Are you a criminal defense attorney looking for two more DUI cases per month on top of your normal intake?
How about a personal injury attorney who wants just one more major injury case every quarter to go with your normal new case load?
An estate planner looking to add one more major estate plan per month to supplement the estates you're already handling?
All practice areas have very achievable new client goals. I'm sure you can think right now of a number of clients you realistically think you can add every month in addition to number of clients you normally get. It might be one. It may be five or even ten. It depends on the size of your current practice and the amount of work you want to take on.
How would that number impact you and improve your life? How much more money could you take home? Would it finally give you the financial cushion needed to hire a new employee? Could you move into a newer office with more space for your current staff?
The number may be easy to imagine, and I hope you can see the potential in getting there.
You don't need to set a big, grand goal. Instead, I want you to create a small, incremental goal - a goal you are confident you can achieve.
Of course, the problem comes when the rubber hits the road. How, exactly, do you "move the needle" and bring in those extra clients?
I'd like to share with you a few simple strategies you can use to bring in those extra clients. Nothing I tell you about will cost a lot of money or be particularly outlandish. Instead, I'm going to rely on resources that I think you already have in place at your office. I'll just show you a new way to leverage those resources.
Simple Strategies for Achievable, Incremental Growth in a Law Firm
If you want to build "fast-acting" marketing, you need to answer one question: How do I place myself where clients are already going? There are normal paths that people follow while searching for an attorney. You can accurately predict this journey and interrupt it at just the right time. Let's go through the client's journey and find out how to be there when they need us most...
Strategy #1: Showing Up as the Best-Reviewed Attorney
When your purchase something, particularly on Amazon, what weight do you place on the reviews? How about when choosing a restaurant for date night or a family night out? I'm betting that the difference between a 2.5-star average and a 4-star average on a source like Amazon or Google can sway your choice significantly.
This may not be the smartest way for a person to pick an attorney, but reviews do play a major role in the choice today. At Ben's law practice, BenGlassLaw, reviews are regularly cited by new callers as the reason they chose to call our office before any others. All someone needs to do today is type in "best attorney in [city and state]" to find reviews. One of the major players in the review game is a company called Avvo. You may already be familiar with Avvo (avvo.com). You need to make sure you claim your profile from the website, so you can fill it out and start collecting reviews there.
Another important space for reviews is Google. You need to claim your business listing from Google. Make sure that all of your information is correct. It should be the exact same information that you list on your website - including any abbreviations you use, such as "suite 100" versus "ste 100."
The next step, once you claim your Avvo and Google pages, is to start collecting reviews.
Here's an important tip about Avvo: You are scored and ranked in search results on a 1-10 rating system. This system is NOT impacted by client reviews.
The score is calculated based on factors such as how long you've been in practice, professional organizations you've been part of, questions you answer on the site, and peer endorsements. The peer endorsements represent your opportunity to quickly increase your score. The formula for you is simple. Reach out to attorneys in your community who know you and give them an endorsement on Avvo. Let them know you made the endorsement and ask if they would be willing to do the same. Many, many members of Great Legal Marketing use this approach to move their score from the basic level of 6.7 to a 9.0 or higher in a matter of a few months! This helps you show up higher in search results on Avvo.
Of course, you should collect client reviews on Avvo as well, since potential clients want to see what past clients said about your services.
For Google, your focus is getting reviews from people who had a positive experience with your law firm. Here's the rule to follow: anyone can review you as long as they are reviewing their actual experience. If that sounds a little cryptic, let me explain. Don't limit yourself to just past clients. If you had a great phone call with someone who isn't quite right for your office, ask if they would still leave you a review. They can certainly share their positive experience and say that calling your law firm was worth their time. Maybe they can attest to how helpful you were in referring them to another attorney. By widening the funnel of who can review you, the number of reviews you get can quickly go up.
In order to rank higher in local Google searches, you need to gather more reviews. When someone searches for your practice specifically or does a general search for an attorney near them, higher-reviewed law firms will receive a boost in the results. Every edge you can get in online marketing makes a big difference, and this opportunity doesn't cost you a penny while quickly helping you get in front of more potential clients.
(Members of Great Legal Marketing can go under the "Bonus -> Templates/Guides" tab in their membership site to download the Online Review System for Attorneys. This step-by-step guide will show you the process Ben uses at BenGlassLaw for reviews.
This has generated hundreds of reviews for Ben and thousands more for the members who use this process. The exact email Ben sends to potential reviewers is included in this guide, so you can copy and paste it for your practice.
If you're not a member and would like access to this guide, get your membership started today at PracticePowerTools.com. You'll get instant access to the membership site with this and other guides.)
Strategy #2: Getting More Referrals from Other Attorneys
Obviously, referrals are one of the most important sources of clients for any law firm. However, most law firms take a "wait and hope" approach to getting referrals. Sometimes, that gets to be a really long waiting game with minimal results.
