Answers to Your Attorney Marketing Questions from Great Legal Marketing
Ben Glass and his team at Great Legal Marketing work with an elite mix of attorneys from virtually every practice area from personal injury to bankruptcy and beyond. We are definitely not for everyone, in fact, while we attract many who "want" to get better we know that only about 20% of any population will actually do the work necessary. The difference in results has nothing to do with where your law practice is located or how much experience you have. This is all about the choices that YOU make.
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How can I establish “brand loyalty” with my law firm’s clients?
Brand loyalty is an effective way of marketing your legal practice for customers at any level: a new visitor, a monthly contact, or a previous client looking for representation in the future.
Think of your practice as a business that sells everything, like Amazon or Google. Even if a customer doesn’t buy an item from them, they will go through them—making that site their natural first stop for questions and the hub of their shopping activity.
Positioning your law firm website as the gatekeeper
You would like to do the same for your legal marketing strategy: make your site the natural portal for your clients looking for online legal information. To position your legal website this way, you have to ask: why are commercial sites such as Amazon and Google so effective?
- Easy information and accessibility. A major reason people click away from websites is because they can’t find what they’re looking for. Take a look at your favorite websites, from calendars and email to the local deli. Can you navigate with ease? Is the information you need available—and is it where you thought it would be?
- Fingers in all the pies. A good website goes far, but those sites have a team of marketers on all the major social media sites (and many develop their own mobile apps for cell phone-friendly shopping).
- An opinion on everything. Shoppers want to do their homework before they buy anything, including shoes, movie tickets, and legal advice. If they like your site, they’re going to be looking for your opinion on local cases and issues, much like they would look for movie ratings. You don’t lose customers if they read a competitor’s website; you lose if they don’t click back to compare it to what you think.
For more ways to build trust with your legal website readers, join our Great Legal Marketing team by calling 888-791-2150 today to get insider tips delivered right to your inbox.
I have clients who call at all hours to discuss their cases, ask questions, or even make small talk. How can I convince them that my time is limited and I don't have the luxury of talking on the phone?
Well, a good first step would be not to pick up the phone in the first place, unless you're absolutely sure that it's an important call. That's why they invented caller ID: with only a little effort, you can identify “must-take” from “can ignore” phone calls.
You can also invest in an administrative assistant, or make it a practice not to hand out your cell phone number to clients—or at least to lower-level clients who don't require 24-hour attention.
What you should do, though—and which too many lawyers don't do, for fear of offending their clients—is to calmly and courteously explain to the offending caller that your time is valuable, and that every minute you spend on the phone is one less minute you can spend preparing his case. A reasonable client will not be offended by this explanation; in fact, he will probably be impressed that you guard your time so zealously, with his interests uppermost in your mind.
Another good strategy is to agree to talk to your needy clients, but only during certain times of the day, and only when the call has been scheduled in advance. When you make the appointment, you can tell your client that you only have five or ten minutes to talk—and when that limit approaches, you can explain that you have another call scheduled, and that it would be unfair to the next client to cheat him of his phone time.
This is a time management problem. It's a known fact that lawyers who successfully manage their time are more successful attorneys and esteemed more highly by clients than lawyers who are constantly playing catch-up and showing up late for appointments.
Questions? Call the lawyer advertising experts at Great Legal Marketing at 888-791-250 for more information!
Should I market to all of my law firm contacts the same way, or should I treat some clients differently?
It can be tempting to think of your contacts as just names on a page. However, if you’re going to make a contact into a client, you need to treat all of them like individuals: people with different circumstances and interests who may get bored (or annoyed) with barefaced attempts to pull them in.
For instance, perhaps you’re considering a batch of pre-printed postcards as friendly reminders of your firm. These bulk mailings may seem like a great way to reach everyone, but they’re also impersonal. A postcard may be appropriate for a contact with a passing interest, but may not be enough for someone who came to your office in person.
The way you reach out to those who called for a consultation doesn’t have to be the same as those who “dropped in” online; in fact, it shouldn’t be the same. Think about sending Christmas cards to your family members. Do they all have the same message, or do you write a little something extra to those close to you? I’ll bet friends who visit often get a gift you picked out yourself, and those you see once a year get socks and gift cards—not bad gifts, but certainly less personal.
Just as you have a system for your own friends and family, you should have a tiered system for your law firm’s contacts. Your mother-in-law shouldn’t receive socks, and someone you’ve spoken to several times shouldn’t get a form letter addressed “Dear valued customer”—in both cases, you’re running the risk of changing someone’s opinion of you for the worse.
For more information on law firm client conversion, join our Great Legal Marketing team by calling 888-791-2150 today to receive insider tips right to your inbox. For other tips on attorney marketing strategies, browse our website and download your free preview chapter of Ben Glass’s Great Legal Marketing book.
My friends, who are all teachers and blue-collar workers, make fun of me for being a “greedy lawyer” who lives in a big house. What should I tell them?
Well, you might tell them that it's not too late to enroll in law school!
