Why Your Online Lawyer Bio Matters.

Sometimes it is the little things that can make a big difference in growing a law practice. Often, lawyers will avoid marketing because it will take too much time or it is an activity outside of their comfort zone. 

Today I consulted with a lawyer who has avoided marketing for the past couple of years because he did not think he should have to market his practice. He is an established lawyer, has an excellent reputation and has been practicing law for 25 years. I challenged him to reframe his concept of marketing from "pushing" his service onto people to "attracting" clients who could benefit from what he does best.  
 
I also showed him how we could leverage his excellent reputation to create a marketing plan.
 
The first thing we did was type his name into Google and review the search results. We discovered that his LinkedIn profile had the wrong title, two of his bios from lawyer lists were outdated with old addresses, and his Avvo profile was incomplete. On his web site profile page, there was no information on how to contact the lawyer. Most important, none of his bios or profiles answered the question, "why should I hire you?". There was no mention on the value he provided clients or the client problems he excelled in solving.
 
The first marketing strategy was not to schedule 5 lunches or send out letters asking for referrals, rather it was to research how clients were finding him online and update and revise all online bios to communicate a consistent, relevant, and compelling message targeted to his ideal client.
 
Revising and updating your bio is a simple, effective marketing strategy every lawyer can take to increase their on-line presence and reinforce their reputation. Last week, I received 3 calls from lawyers who attracted clients as a result of updating and promoting their bios.
 
The following is one example:
 
"Interesting - I just got a call from a new client who, when asked how she got my name, said she found me on line and that she really liked my profile and how I relate to clients as people."
 
Updating your bio and profile may seem like a small thing, but it can deliver significant results.
 

Lawyer Marketing Strategies- How do lawyers meet financial and origination goals?

The best strategy for meeting your financial and origination goals is to increase referrals for desirable clients. For most lawyers the top three sources for referrals include:

- Web site/internet
- Professionals
- Past clients

A successful business development plan incorporates strategies for all three categories. This post will focus on one of the most important sources for referrals,  building your professional network.

Building your professional referral network begins with clarity on who is in your network and who you want in your network.

One of your best marketing tools is to have an organized and updated spreadsheet of existing and prospective referral sources.  While creating and maintaining this list may seem like a logical and worthwhile marketing strategy, I have found that most lawyers find it difficult to find the time to develop and actively use this important list.

The following are three strategies for building your professional network to get you started:
 

1. Create your list of referral sources: 

  •  Review your cases for the last 12-24 months and include current professionals who have referred to you.
     
  •  Include professionals who serve your target clientele, i.e. lawyers, mental health professionals, financial specialists and wealth managers, etc.
     
  •  Organize your referral into  “A”, “B’ and “C” categories. “A” referral sources are those who have referred multiple clients, referred desirable clients and/or  who serve your target market.

2. Initiate contact with the professionals on your list.  Aim for 1-3 contacts a week  with “A” referral sources. The following is a list of ways you can stay top of mind with important referral sources:

 
Post a company update on LinkedIn
* Send a hand written note
* Invite them for coffee or lunch
* Send a LinkedIn invitation
* Comment on their blog
* Comment on their LinkedIn post 
* Include their name in your press release, article or blog post
* Retweet  their tweet
* Send a referral
* Invite them to an event
* Set up a Google Alert for their name and company
* "Like" their post on Facebook or other social media resources
* Send an email acknowledging a promotion or award
* Send a Thank you note for a referral ( include a Starbucks card or other simple token of appreciation)
* Email a relevant article or blog post
* Put them in touch with someone who they would benefit meeting
* Offer an introduction to a colleague at your firm or someone in your professional network
* Send an unsolicited LinkedIn recommendation

3. Once you create your referral list, keep the list visible and review it once a week. Keep referral sources in the forefront of your mind so if you see something relevant to your referral sources you can make contact with them.

In summary, if you want to increase referrals from your professional network, schedule the time to review your list and do something each week that brings value or connects you to your network.  To be effective, your actions must be authentic and consistent. 

What is your plan?

Who are your best referral sources? Do you spend time cultivating your referral sources from all three categories? Are  you scheduling  the time in your weekly calendar for staying "top of mind" with key referral sources?

 

Simplify Your Legal Marketing Plan

 Legal marketing can seem overwhelming. In the last week, LinkedIn topics for legal marketing ranged from, “using Google to market your practice for free” to “mobile marketing to build your brand.”

A busy and successful lawyer whose primary focus is to provide quality legal services could experience information overload when it comes to legal marketing.

So what is the solution? In today’s competitive market, a successful legal practice requires attorneys to provide exceptional client service AND execute effective marketing strategies.

My recommendation is to keep your plan simple, over deliver to your best clients and maintain relationships with current and targeted referral sources.

In my practice, I work with lawyers whose primary target market are sophisticated clients who value expert legal service.  Their number one referral source for top clients is through other professionals.

Maintaining relationships with current and prospective referrals sources can sound like “old news” in comparison to “mobile marketing” or “using Google to market your practice for Free.” However, in the last few months, I have seen lawyers increase revenue and attract desirable clients by consistently staying top of mind with current and targeted referral sources.

