Smart Money, Dumb Money and Law Firm Marketing
If you only remember one piece of advice about law firm marketing, let it be this:
All good marketing is measurable.
When it comes to marketing there are two types of investments you can make:
Smart Money Investments
These are marketing activities that are broken into steps that can easily be measured and adjusted.
- You are a Florida Intellectual Property Attorney who focuses on technology.
- You receive a significant amount of referral business from corporate transactional attorneys.
- You purchase a list of all members of the business law section of the Florida Bar.
- You match that list of subscribers to Technology today magazine.
- You develop and execute a seven step direct mail sequence to the attorneys who appear on both lists. Each step has a different message.
- You measure the response rate at each step in the process and you measure the ultimate return on investment from your mailing. (This helps you identify and refine your message).
You can invest smart money in direct mail, email, events, internet marketing, some forms of print advertising and many forms of electronic media.
Most law firm marketing consists of spending dumb money.
This means money invested where a return is not specifically measurable.
- Bus stop benches
- Car wraps
- Trade show booths
- “Image or Brand” Advertising
These forms of marketing do not work for Law Firms because they require repetition and market saturation. But they are specifically “dumb” because you cannot measure the target audience, activity, and results with any specificity and you cannot make any adjustments while your marketing campaign is in progress.
Why do lawyers invest dumb money in marketing?
There is no way to know for certain since it varies from law firm to law firm. But just guessing I’d have to say it is because they don’t know any other way.
That’s one of the reasons we are here. To help lawyers make smart decisions with their marketing.
Here are three more articles that are required reading for lawyers marketing their services:
Don’t invest in a form of marketing or advertising just because it is “hot.” Do some research. Spend some time asking questions.
Law firms have a choice when it comes to marketing advice. I have some thoughts on this. Read this article if you are interested in making a good decision.
This seems like a strange article to see on this website. Believe me, it’s not. The reasons not to hire a consultant are important and compelling.
Law Firms Trying to Win the Marketing Lottery
If you look around you will undoubtedly see law firms marketing with an approach similar to a desperate man, in his fifties, playing the lottery as his retirement plan.
What does this mean?
These law firms are looking to make one big, wild, bet on something they hope will be successful.
The distorted lottery logic goes like this:
“Even though millions of people enter the lottery, someone always wins. Why can’t that someone be me?”
With law firm marketing lottery the logic goes like this:
“Joe Smith’s law firm has billboards all over town. He does well. If I take one billboard on this high traffic corner, I’ll a get at least a couple of clients.”
“The web directory sales guy tells me lots of people get lots of calls with his service. I see my neighbors in the directory. I’m bound to get a couple of clients.”
“The Daily Legal Journal guy came to the office and showed me all the successful law firms advertising in his paper. Just one client will pay for the ad every month. So many people read that paper, I have to be successful using it.”
This distorted thinking motivates good lawyers to make bad business decisions.
Are billboards or web directories or daily legal papers bad marketing decisions?
It depends upon your strategy.
If you want to receive the best return on investment from any law firm marketing campaign, there are three essential steps to take:
Step 1: Research
Look at the demographic and psychographic information for any advertising vehicle you are considering. Understand who reads, views or participates in it. Find out age, spending habits and lifestyle information about the target. What do they do? Why do they do it? When do they do it? How do they do it?
You must be able to think like your target audience things. This will help you determine if this form of media will work for your target market.
If you cannot get “inside the mind of the target audience,” don’t use this marketing vehicle.
Here’s an example:
A billboard on the side of the highway is a terrible marketing investment. Although a large number of people pass by, the people are too diverse to target with a specific message. There’s no way to communicate effectively with a crowd as diverse as mass traffic speeding past at 70 miles per hour.
A billboard at NASCAR track is terrific. You know what these folks all have in common. They love cars and they love racing. You can enter their thought process easily and tailor your marketing message to them.
Demographic and psychographic information from drivers on a highway is all over the place. But because a NASCAR race sells tickets and products and services, you can obtain exact information on the people who will be viewing your advertisement.
Step 2: Test
Never invest in advertising for a long time period without conducting a short term test.
People who sell advertising make mistakes and sometimes they lie.
Never make a long term commitment until you test the return on investment from any advertising media. If the representative tells you that a short term test is not possible – run as fast as you can.
Advertising that works will work in the short term or in the long term.
The only way to know is to test. Tell the representative you will run an advertisement for a short period of time and see if it works. If you receive a positive return on your investment, keep running it. If you do not, stop immediately.
Take the online law firm directory as an example.
The representative will tell you that the listing will work and he will quote you facts and figures. But the only way to know for sure is to test it out.
Offer to take a listing in the directory for a one month. If you receive calls and convert one of those calls into a client, then make a long term commitment.
If the advertising representative says “no” to this request, you should pass.
Step 3: Request One Action but only one Action in Any Ad
Image advertising is for large companies. If you have less than $100 million to spend on advertising, never, ever, invest in an ad for “branding purposes.”
Each ad must have a call to action and only one call to action.
Consider an advertisement in a Daily Court Journal paper with a message like:
“Refer Investor Fraud Cases to me because I went to Harvard.”
This will not work. Nobody cares where you went to school.
But this advertisement may:
“Call me for my free report: Five Factors in an Investor Fraud Case that Lead to Positive Outcomes. This report was developed during my 25 years working for the Securities and Exchange Commission.”
The small action of requesting a free report is something that most people will not hesitate to do. Referring a case to someone they do not know, like, or trust is something most people WILL NOT do.
