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INTERNAL LAWYER MARKETING
Marketing internally as a lawyer is quite easy to overlook. Many lawyers are trying to strike for the fences instead of batting for singles. The foundation of a successful marketing program must begin with internal marketing systems. Not only are they these programs to easiest to implement, they are also kind to your marketing budget. Study the lawyer marketing ideas here, then choose the programs that best suit your firm's strengths.
1. Client Appreciation Days
Let's start with the best internal marketing program, “Client Appreciation Days". This kind of lawyer marketing doesn't necessarily need to be a labor intensive event. It can be as simple as displaying a poster-board by your front desk with a few words announcing the date of the Appreciation Day. Then you can affix a couple balloons to the poster-board along with the door handle at your front door, then you can simply tell your clients that today you are having a special event where you are offering a free service to all of the community, including your client's family and friends. A key part of this program is to ensure your office staff is prepare with brochures or cards that explain the offer or simply display your office's contact information.
Most firms would be well off by doing client appreciation days about every couple of months. This kind of marketing program can reliably result in 15-20 new clients. Keep in mind, your firm does not need to break the bank and give away glitzy prizes. In fact, most firms seldom spend on much more than just the balloons and brochures. Once you have executed a couple of Client Appreciation Days, it becomes easy to figure out who can take care of what aspects of the 'event' and then have them on a routine basis. A successful firm eventually shouldn't have to waste time planning or promoting the client appreciation day. Rather, when the set dates on the calendar roll around, everyone executes their part.
2. In Office Lectures
In office lectures can be an integral part of some firms. This type of lawyer marketing is a good opportunity to educate clients, but more often than not - this won't be a good source of new clients. The generic topics on the legal field may appeal to a select number of clients, but for the vast majority of potential clients - they are a snooze fest.
The best way to circumvent this issue is by getting creative. Perhaps in place of a talk on torts, you did a talk on the most high-profile cases that you believe the mass public perceives the wrong way today? The more creative of a topic you select, then the larger audience you are able to cater to, and thus the better chance you have of running a successful program. No matter the topic of your talk, be sure to execute the rest of your marketing mix.
- Eye catching Topic and Name for the Event and Title or Name for Your Event
- Leverage Social Proof
- Exclusive, Limited Seating
- Clear Call to Action
Don't just have a talk, spend some time brain storming so that you have put together a must-watch event. Give it all you've got with gusto, then watch as new clients gravitate toward your firm.
3. Office Appearance
This is an aspect of internal marketing that many lawyers neglect - the ambiance of their office. If clients aren't feeling at home in your firm, they won't be as keen to keep returning. Moreover, it becomes less likely that they'll refer other clients to you. The following pointers are a good shortlist of aspects to consider for firms new and established.
- Wait times should be kept to a minimum
- When waiting, clients should have options to be entertained (i.e. Popular magazines, a lively fish tank, or a TV with accessible remote)
- Have decor on the wall along with social proof
- Spotless bathrooms
- A cozy feel
4. Birthday Cards
Birthday cards are a good way to retain current clients and even reactive clients you haven't worked with in some time. There's a reason they have been popular for a long time. Ultimately, it comes down to personalizing the cards you send out to your clients. Simply sending a mass-printed Hallmark card in the mail will do very little to catch the attention of the recipient. Take a moment to consider how you can get the recipient to actually appreciate your well wishes.
You must rise above the rest to show your client that you're an outstanding lawyer. Putting in just a bit more effort can dramatically improve the wow factor of your birthday card. If you put the same amount of thoughtfulness into your cards as you do the rest of your firm - your firm will reap the rewards.
5. Personal Notes
One way to reactivate clients in your firm is to take the time to pen personal notes. The truth is, this is a simple task that your staff members can do whenever they have a moment of free time. The note doesn't have to be long and convoluted, often a simple, “Hi John…Mr. Wallace thought it would be a good idea to reach out to you and check to see if everything was going well. Don't hesitate to give us a ring if there's anything we can help you with.”
You wouldn't believe the number of clients that will call your office after that simple gesture. Not every client will necessarily require your services then and there, but the gesture was almost universally well-received. You can bet the next time a client needs anything legal-related, they'll be reaching out to your first.
6. Personal Voice Messages
This is another underrated way to reach out to clients. Most lawyers are familiar with the constant stream of emails that need replies and the achy fingers that can sometime accompany long days. However, there's a way to skip that altogether with some emails that require drawn out explanations.
Considering investing in a quality desktop microphone that can plug into your computer and easily make use of it's audio recording functionality. When a client receives my email, they're instructed to click on the attached audio message which then plays in a high-fidelity, easily accessible way. Not only is the information presented easier to understand, it is both personal and easier and faster! It's a positive on many fronts.
In terms of reactivating clients, you can make use of the microphone by sending personalized recordings to your clients checking in on them and ensuring they are doing well. It is something that is easy to turn into a habit and then sends few every morning as part of your routine.
