Are you ignoring prospects who don’t have a computer or smart phone?

There are billions of people in the world who aren’t able to read this.

No, not attorneys, although I’m sure there are still a few who haven’t evolved into the 21st century. But they aren’t my target market.

Would I like to communicate with them? Sure. But I’m willing to lose, say, the 5% who aren’t connected, in favor of the economics of reaching the 95% who are.

How about you? Is your target market connected? Do you know how many are not?

If a significant percentage of your target market isn’t online and you do most of your marketing online, you obviously need other ways to communicate.

But what if the bulk of your target market is online? Can you safely ignore the few who aren’t?

If you’re just looking at the numbers, sure. But there are some situations where it makes sense to have other options.

Take business cards, for example. There is a trend today towards the digital business card whereby you collect the other person’s information digitally in your smart phone, via a a “bump” or other method, and they collect yours as well. You don’t need to carry paper business cards, all you need is your phone.

There’s nothing wrong with a digital card, of course; it does save the effort of manually transferring information from paper to your electronic database and it’s kind of cool. But what about the prospect who doesn’t have a smart phone or the right app to collect your information? If all you have is a digital card, you may have squandered an opportunity to make a potentially lucrative new connection.

Whether or not you’ve gone digital, you still need to carry (paper) business cards. And, if you do carry paper cards, you shouldn’t assume the people you give them to can read your QR code. Have your practice areas and other information printed on the card as well.

I love technology and use it extensively; you may, too. But we shouldn’t assume that everyone knows what we know. I’m not saying you have to translate all your marketing documents to print or do a print newsletter in addition to your ezine, unless most of your target market is offline. But with something as inexpensive and effective as a business card, there’s no excuse for not having them.

High tech marketing may be the future but low tech will always work–and you never have to worry about a dead battery.

Do you make these mistakes in marketing your law practice?

There are two mistakes you can make in marketing your law practice and unfortunately, most attorneys are guilty of both.

What are the two mistakes?

  1. Not having a marketing plan, and
  2. Not executing that plan.

As a result, most attorneys don’t do any marketing, at least not with any consistency. Let’s face it, if you don’t have a plan–a list of projects and tasks and a schedule for completing them–any marketing activities you do will be sporadic and isolated. You’ll never generate momentum or sustained growth.

Having a cool web site (or any web site)  may be good for your ego but if you don’t have any traffic to it, that’s all it will be. Traffic doesn’t happen by itself. You need a plan and you need some activity or that traffic will never materialize.

Don’t get down on yourself. The problem isn’t you. It’s not a lack of self-discipline, poor organization, or bad habits. You aren’t lazy and you don’t need to get motivated. What you need is a better plan.

You need a plan that is

  1. Simple (so you can do it), and
  2. A good fit (so you want to do it).

If you want to do something and you believe you can do it, you will do it. You won’t have to force yourself to do things you don’t want to do, you’ll do it because you enjoy it.

In his remarks to the 2005 Stanford graduating class, Steve Jobs said, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” A friend of mine puts it this way: “When you love what you do and do you what you love you’ll never work another day in your life.”

If you don’t enjoy being a lawyer, common sense says to either change careers or find some aspect of practicing law you do enjoy. That might mean a different practice area, different clients, or a job with a different firm. If you don’t, you’ll never be happy and you’ll never do “great work.” The same can be said for marketing.

The good news is that there are lots of ways to market legal services and you only need one or two. You don’t have to be good at networking AND writing AND seminars AND getting web traffic AND social media AND referrals. Pick something that sounds good to you or feels right. For once in your career, put logic aside and listen to your gut.

Maybe nothing feels right or maybe you don’t know enough yet about the different options. That’s okay. Make no decisions, take a step back and simply learn. Read, observe, see what others are doing. Soak it all in and eventually, you’ll find something that’s a good fit.

And then, you need a plan. We’ll talk about that tomorrow.

Steve Jobs’ prescription for success and happiness–in his own words

In 2005, Steve Jobs addressed the graduating class at Stanford University. I’d never heard his remarks before today, but I’m glad I took 15 minutes this morning to watch this video. Jobs tells three stories, taken from his life experience, to communicate a simple but powerful message. It is one of the most insightful and motivating speeches I’ve ever heard. In light of his recent resignation, ostensibly for health reasons, it is also one of the most moving.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

Here is a transcript of his remarks.

What if you really could learn how to practice law in law school?

Two law professors have come up with an admittedly radical proposal, designed to help law students learn real world lawyering skills before they graduate: law schools that operate their own law firm.

The idea is akin to what doctors do by working in teaching hospitals. You get hands-on experience working on real cases for real clients, under the supervision of real attorneys. What’s radical about that?

Clearly, law students need the experience of working with real clients, and maybe I’m missing something, but how is this idea better than working as a law clerk while you’re in school? Instead, why not simply mandate so many hours of clerking experience during law school, and possibly after, as a condition precedent to issuing a license?

Everyone knows that law schools do a poor job of preparing graduates for the actual practice of law. I’m willing to hear more about the law school firm idea but right now, I say let law schools teach theory and law firms teach practice.

A comment to the ABA Journal’s post about this story sums it up best: “For 70 years, law schools have “trained” lawyers how to be not ready-for-prime-time. What makes you think THEY know how to practice law. More ivory tower fantasy.”

What do you think? Is this a good idea?

Are you branding your law firm? Here’s why you shouldn’t.

When one of your clients has a friend or business contact who needs a lawyer, they’ll hand their friend your business card (we hope) and say, “Here, call my lawyer”.

Notice they don’t say, “Here, call my law firm.”

Your clients have a relationship with you, not your firm. Even if you are a partner, your brand is “you” and “you” is what you should be promoting.

If permitted, you should have your own web site or blog, your own social media accounts, your own domain name, and your own email account (you@yourdomain.com).

If all you do is promote and brand your firm, what happens if you leave the firm or the firm disbands?

Your brand is valuable. It should be protected, nurtured, and grown.

(Note, the above photo is a business card from lawyer James Rains, circa 1857. It says, “Will practice in any of the Courts, and attend promptly to the collection of claims.” It looks like he was a partner in the firm of “Kernan & Rains,” yet the card promotes Mr. Rains.)