Three Core Strategies For Lawyer Marketing
Sometimes the marketing world can seem confusing. This is especially true with all the ads on display at events, social media buzz, and salespeople constantly calling on the telephone. Many lawyers are already at the point of marketing overwhelm.
That’s why it makes sense to take a step back and break down marketing for lawyers into three primary strategies. These are the basic application of your skills. They can be applied in a number of ways, but at their core, there are only three specific things that require your focus.
You may be wondering how this is possible when you hear about social media and internet marketing and referral services.
Ultimately, all lawyer marketing comes down to these three strategies in one form or another. Let’s look at the different variations:
- Speak at conventions or events hosted by others
- Speak at events you host yourself
- Develop and provide educational content (through speaking) for people who may refer business to you
- Offer videos of you covering topics on the internet (Youtube, other video sharing sites, your website)
- Provide audio content of your topics in a podcast
- Give media interviews and commentary on your area of expertise
All of these variations and the dozens of others I did not mention stem from you giving a speech or talk to a group of people. If you have the skills (or can develop the skills) to do that, you can apply those skills to multiple venues for the purposes of lawyer marketing.
- Write and publish your work yourself (on a website, blog or other internet vehicle)
- Write for trade magazines and publications
- Write and publish your own newsletter
- Write and send direct mail
- Author a book
There are hundreds of possibilities for written content. Articles, newsletters, magazines, books all need experts to provide information. Fill this need.
Networking is not necessarily about attending meetings of groups, shaking hands and passing out business cards. It is also connecting with people in a one-to-one setting.
Here are some ways you can leverage networking:
- Reach out to people in the news and congratulate them on their notoriety (if they are in the news for something positive).
- Send a hand written note to a person you admire each day.
- Look up the charitable causes of people you respect and offer to help them.
- Volunteer for a leadership role in organizations where you can apply your talent
- Find elements of commonality between you and someone you want to meet and reach out using the common ground as a platform
- Attend meetings of groups and identify specific people with whom you’d like to interact and seek out those people.
These are just a few of the many networking possibilities that present themselves in everyday life. Take advantage of them and push yourself out of your comfort zone.
Marketing does not have to be complicated, even for lawyers. These three core strategies make it simple. Pick one and get started today and add others as time goes on.
The key is to select a strategy that is in your comfort zone and it will help you achieve your marketing goals.
How Attorneys Pass Good Quality Referrals
Have you ever received a referral that just didn’t work out?
Of course you have.
We all have.
The platinum standard of referrals is a meeting which is facilitated specifically for the purpose of introducing the two parties.
The next best thing, the gold standard, is to get both parties on the telephone and make the introduction that way.
The worst way to pass a referral is by doing an introduction. This is where an email is sent introducing both parties and contact information is exchanged.
If you want a complete explanation of each of these techniques and reasons why you should pass referrals using the platinum standard (hint, you get back what you give) watch the video below.
A big part of marketing for lawyers is done through passing referrals. Take the time to get it right.
By the way, sending someone a name and a phone number is NOT a referral. It is an invitation to make a cold call. That’s garbage. Don’t do it.
Law Firm Marketing on a Tight Budget
After speaking about law firm marketing in Miami a couple of days ago, I was approached by a young lawyer with a common question. He asked:
“How can a solo attorney attract clients with zero dollars to put toward marketing?”
This is always a tough question for me to answer because the truth hurts.
It is difficult to attract clients without any money. That’s the truth.
But it can be done.
Below is a four step guide to law firm marketing on a tight budget.
Step One: Call Everyone
Call everyone you know and tell them about the value you provide to you clients. Ask them if they know of anyone who may need your services.
Step Two: Volunteer to Help a Busy Lawyer
Approach the busiest attorney in your practice area in town and volunteer to help him with his caseload. This works because you will be able to take on the cases the busy lawyer does not want to handle or cannot handle because of conflict. Additionally, you may be able to earn a per-case fee for your efforts if you do good work.
Step Three: Attend Meetings of Attorneys in Other Practice Areas
Many times local bar associations host networking meetings for specific practice groups and attendance is covered by your annual dues. If the cost is not covered you can often go to these meetings as the guest of a member – so ask a friend if you can tag along with him.
The key is to go to a meeting in a practice area that is different than yours. So if you are a criminal defense attorney, go to a meeting with family law attorneys. If you are a family law attorney, go to a meeting with probate attorneys, etc.
You will be different than everyone else at the meeting and you will make friends with people who could possibly refer business to you.
Step Four: Speak with Vendors Who Deliver Things to Your Office
The vendors who service your office or your building will often know what’s going on with other people in the community. These vendors can often be a good source of referrals for you. Become friends with vendors and tell them what you do. Explain the value you provide. Ask them if they know anyone who can benefit from your services.
Obviously, these four steps require work and persistence. If you have little money to spend on marketing you must spend your time and effort on personally developing relationships with people who can refer business to you.
This is not easy but you can do it if you have a strong enough desire to be successful.
Add Your Natural Network to Your Law Firms Marketing
The easiest way to bring new business into your law firm is to talk to people in your natural network. Your natural network is simply a database of people who know you, like you and trust you.
Members of your natural network include: friends, family, business vendors, past clients, people from your life and your work. These people may know someone who can benefit from the value you provide.