7. Email Newsletters
Most lawyers that send out newsletters are forwarding a canned newsletter by some organization or company. Typically this information is mundane and rarely is anything that anyone would give more than a cursory glance. I’ve never met a lawyer who's newsletter is a vital part of the success of their firm.
Newsletters do have the potential to be a source of great information for your clients, but they require your time and effort. Your clients must be able to readily recognize that you personally penned the newsletter before they're going to invest their own time to read it. Thankfully, in this day and age, your newsletter doesn't necessarily need to be written. One of many options to more efficiently and cheaply reach out to your clients is to send out voice newsletters.
8. Office Giveaways
While office giveaways can be tied in with client appreciation days, it is not necessary. One of the larger firms we work with regularly does office giveaways that would correspond with the seasons. For example, during the summer months, they would give away free tickets to the nearest amusement park. The key to this program was that to have a chance of winning you had to give th your firm contact information for friends or relatives. Each name would result in an entry for the prize. Eventually, your office would compile all the leads and throw some sort of event or marketing program targeted towards these individuals.
There's not doubt that this program is a bit more labor intensive, but in can result in boosting your visibility within the community. One important note, your state may have specific regulations dictating what you are allowed to give away to your clients. Be sure to understand the rules and regulations in your state before starting a giveaway campaign.
External Lawyer Marketing
For the most part, your new clients will be a result of external lawyer marketing. We've worked with lawyers who have tried everything under the sun, however most firms rely on a select number of marketing programs that suit their strengths and align with their goals. The truth is, you shouldn't attempt to implement everything you read below. Most firms seldom execute more than 5 or 6 of these strategies at any given time. Your success with external marketing as a lawyer will come down to quality and not quantity.
Lawyers who attempt to go the outside talk route for marketing tend to struggle from the start. First of all, getting a your foot in the door to do a business talk will be tough. However, with some persistence and good lead collecting - eventually you 'll make enough call to set up talks with a few local companies. If it's your first rodeo, consider proposing a lunch and learn style of talk to businesses. There are more than a few businesses who will be happy to lend an ear if complimentary food is provided for their employees.
One way to get leads for this kind of program is to set up lead boxes at various eateries in the city. It is mutually beneficial for businesses to allow lawyers to set up a lead box since they would frequently dine at and dine with clients at their restaurant. Building rapport first is key to this marketing program.
The talks are typically about half an hour long and involve catering something like Subway. Certain talks generated a lot of new clients for us, but some fell short. Truthfully I was a much bigger fan of client dinners because I had more control over the event.
Direct Response Lawyer Mailers
If you're looking for home-run new client record months, direct response lawyer mailers are your answer. The thing is, if the ad is not dialed in correctly, they can be a swing and a miss. When the ad hits the mark - an entire firm can evolve. To write a truly great ad, you honestly have to take the time to craft it yourself. It's not going to be something you can buy, then plug-and-play in your practice for success. The ads that succeed most often revolve around clients who you helped out of a tough spot. You're going to want a story that people can relate to and connect with. It is not uncommon for firms to see 30 to 40 new clients a month through this kind of program. A single ad a week with excellent exposure can set you back $3000, but if the return on investment is there - there's no reason not to go through with it.
If you are going to proceed to try direct response mailers, carefully consider these points before launching your campaign:
- First off, your advertisement should be big and command the space of where ever you are placing it. Usually, this is going to be the front page of a magazine or newspaper.
- Avoid getting locked into a contract. Ads can take multiple iterations with tweaks, as such make sure you have the flexibility to alter your messaging and where you're placing it.
- If it's not broken, don't try fixing it. Run a successful campaign into the dirt before trying to alter the script.
- Don't feel obligated to run this type of program if there aren't publications popular enough in your area warrant giving it a shot.
- Being a decent copywriter is a must. I’ve assisted numerous lawyers write compelling ads. One of the keys is to cut the legal talk and just be real and personal with what your client' issues are and how you can help.
Seasoned lawyers who know the value of a reliable marketing program can appreciate good website marketing. Many lawyers don't think the "hassle" of putting together a good website is worth the effort - but the web is a different monster entirely now. It's not uncommon for lawyers to see a significant return on investment from their website. The truly magical part of good website marketing is that it can run on autopilot, 24/7. working to get you new patients without any effort on your end when it's set up correctly.
While lawyer website marketing has quickly turned into a great method for growing your firm's reach, it doesn't operate without it's own set of common misconceptions and pitfall that people run into. Here are some points to consider what to expect from your foray into getting a website for your firm:
- Nearly all the clicks from a Google search are funneled into the top half-dozen results. The lion's share of clicks, 50%, go to the top ranked website. The truth is, you need to aim for the top of page one on Google in order to have a successful website.
- The site's goal is to result in new clients for your firm. It's not to preach to your clients about your field and it's ongoing developments and it's not there for you to tweak to your personal stylistic tastes. If a website is not resulting in new clients for you after a certain point in time, you need to cut the cord and try a different company who knows how to design conversion-optimized websites that get clients walking in the door.