Seriously, though, you can't hold your friends to fault for adhering to the image of lawyers propagated by the popular media: we all know from TV shows that lawyers are greedy, self-serving profit seekers, with the occasional saintly exception who goes out of his way to help his clients for a minimal fee, or no fee at all.
Your best defense against the accusation of greed is to calmly explain to your friends how the legal system actually works. Sure, you have a nice house now, but it cost lots of money to attend law school, and you had to spend a few years working to build your legal practice on a shoestring budget. As the money started to come in, you invested some of it in law firm advertising and marketing, thus attracting new clients. As your practice expanded, so did your income, and not only were you able to hire additional employees—secretaries, paralegals, etc.— you had enough left over to buy a nice house. It seems like a fair reward for the effort.
For added effect, you might also point out:
- That you do lower your fees for especially needy clients.
- That you participate in your fair share of pro bono work.
That financial success for your legal practice means you have been able to give jobs and steady incomes for the staff at your office, which is the way entrepreneurship is supposed to work in America.
Being a lawyer is nothing to be ashamed of, and there's even less call to be ashamed of being a successful lawyer. After all, if you charged minimal fees and did an excessive amount of pro bono work, you'd go out of business sooner rather than later—and who would be there to help potential clients in need of experienced representation?
Call Great Legal Marketing today at 888-791-2150 to learn more about how making money is a good thing, rather than a bad thing, when you're a practicing lawyer!
I'm being pressured by my local newspaper to buy an advertisement as part of its “Best Lawyers in the City” insert. Should I take the bait?
This is a tough question to answer. In an ideal world, the answer would be “no”: why should you buy an expensive ad in a newspaper, when you know this is just a scheme cooked up by the marketing department to shore up quarterly revenues?
- The fact is that newspapers and magazines run these special inserts for one reason, and one reason only: to make money. It's not as if any editors or publishing executives really care if you're one of the “best” lawyers; they just need to fill the space.
- In the real world, though, things are more complicated. If you practice in a small market, not buying an ad might put you at a disadvantage with regard to the competition, who can boast that they've been named the city's “best lawyers” while you have not. You can explain to potential clients until you're blue in the face how a lawyer's willingness to buy an ad determines their inclusion on the list, but they may not choose to believe you.
- A lot of times, lawyers opt to buy these law firm promotional ads not to attract potential clients, or to keep pace with the competition, but simply to satisfy their own egos. Even if the heavy hand of commerce mars the honor, it's still nice to have an official plaque proclaiming you one of the “Top 100 Lawyers of San Antonio.” Never mind that you have to shell out big bucks for the plaque, as well as for the initial ad.
Is there a better way to do things? We think there is. Call the lawyer advertising experts at Great Legal Marketing (888-791-2150) for a free consultation today!
I have a choice between advertising on a TV show that has millions of viewers, and one that has only a few hundred thousand. I like the idea of more reach, even though it's more expensive. What should I do?
When you're advertising your law firm, it's natural to want to get the biggest bang for your buck. However, the bang/buck ratio can be notoriously difficult to figure out, and you shouldn't necessarily equate a bigger TV audience with a bigger potential audience for your law firm's services.
The fact is that, no matter what show you choose to advertise on, the vast majority of viewers won't register your message at all. A good chunk of them will go to the bathroom, make a snack, or flip to other channels during the commercial break; they may also log onto their computers or futz around with their cell phones. Of those who do choose to sit and watch the ads, a certain percentage will mute the volume, and even those who don't may not pay any particular attention to what's happening on the screen. The only “aha!” moment you can hope to get is if a viewer who happens to be in immediate need of a lawyer sees your ad, and if your specialty or area of expertise matches up with her needs.
So which is the better choice, the popular show or the not-so-popular show? That depends partly on demographics (is the audience for either show more in your target age range? If you're a Social Security expert, it won't do you much good to advertise on The OC), and partly on your budget.
Before you make this decision, you may want to consult first with the legal marketing experts at Great Legal Marketing, by calling us toll-free at 888-791-2150. We can advise you about which show is the best deal, or even whether a TV advertising campaign is a good idea for promoting your law firm.
How can I run a small law firm efficiently?
There are many questions that go into running a small law firm or breaking out to starting your own firm for the first time. You still need to have clients and bring in the money. If you’re starting out, forget about a paycheck for a while and start working to make the company sustainable. If you are already running a small law practice and are looking to make it more viable, there are ways you can help yourself. Here are some ideas for the small law firm, new and old, that will help things run a little more efficiently and cost-effective.
- Focus on the quality of your work instead of running as many cases as possible. You have to know that your clients can be your best marketers after you’ve completed their case. If you do two amazing projects, you’re left with two paychecks and two clients who think you’re the best lawyer since Atticus Finch. If you do three mediocre cases, you have three paychecks but three former clients who will probably forget your name when a friend asks them who helped them with their legal problems recently. Be remembered for your great work.
