I just listened to our last edition of Total Expert Radio, and it was packed with great discussion and tips! I will try to summarize some of the show here, but you really should check out the archived recording if you have 45 minutes to spare. On January 7, Chelsey Lambert hosted a show on New Year’s Resolutions for Your Law Firm, and our featured guest was Lance Godard from 22 Tweets and the Godard Group. The show covered three main topics—marketing, communications and practice management—and both Chelsey and Lance had tons to say about each of these topics. Here are just a few things that I gathered from the show:
Last year was a tough year for many attorneys, as they were working hard to maintain a steady workload, replacing lost work and doing a lot of marketing to maintain their practices. In 2010, attorneys learned that marketing is not something you do when you have extra time; it is an integral part of business development. With that realization, many attorneys began to explore new routes for marketing and advertising by self-publishing more often and becoming more active on social media websites. In order to expand and perfect those marketing efforts, try these resolutions for 2011:
- Create a roadmap with objectives for your marketing plan.
- Set priorities for how you spend time working on business development. If an activity is not as effective, you might want to spend less time on it.
- Talk to your clients more often so you can elicit more information about their needs and objectives. You may find new business opportunities with clients you already have.
- Be flexible as you assess your marketing objectives throughout the year. It’s okay to adjust goals and priorities, depending on what you accomplish and what your office needs.
Communicating Your Message
In 2010, attorneys were creating a lot more content than they had in previous years. Blogs were popping up everywhere on almost every legal topic imaginable, and attorneys joined multiple social media sites, such as Twitter, JDSupra, Legal On Ramp, Facebook and Martindale Connected. Some attorneys even began video blogs and podcasts. Attorneys were really trying to brand themselves in 2010 and show the online world their expertise. During the show, Lance predicted that these trends will continue as more outlets for communication and websites pop up. Here is what he and Chelsey suggested for 2011: software buy
- Attorneys should determine why they are communicating particular messages, what messages they want to communicate, who they want to target, and which outlets best fit the message and audience.
- Don’t overestimate the value of your social media groups. It’s important to keep all of your communication outlets balanced, and focus on what works best for your business.
- To find ways to reach your target audience, ask your current clients what publications they read, which communities they join, and what steps they took to find you. Your target audience may be in social media or the blogosphere, but it could also be in print publications or special interest meet-ups.
Last year was a big year for changes in law practice management. Attorneys were experimenting with alternative billing, cloud computing, project management, outsourcing, more collaborative relationships with their clients and many other new tactics for managing their businesses. Many of these trends will continue into 2011, and some of these trends may even have long-term effects on the legal industry. For the new year, Chelsey and Lance suggested:
- Find out what your clients are looking for and adapt your practice to the people you are serving.
- Think twice about how you staff your office. Instead of wasting money on salary and benefits for full-time staff that you only need on a part-time basis, try looking into virtual assistants or technology options to help you manage phones, scheduling and caseloads.
- Learn to be more flexible. With new technology and practice management methods, clients have the opportunity to be picky when shopping for legal assistance.
Finally, ask yourself three questions: Where am I now? Where do I want to be? And what do I need to do to get there?
Listen to the full show here, and join us for the next show on Friday, February 4 at 12pm CST—Law Firm Billing Alternatives: Subscriptions with Aaron Street and Sam Glover.