Some perspective on marketing legal services

Share

You often hear me say, “marketing is everything we do to get and keep good clients”.

Everything.

In terms of time, it’s mostly the little things we do every day. It’s the way we greet our clients and make them feel welcome. The emails and letters we send to former clients to stay in touch and remember them during the holidays. The articles and blog posts we publish to educate people about the law.

Marketing is also bigger things. Creating a new seminar or ad campaign. Scoping out and joining a new networking group. Recording new videos for your website.

And everything in between.

Most of the little things take little or no time to learn or apply. They are a natural extension of your values and personality, not the application of technique. Treating people with respect is part of who you are, not something you learn in a book.

Creating content for your website requires some time, but not an inordinate amount, given that it’s mostly writing things down you already know and do.

Bigger projects require more time and resources, it’s true, but you don’t do them every day. You outline a new presentation, create the slides or handouts, rehearse, and you’re done. Maybe it took you a week or two, but now you have a new marketing tool in your arsenal you can use over and over again.

Bigger projects can serve you long term. Getting involved in a new networking group, for example, takes extra effort initially, and may take months to bear fruit. But that group could eventually become a major source of new business (and friendships) for you, and last for decades.

Do something marketing related every day. 15 minutes is good. Reach out to a few former clients or other professionals with a note or email and watch what happens. Once a month or so, work on a bigger project. A 30 Day Referral Blitz, for example.

Whenever possible, invest your time and resources in creating things with a “long tail,” like new relationships, new content for your website, and new ways to grow your email list.

Marketing legal services doesn’t have to be daunting. If it is, you’re not doing it right. Sure, there are new things to learn and new things to do, but mostly, its about attitude.

If you’re struggling in your practice, start by examining your attitude towards marketing. If you don’t like marketing, if it’s something you force yourself to do, you will continue to struggle. If there are things you like and things you don’t, great–do more of the things you enjoy and are good at.

Marketing is a lot like lawyering. It takes place mostly in your head.

The Attorney Marketing Formula comes with a marketing plan.

Share

Marketing legal services: minimal effort for maximum return

Share

Would you do any marketing if you didn’t have to?

I’m not talking about “internal” marketing–treating clients well, staying in touch with them, creating an environment that is conducive to referrals–I’m talking about external marketing–ads, social media, speaking, writing, videos, networking, and all the other things everyone says you need to do to bring in new clients.

I wouldn’t.

Why spend the time or money if you don’t have to?

If you didn’t have to do any external marketing, imagine how that would feel. No guilt about what you’re not doing, no forcing yourself to do things you don’t want to do.

If you don’t like social media, guess what? You’re off the hook. Go spend the time cranking out more billable work. Or take up a hobby. If you do like social media, you can do it for fun, not because you need to bring in business.

The same goes for speaking and networking. Do them if you enjoy them, stay home if you don’t.

If your internal marketing is working, you’re getting repeat business and referrals without any additional effort.

The phone rings and people want to hire you. You don’t have to find them, convince them, or cross your fingers and hope they have the money. When they call, they’re pretty much ready to go.

Nice.

On the other hand. . . (yeah, the fine print). . . I can’t promise you that internal marketing will always bring you enough new business. Your clients may want to send you referrals, for example, but not know anyone who needs you right now.

And. . . even if your internal marketing bring you plenty of new business, there’s nothing wrong with bringing in more.

So. . . in order to hedge your bets, you might want to do some external marketing.

What do I suggest? What is the best use of your limited time? What has the biggest potential return for your effort?

A content-rich website.

Because when someone is referred to you, the first thing they do is go online to check you out. No website and you scare them off. And, if your website is nothing more than a listing of your practice areas and contact information, it’s not enough to show anyone why they should choose you instead of any other attorney.

“Content” means information, not about you but about the prospective client. He’s searching for answers. He’s looking for proof. Your content provides those answers and that proof.

And it’s so easy to do.

Start by writing down ten or twenty questions clients and prospects typically ask you about your area of expertise. Then, answer those questions. Talk about the law and procedure. Describe the risks and the options. Point them towards the available solutions. Include some stories of cases or clients you’ve had, to illustrate your points. Post these online on a website or blog.

Now, when someone goes online to check you out, they will see that you know what you are talking about and that you have helped other clients to solve these problems. You haven’t just told them what you do, you’ve shown them.

In addition, when people go to a search engine, looking for information about their legal issue, your content brings them to your website. The same thing happens when people share your content with their social media contacts.

Marketing legal services (externally) really can be this simple.

If you have a website, add content. A single article you post today could bring you new business three years from now. If you don’t have a website, start one. Add some content to get it started and once a week or so, add more.

While it’s not quite “set it and forget it” marketing, it’s about as close as you can get.

If you need help starting or growing a website or blog, this is what I recommend.

Share

Marketing a law practice 15 minutes a day

Share

One of the biggest challenges with marketing a law practice is finding the time to do it. Fortunately, there are many marketing-related tasks you can do in just 15 minutes.

