How To Grow Your Law Firm Through Referral-Based Marketing



According to a recent study, 46% of firm owners expect moderate-high profit growth in 2023. This is significantly lower than estimations for 2022, wherein 75% of lawyers predicted a surge in profits. Consequently, it’s no surprise that many firm owners are seeking out growth opportunities to provide themselves with extra leverage during this time. 

One way firms can provide themselves with stability (and economic growth) in 2023 is by improving client attrition rates. While improving onboarding processes and your relationship with clients is a great way to achieve this goal, you mustn’t disregard the importance of referral-based marketing. 


What is Referral-Based Marketing?


Referral-based marketing is a common tactic that relies on using existing clients’ recommendations to grow your client base. By drawing upon your existing network of customers, you can reduce spending on other marketing endeavors while still growing your roster. This can be incredibly beneficial, especially when you consider the fact that “leads from referrals have a 30% higher conversion rate than the leads generated from other marketing channels.”

Referral-based marketing can benefit specialist law firms, wherein clients only need their services during a particular time in their lives.


5 Tips For Referral-based Marketing for Law Firms


Tip #1: Leave a smile on your client’s face. 


One of the easiest ways to ensure your firm receives plenty of referrals is to provide your current clients with the kind of services worth talking about. That is, you need to give them a reason to refer you to others. 

As such, you should always take a client-centric approach to your work. Figure out exactly what each client wants from you during your initial consultation call, and do whatever it takes to meet these expectations. For example, while you will naturally be carrying out a lot of work behind the scenes, some clients will prefer more regular communication to keep them in the loop. In contrast, others would prefer to leave you to it. 


Tip #2: Ask for reviews. 


Word-of-mouth and referrals give you a lot of leverage when growing your firm; however, featuring reviews on your website has a similar effect. After all, they are essentially referrals directed to a broader audience instead of a specific individual. Showcasing positive reviews on your site and social media is particularly beneficial as “80% of people said they would seek out and take into consideration an attorney’s online reviews before hiring them.


Tip #3: Provide them with incentives. 


While many word-of-mouth referrals are altruistic, given they are the product of a genuinely positive experience, you can increase the likelihood of receiving them by providing current clients with different incentives. For example, if they are a returning client, you can offer them a small discount on their next bill when a person(s) they’ve referred makes a consultation call or signs a contract. 


Giving a small gift for referrals is also “a great way to acknowledge their efforts and your appreciation. A gift card or a bunch of flowers work well, particularly if it is an unexpected surprise.” 


Tip #4: Make meaningful industry connections. 


Referrals do not necessarily need to come directly from previous clients. They can also come directly from other lawyers, paralegals, and firms who have had positive experiences with you. For example, they may signpost a client toward you should you believe they are a better fit or if their current workload means they’re not at a capacity to take on new clients.


As such, you should connect with other legal professionals both locally and further afield. There are many ways to achieve this goal, whether you interact on platforms such as LinkedIn or attend industry events. 


Tip #5: Ask for referrals. 


One of the more straightforward methods of obtaining referrals for your firm is simply asking for referrals. However, many legal professionals find this kind of request awkward or daunting, meaning they remain tight-lipped out and miss out on income as a consequence. 


How can I ask for referrals? 

The key to asking for referrals is to do so confidently without appearing pushy. Clients should not feel obligated to refer you to others, but following the above steps will likely provide them with many reasons to do so. 


Ask them outright. 

As such, simply asking the question outright is often all you need to do. For example, you could say: 


  • If you think our services will be helpful to anyone else you know, please send them our way.
  • Please provide anyone you know with my contact details should they be on the lookout for any legal help/support. 
  • We’d be happy to assist if you know anyone else needing help right now. We even have a referral program in place. 


Send them an email. 

Sending out an email to departing clients (those who no longer require your services) can be a great way to ensure your firm sticks in their minds. Again, this should not read as a sales pitch but should instead be a way to say goodbye. For example, you should start by thanking them for their support. You can then signpost them towards the reviews section of your website or ask them to refer you to others who need legal support and guidance. You should close the email with another message of thanks and positivity while also letting the client know you are there should you need them again. 


Final Thoughts 


While digital marketing is a vital resource for small firms, there’s no denying that word-of-mouth marketing is one of the easiest (and cost-effective) ways to grow your brand. 


If growth is on your radar in 2023, we’re here to help. Our financial services, such as bookkeeping and tax planning support, can considerably reduce your daily workload. This gives you the time to focus on business expansion.


Get in touch today to find out more.