If you are serious about law firm marketing, you will follow these guidelines each time you place an ad.
Advertising can be highly effective when it is done scientifically.
Law firms taking any other approach to marketing are simply playing the law firm marketing lottery.
A Surprise in Your Mailbox
The latest attorney marketing strategy is not new. In fact, it has been around since the beginning of time.
Before email, before fax, before telegrams, before telegraphs, there was postal mail. You know, snail mail.
You write a letter.
Put it in an envelope.
Put a stamp on it and drop it in a mailbox.
A couple of days (or weeks) later, someone gets that letter. They open it. They read it. And they take action based upon the information inside that envelope.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking:
“Nobody does that anymore.”
And you are correct.
That’s why it’s so effective.
Direct mail works. It works well. Attorney marketing experts have been advocating this as a method of attracting clients and referral sources for years.
But lawyers are resistant.
They resist because of the time it takes. They resist because bulk direct mail has a low success rate. They resist because they don’t know how to target the mail to the right people.
This week in the Valtimax Podcast I help you overcome all of those issues. We make it easy – a no-brainier –to attract clients using direct mail.
Listen to today’s podcast, put a letter in the mail, and watch what happens.
Click Below to Download
Here are three more articles that you should examine:
If you want to attract new clients to your law firm but you don’t have a significant amount of money in your marketing budget, this article is for you. It outlines how you can attract clients and still keep costs in line.
Attracting clients is as much about a lawyer’s personality as it is about fancy marketing. The way you present yourself can mean the difference between success and failure for a lawyer. This article discusses your personality in the context of networking.
Each month you lose some of the influence you had over your clients. You need to keep up with them and be a presence in their minds and in their lives. This article outlines one of the best ways to do that.
Attorney Marketing Strategy: Teaching Sells
As an attorney marketing your services you need to demonstrate your capability to solve the client’s problems.
You challenge is to help the clients make a good decision when selecting a lawyer and make sure the client understands what he is facing.
Educational marketing is the perfect way to do this. Here are three ways to do educate your prospective clients and differentiate yourself from other attorneys.
Post Articles on Your Website
Your website should be an information repository. A prospective client can go to your website to understand the circumstances he faces and the potential solutions to his problem.
Since he is not a lawyer, he cannot apply the solution himself but he can gain an understanding for how to select a competent attorney. Marketing is not just about convincing the client to hire you. First you must convince him to seek help. Then you can position yourself as the right attorney to handle the matter.
When a client learns the depth and complexity of the situation, he will look to you to solve his problems. Preparing the client, in advance, can demonstrate this complexity.
When you conduct a seminar you have the credibility of being the person providing the knowledge. In addition, preparing for the seminar will help you deepen your mastery of the subject.
Developing and delivering a seminar forces you to become researcher, professor and attorney. Marketing in this way is not only effective it is professionally ethical and helpful to the client.
Publish a Newsletter
Delivering timely, relevant information to your prospective clients is a great way to attract interest from people who can use your services.
One of the best ways to keep your information in front of people is by publishing a newsletter. A newsletter provides you with an authoritative voice on your area of expertise. Clients will seek you out as an authority.
Attorney marketing can be done effectively using the tree methods described above. They are not the only methods of client attraction but they are a good start.
The Alternative to the Internet
Just about every day someone calls me with a question about Internet advertising.
Lawyers looking for a marketing panacea are flocking to Search Engine Optimization and Social Media. They chase good money with bad, trying to find one way to attract one hundred new clients. This leaves them disappointed and a little lighter in the wallet.
My role in the complex world of law firm marketing is to help you sift through all the hype and develop a cost effective strategy for attracting new clients. This strategy is based upon the belief that finding one way to attract one hundred clients is risky, expensive and unrealistic. Instead, we focus on developing a client acquisition strategy that is based in reality. Our goal: Find many ways to develop one deep client relationship instead of one way to attract several clients.
Remaining true to that mission, today I offer you a viable alternative to the Internet. It is education-based marketing and it will definitely help you attract more clients – if you have the guts to give it a try.
Here is an example of an effective education-based marketing strategy:
Step one: Prepare a seminar on a topic of interest to your target audience. Example:
- Personal Injury Attorneys – Topic: Insurance Coverage
- Criminal Attorneys – Topic: Keeping kids out of trouble in the age of the bully
- Trust and Estate Attorneys – Topic: Asset protection for doctors and entrepreneurs
Step two: Invite everyone you know to attend this seminar. This means you should invite all of your friends and have them invite all of their friends. The idea is to get as many people in the room as possible.
Step three: Deliver great content at the seminar.
Step four: Capture the attendee’s contact information.
Step five: Follow-up like crazy.
If you have 50 people in the audience at each seminar, and you follow the steps listed above, you can expect to acquire 5-10 new clients per year from this strategy (provided you host 4-6 of these seminars each year).
When I work with my private clients, this is one of the first strategies I recommend they implement. It is a low cost way to begin developing relationships with people who can refer you business, engage you, or both. This strategy works.
Yet most lawyers will never attempt it.
You tell me.
I just gave you a gift. A way to attract a few new clients each year. Will you follow these simple steps?
Is this strategy as sexy as the internet? No.
Is this strategy as easy as paying someone to get you on the first page of Google? No.
Does this strategy get as much publicity as Social Media? No.
But it works consistently. It just requires some thought and some effort from you.
I don’t know what your plans are for your law firm. I’m not certain what your income goals are. But I know what I hear from lawyers all over the world. They all want cost effective ways to attract new clients.
How fast can you integrate this into your marketing activity?