When you think about marketing, visual advertising probably comes to mind, like press releases, newspaper print ads, and even billboards. But marketing has changed. In our recent post about how to build a successful family-based immigration practice, we discussed the importance of making client service and expert knowledge your strongest marketing tools.
Today, we will discuss three simple steps to create a marketing strategy for your immigration law firm: 1) building your knowledge, 2) focusing on your service, and 3) sharing both through your online presence. For more details and examples on the marketing ideas we will cover in this article, check out Docketwise’s webinar on How to Market Your Immigration Law Firm on YouTube.
Ditch the old-school marketing mindset - in 2021 and beyond it’s all online.
Once upon a time, law firms would put ads in the Yellow Pages or their local Chamber of Commerce’s Directory and wait for the phone to ring. When the internet came out, they may have added a website with a news section that featured a few links that didn’t get updated very often. But the common denominator of old-school marketing was crossing your fingers and hoping prospective clients noticed you.
Today, it’s not enough to wait for clients to reach out to you. One of the most important things to have in 2021 and beyond is a robust online presence. What’s on the internet about you and how you share what you know is a form of marketing, so you have to make sure to change your mindset from paying for ad space and waiting for the phone to ring to creating value for your prospective customers and going to them directly.
In other words, you have to put high value content on the internet that shows your expertise and your value. There’s a lot to unpack here as far as the what, where, and how, so let’s jump right in.
A simple strategy for online marketing for immigration lawyers: the triangular approach
During the webinar, John Khosravi, an expert immigration lawyer and mentor to other immigration lawyers, suggests marketing your immigration law firm following a triangular approach.
First, remember that everything you do and learn professionally can be content.
As an immigration lawyer, you’re constantly acquiring knowledge. That’s not limited to CLEs, legal webinars and books - you acquire knowledge every time you work on a case, deal with a new client, correspond with the government, etc. Think about all these experiences as sharable content that can educate other immigration lawyers and, of course, your target audience. Share these experiences to the extent that you can, of course while taking attorney-client privilege into consideration.
It doesn’t have to be fancy either — record a video on your phone, write a quick post, whichever format fits your platform best, and share something you learned about preparing a certain type of case, timelines you’re seeing around receipt or approval notices, etc.
Second, deliver excellent service and ask for online recommendations and reviews.
Great service is a marketing system in itself. When people have great experiences, they share them with others, so every time you work with a client that has a great experience, ask them for a review. Here are some examples of how to ask your clients for a review and how to set expectations for what you’re looking for.
And remember, if they review you on Avvo, LinkedIn, Facebook or some other public platform, you can always copy / paste that review onto your law firm website, share a screenshot or snippet of that review on your personal or your firm’s LinkedIn profile, and more. And if they give you a private review via email (sometimes clients give feedback unprompted, especially if they’re really happy!) ask them if you can use that language publicly. Or better yet, send them a link to your Avvo, etc. profile and ask them to copy and paste it there!
Third, use social media to showcase your knowledge, services, and personality.
You may think that social media is oversaturated and there is nothing you can bring to the table that hasn’t already been done. If you think that way, remember one thing: you’re the only one of you. Even if you’re saying the exact same thing as five other people, those other people don’t have your experiences, education, or personality. Your voice is unique.
For example, let’s look at immigration attorney and social media influencer Jacob Sapochnick, who has amassed over a million followers across multiple social media platforms, and who uses social media to share immigration updates, give professional advice, share parts of his personal life and, all throughout, market his services.
How did he do it? Experimentation. After creating all sorts of different types of content, Jacob looked at how people were responding to his content and made changes along the way. For example, he discovered that his advice videos with voiceovers were doing well, so he concentrated on producing more of that type of content, and people responded in kind.
So where is the triangle in this strategy? Well, the more knowledge you have, the better the service you can provide to your clients, and the more relatable and helpful your online content will be. As a result, your audience — and your client list — grows.
Refining your digital marketing strategy by choosing a niche and the right social media platform
Later on in the webinar, immigration lawyer-turned-entrepreneur Roman Zelichenko dug deeper into how to think about implementing your newfound marketing strategy: pick a niche and a platform.