- Keep in touch with former clients. Keep a database with all your clients’ information and keep them up to date with what’s new in the community—and what’s going on in your office, too. A good law firm newsletter with relevant information will keep your name fresh in their minds. Satisfied former clients will be ready to refer their friends to you, and you can benefit from positive word-of-mouth advertising.
- Promote your law firm intelligently. By that, we mean spend your legal marketing budget wisely, Plastering your name on billboards, buses, and the Yellow Pages isn’t the most cost-effective way to market when the Internet is available for all the good stuff. Cut costs in your marketing budget by posting informative articles on a website—your own law firm website, or anywhere people might notice your byline. Let your clients find you because they want your expertise.
There are many ways to keep your law firm running at a cost-effective machine, no matter how small the business is. Make time for marketing and focus on doing great work, and the people will be impressed.
For more information on marketing your small law firm, contact Great Legal Marketing. They have a great library of resources online, and you can order a free chapter from Ben Glass’s book of tips and information on legal marketing.
Do I need to hand out company pens, mugs, and magnets, or is it just a waste of money?
It depends on what you consider wasted—and what materials you are relying on to spread the word about your business. Done well, your law firm’s marketing materials can be an effective way of bringing in new clients; done poorly, you’ll end up eating a lot of the cost.
For example, let’s say you buy two boxes of pens for your firm. You give them away at conferences (where everyone else does, too), keep them in the office (where everyone already works for you), and give them to your family and friends (who would have hired you anyway). When one of these pens does make it to a client, it is one among many he has floating around the house—and will more likely spend its life in a drawer rather than being seen and used.
On the other hand, you may choose to order a box of magnetic calendar pads with your firm’s web address on it. Then you mail these, along with your company newsletter, to your subscribers. If one calendar is hung on your client’s refrigerator or file cabinet and is seen by at least ten people per day for one year, it will be viewed a minimum of 3,650 times (most likely more, if it is hung in a communal area of the home or office)—and that is only one calendar.
As always, the key to a successful legal marketing strategy is knowing both what to do and how to do it. To get more insider information on growing your business, download your free preview chapter of our Great Legal Marketing book today. For additional help in promoting a small law firm, call our expert Great Legal Marketing team at 888-791-2150.
Why do I need Twitter? Won’t people just go to my website if they need to find me?
Sure, your clients and potential clients can just look on your webpage—if they can find it. Maybe the better question is, How can I make sure that using Twitter will get me the results I want?
The important thing to remember is that Twitter is just one link in the chain of your law firm’s web marketing strategy. You don’t need to advertise your legal practice on every webpage on the Internet, but you’d be silly not to be on the one page that everybody is reading.
Here are just a few reasons to use Twitter for online legal marketing:
- Everybody else is. Well, maybe not everybody—but with nearly 200 million registered users, at least one person you know is checking his feed on a daily basis. That’s one person you could have made into a client (who will likely have found your competition through Twitter).
- It’s FREE. Most social marketing sites offer free accounts, making your investment well worth the return. By adding keywords to your posts, you’re making sure local traffic makes it to your page—easily turning readers in your area into contacts.
- It takes about a minute. The whole point of Twitter is to communicate with your audience in a message that is under 140 characters. This the perfect length to promote an update to your website (How does the new Texas helmet law affect your kids? Check our blog to find out!). Just don’t forget to add a link.
Of course, social media marketing is always changing and evolving—and the only way to stay competitive is to make sure you’re changing along with it. Find out how to stay ahead of the game (and the competition) by downloading your free preview chapter of our Great Legal Marketing book today.
What is Klout?
A community greatly influences the lawyers and law firms that reside within its borders, and a law firm can also have influence in the neighborhood, community, and city that it’s a part of.
This goes for the online community as well, but measuring how far a lawyer’s presence stretches in the virtual world was virtually impossible until 2008. That is the year that Klout and the Klout Score were created to come up with a specific value of how much influence someone has in the online world around him.
The Klout Score is based on the virtual clout a person has through various social media networks. The website requires interested parties to log on through their Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn to measure their influence and abilities to reach others through social media. It counts things like:
- Friends, likes, and mentions on Facebook;
- Retweets, followers, and replies on Twitter;
- Your title, connections, and comments on LinkedIn; and
- Various other indicators for those and other social network sites.
The idea of the Klout Score has had many supporters and critics over the years, and—love it or hate it—it’s actually made its way into some interview processes. Some stories mention a potential employee whose Klout Score wasn’t high enough, and the one being interviewed didn’t even know what that meant in the first place.
Those giving praise to the social media measurements point out that it’s a good way to measure how many people see, appreciate, and pass along information you provide online. While this is what it should do by definition, critics make the point that an online presence isn’t really a solid marker of professional abilities.
This may or may not be able to help a law firm marketing campaign, because it depends on the goals of the lawyer or law firm, and what use is made of social media for legal marketing. Different practice areas might be more invested in social media where others are a little more discreet. For more information on improving your presence online and in the community, contact Great Legal Marketing.