Marketing for Law Firms has always been tricky. And with the advent of social media, simple straight-forward advertising is in a period of decline. People want more than catchy jingles, they want information. And they want it for free and from a source they can trust.
All this isn’t to say that marketing is dead; as we’ve outlined in previous posts in this series, it’s far from it. Marketing is just changing.
Enter smartphone apps.
Mobile apps for smartphones are a great way to market your firm. From an app that provides an attorney directory, practice areas and an archive of all your publications to one that provides a check-list of action items for someone after they get in a car accident, apps have an intrinsic value that leaves a mark with anyone who downloads them.
As every firm isn’t the same, every app should be different. If your firm is a thought leader in mergers & acquisitions, that fact should be highlighted through bios of your attorneys and an accessible library to published articles. A personal injury firm can create an app to keep in contact with their clients, maintain access to case files and host live chat features. A family law practice can create a child support calculator and so on and so forth.
The point of creating an app is to tie your firm to it. It not only shows how technologically advanced your firm is, but it also creates brand awareness. People who download your child support calculator are going to remember your firm’s name as it will be on display every time they open and use the application.
Your prospective clients have already joined a niche based on their need for your services and an app that fits into that niche will promote your firm, period.
As everybody and their uncle claims that they can develop apps now, there are certain questions you should ask before you sign on with anyone. The obvious first step is to request sample apps that they have previously developed; that alone should go a long way in telling you if they are real developers or simply jumping on the bandwagon.
Next, tell them about your idea. They should develop a schematic based on your wants so that you can get a feel for the app’s navigation and aesthetic.
The beauty of apps is in their versatility. Bringing an open mind to a meeting with a developer creates a substantial opportunity to effectively market your firm through a useful and powerful app. And that doesn’t even take into account that this new avenue can force the competition to play catch-up for years to come.