It is well understood that building a successful law practice involves successful marketing efforts. However, it can be difficult for a lawyer to find the time and develop the skills to create an effective marketing campaign. Especially for lawyers in solo practice, handling marketing can be a frustrating experience. These tips should help you approach your marketing in a way that gets results while being easy to achieve.
Do things you enjoy
If you don’t enjoy doing something, you are less likely to follow through on it. A marketing strategy is of no use if it isn’t actually used. Don’t commit yourself to tasks that you don’t want to do. There are many ways to market a business – find the things you will enjoy doing.
Find one thing to do well and focus on it
Again, marketing efforts are only as successful as the effort put into them. Most strategies won’t see results after one try, but it’s easy to try a bunch of things once and then give up because they aren’t working. Writing one article or attending one conference won’t get a lot of return. Pick one thing (make sure it’s something you enjoy) and focus on it. Don’t just write one article, write a monthly column. Don’t just attend a conference once, but get involved in planning or presenting every year.
No matter what the strategy, give yourself deadlines. It is easy to let tasks slide, especially when you are busy with client meetings and can’t find a spare hour in the day. Use a task management program, or schedule completion times into your calendar. If you block out 15 minutes or an hour do complete a task, and make yourself stick to the deadline, you are much more likely to get results.
Volunteer in ways that will build your practice
If you work in family law, serve on the board of a women’s shelter. If you have a lot of clients in the construction industry, volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. You don’t have to be handing out business cards while you volunteer, but people will learn what you do and see that you are committed to the cause.
Be proactive, and be selective
It can be hard to find the time to seek out new opportunities. It is often easier to respond to the people who come to you, than to find the right fit for your needs. Make sure you are aware of outside organizations that do work that meshes with your practice, and court them. Conversely, don’t say yes to everyone who comes asking. Giving a presentation at the conference your colleague organized may seem like a good idea, but you shouldn’t say yes unless you know you will see a tangible benefit from your participation. Only commit to things that can help you, and be realistic about how helpful any given activity can be.
Be selective in your practice, too
One lawyer cannot be all things to all clients, even within your specialty. Find a niche that you are good at, and make yourself the go-to person for clients who need that service. Realize your strengths and focus on them. Realize your weaknesses and don’t lean your practice on them.
Don’t be too competitive
Refer clients to lawyers who can do things you cannot. In time, those lawyers will return the favor. If you are known to be a cutthroat person who does anything to get a client, this reputation can hurt you. Making sure you can distinguish yourself from the crowd is a good thing; making enemies of your fellow lawyers is not.
Practice good product placement
Advertising is wasted if it isn’t targeted. While an ad in the Yellow Pages may seem attractive because of the number of people who may see it, be realistic about your actual return. How many people who look at your shiny ad on the cover are actually looking for a lawyer? Know your client base, know who your potential clients are, and go straight to them. Find out what businesses your clients frequent, and target your marketing to those places. A stack of brochures at the right coffee shop can be much more effective than an expensive ad that is seen by thousands but noticed by none.
Ask your clients what they think
After you have wrapped up a case with each client, send them a survey about their experience with you. Make sure to administer it through a third party, or use a survey website such as Survey Monkey, so their answers can be anonymous. Plenty of other businesses survey their customers to find out how to improve their service, and lawyers should be no exception. Finding out about your client’s experience will help you streamline services, and potentially fix problems before they start losing you clients.