Generating business for a new law firm or a well established practice is never an easy task. In order to succeed all marketing efforts take commitment, time and patience. What many attorneys don't realize is that lawyers offer a very valuable and unique service. One which is capable of altering the course of someone's life, or offering their family protections and peace of mind, long after they are gone.
Here are several ways you can convey the importance and impact of working with an experienced attorney to target and draw the clients you want.
Step One; Intake
When is the last time you purchased something without being asked for your email? (The gas station doesn't count.) Every clothing retailer, office supply store, Walgreens and even the grocery store wants your email address. Your law practice should be no different. The more you know about your clients, and potential clients the better you will be able to speak to them through advertising. Collect their email address, and specific information related to your practice area. Most importantly, capture how they found you. Knowing where your clients are finding you will save you time and money later.
Now that you've got those email addresses, use them. Newsletters used to be such a chore, first you needed a designer, then pages of content. Not anymore, keep it short, sweet and to the point. You also don't have to do it alone, talk to other local business owners about contributing content. If you practice estate planning, or small business law, ask a local financial planner to contribute a monthly financial planning column. Share your legal expertise and comment on news, demonstrating your knowledge and translating the legalese into a digestible story. Once you've got a couple of issues behind you, start using the sidebars or footers to promote your services. Offer a free legal checkup, or estate planning review. Remember to include every email address you have in newsletter send list, past or current clients, prospects, friends, neighbors, that weird insurance agent that from your neighborhood block party. Everyone starts with the newsletter, if they don't want to receive it they can unsubscribe, but if they forward it to three friends the five seconds it took to type it in was worth it. Free & Easy; These newsletter tools offer free trials with newsletter templates; Constant Contact, Vertical Response and Mail Chimp.
You would be amazed how few business owners take advantage of this powerful and far reaching vehicle. Lawyers have a distinct advantage when it comes to radio. You possess knowledge that is layered, complex and needs to be translated to suit and explain each situation. Combine that with millions of people who have legal questions but no where to turn to, you have the perfect opportunity to gain exposure while helping someone understand their situation. Call radio stations in your area and offer to come in and answer legal questions in the area you practice on air for one hour. Be flexible in your approach at first, offering to come in early in the morning, or late at night. Convey the value in what you are offering, and how it will attract listeners to the station. Your hourly rate plus travel time is a good start, plus each of the calls you take will set a great example to potential clients how your law firm may be able to help them.
Don't forget to share your contact details, and invite listeners to come in for free fifteen minute consultations when applicable. Question & answer sessions typically do better if promoted to address a particular topic, such as; Fathers Rights, DUI, Small Business Law, or Estate Planning. Lastly, don't stop at the first station you call, and step outside of the stations you listen to, try everything, even AM.
Offer the same question & answer session in person, local industry groups, associations even your Chamber of Commerce. These groups meet regularly and are almost always looking for new ways to engage their members. Small business and employment lawyers; delivering a 20 minute talk on the basic protections and legal safeguards all businesses should know at a Chamber of Commerce meeting could connect you with several local business owners who probably know other business owners. Get their email addresses and into the newsletter list they go.
Use Your Email Signature & Invoice notes as a Marketing Tool
Now think about how many emails and invoices you send in a day or a week. Each email or invoice is a chance to alert your network and clients of new options from your firm. Find a group of services you know you can execute efficiently and price it to generate new clients, and promote it with a line at the bottom of your signature or on the invoices you send out. You can also try language that offers a free consultation, legal check up or review. Here are some examples;
- Has your business had a legal check up?
- Clear your record, expunge your criminal charges forever.
- A simple Estate Plan protects your family for a lifetime for less than you think.
Build an Online Reputation
Google Places, question answer sites, business profile pages, your own website. What do these all have in common? They can be used to drive more traffic to your website and potentially more business. List your business on Google Places, here's a great how to from George Murphy for the Lawyerist. A benefit of joining sites like LawQA.com which offer a great platform to answer questions from potential clients in your area. It's also a great way to practice a Q & A session before speaking in public, or on the radio.
Share, Share, Share
Everyday you work to build your career and practice. Share those stories with your audience. If you speak at a local event, or execute the radio show mentioned above share it! A simple paragraph long blog post announcing an event, then another short post as a follow up with pictures from the event just gave you two very easy, yet powerful pieces of content to share.
Include a link to those posts in your newsletter, and if you're utilizing twitter share them there too. A great way to save time, and extend your reach is to write quality content, and them leverage your existing network to circulate your stories as far as possible for free. Look at every piece of news, success story, or life event as an opportunity to show the world another reason why you are an attorney they want to interact with.
Never give up on following up
How many times have you missed an appointment, a phone call, or rescheduled a meeting more than once? Life happens and things come up. That's no different for the prospects you are talking to. Just because they missed their first appointment with you, doesn't mean they are lost forever.
Keep sending your newsletter to them every month. If they came to you for a specific matter, keep reaching out to them, follow up again and again. Maybe they weren't ready to declare bankruptcy yet, or are still trying to work on their marriage before filing for divorce. Whatever the case may be, their situation could be very different 3 months, 6 months, even a year down the road. Keep talking, and you will at least know their status, rather than wondering why they never called back to reschedule.
Experiment, Measure & Repeat
Don't be afraid to try new marketing services. The world of advertising has changed and your options have grown far beyond directories and phone books. Performance based services like High Performance Marketing allow you to try out a marketing program in the geographic area you choose and only pay when contacts are generated. Other services and consultants may charge hourly for Search Engine Optimization or Pay Per Click campaigns, with no guarantee of result. Most importantly track every contact through it's entire lifecycle, if you don't know which of your efforts are generating the most business, you can't accurately gauge the success of a program.
Patience is a virtue.
These efforts take time to bear fruit. Remember to always carry cards with you, don't forget to collect email addresses after every interaction, stay consistent in your efforts, and don't bite off more than you can chew. Try tackling one of these a week, even a month and come back to share your successes with us.