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Sometimes it’s tempting to do all the marketing. There are so many options–when the sales reps come calling, it’s all too easy to be sucked in by the more is better mentality. When that happens, we risk neglecting the most fundamental elements of marketing.
It’s important to remember to cover the essentials first. Today we’re going to talk about the bare minimum–the things every firm should do.
Here’s how marketing is done
You create an imaginary ideal client. You get to know that person so well that they feel real. Then you find out where they hang out, in real life or online. You show up there and invest time, energy, and money in being visible and memorable enough that you get noticed. The ideal client becomes aware of you, decides they like you, and then comes to trust you.
At some point, the ideal client is going to find you, if you haven’t already approached them. Be ready. The ideal client expects a certain minimum marketing presence from a lawyer. Just like they expect you to wear pants, they expect you to look like a lawyer in other respects.
Like it or not, you have a business network. Hopefully, some of those folks send business your way. Some lawyers tell me they “hate networking.” Okay, but networking is just the business word for friendship. Do you hate making friends? Probably so. I can’t say I disagree with you. People are trouble.
But most of us do make friends, even if we hate it. There are neighbors, co-workers, our spouse’s friends, and the other parents at softball practice. These people grow on us, like a fungus. We end up with friends with whom we talk business. That’s our network.
When someone asks you what you do, tell them you’re a lawyer. Tell them what kind of law you practice. Help them figure out whom they should refer. We’re all in the networking game (unless we’ve been sent to solitary confinement, in which case they probably took away our law license on the way there).
Nurture your network of friends. Pay attention, listen for opportunities to be helpful, and stay in touch. That’s all it means to build a network.
You need a website. It’s required. If someone wants to hire you and can’t find your website, they assume you’re dead (or in solitary confinement).
Are you dead?
If not, then you need a website. Spend $7,500 and overpay a designer for five pages which look exactly like the pages that overpriced designer built for the other firms.
Or spend $20 and one hour, and build the site yourself on Carrd. They’ve got beautiful templates, so it’s insanely easy and kind of fun.
Type in your name, phone number, email and snail mail address, slap up a stock picture of an attractive lawyer, and you’re good to go.
Email presents two opportunities for marketing.
First, you should make sure you’ve got your firm info in the signature block, along with anything else you’d like to promote.
Second, you should consider using an automated email service like Convertkit to send periodic updates to clients and prospective clients. Why? Because people appreciate hearing from you. They want to know you’re alive and well. They like you. You might even provide them with some valuable legal information they can use. You know things.
Personally, I’ve used Convertkit to make millions of dollars. I used it in the law firm, and I’ve used it to build Rosen Institute. In fact, email marketing is the primary tool we use for Rosen Institute. An awesome example of what we’re doing is found at Rosen’s Rules.
In the old days, people looked for information about you on your website biography page. That page is still useful. But today it’s just as likely that prospective clients will check you out on Linkedin.
Make your page interesting and informative, and link it back to your website so that you’re easy to reach.
Linkedin has become the default way to check credentials and experience. Keep an eye on your page and check back frequently, because it’s not unusual for prospective clients to message you there when seeking assistance.
5. Business cards
I wish business cards were dead, but they’re not. Personally, I haven’t had cards in years because I simply don’t have space in my carry-on bag. A life of perpetual travel requires letting go of some formalities. I refer folks to my RosenFinder.com website for contact info (built on Carrd.co).
I’ve tried apps and other tricks as replacements for business cards. Nothing works quite as well as a good old-fashioned piece of card stock, just the right size to slip into a wallet.
You need business cards, even if there’s not much space left in your pocket.
Gifts are always a good idea. (Unless regulators in your location make it difficult to give gifts to those who refer business to you, which is unfortunate because gifts never go out of style.)
What kind of gifts should you give? Cookies, pears, a copy of your latest book?
Try to give the right thing to the right person. Don’t systematize, automate, or outsource.
Sending the right gift to the right person at the right time is an art, but even when you get it wrong, it’s right (remember, it’s the thought that counts). Gifts are always appreciated and always have a marketing impact, even if that’s not what you intend.
7. Thank-you notes
A handwritten note is still powerful. Sure, you can email or message your appreciation, but a thank-you note sent via the postal system hits the spot for many people.
I can’t easily send snail mail due to the vagaries of postal systems around the world, so I use Handwrytten to write the notes for me. They automate the process, create a handwritten note, sign it, and pop it in the mail. For a few extra bucks they’ll replicate your handwriting so it’s even more authentic.
I admit that having a service create your personal notes is a bit of a cheat–it’s better if you write the notes yourself. Handwritten notes have way more benefit than cost.
Do enough and no more
The marketing tactics I’ve mentioned above are the bare minimum. They tell the world you’re up and at it each day. Every firm should be doing what I’ve described.
But you can do more. Just don’t do too much more. Adding other marketing tactics to the mix makes sense. The key, though, is to excel at whatever you choose to do.
If you choose content marketing, then use your content to change lives. If you go for social media, then go all in and build strong relationships. If you’re going to advertise, master your medium. If it’s writing, speaking, marketing technology, events–whatever–go all the way and become world-class. Master it, own it, and don’t spread yourself thin by choosing too many marketing tactics.
Show up with every ounce of you
Each of the marketing tactics I’ve mentioned has plenty of space for you to be you. Even your business card can demonstrate your personality.
Use your marketing to stand out from the crowd. Differentiate yourself. Be unique. Be a little weird. Tell your story, and more importantly, demonstrate understanding and empathy for your prospective client with the words you use in each of the tactics we’ve discussed.
Getting your name into the world requires standing out from the crowd. Being liked requires being human, with normal flaws, struggles, and shortcomings. Being trusted requires listening like it matters.
Your marketing gives you a chance to connect with the right people, offer the right kind of help, and build the law firm you’ve always wanted to build. Make sure you’ve got the essentials covered.