard of for attorneys within a family law firm to market themselves through personal branding – unless it is a solo practice and the firm is the attorney. Even though promoting individual attorneys rarely happens at most family law firms, we want you to consider the benefits of personal branding so that your firm can make an informed marketing decision.
Personal Branding Needs to Align with the Firm’s Branding
Simply put, branding for a family law firm is a way of letting the world know what you do, who should hire your firm, and why. Branding is a deliberate process to create a reputation so you may differentiate your firm from other family law firms and attract the kind of clients and cases you want. Done properly, branding will also help reduce the amount of time you spend on inquiries from the kind of prospective clients that your firm does not wish to take on; after spending a relatively short time on your website, visitors will realize that you are not the lawyer or law firm for them.
A family lawyer’s personal branding works much the same way. It’s a way for you, a family lawyer, to let the world know what you do, who should hire you, and why they should choose to work with you and your firm. The focus is on you, and your personal brand can be somewhat different from your firm’s brand. However, it must align with and include the firm’s overall branding; if the two don’t align, then you have a bigger issue.
The Synergy of Dual Branding
Some clients choose to work with a family law firm based on what they know about the firm, while others choose to work with a particular attorney – especially if the attorney is a rainmaker, a partner, or someone who is known for their expertise in the issues the client is facing. When branding and marketing are done correctly, both the family law firm and the attorney will benefit, and this means more business for the firm.
For example, your passion and expertise may be dealing with child custody disputes. When implementing personal branding, you will state that your law firm handles a wide range of family law issues and that you are the go-to attorney for child custody cases. Or you might be an exceptionally skilled lawyer and mediator at a family law firm that offers various divorce options including litigation, mediation, and collaborative law. By highlighting your mediation skills in your personal branding, you draw attention to the fact that your firm includes lawyers with a skill-set that goes beyond that of a traditional litigator.
Promoting Individual Lawyers Beyond Your Firm’s Website
Most family law firms understand the benefits of promoting all of their attorneys on their websites, and they usually devote a page to each attorney. Unfortunately, for the majority of these firms, that’s where the personal branding of their attorneys begins and ends.
For branding to achieve its maximum impact, you need to promote the firm and the individual attorney(s) beyond your firm’s website. Many attorneys already have their own social pages or blogs, pages on directory websites such as Lawyers.com or AVVO.com; this is where they can make their personal branding consistent with their bio page on the firm’s website. If you want to be known as a custody lawyer, it would make sense for you to blog about custody and/or post articles about it on Linkedin. You should also join and provide comments on Linkedin or Facebook groups about custody, seek speaking opportunities, publish articles in relevant publications or websites, and highlight these articles on your firm’s website and newsletter.
Your Personal Attorney Website
Family lawyers almost never have personal websites – unless they are solo practitioners whose websites are really about them. However, we have successfully employed this personal branding tactic for ourselves and for a few of our clients.
The obvious domain name for your personal website would be your name: www.MarthaChan.com, for example. If you want to be known for custody, and you practice in Los Angeles, your domain name could be www.custodylawyerLA.com or www.LAchildcustodylawyer.com, for example. This only needs to be a mini-website of three to four pages – one of which should present the firm you work at in a way that is consistent with your firm’s branding. Make sure you rewrite your bio and any articles that have already been posted on your firm’s website to avoid being penalized by Google for using duplicate content. Don’t forget to include links back to your firm’s website on your personal attorney website!
There are a number of benefits – for you and for your firm – associated with your having a personal attorney website. The top three are:
1. Being found on page one of Google searches. When someone Googles your name because you have been referred to them, your personal website will likely show up on the first page of Google’s search results. To give you a sense of how powerful this is, if you Google “Martha Chan”, you will get 875,000 results – and www.MarthaChan.com has consistently been on the first page for the past 10 years.
2. Online reputation enhancement. This tactic is particularly useful if there are web pages with bad reviews about you showing up on the first page when someone Googles your name. This will help push down the bad page and reduce its prominence.
3. Bring traffic to the firm’s own website. A personal attorney website can increase the number of visits to the firm’s website.
While there are valid concerns regarding encouraging a firm’s attorneys to promote themselves through personal branding, the positive impact of personal branding on the overall law firm is undeniable. Besides, dual branding likely already exists due to the personal webpages that the attorneys already had before they joined your firm. When your firm takes on dual branding deliberately, you will be able to objectively and openly address any changes that need to be made. We hope you find the benefits of deliberate personal branding too great to ignore.
Dan Couvrette and Martha Chan are marketing experts for family lawyers and other divorce-industry professionals. The co-owners of Divorce Marketing Group – a one-stop marketing agency dedicated to promoting family law and divorce professionals – they offer a wide range of products and services that help their clients attract quality prospects, turn those prospects into clients, and stand out from their peers.
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