Maybe you are not a legal marketing machine, or haven’t engaged in business development for some time. Still, let’s presume that you’ve informed all of your family, friends and immediate colleagues about what you do and that you are available to perform those legal services for new clients. You may even have experience as a marketer, although without the results you would like. Maybe it’s time for a renewed commitment to your personal marketing effort.
The following are 12 useful tips that any resourceful attorney – from a newbie lawyer to an old pro – can employ to identify prospective clients, convert them into new business and retain them through time. Click here to download the complete list of marketing tips.
- Build your own personal contact list with physical address, email address and phone numbers. Should be everyone you know, including family, those you went to law school with, former law partners or colleagues. You can even market opposing counsel or professionals in other fields. It is essential to have a database of up-to-date contact information on your universe of clients, prospective clients and possible referral sources. Create this list and update it quarterly.
- Invest either time or money. Marketing requires an investment, and you must decide whether that investment will be in money, meaning using a consultant, or devoting your time to it. There are benefits to you learning the process, but you also have to weigh the costs of your participation to your law practice.
- Market something, not everything. A client once said that he wanted to market that he would handle almost anything, but that is not marketing. Your major strength is the experience you have in specific practice areas. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses helps you to market correctly.
- Construct your personal marketing package. Start with what your firm provides, which is generally info on the firm itself, and build on that. Provide a bio sheet or cover letter that gives information on you specifically, maybe copying your web bio page. Add anything about you or the firm in the media, articles written and speeches given.
- Target one good referral source each month. Once you know what you are going to market, you have to decide how broad your marketing effort will be. Be realistic. Will you really take a referral source to lunch once a week? Will you really keep track of several dozen prospects at one time? A good level of activity is to target one referral source each month. For attorneys in most practice areas, good referral sources are attorneys in other practice areas or geographic locations, accountants, financial planners, investment professionals, real estate brokers and small businesspeople. Target anyone who may learn about a case in your practice area before you do.
- Volunteer or network. Nonprofit organizations are good for meeting prospective clients or referral sources are. Many are eager to have attorneys on their boards. The Center for Nonprofit Management informs people about what the groups need and expect from volunteers. Find a cause that interests you, combining that interest with an outstanding opportunity to increase your business.
- Speak to groups often, wherever you can. Face-to-face marketing can be the most effective facet of a personal marketing program. Take every opportunity to speak to groups about what you do for a living. These can be business groups, networking groups and law sections. We operate a legal speaker’s bureau called LawTalk™Texas and maintain a database of more than 800 groups. We expose attorneys to a wide range of groups that can schedule you to speak at meetings.
- Exploit the media and don’t underrate “old media.” Studies have shown that editorial coverage in the media is seven to 10 times more believable than advertising. Think if you know anyone in the media. Read the newspaper, listen to talk radio and review business publications and trade magazines. See what stories are relevant to your clients and potential clients and don’t be afraid to approach media people about a story.
- Reach out and touch someone. This is the idea that you need so many “touches” or contacts each year to maintain a relationship with a client. In legal marketing, four or six touches a year may be enough. Lunch might be one touch. You may have two issues of an electronic newsletter. You might find an article in the Dallas Business Journal about that source’s industry or personal interest. Direct mail, holiday e-cards, etc., are touches. No matter how well known you are, people need to be reminded about who you are and what you do on a regular basis.
- Don’t be afraid of social media. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn give you opportunities that have never existed before. You can go to the Facebook page for one of the major media in the city and see what is being reported on at that time. You can also follow Tweets for these media and see what individual reporters are doing. You can moderate discussions on LinkedIn. Social media are just distribution channels. They can be misused, but with a little common sense you can get plenty of mileage out of them.
- Content marketing is easy to do and can be productive. Everyone wants to be ranked number one on Google for certain search terms. Competition within legal categories these days makes that difficult, but increasingly the production of news items, blog posts and other online information are key elements that give you visibility. Content marketing is actually a new term for what used to be called “writing stuff.”
- Keep track of contacts. Many apps allow you to keep detailed records of contacts with prospective clients and referral sources. You want to know if you are making contact and whether those contacts have produced business. Don’t just rely on what you think happened. You want to know, so constantly update your records and continue to make contacts.