Back in law school, they don't really teach you a lot about how to go about obtaining clients, do they? Apart from knowing the law and knowing how to practice law, there is really no more important skill for a lawyer than understanding what it takes to market themselves and their firm to potential clients.
There are a lot of lawyers who are naturally gifted with marketing skills; it is the "lesser-blessed" ones who have to put in a lot of work and require a lot of guidance in order to be a skilled marketer. Here are a few principles being followed by most law firms in their marketing programs. There are a lot more than what will be listed, though. But you could use these guidelines as a starting point.
Law firms who are making very good business nowadays are known to employ very strong targeting measures to attract more clients. The largest law firms in the world, whose workforce reaches the thousands, still make use of targeting in their marketing strategy despite the breadth and width of their services. A classic example is how a law firm with a solid reputation of being good at handling both capital markets and leveraged finance wouldn't automatically focus all their targeting efforts on both. The reason that successful law firms engage in very targeted marketing is because they are able to establish themselves as experts.
Establishing your law firm as an expert in a particular area of practice is extremely important because potential clients want to see that you've got both knowledge and experience in their particular matter. You probably know that their matter is not as unique as they'd like to believe it is, but even so, any attempt to convince potential clients of that fact just means that they'll probably never become actual clients. If you have established yourself and your practice to have the expertise that they especially require, then their assent and that signed contract is pretty much in the bag.
Getting in the Client's Head
Apart from setting their firm up as an expert, successful marketing campaigns also answer or address any concerns that potential clients may have. Firms always take the opportunity to show the extent of their know-how and proficiency. Although performance records and success rates are important to potential clients, they also have specific concerns that you wouldn't know about unless you address them directly.
One of these concerns is how many lawyers give the impression of not really taking their cases seriously. Regardless of whether this is true or not, if a lot of your potential clients feel this way, then your marketing needs to address this issue head-on. Your "expertise" would be rendered worthless if potential clients will shy away from hiring your services because they think you won't take their cases seriously anyway. It is important to personally address the potential clients' concerns and be responsive.
As an action tip, if your law firm needs more clients and you want to improve your law firm marketing, then the first thing I suggest is to sit down, write down all the characteristics of potential clients that you can think of, and then make a list of all of their potential concerns and/or questions. Identify those in the list that are considered the more serious concerns and work your way down, using them as your basis to modifying your marketing system.