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Sunday, August 18, 2019

Marketing in good times versus bad times

Their View

By Jim Grandone | May 7, 2018

According to government statistics, the economy is humming along at a good pace. Unemployment is near record lows and companies are experiencing market highs. Everything is good. So, why would a law firm want to start a marketing effort now?

Simple answer, good times end and you have the resources to plan for that eventuality right now. Caveat emptor: I am looking for new clients.

Having said that, let’s review where most firms are:  


71% of small businesses had websites in 2017 compared to 54% in 2016, according to a recent study from Clutch. It is getting crowded in the marketplace. Your Website and message need to stand out.  An ideal landing page will offer features and benefits, with an emphasis on benefits. Does yours? 

To meet the competition online, you need to have a presence to tell visitors what you do. Does your Website talk to your prospective clients or does it just talk about your firm?

To get them to visit your Website, you need to include it on all of your marketing materials. Are you doing that?  Do you know who your audience is? The general public is not really an audience. To identify your audience, you need to know the demographics of your clients for each of your practice areas. If you don’t have that data, now would be a good time to look back or start keeping it for the future. Do you know your audiences needs and desires? How do you overcome their objections to purchasing your services?

Are you marketing to other lawyers for referrals? What message are you sending to that audience? According to a survey by Black Fin, 60% of respondents believe that referrals have given their firm the best ROI over time. And, 62% find referrals through family and friends.


Before you say you cannot afford a Website or that changing it is too expensive, can do a basic Website for about $40 using Artificial Intelligence and graphics. They did mine, which was in need of an update from the early 2000s version. You can see it at

B12 also has recommendations for content. Hint: It should be weighty and valuable to your audience! Do you offer client reviews and testimonials that build credibility through third party implied endorsements?

Marketing in good times is best for many reasons. First, you have the resources and can budget them properly to create an effective campaign. Or, if not a campaign per se, expand what you are doing already to include advertising, more targeted sponsorships, more support for your favorite charity.  All these things are possible now when business is good.

When the economy turns down, as it inevitably does, you may not have those resources available. In addition, in bad times, every law firm will start marketing heavily when business drops. If you wait to get more clients and more referrals until you need them, you are going to be just another voice in the crowded market. It is better to bring in business to sustain your growth through bad economic times than to wait until everyone else is doing it. 

Some of the more important activities that need to be undertaken in good times include networking, rewarding referrals, writing for publication, using advertising and public relations professionals to undertake an awareness campaign, review and improve your advertising message, send out announcements about your firm’s news. 

I have written at length about techniques you can use to grow your law business.  You can review all of my columns by going to and searching Grandone Media Strategies. These activities now will help insulate you when times get tough. 

Be like Aesop’s ant not the grasshopper. Prepare for bad economic times during good times.

Jim Grandone is President of Grandone Media Strategies in Edwardsville, Illinois. He can be reached at 618-444-0971, or at


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