Business growth during the age of COVID-19 is no easy feat but, using these 10 tips, solicitors’ firms can do their very best to do just that.
Growing a business, at any point in time, is tough. You need hard work, determination, a great plan, and cash to blow. That said, there are some proven methods of business growth out there that all solicitor firms should know about.
Whether it be cementing a solid brand image, building trust, avoiding SRA investigations through complying by their rules, or great marketing, the strategies for business growth are endless.
In this article, we’re going to take you through some of the ways COVID-19 has affected the law world, and the best ways you can build your law firm. Whether it be ideas to implement during the age of COVID-19, or once we get back to “normal”, these tips should help you out…
How Have Law Firms Faired During COVID-19?
To begin with, let’s first talk about how solicitor firms in the UK have coped during these troubling times. In order to get a full picture of how COVID-19 has affected law firms, we need to break it up into sectors:
Over recent months, conveyancers have become inundated with work, but this wasn’t the case all throughout lockdown. In fact, during the start of it all, the most popular time to buy a house – in the spring – was thwarted by lockdown restrictions. This meant conveyancers received almost no customers up until the first restrictions were lifted.
That said, the current workload seems to be making up for previous losses. Now, sales are up by around 52 percent compared to this time last year which, although is causing build-ups and delays, is boosting business. Thanks to the stamp duty holiday on top of this, things are looking up for this sector.
After property, commercial law was the worst hit. This is no surprise when we consider most workspaces became redundant, and business certainty continues to remain low. It’s not looking as though this sector will pick up the pace any time soon.
Although this particular sector has not seen a downturn in work, the speedy transition from office to home working did have an effect. It generally meant that, although work was coming in, turnover was slower.
That said, if anything, families forced into close quarters during lockdown faced more struggles than ever before. Thanks to this complete change of pace, divorce rates skyrocketed.
We are seeing changes now where remote hearings are becoming tiresome, drawing things out where some parties feel their voice isn’t being heard. That said, it doesn’t look like this sector will let up any time soon.
During the start of the pandemic, enquiries from both employers and employees increased. Although not all of this was chargeable, due to the struggles many companies were experiencing, it’s thought things are look up for this sector. In fact, continued queries are thought to be raised into 2021, as more companies must make some tough decisions.
Despite a slowing down in this sector from insurance companies and healthcare services, this area of law continued to thrive. This includes medical negligence claims, as well as delayed diagnosis and personal injury.
Although some experts think that the current sentiment towards the NHS may stop people from claiming, the fallout from COVID-19 should avoid this. Concerns over the impact of prioritizing COVID patients over, for example, cancer patients is worrying. Ultimately, health and wellness never sleeps, so this is definitely a sector to be part of now.
Finally, those in the criminal law sector are finding that their services have almost become obsolete. This comes down to the fact that most court proceedings lasting any longer than a few days have been postponed.
10 Top Tips for Business Growth During Times of Struggle
These are just some of the main sectors that have been affected by the pandemic. If COVID-19 has affected you, implementing business growth strategies is always smart. If you’re in one of the slower sectors, you might find that spending time on other elements of the business in the meantime could help in the long run.
Alternatively, for those who are seeing business booming, now is the perfect time to focus your profits on scaling things up. So, how exactly can you do this? These 10 tips should help you do just that…
Know Your Client
Decide the type of customer you want to attract and get to know them. This will be the starting point for your marketing and brand awareness, as well as help you to tailor your services for these customers. It will help to build an overall picture of your clientele so you can target them.
Invest in Cyber Security
This might surprise you, but investing in cyber security is a sure-fire way to improve your business. These days, especially with COVID-19, this is becoming ever more important. Now, customers are looking for companies who can ensure they protect your data, so doing so can help to build trust and customer loyalty.
Comply with the SRA
Making sure your company complies with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) standards and regulations is paramount. In doing so, you can avoid any bad press to your company name, helping build trust with prospective and existing customers.
Embrace the Digital Age
We were always going in the direction of completely paperless, what with the growing internet and sustainability concerns. That said, the impact of COVID-19 has meant that law firms who have not quickly moved to online methods may suffer.
Now, paper documents and contracts are a thing of the past. Instead, online portals and quotes, as well as email communication throughout, are the priority. Any companies without these added benefits are likely to fall behind their competition.
Build Your Brand Visibility
Although billboards, television ads and newspaper articles were once all the rage, brand awareness has moved predominantly online. Now, building your brand starts with your presence on the search engines. It’s also about the user experience once they make it to your website.
With this in mind, some of the key elements of your brand you should be focusing on include:
- A new website design every three years to keep up with industry standards
- A website which prioritizes user experience through easy navigation
- Making sure your website is optimized for mobile
- On-site SEO to increase visibility in the search engines
- Off-site SEO, mainly through link-building
- Digital PR efforts to boost visibility across the web, and help to build links too
Be Present on Social Media
Similarly, once you have the basis of a good website, customer experience, and SEO in place, building your brand further comes from exposure. The best way to do this is through getting on multiple social media platforms.
This is the starting point for building your authority within the sector. It may also help you to network and become part of the conversation to help build brand visibility on multiple platforms and channels.
Make Sure Your Online Content Matches the Visuals
Once you’ve brought visitors to your site, through search engines and social media, you need to dazzle them with your content. You should have a mixture of informational landing pages for your services, as well as regular blog posts.
These could be current affairs articles, interviews, advice pieces, or anything in between. As long as they are written with SEO in mind (which is where the next point will come in handy), and answer your desired audiences queries, you’re good to go. Ultimately, if your content is better than your competitors, you should be plain sailing.
Hire a Competent Marketing Team or Agency
Embracing social media and online advertising, as we’ve seen above, is easier said than done. There’s a huge amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to grow a business online. With this in mind, hiring a marketing team or agency who can do just that is paramount.
Their know-how will help you to get the best out of your efforts and money, helping you to tick all the boxes mentioned in our previous point.
Make a Good First Impression
If you’ve gone through all the trouble of making a perfect website and customer journey, you need to keep the client with you once you’ve got them. Online photos on your website profiles are where it all begins. It’s important to get this right, so think about what audience you want to draw in and prime your images for them.
Then, when the client walks through the door, you need to show them why they should stay. This could come down to a number of factors, including:
- Office décor
- Your appearance
- The way you hold yourself
- Whether you seem knowledgeable
- Whether you are empathetic
Prioritize Customer Service
Even if you’ve aced the first impression, you need to provide fantastic customer service, from the beginning to the end of the customer journey, to keep people around. This will also help if you want to gain clients from customer referrals too. Some of the best ways to ensure your customer service is tip-top include:
- Listening to your client
- Empathizing with them
- Making sure processes are efficient
- Making it so the client has minimal work to do
- Communicating consistently
- Being available (within reason) when they need to discuss things
- Having a customer service policy in place for all eventualities
- Discount schemes, for example for referrals
Ready to Grow Your Law Firm?
As you can see, if you want to grow your business, there are a lot of factors to consider. At the end of the day, you can’t really do any one of these without the other, as the benefits simply won’t show.
So, be sure to take each point into consideration, and consider outsourcing some of these tasks if you can. Good luck with growing your law firm!