Michelle is an excellent employee. She always earns high marks on reviews, is sought out for her expert assistance, and executives report positive interactions with her to her supervisor. Unfortunately, there are a couple colleagues in Michelle’s department that constantly criticize and belittle her. Michelle is suffering from stress and anxiety, including stomach pains, because of the negative interactions with her colleagues.
Michelle discusses this with her supervisor, who says she was also seeing the same behavior. Despite repeated attempts by the supervisor to get to the bottom of the colleagues’ mistreatment of Michelle, it persists. The human resources department is looped in, but nothing changes.
Lying in bed late at night unable to sleep, Michelle picks up her phone and types “workplace bullying” into the search engine. This leads her to a local employment law firm’s website and a free, downloadable checklist titled: “Are You the Victim of Workplace Bullying?” Michelle reviews the checklist and learns, yes, she is a bullying victim, and she has options and rights. The next day, she calls that law firm and gets the help she needs.
Giving away helpful information has many legal marketing benefits and is at the heart of nearly every effective content, digital, and relationship-building marketing strategy. It may seem counterintuitive to give a valuable product or service away, but businesses do it all the time to boost sales by creating happy customers who return to shop or refer others. While employment law firms can’t offer free shipping or merchandise samples, they can provide an even more valuable product: knowledge.
Why Employment Law Firms Should Give Away Information
Employment law content is a hot commodity and providing it for free is a proven way to generate more business. There are two ways to distribute free content: One way is to post it on the firm’s website and share the link through emails and social media. The other way is to trade it by requiring, at the very least, an email address to download the content. Whichever way the information is disseminated, they both have marketing benefits for employment law firms:
- Test the Market: Measure downloads, website traffic, and social media engagement on free content to see what topics people are interested in. Use this information to create even more in-demand content and, importantly, to understand which firm services there is a market for. For example, if you recently wrote and posted a blog on your state’s new law regarding equal pay and it is receiving a lot of visitors, this indicates that it’s a good time to launch a legal marketing campaign focused on the firm’s wage and hour practice and attorneys.
- Branding: Free, valuable content allows potential clients, referral sources, the media, and others to get to know the firm, its services, and its expertise. When an employment law firm consistently posts and shares useful information, it generates name recognition and a reputation for being a trusted leader in the area. Furthering the example above, a marketing campaign focused on the firm’s ability to resolve equal pay issues ensures the firm’s or attorney’s name comes to mind when there is a need to seek guidance from an employment law attorney in a pay dispute.
- Grow Contacts/Leads: Employment law firms can use free information to build their email contact list, which is really a list of people who may one day be a client or refer someone who is. Create a valuable resource, like a list of local, state, and federal government agencies that regulate employment or an FAQ on workplace harassment. Make the resource available for download to anyone who enters their email address. Just be transparent that they may receive marketing emails from the firm in the future (and, of course, give them the option to later opt out of those marketing emails).
- Increase Website Traffic: Posting interesting and helpful content on the firm’s website and sharing links to those posts through social media and emails will increase visitors to the website. This is a must-do marketing tactic if driving traffic to the firm website is a marketing goal — as it likely is since law firm websites are the crown jewel of legal marketing.
- SEO: It should be no surprise that keyword-rich, relevant, and informative free content will help with Search Engine Optimization. Like Michelle in the situation above, people go to search engines for help finding all manner of services — including attorneys. SEO is important for both organic and paid search results to ensure your website appears high on a search engine results page. Considering that 92% of searchers select businesses on the first search engine results page for a local search, that placement should be a priority.
What Free Information Should an Employment Law Firm Offer?
A few of the many types of free content an employment law firm can offer are mentioned above, but here is a more comprehensive list:
- Attorney-authored articles published by other media
- Legal alerts
- Case studies, including firm matters and those in the news
- White papers
- In-person or online free events
- Recordings of in-person or online seminars or presentations
Wondering what topics to cover? New local, state, or federal laws and regulations on issues like overtime, independent contractors, and benefits are always helpful. Consider a series of one-page primers on specific areas of law, like wage and hour, discrimination, sick leave, health and safety, etc.
Another type of free information employment law firms often offer are free consultations. Discussing the issue with an employment law attorney before hiring them gives people peace of mind and ensures the attorney-client match is correct.
Whether it’s free content or a consultation, always be aware of the line between providing useful information and giving free legal advice or establishing an attorney-client relationship. When in doubt, consult your state’s or the American Bar Association’s rules on professional rules and responsibility.
The team at Scorpion is trusted by thousands of law firms to boost efficiency and find new ways to generate business. Contact our team to find out how we can help.