There are plenty of ways to grow your practice, but none are quite as tricky as opening a satellite office. Some attorneys have experienced success in opening a new location, while others find themselves checking the “permanently closed” button on Google and eating the costs.
The reality of expanding into a new area is that it is a significant financial risk, but when done right, your law firm can reap tremendous benefits by breaking into a new market. However, unless you have ample time and money to nurture your new satellite office, you may be better off putting your marketing dollars elsewhere.
Our team at Twofold Marketing has helped several satellite offices get off the ground successfully, but learning how to launch a new office took a while to get right.
If you are thinking about expanding to a new area, we invite you to consider some of the following things we have learned:
Have a REAL Presence
You cannot just buy a mailbox or rent a conference room occasionally. You will need an office, a door, and a sign with your firm’s name on it. Google likes a real location, with a unique phone number and address, and frankly, so do your clients. You will get clients who only reach out to you because you are close to them. So, be ready to travel to your satellite office, or at the very least, have a system in place so that a representative can meet them there.
Be the Only “Personal Injury Lawyer” in the Building
If you are renting a suite in a building that has several law firms of the same practice, you may be cutting your own throat. If two or more law firms practice the same type of law, like personal injury, in the same building, then typically Google will not allow both listings to display for the same search criteria, even if the businesses are officially registered.
Be Willing to Play the Waiting Game
If you don’t get business right away from your new location, do not get discouraged. Though you may start to show up organically in just a few months, it can take up to two or three years for Google to see your new location as an established, viable location to send more business to, especially in a highly saturated market. Just make sure that you plan for the long haul when budgeting for your new office.
Choose Your Location Wisely
If you want to open a new office, you are going to need to spend ample time researching where you want to plant your flag. Demographics, population, and competitors are a good start. You may also want to spend some time in the city to see if it is an area you are willing to travel to and spend time in, when necessary.
Join the Community
You may have been the “big dog” in the town of your main office, but in your new market, you’re just another lawyer that’s come to carve out a spot. A great way to start making a name for yourself is by joining the local chamber of commerce. Also, plan to take part in networking functions and sponsor local events. You can’t cut corners when it comes to grassroots marketing in your new city.
There are undoubtedly many challenges to consider if you want to open a satellite office. Before deciding, it is wise to count the cost, not just in expense, but in time. Your investment will be well worth the effort if you do it right!
If you would like help opening a new satellite office, Twofold Marketing offers a Satellite Office Launch program that includes everything you need to get a satellite office up and running successfully. Please e-mail us at [email protected] to see how we can help you start expanding today!