When I first left my big insurance litigation firm and set out on my own, I had no idea how to actually get clients in the door. I took some cases with me, but those quickly dried up. I copied the marketing of other firms around me, which returned average and poor results (no surprise at all, knowing what I know now.) Having mastered direct response marketing at my own firm, and having taught my methods to hundreds of attorneys for over a decade, here are three things I wish I’d done years ago:
1. Build Your List
In the long run, this is the lifeblood of your firm and the most valued asset you will retire with. The work you need to do to acquire NEXT YEAR’S big case is done TODAY. You need people actively raising their hands and saying “I think I have a legal problem, tell me more...” By following up with these folks and doing a variety of marketing to them (direct mail, email marketing, phone calls), you will sign more cases, plain and simple. That list of potential clients should be treated with care and guarded with your life as you fight to increase its size.
2. Become a Local Celebrity
A word of warning: this is NOT the big branding strategy that you see from volume firms (TV advertising, billboards, buses, etc.) This is a direct response, grassroots community marketing effort, and I can tell you first hand that it is absolutely possible to become a celebrity in your local market. Befriend local businesses. Build out your lawyer referral network. Approach other entrepreneurs with an attitude of “What can I do for you?” When done right, this can lead to positive local media coverage and a stream of reliable referral sources.
3. Don’t Write Off “Old World” Media
In an era where consumers are drowning in digital information, pay close attention to things like print ads and direct mail. Even advertising in the phone book can be profitable IF AND ONLY IF that is somewhere your potential client goes for information (Elder Law, Probate). Search your local community for newspapers and magazines that have a specific readership, like local neighborhood gossip publications or magazines that make it into doctor’s waiting rooms. The more that attorneys leave these mediums searching for the next shiny object on the internet, the more profitable those spaces become for you.
What are you waiting for? Start building out these systems in your office, and start putting more effective, trackable marketing out into the world. If you like the rush of new ideas and want to hear more, go to JoinGLM.com to get involved in Great Legal Marketing and our organization of hundreds of like-minded attorneys.