Instead, you can go out an put yourself in front of attorneys who could actually use your help. Many attorneys in your community don't have a reliable referral partner for the cases they don't take. Some attorneys have a small group they will pass cases on to, but that group is often loosely tied.
You can easily put yourself forward as a trustworthy attorney who will take great care of the clients others refer to you. And, in states that allow it, you can offer to pay a referral fee as well. That's a great bonus, but you might be surprised by how many attorneys place greater value on the level of care the client receives.
The long road to establishing these relationships is to serve on committees, spend countless hours networking at bar functions, and schmoozing at every opportunity.
Or, you could take a more direct path. Does that sound appealing?
Would you be surprised to learn that one of the most effective tools for getting new referrals is a simple, mailed letter? It's true!
This piece of advice often surprises attorneys. Unfortunately, this surprise causes many to disregard the opportunity - to their great loss. There are many ways to do this process "the wrong way." It's not quite as simple as sending a letter that just says, "Here's my practice area. Send me referrals."
Instead, you need to make the referral process about the other attorney, not you.
Here are the basic steps:
- Select 10-25 attorneys near you from whom you would like referrals.
- Create a letter that talks first about the needs of the other attorney. For example, if you're getting calls for cases that you could refer out to them, let them know you're looking for some referral partners.
- Make sure that in the letter, you make the referring attorney the "hero" of the situation. You can tell them that you will send the any cases referred from the client they referred to you back to their office first (a "first right of refusal" policy). Or, let them know that you'll give them regular updates about the case, which may be particularly important in a state that "binds" the referring attorney and you in some way.
- Include a simple response form so that you can track how well it worked.
- Mail it!
Honestly, it's that simple. You will place yourself in front of local attorneys receiving calls for cases they don't handle. Now, they have a place to send those clients, which fulfills the mission to help people in the community. That is why most attorneys chose to enter law in the first place!
(Want a template for the letter that you can copy and paste, plus complete instructions on exactly how to gather the names, put together the mailing, and send it out the door? Members of Great Legal Marketing have access to an exclusive program called The Ultimate Referral Letter. This includes every step in the process, from selecting the attorneys, to writing the letter, to addressing the envelopes, and mailing it out the door.
With new success stories coming in every week from members, this one-of-a-kind program is the fastest path to adding new referrals to your practice. Whether you're looking to just start a couple new relationships or are looking to build a large pipeline of referrals, this is the proven method to accomplish your goal.
Every new member receives The Ultimate Referral Letter as part of their new member package. Sign up now through PracticePowerTools.com to get started!)
Strategy #3: Create an Informational Audio Recording
There is power in giving away information. It helps those you want to serve and gives them a chance to experience what it would be like to actually hire you. You establish yourself as an expert when you put yourself in the position of "professor."
However, most attorneys carefully guard everything they know, and it creates an adversarial relationship with potential clients. This leaves a major opportunity for you to step in and be the publisher of helpful information.
One of the fastest ways to publish information is by simply creating an audio recording.
If you own a smartphone, you already have the only tool you need to get started. There are dozens (maybe hundreds) of applications available to you to record yourself and export that recording as an audio file (i.e. MP3). For example, Apple devices have the Voice Memos app that can handle it for you.
Pick out a few frequently asked questions. Just think about what most clients ask you about in your initial meeting or consultation. Then, record the answers to those questions in a simple, conversational way. The recording itself doesn't need to be more than a few minutes, and it shouldn't go any longer than 20 minutes.
Next, give the recording an interesting title, such as "The 3 Things Everyone Needs to Know About Custody Battles During Divorce."
Then, make the recording available to listen to at your website. Your webmaster should be able to create a page that can play the recording for you. Alternatively, host the recording through a service such as SoundCloud, which offers an audio player you can embed on your website.
Finally, make a few copies of the recording on CD. You can now offer that CD to people who come into your office. Even better, offer to mail the CD to anyone who calls your practice. You can send it along with a simple letter about the information on the CD and an offer to schedule a consultation with you.
This is a really inexpensive way to build trust with potential clients, and you may find yourself repeatedly publishing new audios. The more specific the audio is, the better! Potential clients like to see that you are addressing their exact problem.
(Want a script to follow for your audio recording along with some tips on how to make it the best version possible? New members of Great Legal Marketing receive a special bonus that features not only this audio recording strategy, but four other amazing marketing strategies to use in your practice!
This bonus program is called The $100 Marketing Plan and has five marketing strategies you can accomplish in 20 minutes or less and for $20 or less.
There's a lot of powerful marketing packed in here, and it is all accessible for any small law firm - even if you have a tiny budget to devote to marketing right now.
If you start your membership with Great Legal Marketing today, this program will come along with your new membership package. Make sure to check out the Implementation Manual in the back, which gives you extra instructions and templates on how to put all of this marketing to work for you right away. Start your new membership and receive these bonuses today at PracticePowerTools.com!)