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How to elevate your legal marketing by spying on your competitors

One of the keys to legal marketing and even business, in general, is knowing who and what you are up against. And the only way to do that is to know who your competitors are and what they are doing.


This is not to say you should copy your competitors- being different is what will make you stand out.  But you can certainly learn from the success and failures of the other law firms your potential clients may consider hiring.


If you are into blogging you may have heard of the skyscraper technique. Basically, you find a topic or content that your audience is interested in, and you make it better than anything else available. You can do the same with by spying on your competitors: figure out what your potential clients care about and do it better than all of your competitors.


Who are your competitors?

First,  you have to determine who your competitors are. You can start by searching local attorneys in your practice area. Include lawyers and law firms that have been your opposing counsel. Search keywords on Google and social media to see who keeps showing up.


Your real competitors are those who have the same target audience as you.


Why you should spy on your competitors

There are many good reasons for spying on your competitors and doing so will help you strengthen your quality of service and marketing strategy.

  • Identify service gaps in the market that you can exploit
  • Identify service gaps that your competition is exploiting that you should get in on
  • Identify tried and true marketing strategies that are effective for reaching your target audience
  • Identifying new audiences you may not have even been aware of
  • Knowing where your business stands in relation to competitors.


How to spy on your competitors


Go to their website and/or blog and check out the following:

  • Is their site visually appealing?
  • Does it load quickly?
  • If you were a prospective client, would you easily be able to find the information you need?
  • Can you make an appointment online?
  • Can you connect with them on social media?
  • Are they sharing interesting and useful content?
  • Are they sharing content more or less often than you?
  • Do they have social sharing buttons? Is their content being shared?
  • Check out where they rank compared to you for certain industry keywords. Are they using keywords you’re not using or haven’t thought of?


What types of content are they sharing?

  • Blog posts

  • eBooks

  • Webinars

  • Podcasts

  • Videos

  • Slides/Powerpoints

  • Visual content

  • FAQs

  • Case studies

Now compare this to your content. What are they doing better and where should you put more effort?


Social Media

The first step is to figure out what social media site your competitors are on that they are excelling at. Look at:

  • Number of followers and

  • How engaged their followers are (do they get lots of likes, comments, and shares?)

  • Type of Content they share (photos? Video? What percentage is theirs vs. Curated?)

  • How often they post

  • What calls to action they use

Number of Followers & Engagement

I put these two together because they go hand in hand. Engagement matters more than number of followers. Having 100 followers who like, comment, and share your content is much better than having 1,000 followers with little to no engagement.

Analyzing number of followers vs. engagement is also a good way to see if someone has purchased followers. If you have 10k followers and only 50 likes, it’s likely they are mostly bot followers who we purchased. Buying followers not only make you look bad, it also does nothing to help raise awareness or grow your business.


Email Content

Another great way to spy on your competitors is to sign up for their newsletter. Are they just sending updates about their practice or are they sending useful information? Use it as an opportunity to capitalize on their weaknesses and be inspired by their strengths.


Customer Service

Read all reviews of your competitor. Do negative reviews have a recurring theme? Use their faults as a selling point for your firm.  Is there a certain quality their clients rave about? How can you do that better?


Other Marketing Strategies

Check out the other ways your competitors and marketing.

  • Do they have speaking engagements?
  • Are they doing webinars or live videos?  
  • Have then written any books?


If your shared audience is responding to these things you should consider how to add something similar to your marketing strategy and make it your own.


How to analyze the information

Make a chart of all of this information about your top three competitors. Look for things they are missing or not doing well and figure out how you can do it better.


Don’t limit yourself to your competitors. Check out businesses that are doing well in other practice areas or even other industries for ideas and inspiration.


When you’re ready to get started, Kissmetrics has a great post on tools and gadgets to help you spy on your competitors.


Do you spy on your competitors? Join the discussion on our Facebook page!


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Joleena Louis

In addition to assisting New Yorkers with their family law issues, I also advise other entrepreneurial attorneys on starting their law practices. I have a weekly column on the Law Firm Suites blog called Things I Wish I Knew, a family law blog at joleenalouislaw.com and my solopreneur blog mondernsolo.com.

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