Reach out to this network of people who know you, like you and trust you and re-introduce yourself to them. Doing this is easy and usually produces rapid results. The best way to engage these folks is to call each person on the telephone. Here’s how to initiate the call:
“Hi this is [insert your name here]. I’m just calling to catch up with you. How are you? What’s new? What’s going on in your life/business?”
These people will give you an update on what’s going on in their lives. They’ll give you an update on what’s going on in their business. Then they will naturally ask what’s going on with you. Then you can say something like:
“I’m glad you asked. Here’s what I’m doing now,” and you talk about how you provide value to your clients.”
In my case I usually say something like:
“I’m glad you asked. I’m providing great information to people who are building professional practices. So I work with doctors, I work with lawyers, I work with people who are independent professionals. I work with people in large firms and small firms and I help them make a great living and live a great life.
I do this by working on business tactic, practice management, time management, efficiency, effectiveness, workflow management and every other aspect related to their business. That’s what I do. If you know of anybody who’s looking for these services, just give me a call and I’ll be happy to reach out to them on your behalf and I’ll treat them just like I would treat you, just like I treat members of my family. They will get VIP treatment from me.”
That’s the whole call. First you see if there’s something you can do for them. Then you tell them about yourself, your law firm, and tell them about the value you provide.
Now here are the results you can expect: In your natural network, let’s say there are 250 people. Ten of those people will know somebody right off the top of their head who they can refer you to and five of those people, may become clients instantly.
Think about that for a moment. This is law firm marketing but all you’re doing is calling and catching up with friends and reaching out to people you know and you’re going to get five clients from it.
Many people you speak with during this process will not immediately be able to think of someone to whom they can refer you. That’s not unusual. In those cases, consider this the beginning of an ongoing communication process. Take advantage of this opportunity to reconnect and return to the forefront of the mind of people with whom you’ve lost touch.
The purpose of reaching out to people in your natural network is not just to see if they can refer any business to you. A secondary purpose of this outreach is to get permission from your network to contact them on a regular basis and stay in touch. This is critical and it’s the next step in your law firm marketing plan.
You are going to create a follow-up system and use that system to stay “top of mind” with people.
Marketing For Lawyers Must Include Proper Networking
If you are thinking about marketing for lawyers you’re probably thinking about networking. Most people, especially lawyers, think of networking as a primary marketing strategy yet few lawyers network properly.
Do you know how to bring people together for mutual benefit? If you don’t, you need to learn, because this is the true objective of networking.
Most lawyers think of networking as going out, shaking hands with a few people, and then hoping that person hires you in the future. That’s the wrong thought process and the wrong approach.
The right approach is to think about the person you are meeting and his needs. Helping him achieve his goals will, most likely, lead to you achieving your goals.
Here are five things to keep in mind when marketing for lawyers by networking:
1). Give First Then Receive…Sometimes
Lawyers think of marketing as a quid pro quo relationship. I meet you and send you a case and you should send one back to me as soon as possible. That’s not setting fair expectations for yourself or for the other party.
When you meet someone through networking, you should do some research on him before sending a case his way. At minimum, make certain he is capable of handling the issue you are sending him and make sure he has no ethical complaints in his past.
Refer business to another lawyer based upon the client’s need and the attorney’s competency. Put your expectations for a return referral on the back burner. Doing the right thing for the client will result in more referrals than shipping business to someone whom you know handles a high volume of calls for cases in your client’s area of need.
If a lawyer is a connection (friend, trusted colleague, and respected practitioner) of yours and he is the best person to handle a matter, yet he doesn’t refer cases back to you, send him the case and, in a separate conversation, ask why he does not trust you enough to reciprocate.
2). Less Contacts Deeper Relationships
Lawyers often believe networking is a numbers game. They believe the more contacts you have the greater your chances of receiving referrals. This is not true.
Deep relationships result in referrals. One deep relationship is more valuable than ten casual relationships.
3). Introductions Are Not Referrals
If you introduce a client to a lawyer by email you are not helping either the lawyer or the client. An email introduction is simply an invitation for the lawyer to make a cold call. Don’t do it.
At minimum, get the two parties on the telephone and introduce them by conference call. This will allow you to pass along your thoughts on each of them in a genuine way.
The best way to pass a referral is in person, face-to-face. This is not always possible, but it is always appreciated.
4). Referrals Are Not Necessarily Recommendations
Even when you refer someone by taking both parties to lunch and watching them shake hands, you are not necessarily doing EVERYTHING you can to help them connect and do business.
If you want to make certain your referral partner has the best shot at landing the client you should also make a recommendation. Do this by saying something like:
“I recommend Joe Lawyer (insert name). He is the best (insert practice area) lawyer in town. I use him myself.”
This is a big deal. Do it if you believe it to be true.
5). Think About What Your Network Says About You
Every referral you pass says something about you in two ways:
First: The quality of the person you refer is a reflection of your judgment and personal character. Refer a jerk and you are a jerk. Refer a professional and you are a professional.
Second: How you handle the referral process is indicative of how you will receive referrals in the future. If you make personal introductions to your referral sources, you will receive them in return.
Here’s the bottom line: Networking is essential in marketing for lawyers but if you do not network properly it can work against you. Focus on quality connections and valuable referrals and you will be able to unlock the true power of your ability to bring people together.