Choose a niche
When it comes to marketing, especially when you’re starting out, choosing a niche within immigration can help you separate yourself from the herd of the classic “big experience, personalized service” kind of slogan often touted by immigration attorneys. Pick a niche, whether it’s focused on a particular visa type (O-1 attorney for musicians), a particular region or language (Tagalog-speaking immigration attorney), a particular industry (immigration for the pharmaceutical industry), etc., and focus on learning and doing whatever you need to be an expert in that niche. Then focus your marketing accordingly.
You may think that niching down is limiting or scary, but what it does is establish you as an absolute expert in that particular segment, which is easier to attain (and more believable) than being an expert in all aspects of immigration. You tend to attract clients that resonate with your niche, and therefore trust you to understand something about them that other immigration lawyers might not. That’s quite literally what separates you from your competitors.
And as for growth, well those clients will likely continue to have immigration-related needs, and if you provide great service, they will continue to come to you because they trust you. Plus you can always eventually expand beyond your niche - outgrowing your niche would be a good problem to have!
Choose a platform
Just because there are a number of social media platforms out there doesn’t mean you have to use all of them. So instead of focusing on being everywhere, focus on being somewhere and show up there 100%
This way, you end up building by posting relevant content, replying to comments and engaging with those looking at and engaging with your content.
It’s important to remember that not all social media platforms are created equal but all can be valuable. Here are some quick facts to consider about five of the major social media platforms for immigration lawyers:
- LinkedIn remains a professionally-minded social media platform where people share mostly business-related content, work updates, job openings and more. However, over the past few years it’s really become more social than ever before, with the addition of video capabilities, live-streaming, “stories” and more. If you focus on employment-based or investor immigration, you can connect with your prospective clients here. If you do family-based immigration, you can still leverage LinkedIn to network with colleagues, industry professionals and more.
- Facebook, while incredibly saturated, is still very powerful. One of the best features of Facebook right now is Facebook Groups, where over 1 billion people around the world gather online each month. Facebook tends to be better suited for family-based immigration lawyers since that’s the more “personal” side of immigration and Facebook is where people bring their “personal” selves rather than their business selves. That said, business immigration lawyers should at least still have a presence on Facebook and also look into leveraging Groups.
- YouTube has some of the highest viewership of all the social media platforms. It’s also the second largest search engine after Google, which owns YouTube. This means that if you create compelling long-form video content that’s educational and informative, you can build a sizable and loyal YouTube following and see growth in everything from your client base to speaking and other PR opportunities. Moreover, relatively speaking, there are only a handful of immigration law channels with more than 1,000 subscribers. YouTube has great untapped potential for the immigration industry. YouTube reaches so many people that it can likely be used by both family-based and other more business-oriented immigration practitioners, though historically, family-based immigration is more prevalent on the platform.
- Instagram and TikTok are being grouped together here, as they are both examples of social media platforms that have transformed over the years from travel and lunch photos and teenage dance videos to legitimate sources of information and networking for professionals across industries. Both platforms support video, although Instagram also supports photos, and both favor short, bite-sized pieces of content rather than longer, in-depth pieces. These platforms are better-suited for family-based immigration content since the platform tends to attract less business-related content.
Ultimately, choosing the platform to focus on is a personal choice. That said, consider the niche you want to focus on, what platform your target audience is likely using, and what you feel comfortable with (i.e. are you better at writing or being in front of a camera?), and focus 100% on that platform for at least 6-9 months. Once you get truly established there, then consider expanding to other platforms.
Wrapping Up: Easy steps you can take today to improve your immigration law firm’s marketing
At the end of the day, you are the most powerful tool in your marketing arsenal. Yes, marketing requires time and energy, as well as some creativity. But the reality is that as a practicing immigration attorney, a lot of your daily work can be great content. From celebrating client wins to sharing insights when something rare happens, providing value to your target audience via your digital marketing presence is key to growing your brand and your firm.
Now that you’re determined to focus some more time on marketing, streamlining your firm’s case and document management is more important than ever, so you can save time and energy for more creative marketing work. Docketwise can help you streamline and digitize your practice, so that you can use your time building your online presence and marketing your practice rather than following up with clients or manually inputting data.
From a full library of immigration forms to client questionnaires in multiple languages to an industry-leading set of API integrations, we help you stay up to date on all your cases, communicate easily with your clients, and otherwise build and manage your firm. If you want to learn more about Docketwise, schedule a demo at the link below, or sign up for our Immigration Briefings newsletter for daily and weekly immigration updates!