A simple marketing plan for attorneys

Yesterday, I said there are two mistakes lawyers make in marketing their services: not having a plan and not executing that plan. Today, I want to help you create a simple marketing plan for your law practice.

Why simple? Because if it’s not simple, you won’t do it.

Forget complicated. Forget long term. A simple plan has a few steps and a short time frame–this month, this week, today. You can create this plan in a few minutes; you can execute the plan a few minutes a day. Short, sweet, do-able. Baby steps, followed by more baby steps.

Most plans are overwhelming. Pages of tasks and sub-tasks, market research, resources, footnotes. A simple plan fits on a sticky note.

So let’s get to it. Let’s create a simple plan and let’s use a magic number: three. Three things. Not seven or seventeen, just three. Why three? Because you can remember three things. You won’t even need a sticky note.

We’ll start with some objectives:

  • Three new clients a month
  • Three prospects a week
  • Three actions a day

Your goal is three new clients a month. (Feel free to adjust these numbers for your practice.) In order to get them, you’re going to get three prospects each week. In order to do that, you’re going to perform three marketing-related activities each day.

So far so good. Easy peezy.

Now, let’s brainstorm some ideas. Write down your ideas–this is not your plan, it is thinking on paper which will help you create your plan.

NEW CLIENTS

There are different kinds of “new clients”:

  • Never hired you before
  • Former clients who hire you again
  • Existing clients with new engagements

Choose one. Let’s say, “never hired you before.”

PROSPECTS

Let’s define a prospect as someone who looks at some information: a brochure, a web page, an ad, a recorded seminar–something that lets them see what you can do for them. Let’s say you’ve written a report on a subject of interest to your target market. Your objective for the week is to get your report into the hands of three people who have never hired you.

Again, simple, and do-able.

ACTIONS

There are many ways to get information into the hands of a prospect. You can do that via

  • Phone
  • Email
  • Social media
  • Advertising
  • Snail mail
  • In person
  • Articles
  • Speaking
  • Etc.

Let’s use your existing network of clients and professional contacts as the conduit for distributing your report and phone and email to do that. So, here are your action steps, in preparation for executing your plan:

  1. Write a report.
  2. Make a list of clients, former clients, and professionals you can contact.
  3. Calendar 15 minutes a day for calls.

Now, here’s your plan:

  1. Monday through Friday, between 3pm and 3:15pm, I will call three people on my list.
  2. I will tell them about my report, confirm their email, and tell them I’m sending the report to them.
  3. I will ask them to forward the report to people they know who might be interested in reading it.

A simple plan. One you can do. One you will do. And one that will work.

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.

How to get clients by email; the right and wrong approach

I just got an email from a investment company representative that is a classic illustration of the WRONG way to use email to generate new business.

Hi David,

My group wanted to reach out to you to see if you have any interest in our services.

We are an independent, fee-only investment advisor with a proven track record and compelling value proposition. We have a sophisticated investment process that combines individual bonds and equities/ETFs to produce a tax sensitive, highly liquid, totally transparent, risk managed portfolio. Our philosophy is grounded in academically proven methodologies. We don’t do broker talk, just easy to understand investing.

Our CIO was formerly an executive corporate risk manager at BIG COMPANY, and a MAJOR UNIVERSITY grad and CFA. We have a solid understanding of not only equities and bonds but also foreign currency and interest rate risk management. We have retained over 95% of our clients over the last 5 years.

I wanted to see if you were open to exploring opportunities with us? Perhaps I can email you a 1 page breakdown about our firm, bio’s and performance?

Apologize for the email intrusion, however we believe it’s a less intrusive way of an introduction.

Best,

Name
Managing Director
Company Name

Okay, what do you think? Is this likely to bring in any business? What would you do differently?

I’m not concerned that it’s unsolicited. It’s okay to approach prospective clients or referral sources to introduce yourself in an unsolicited email. But you’ve got to do it right and the first thing that’s wrong with this email is it seeks to do much more than that and takes too much for granted about my interest in using this company’s services.

Too much, too soon.

Selling investment services is like selling legal services. It’s a process, over time. It’s based on a relationship between the professional and the prospective client or referral source and trust is integral to that relationship. Trust takes time and must be earned. (It can also be borrowed from a mutual contact who refers the parties).

Before marriage there is courtship and before courtship is the first date. You haven’t even asked me out but you want me to meet your family?

Too much, too soon.

So what’s a better offer? How about information that could help me save or make money, like a report or mp3 or newsletter with investing tips, strategies, or predictions? Or, how about an invitation to a free tele-seminar or web-inar? This would not only provide value it would also allow me to identify myself to you as a potential prospect for your services.

Offer something I want and I can have without a big commitment or a sales pitch. Make it easy for me to say yes.

(There’s another benefit (to you) of offering valuable information: it gives you an opportunity to demonstrate your expertise, which is much better than you simply proclaiming it.)

An offer must contain a benefit. What’s in it for me? What do I get out of it? Had this email offered valuable information I may have been interested in receiving it. The door to our relationship would have opened. You would have gotten my attention and eventually, over time, as trust is built, we might begin courting.

Another problem with this email is that it’s all about you–your firm, your experience, you, you, you. Talk to me about me–my concerns, my desires, my portfolio. I’m interested in my life, not yours.

Show me made an effort to learn something about me and what I do, perhaps a comment about my blog . I know it’s a form letter but if you had made any effort to personalize it, you’d have a much better chance of getting my attention.

Marketing is common sense. If we met in person, what would you say to get my attention? What would you offer that might make me interested in speaking further?

Emails like this make me think that common sense isn’t really that common.