For example, in just 15 minutes you can expand your network. Here’s how:

  • Go through your desk drawers and find all the business cards you have accumulated. Also find address books and contact lists (professionals, business owners, prospects, etc.)
  • Look for these people on LinkedIn and add them to your network; update the invite email that goes to them with a personal reference (e.g., where you met)
  • Do the same thing with your other social networks, adding Facebook friends, Twitter followers, etc., to LinkedIn, or vice-versa
  • Once you have done this, spend 15 minutes a day commenting on your contacts’ posts, asking questions, or sharing resources (your own and others).

Marketing a law practice doesn’t have to be complicated, expensive, or overly time consuming. The key is to commit to doing something every day, even if it’s just 15 minutes.

Want more traffic and more referrals? Offer your contacts something they can share with their contacts. Here’s how.

Share

Random acts of marketing legal services

Share

A new study suggests that investing at random is as effective as hiring expensive financial advice. As reported in Wired, a physicist and an economist in Italy seem to have proven that throwing darts at stock listings can actually bring decent returns.

What if marketing legal services works the same way?

What if instead of hiring expensive consultants to manage their marketing, lawyers simply chose marketing related activities at random. Instead of trying to figure out the perfect strategy, they just kept busy?

I like this idea. You don’t need to hire experts and gurus or go to expensive seminars. You can ignore the “method of the week”. Just do something, every day, to reach out to people you know and people you want to know.

Call or write to someone. It doesn’t matter who. They don’t have to be your best client. It doesn’t matter if they can’t send you a lot of referrals. What happens next doesn’t really matter because over time, everything will average out and you will at least get average results from your efforts, if the analogy is true.

But hold on. Since most attorneys do no marketing, or do marketing very badly, your random acts of daily marketing should bring you results that are much better than average.

So, here’s what you do. Get out your calendar and schedule 15 minutes every day for marketing. Mark this time on your calendar as an appointment with yourself. If someone wants to see you at that time, you must tell them you have an appointment and you’ll have to see them a little later.

Now, keep that appointment. Every day, do something marketing related. It doesn’t matter what it is, just do something.

Scroll through your contact database and pick someone at random. Call or email them and say hello. If it’s a client, say thanks for being a good client. If it’s someone you met at a networking function three years ago and haven’t spoken to since, tell them you just found their name and wanted to see how they are doing.

It doesn’t matter who you contact or what you say. These are random acts of marketing, remember? Just keep busy and do something every day. If you get stuck, go find a chimpanzee and when he points at something, do that.

Marketing is simple. Lawyers are complicated. Stop thinking so much and do something.

Marketing is simple with this and this.

Share

All lawyers market their services, although some don’t realize it

Share

I got an email from an attorney who wanted to hire someone to do all of her marketing for her. She said she’s “not good at marketing and not interested in it.” She doesn’t realize it but she’s already engaged in marketing. Every lawyer is.

Every time you say thank you to a client or referral source, you’re marketing.

Every time you hand someone you business card and ask for theirs, you’re marketing.

Every time you have a meal with someone, you’re marketing.

You may be doing it poorly, or getting poor results, but it’s marketing nevertheless.

Marketing is defined as, “everything you do to get and keep clients”. Key word–“everything”. All of the little things you say and do, the warmth of your handshake, the sincerity of your smile. It all counts.

You do yourself an injustice when you conclude that marketing is something you can hand off to someone else.

You can hire people to assist you. They can do most of the behind the scenes work. They can advise you, create your ads, run your blog, and promote your seminars. They can set up meetings with people on your behalf.

But you have to be at those meetings.

Building a law practice means building relationships and that’s not something that can be delegated.

If this is an anathema to you, if you are terminally shy or you just don’t like people, you’ll be a lot happier finding a partner who is good at what you don’t enjoy. Let him or her be the face of the firm, while you do what you’re good at.

But guess what? You’ll still be marketing.

Every time you say thank you to a client, you’re marketing. Every time you give someone your card and ask for theirs, or have a meal with someone, you’re marketing.

You can’t escape. Everything means everything.

If you want to improve your marketing, you should read (and apply) The Attorney Marketing Formula

Share

Undecideds win close elections and build law practices

Share

In a close election it is undecided voters who carry the candidate or cause to victory. One of the biggest blocks of undecideds are “low information” voters–people who ordinarily don’t pay much attention to politics until a few weeks before the election.

Another block of undecideds are supporters of third party candidates who, at the last minute, realize their candidate doesn’t have a chance to win and are open to choosing another candidate.

In most consumer-based law practices, prospective clients are “low information voters”. Unless and until something occurs in their life (divorce, accident, arrest, lawsuit, etc.), they won’t pay much attention to anything you might say. They don’t have a problem (that they are aware of) and they aren’t in the market for an attorney.

In a business oriented law practice, prospective clients are often “third party supporters”–they have an attorney they are reasonably happy with and aren’t looking to switch, at least for now.

