Legal Marketing On A Budget
Legal marketing on a budget can be a challenge. So when LexisNexis launched the highly successful Lexis Practice Advisor℠ Canada (LPAC) in Spring 2014, I felt privileged to contribute thoughts on budget-savvy legal marketing tactics.
LPAC provides tools and guidance for transactional matters in an easy-to-use online format as a resource geared primarily to small and mid-size firms. I am LPAC’s exclusive contributor of legal marketing and business development content.
My Legal Marketing On A Budget Guide in PDF format was released in Fall 2014 and is also noted below. While this information is certainly not exhaustive, it offers food for thought on marketing tactics that range from $ 0 to moderate cost.
Cost: $ 0
These no cost activities and marketing tools are easy to implement.
- Include all your contact information, i.e. direct, general and cell numbers, e-mail address, blog, LinkedIn and/or website address. Make certain that links to your blog, LinkedIn profile and/or website are live!
- Keep your e-mail signature short and precise.
- Use plain fonts such as Arial or Helvetica, which appear sharp on most devices.
- Do not use fancy font styles as they can become corrupted on certain devices.
- Do not use a signature block designed as a graphic. It will appear as an attachment to your e-mail, which is misleading and annoying.
- Schedule e-mail updates to clients, prospects, colleagues and contacts to pass along a link or simply to let them know they are in your thoughts.
- Include a link to your blog or an article that they might find helpful.
Connect with Referral Sources
- Continue to connect with established referral sources that you may have known for some time along with prospective referral sources who you may have met recently.
- Identify additional people with whom you can create a cross-referral relationship that is mutually beneficial and connect with them.
- Setting up a blog is easy and free, i.e. WordPress and Blogger.
- Keep copy short – 300 words approx. (This copy is over 1,000 words, but wasn’t originally constructed as a blog post.)
- Include thoughts and information that will be helpful to your target audience.
- Offer to write a free opinion column pertaining to your area of law for a local publication – hard copy, online or both.
- Make sure that in your contact details – phone, e-mail, blog and/or website address – are included in your author’s footer.
- Organizations in your local community may be happy to have you speak to their members about legal issues that might be important to them. This is not a selling opportunity; it is an opportunity to be a resource for others. Don’t worry that you’re giving away valuable information. Sharing freely will be appreciated and reciprocated.
- Always follow-up with your current and new contacts through phone calls, meeting in-person, e-mail, an invitation to contribute to your blog, etc.
- It’s a general rule of thumb that it takes at least seven “touches” for people to begin to build a relationship that has the level of trust necessary to do business together.
- LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook and Twitter are the most commonly used social networks, and each is free.
- For lawyers, the best social network is LinkedIn. Creating a LinkedIn profile page is easy and the very best online marketing you can do for yourself.
- Make certain the content you use for your LinkedIn profile is consistent with your bio, and that both your bio and LinkedIn profile are updated and/or revised every six months.
- Google+, Twitter, and Facebook have value provided your conduct on them is strictly professional.
Bottom Line: The best news is that you don’t have to do marketing by yourself. Get your colleagues, friends and family involved. Buddy up with like-minded professionals who offer services that are complementary to yours. You’ll double your contact list and if there’s a cost involved, you can split the bill.
Cost: $ 0 – Low
With a small investment, you’ll be laying the groundwork for establishing and building your brand.
Webpage or Website
- If you have an e-mail address, you probably have access to a webpage or website – check with your provider.
- Your webpage or website can be a version of your LinkedIn profile.
Host an Event
- Hosting an educational event for your target market and providing valuable information that could be helpful to them will win you great support.
- People love free legal advice so don’t worry about giving information away since those people who need your help will come to you for assistance regardless.
- An event can be as simple as a 30-minute breakfast, brown bag lunch-and-learn, or evening wine-and-cheese.
- Co-host an event with a like-minded colleague, such as a non-competing lawyer, accountant, financial adviser, physician, etc.
- This can be as formal as joining a client industry association, local board of trade, or community groups that you’ll enjoy.
- Consider offering a free 30-minute, information imparting, non-selling seminar through local service and community groups.
- Regardless of how you choose to network, it’s important that you meet people through doing the types of things you enjoy.
- If you have an office with available signage space, make the most of it. Include what you do along with your name. Examples: John Smith – Wills, Estates and Family Law; Jane Rogers – Commercial and Personal Real Estate Lawyer.
Bottom Line: No matter what you choose to do, the most important thing is to get out into the community. Participate in events, contribute to publications, be heard and be seen. Doing so and spending smartly will raise your profile, build your credibility and you will have fun, too.
Cost: Low – Moderate
With everything else in place, it’s time to invest in your business and yourself.
- Sponsor an organization or event that dovetails exactly to your area of law. Anything less than an exact fit is a waste of money.
- Examples: For residential real estate law, consider sponsoring a local garden or heritage home tour; for business law, consider sponsorships pertaining to your local chamber of commerce, business improvement association, etc.
- Advertise consistently and only where your target clients will see it. One-offs, inconsistent appearances or a scattered approach is a waste of money.
- It is a smart idea to ask clients to recommend where you might consider advertising. They will be flattered to be asked, may be able to help and, at the very least, will be supportive of your efforts.
- Keep ad copy short and use the same short message consistently. When used frequently, the ad’s message may seem repetitive to you, but message consistency will embed your brand in the minds of others.
Bottom Line: All of these tactics and tools are additive – not exclusive – so master one before adding another. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new tactics and new ideas. Find out what tactics work for your business, personality and market, and use them consistently. Drop whatever doesn’t work. Ask your clients for ideas, input and feedback. They’ll be flattered to provide their thoughts and might even lend you a helping hand.
Heather Suttie is a legal marketing and business development consultant. She works with a range of law firms and legal service providers — Global to Solo, BigLaw to NewLaw. Reach her at +1.416.964.9607 or www.heathersuttie.ca.