Mediation is a growing industry, with the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution reporting in their 2018 audit an increase of 20 per cent in commercial cases for the year (excluding small claims mediations) compared to the figure for 2016. This marks an acceleration in growth.
The market may benefit further from disruption following the pandemic, as businesses experience difficulties with contracts and relationships. Add to this the backlog in the courts and the comparative ease with which mediation can be arranged, and this is, without doubt, a positive time for mediators.
Gaining a share of good quality business relies on marketing to ensure your name and services reach the attention of the right people. We take a look at the best marketing tactics for a mediation practice.
Creating your mediation website
The majority of searches for service providers start online, making your website absolutely vital in your marketing plan.
Your website must be well-constructed, easy to navigate and most importantly it must make it clear what services you offer.
Try and offer solutions for the problems your ideal client is encountering. For example, explain to a small business owner the advantages to them of entering into mediation to deal with a breached contract rather than taking court action. Show them that you really understand their situation and that you can solve their problem.
Make sure that they can see how to contact you and start a case and explain what they can expect from the mediation process. They need to be able to envisage themselves using your services and reaching an acceptable outcome.
Mediation is an ideal service to market as it offers so many benefits to the business owner over court action. Set out these benefits so that someone new to the idea can understand why mediation is such a good choice.
Specialising may seem counter-intuitive initially as you may feel that you are excluding a large section of potential business. However, people will usually choose a specialist over a generalist and this gives you the opportunity to excel in one area, meaning you may be able to charge more for your expertise than if you were offering general mediation services.
As well as specialising in an industry sector, you could also consider specialising in a region if you have a particular knowledge of it or you are fluent in a language spoken there.
You need to be where your ideal clients are, and social media can be a great resource for finding decision-makers in your chosen field. LinkedIn is the number one professional platform and offers you the chance to connect directly with management and business leaders who might need your services.
Consider joining some relevant groups for your sector as well and taking part in the discussions. Don’t try and sell your services at this point, simply offer your point of view and try and make valuable contributions so that your name becomes known and trusted.
Try and focus your activity in the most advantageous areas, avoiding a scattergun approach, to really target those who could become clients.
Regularly adding good quality, fresh content to your website helps search engines rank it well. Write about subjects that you know your ideal clients are struggling with and use the article to show them how mediation can help. Once the article is on your website, share it on social media as well to give it as wide an exposure as possible.
Setting out a content schedule will help you ensure you cover all the subjects you want to include and can help you make sure your content is balanced. It will also mean that you can keep to a publishing schedule. This is important, both for search engines and for readers. Decide how regularly you can post and stick to it. One article every month is better than four articles in a month followed by nothing for months, which can make your website seem abandoned.
Testimonials are a really great way of helping clients understand what you can do for them. At the end of every successful mediation, ask if the parties or their solicitors would be prepared to write a testimonial for your website. While not everyone will, if you get into the habit of asking every single time you will build up a bank of positive attestations. When potential clients read about how you helped someone solve a dispute, they will start to picture themselves being helped in a similar way.
As well as connecting and engaging with people in the online world, meeting people at events is a good way to find new business. Look for events within the industry that you specialise in and make the effort to go along and start making new contacts. It is important not to try and sell your services at this stage; simply get to know them and their businesses. Gaining a greater understanding of the area will be advantageous to you as well as enabling you to connect.
While you will not be able to mediate for those you have a personal connection with, acquaintances can recommend your services to others.
Speaking at events is also a great way of putting your name in front of people, gaining trust and building authority. Make sure that your audience is generally comprised of those who may one day need your services and that your speech is useful and of value to them. Public speaking is a skill, but if you can engage and educate while providing an interesting talk, your audience will be more likely to remember you and make a note of the services you offer.
Asking for referrals can also be an excellent source of business. You can ask both satisfied clients and close connections whether they would consider recommending you to others in their industry if they hear of anyone who might benefit from your services.
Mediation offers so many benefits over litigation, particularly in difficult economic times, making it an ideal service to provide. As the courts struggle with an overload of cases and numerous commercial difficulties arise following the pandemic, alternative dispute resolution businesses have the opportunity to flourish.
Proactive marketing, designed to really connect with potential clients and show them how their disagreements can be resolved quickly and efficiently, should bring strong, positive results. Building a good name takes time, but by making marketing a regular business activity, mediators have the opportunity to build a solid practice in the current commercial climate.
At Orion Legal Marketing, we are experts in business development and branding. We offer website design, corporate identity and logo design, copywriting and content marketing, social media, video marketing and advice on taking your legal business to the next level.
If you would like to discuss how we can help you with promotion and marketing ring us on 0118 380 5980, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill in our CONTACT FORM. We’ll be happy to offer you an initial free consultation to discuss your needs and the strategy that would best suit your legal practice.