- Good search optimization is not something you can throw together in a night, nor is it something you hire someone to "set-it and forget it". SEO that gets you ranking well costs money and requires professional work.
- Be sure to pick a website provider that knows what they're doing and does it in-house. A company that has to outsource their work likely isn't a very good option.
- The best performing website are hardly ever dated. Having a company that has the knowledge to build a great website under the hood while staying up to date with the latest industry standards is essential.
- If getting to the top of the front page on Google searches isn't your primary goal, avoid investing in a website in the first place. A website simply isn't essential if it's not serving the purpose of bringing new clients into your office and it will simply burn a whole in your marketing budget. However, if you do believe lawyer online marketing a challenge your firm wants to explore, our team at Accord is here to help.
In that past few years Google has retooled Adwords, taking their effectiveness to a new level. Nowadays, Google ads in the results tend to blend right into the organic ones and snag clicks away from their competitors below. Google has even offered this same advantage in Google Maps searches to those willing to pay the price.
We find success daily running Google Adwords campaigns here at Accord. For a number of our clients its an investment that more than pays for itself every month. For those who have yet to try this kind lawyer marketing, Accord highly recommends giving it at least one go-around.
By now 2019 there's a good chance you've had your ears talked to death about the hype around Facebook ads and Facebook marketing for lawyers. There's no shortage of companies featuring this as part of their service - is it worth it?
Typically a paid campaign for Facebook entails targeting a specific service your firm specializes in, selecting a demographics, and leading people to a landing page with the hopes that they'll turn into a solid lead.
For specific legal services, there are some promising campaigns worth executing. However, for run-of-the-mill legal services, it's best to stay far away from Facebook ads. At Accord we've had the opportunity to experiment with a large number of firms and can point you in the right direction should you desire to tackle the enigma that is Facebook marketing.
Advertising with TV spots for lawyers can be a daunting endeavor. It goes without saying that this kind of lawyer marketing is not for the faint of heart, but for those lawyers with the right demeanor, legal specialization, and local demographic, they can become the cornerstone of the firm.
Ultimately, you will want to opt for one to two minute spots that will give your potential clients an opportunity to truly understand what your firm's culture is like and the expertise and results you can offer. A good ad will give your ideal client plenty of time to take action by picking up the phone and call you.
This kind of marketing is definitely not for every lawyer, but if you have the right intangibles, it's hard to go wrong with once mastering.
Just about all aggressive lawyers have given billboards a whirl as part of their law firm marketing. At face-value, billboards seem like a sure fire way to reach the masses and get the phone ringing. We've worked with a number of lawyers who have used billboards extensively as part of their marketing plan and the truth is that they rarely are worth it in a vacuum. However, they can be worthwhile for those lawyers whose main goal is to increase familiarity and awareness of their firm within the community.
Struggling or new firms should avoid billboards altogether. Billboards should not be the foundation of any firm and they can quickly siphon away the last of firm's finances. Over ambitious firms have gone bankrupt by pursing this kind of marketing recklessly. Billboards typically should only be pursued by firms with the leftover marketing budget to dedicate to their brand withing the community.
There's another subset of lawyers who are interested in radio advertising as a marketing tool. In our experience in working with firms across the country, it tends to be a waste of effort. The simple truth is that lawyers rarely have the budget to get their show enough air time to be effective. A half-minute radio ad will rarely be appealing enough for potential clients to take the the to contact your office. Like billboards, radio advertising can be a good way to build your brand within the community but they're usually an avenue worth exploring only after other marketing programs have been successfully put in place.
Keep in mind if you do decide to try this type of marketing program that at the very least you will be a slave to the radio booth every week. For those lawyers who struggle following through consistently with marketing plans - radio advertising can be be a complete non-starter.
Personal injury cases
There's lawyers in every city obsessed with getting new personal injury cases. There are plenty of legends of firms built on the very back of PI cases and it is usually accomplished by firms who have all their ducks in a row and being crafty, diligent marketers.
This is not something a new firm can just boot up and start executing flawlessly as a program. It takes effort and it will take multiple tweaks to your firm over months to make personal injury cases the lifeblood of your firm. Give us a call if you need a general direction on this front.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON LAWYER MARKETING
Accord has worked with some of the most successful law firms in the world. What separates the wheat from the chaff are firms who follow through and execute successful marketing programs consistently. Successful firms are not built by accident and they take time every week to consider areas to leverage your marketing dollars that others in the vicinity haven't. The more time your firm takes to evaluate themselves and their market - the more opportunity that will reveal itself.
Make it a weekly priority to set a marketing plan for your team and execute it time and time again. Inevitably adjustments will need to me made, sometimes on the spot - but this is the best way to improve. One of the best ways to find out what works is to find out what doesn't. Learn to see running successful marketing programs as a skill. Like all skills, they can be honed and improved over time. There's no firm that can't get off to a good start by utilizing this list of marketing ideas with purpose.
If you have any questions you’re welcome to call. The team at Accord is happy to help.