You can implement a simple referral marketing plan by doing three things today:

1.    Develop your list of current and prospective referral sources

2.    Put your list in a visible place on your desk and review the list once a week.

3.    When you see something beneficial to your referral sources make contact with them 

The following are few suggestions:

  • Put them in touch with someone who they would benefit meeting
  • Invite them to an event
  • Invite them to speak at a educational event for mutual referral sources and clients
  • Tell them about a valuable webinar
  • Refer a client
  • Add them to your LinkedIn network- recommend a group they would benefit from joining
  • Send a blog post you wrote or tell them about a useful blog
  • Ask them to be a guest blogger on your blog
  • Co-write an article
  • Subscribe to their blog- tweet one of their posts to your network
  • Write a LinkedIn recommendation describing their accomplishments 
  • Use LinkedIn to stay connected to your network
  • Stay current on awards, promotions or activities they are involved in by creating a Google alert for their firm name. Send a short email congratulating their achievement or recognition.

An important component to building a successful legal marketing plan is knowing who your current and desired referral sources are, acknowledging their importance in your practice and staying top of mind by consistently communicating with them in a meaningful way.

Let me know if you have additional suggestions for nurturing and growing important relationships with your referral network.

How to Build Your ADR Practice?

This weekend I spoke at the17th Annual Northwest Dispute Resolution Conference in Seattle on how to create an ADR marketing plan.

I observed highly passionate professionals who wanted to build their practice and attract more clients so they can use their skills and expertise to help clients.  I also observed frustrations about marketing and building an ADR practice, including:

    • Not enough time
    • Lack of clarity on what to do first
    • Not sure how to identify their best clients or how to attract them.

Do these sound familiar?

The following are six tips for getting started on an effective marketing plan for your ADR practice:

1. Ask yourself, “What is my vision for my practice; what kind of work do I want to do? Why is this important to me? Write down the answer and then commit yourself to doing something every day to meet your vision. Commit yourself to excellence in your ADR practice, involvement in your community and confidence in how you communicate your brand.

2. Be selective about the work you accept. If you are constantly busy with work that is not consistent with your vision for your practice, it will be difficult to find the time or energy to grow the kind of work that will allow you to achieve your goals. Decide who your ideal client is and proactively attract this type of client to your practice.

3. Nurture and grow business from your top referral sources. Referrals come from people who know, like and trust you. The best way to gain trust is to develop a relationship with those who already know about you. This will require scheduling the time to get to know your referral sources and learning about their businesses and interests.

4. Provide remarkable service to your clients. Word-of-mouth marketing is by far the best marketing strategy for any service. The only way to get people talking about your service is to make the experience for clients remarkable -- then they will want to tell other people.

5. Have a web site that educates people about your law or ADR practice. Offer information that is of value to your prospective clients. Your message should connect at an emotional level with your target markets’ desired outcomes.

6. Share your success- help others learn and grow. The more you share your success and knowledge with other ADR professionals, the more they will learn and spread the ADR message.

I am interested in your success stories and challenges. I will blog about them and help you spread the word about your practice.

Five Strategies for Maximizing your Marketing Efforts

Building a law and collaborative practice that attracts profitable and desirable clients does not have to take all your time and energy. You can implement a strategy that increases your visibility and credibility by working smarter and re-purposing  or recycling the speeches and articles you write.

The universal challenge law firms and collaborative groups face in building their practice is to manage the time it takes to execute marketing activities while maintaining a full case load of complex, time consuming client work. 

One solution to maximizing your marketing efforts is to re-cycle (repurpose)  your marketing strategies. For example, one of my clients recently wrote an article about a topic he was knowledgeable and passionate about. The article was published as the lead article in a Law publication distributed to 20,000 attorneys in the lawyers target market. The article for the publication was written for the legal profession. 

To maximize the return on investment for writing the article, we recycled the article into five strategies including:

1.      Create a speech from the article. My client prepared a talk based on the content of his article.  He used the speech to give a talk at a networking event that included over 100 professionals in his target market.  One success factor for a successful speech is to talk on topics that you care deeply about.  My client’s talk was successful because he not only knew his topic well, but he was also speaking from a place of personal interest and passion.

2.      Re write the article for a slightly different audience. The original article was shortened and re-written for the general public. The new article was published in a society magazine targeted to the affluent community in his target geographic area.
 

3.      Use the article in your firm or organization newsletter. The edited article was featured in the firm’s newsletter that was sent to over 500 lawyers, wealth managers and other professionals in the target geographic area.
 

4.      Order reprints of the article and include in correspondence to prospective or existing referral sources. The edited article was was included in follow up letters that were sent to attendees of the networking event.
 

5.      Design reprints of the article as an insert for your firm brochure. The article was designed to include a short biography of the lawyer and used as insert in the firm brochure.

Over five marketing strategies were implemented based on one marketing activity. The activity was writing an article about a subject the lawyer was highly interested in, knowledgeable and passionate about.

The key to a successful marketing plan is to execute activities that are in alignment with your strengths and core competencies. Once you create content that conveys value to your clients and referral sources, re-cycle your content for additional articles, pod casts, and speeches that keep you top of mind with prospective clients and referral sources.