In either case, your prospective clients aren’t interested in what you can do for them. They won’t notice your ads or ask their friends for a referral. There’s no impending event that forces them to pay attention.

But eventually there will be. Your objective is to be there when that occurs.

Your strategy is to put mechanisms in place that allow you to be found and recommended when prospective clients are finally in the market for an attorney. Depending on your practice area, target market, and personal preferences, this might include:

  • A strong Internet presence–blogs, search engine optimization, social media connections
  • Referral strategies–equipping your clients and professional contacts with information they can disseminate
  • Search-based advertising–classifieds, PPC, directory ads
  • Networking–meeting those who are in the market and the people who can refer them

Position yourself to be found when prospective clients realize they have a problem and go looking for a solution. This is usually more profitable than targeting “pre-need” prospects–people who don’t yet have a problem or aren’t ready to do something about it.

However, you may also want to target pre-need prospects who have a problem but don’t fully understand the risks or their options. Estate planning seminars, for example, can be effective at persuading “no need” and “vaguely aware of a need” prospects into becoming paying clients.

The best plan is to target all three types of prospects. Focus primarily on those who are looking now, but don’t ignore those who will be looking later.

The Attorney Marketing Formula shows you six key marketing strategies for getting more clients and increasing your income.

Share

Selling legal services like Apple sells iPhones

Share

I went to the Apple store this weekend. As you can imagine, it was packed, buzzing with people who were playing with iPads and Airs and Macs. They were asking about the new iPhone 5. And they were buying.

After the Apple store, I went to a Windows store on the same floor of the mall. Like the Apple store, it was spacious and nicely laid out. There were lots of toys to play with and friendly employees to answer your questions. But unlike the Apple store, there were very few customers. The store was almost empty.

Why the difference?

Nobody needs an Apple product. Everything you need in a computer or tablet or phone you can get from another company, usually for less. So why is Apple poised to become the first trillion dollar company in history?

Marketing.

Apple knows that people buy what they want, not what they need, and so Apple doesn’t spend time talking about how their products are better or that over time, you’ll save money buying a Mac versus a PC. They don’t say Apple is safer or has a shorter learning curve or make a fuss about the quality of their customer service. They know these things are important and they don’t ignore them, but they also know that these aren’t why people buy Apple.

People buy Apple because it’s cool.

But legal services aren’t cool. Nobody stands in line at the door of a law office. This is why Apple is about to become the first trillion dollar company and your firm isn’t.

But you can learn something from Apple and apply it to your marketing.

Apple doesn’t try to convince people they need a computer, a smart phone or tablet. They target people who are already looking for a computer, a smart phone, or tablet. They appeal to people who want the “best” (coolest) and are willing to pay for it.

You should do the same.

Focus on people who know they need a lawyer and are trying to choose the right one. Focus on clients who want the “best” and are willing to pay for it.

Yes, you can also educate your market as to why they need the type of legal services you offer, but spend most of your time and energy on the low hanging fruit: the ones who know they need help and are ready to get it.

Then, show them why they should choose you. Give them all of the reasons. Show them why you are the Apple of legal services. They may not stand in line outside your office but they will want what you offer and pay top dollar to get it.

Want to know how to get clients to choose you? Read The Attorney Marketing Formula and find out.

Share

Marketing legal services: never settle for good when you can get great

Share

Your client is in the office and tells you he’s pleased with what you have done for him. You give him a handful of your business cards or brochures and ask him to pass them out. He says he will.

That’s good, isn’t it?

Yes. Very good. But why settle for good when you can have great?

Great would be if your client not only agrees to refer people who need your help, he actually goes out of his way to look for them.

He calls people he knows, tells them about his experience with you, and asks them if they know anyone who might need what you offer. He posts a similar message on Facebook or Twitter. He calls and introduces you to his uncle the insurance broker who has many clients who could benefit from what you do. He posts a link to your web site on his web site. He mails a letter to all of his customers recommending you. He invites all of his friends and neighbors to your seminar.

How do you get this kind of help from your clients? How do you go from good to great?

First, you have to deliver an experience to your clients that wildly exceeds their expectations. They can’t be merely satisfied, they have to be thrilled.

As you might suspect, this usually has very little to do with the core services you provide and everything to do with the way the client is treated. It’s the little things you do for them, the extras and surprises, the courtesies and comforts.

It’s not the documents you draft or the depositions you take. It’s writing a letter of recommendation for your client’s son so he can get accepted into your alma matter. It’s mentioning your client’s charity in your blog or newsletter or Facebook group and encouraging your friends and followers to contribute their time and money. It’s referring customers to your client, introducing him to a lower priced supplier, or sending him and his wife to a nice dinner on your dime.

If you are doing these things, you can ask for your client’s help.

Give him suggestions, based on what you know about his personal and professional life–what they do and who they know. Or give him a list of things they could do based on what other clients have done and let them choose the ones they prefer.

You can give your clients a good experience or a great one. They can do the same for you.

Never settle for good when you can get great.

Share