As an attorney, you’re always looking for ways to better serve your clients. When you notice that there is a lack of representation in a certain practice area, are changing the direction of your law firm, or simply branching out into a new practice area, it’s important that you take the time to consider how you’ll brand this new career move. 

Lawyers rely heavily on marketing strategies in order to be successful in an extremely competitive industry. You have to set yourself apart from the competition. This means taking advantage of the opportunity to market yourself in a new legal practice area. You’re more than likely consumed with clients and court, but your marketing efforts to further grow your law firm can’t be ignored. Here are a few tips you can use for branding yourself in a new practice area. 

1. Evaluate Your Current Marketing Strategies

Before you start planning your big reveal to the world, it’s important to consider how successful your current marketing strategies are. If you’re already an established criminal defense lawyer, think about how you’ve marketed yourself in the past. 

Keep your target audience in mind. Remember, someone searching for a criminal defense lawyer is going to respond differently than a victim of a traumatic injury would. You’re marketing yourself, but you need to be thinking about how you’ll show your prospective clients that your practice will benefit them. 

If you’ve spent thousands of dollars on billboards, pay-per-click advertising, and more traditional marketing efforts, you will want to keep up with these existing plans, but tailor them to your specific audience. Think about the type of language your potential clients in this new practice area are going to respond to. Are they in need of an aggressive legal defense? Are they involved in a messy divorce, fighting for their assets? Or do they need a compassionate lawyer to guide them through the legal process? What is working for your current focus practice area may not work as well for your new one. By understanding who your target audience is and what their needs are, you can brand yourself and your new practice area around these needs, making your law firm the obvious choice. 

2. Know Your Competition

You know the legal industry is one of the most competitive out there. It doesn’t matter what practice area you focus on, there is usually some stiff competition you’ll need to have an edge over if you hope to retain control of the market. 

If you’re currently established in a specific practice area and pivoting, you likely have the benefit of an established network as well. This means you may already be aware of who your competitors are and what they offer their prospective clients. If you’re just starting out, you may need to do some research. Find out how long your competitors have been in business, how successful they are at trial, and most importantly, analyze their branding and marketing efforts. See what is working for them. 

Then, you can turn your attention back to your own branding. What is your new practice area’s unique value proposition (UVP)? Your UVP will tell your audience concisely what benefits you offer to them. It should focus on what your client needs and why your services are better or different from your competitors. This is your best opportunity at catching and holding your audience’s attention at a glance. You can then use your UVP as part of your marketing materials when you launch.

3. Invest in Search Engine Optimization

If you haven’t spent your energy and a good chunk of your marketing budget on internet marketing, you aren’t likely to gain the exposure your firm will need to be successful in a new practice area. Search engine optimization (SEO) is used to help web pages rank higher in search results. 

When your potential client is looking for a DUI lawyer, they’re probably going to open up Google and search for “DUI lawyer near me” or some variation of that. They may even include a specific location. The point being, when this potential client is searching for a lawyer, you want your website’s landing pages to be among the top of those displayed on page one of the Google search results. 

SEO often involves a combination of marketing efforts including pay-per-click, social media marketing, content marketing, website design, and backlink strategies. Many of your biggest competitors will be going after the same target keywords as you are. You have to take steps to optimize your own web presence and website in order to win online. 

4. Announce Your New Practice Area in a PR Campaign

Once you’ve thought about how you want to brand your firm and your new practice area focus, analyzed your competition, and implemented an SEO marketing strategy, it’s time to plan your PR campaign. This is your chance to gain the exposure you’ll need to be successful in this practice area. The only way clients can turn to you is if they know that you offer the services they need. Now may be the right time to send out a newsletter with your announcement. You might try press releases and social media posts as well. 

One of the top ways lawyers get clients in 2021 is through attorney referrals. For this reason, it’s essential that you make sure that your peers, referral partners, and others in your network know about your new practice area venture. Continue attending networking events and getting involved in your community. If you haven’t already joined your local bar associations or other legal organizations, this is the time to do so. After you’ve launched your brand’s new practice area, your marketing efforts won’t stop there. These are simply the first steps you’ll take in your new practice area’s marketing efforts. Only once your name is out there and you start bringing in regular clients, can you turn your marketing strategy towards brand maintenance.