How to Market Yourself as a Paralegal
You’ve already done the hard work: you’ve obtained your paralegal qualifications and set up shop as an independent paralegal practitioner. You’ve also checked the NALP Members’ handbook and know what you can and can’t do Great! But the work’s not quite done yet. You may have the knowledge, skills and experience to be an excellent professional paralegal, but if you want to make your practice a viable business, you first need to master the marketing.
The opportunities for paralegals in the UK today are more lucrative than ever. Traditionally paralegals would mostly provide support work for law firms. However, since the cutting back of Legal Aid, a lot of paralegals are approaching consumers directly who might not be able to afford the fees charged by lawyers. This is a great opportunity for you, if you get your head round the marketing.
Luckily, this doesn’t have to be a chore. We’ve put together our six top tips to get your marketing strategy off the ground:
1. Create a Professional Website
It’s the 21st Century, so the first port of call for most people in need legal services is, of course, the internet. Your first priority should be to create a website that’s professional and easy to use. At the very minimum you want your name, picture, specialisation and contact details on there for reference. But style is as (if not more) important. 94% of website user first impressions are design related [source: https://www.go-globe.hk/importance-of-professional-web-design/]. In other words, when it comes to promoting professional services online; people tend to judge the book by its cover. There are plenty of cheap and easy platforms for building your own website if you’re tech-savvy enough. Or else it might be worth in hiring a professional to do it for you. Remember, you only get one chance to make a first impression, so make it count.
2. Market on Your Doorstep
Marketing begins at home. When you’re starting out remember that your first clients will likely be your neighbours. Old-school media like local business directories, advertisers, etc. are still good platforms to promote yourself. Fliers and leaflets shouldn’t be overlooked either. Physical marketing materials, like business cards, show your potential customers that your practice is professional and reliable. Similarly, social media has lots of local business groups on various platforms that are definitely worth checking out. Legal services is a competitive market, so it’s well worth covering as many of these marketing platforms as possible.
3. Network, Network, Network
There are plenty ways to start networking as a paralegal. As well as local industry groups, there’s plenty of social media platforms to get to grips with. Facebook groups are a simple way to find other legal professionals who may be happy to share insight or resources, or just talk shop. Similarly, LinkedIn is a network that shouldn’t be overlooked. Specifically designed for professional networking, you can quickly build a few connections into a whole network of useful contacts. There are also websites such as meetup.com where you can find informal, face-to-face industry events. You should also try to follow industry bodies which share more formal, ticketed events and training. Once you get your foot in the door, don’t be silent. Make sure you like, share, comment and engage with other paralegals and potential clients on these platforms.
4. Show Off Your Legal Knowledge
So, you’ve created a slick new website. Why not create some free, original content to show potential customers what you’re capable of? If you’re a whizz at writing tenancy agreements, you could publish a “How To…” guide on your website. Or even go a step further and record a video: make your face synonymous with quality contracts! While such educational material generates no income in itself; it will generate traffic to your website from those who are curious or may need paralegal services in the future. It will also establish you as an authority in your specialist area which is all part of building your personal brand.
5. Get Sharing
In the hyper-competitive world of internet marketing, “build it and they will come” just doesn’t apply. By now you’ve commissioned a snazzy website and created some insightful original content demonstrating your specialist legal knowledge. Make sure it gets seen! For this step, email marketing is still the most effective way to get your content out there. Approach potential collaborators and clients with your content. People respond better to email marketing when they’re given something for free, rather than asking for business upfront. Social media platforms are also a good place to share you content. LinkedIn articles are a good way to build up a reputation as an authority in your area with your network. In this sphere, you can capitalise on trends and hashtags to broaden the reach of your content. Make sure you keep a finger on the pulse and stay up to date with what’s trending. PR is another great way to get your content and expertise to a wider audience. It will help build your brand and position you as an expert. Using ‘as featured’ on your website can give potential clients confidence and getting your articles published on respected sites not only helps your reputation, it also boosts you up the rankings on Google.
6. Reel in the Reviews
For better or worse, everything gets reviewed nowadays (there’s even a site to review public toilets [http://www.toiletinspector.com/]). You can capitalise on this trend by encouraging customers to post their feedback. You could offer incentives, like discounts for referrals, or a voucher for services when reviews are filled out. Excellent customer service and a good stock of positive reviews will help you stand out from the crowd and expand your potential customer base. You should use your website, Google, and even social media platforms such as Facebook Business or LinkedIn to gather reviews and maintain a “five star” rating across all platforms.
There you have it; our six top tips to help you get your paralegal practice off the ground. The paralegal industry is going from strength to strength in the UK, so now is the perfect time to start capitalising. But remember, this list is just a jumping off point: every paralegal is different, and you should play to your strengths to distinguish your personal brand. Once you’ve mastered the basics of paralegal marketing there’s no limit to what you can achieve.