Make 2019 your law practice’s best year yet with a mix of online and offline marketing tactics. Don’t be afraid to try something new or different — and don’t automatically dismiss old-school tactics. Here are five ideas to get your wheels turning.
1. Spread Your Brand Around
Most law firms have branded merchandise — pens, mouse pads, travel mugs. You may be ordering these giveaways for an industry trade show, but what happens to the extra swag when the show ends? Next year put those notepads, totes and pens to good use. Creative Guerilla Marketing recommends distributing the extras to businesses in your area. Not only will it be a gesture of goodwill to a local business that may use your services, you never know who will see that pen and give you a call. By spreading your brand throughout your community, you may be approached by someone you have never marketed to directly.
Also, be generous with your business cards. Don’t save them for conferences and business meetings. Merrilyn Astin Tarlton has 16 good things to do with a business card here, and the DuctTape marketing blog has these guerilla marketing tips:
Leave a business card with your tip at a restaurant.
See a public bulletin board? Put up a business card.
When you see a contest fish bowl asking for business cards, always drop yours in.
2. Make Holiday Greetings and Thank-You’s Memorable
Holidays are always an excellent time to remind your clients that you appreciate their business — whether via the annual firm holiday card or other meaningful ways. Depending on your practice area, it may even be the perfect time to introduce yourself to new clients through a small, creative gift.
The best gift or card is a memorable one. For example, while holiday shopping one year I forgot to put money in the parking meter. I headed back to my car, expecting a parking ticket. Instead, there was a note from a local auto body shop explaining that they had put a quarter in my meter! This was clearly a planned marketing tactic with a printed note, poem and graphic. This was an unexpected and memorable gift that has stuck in my mind. A present that cost the repair shop 25 cents could reap thousands in customer business.
3. Speak Where Your Potential Clients Are
Speaking at professional events is an excellent way to build brand awareness, learn and share ideas, and network. Find an event nearby that is relevant to your practice, think of a topic that will address their needs and volunteer to speak. Don’t yet have the professional clout necessary to speak at a big industry event? That’s OK. Attend the event, learn new information and start building your network. Let people know you are interested and soon you’ll be the one giving speeches.
Of course, you don’t have to go to someone else’s seminar or trade show if you want to speak. You can host a free workshop or seminar that has educational value for current and potential clients. Be sure to leave time for questions so you can discuss challenges attendees face — and the services you offer.
4. Position Yourself as a Trusted Media Source
While it’s not as simple as cold-calling a reporter and getting free coverage for your new office or a big win, taking steps to become a trusted source is worth the effort. Getting quoted by the media can garner valuable attention for your practice. And it can’t hurt to know a reporter or two.
In “How to Make Friends With Reporters and Influence the Press,” veteran legal marketer Larry Bodine says a good source is someone who calls the reporter back within the hour, who always has a quick and catchy quote, and is someone who, if he doesn’t have the answer, will do some checking and get back to the reporter with something. A good source, says Bodine, is someone who calls from time to time with little tips and an occasional story idea.
So, make an effort to get to know some reporters. If you are completing a case, filing a motion or have something else of newsworthy interest, let them know. If you are reliable and resourceful, you could end up as a regular source.
Bodine has this advice for getting a reporter’s attention:
Become active with your local bar association committee and get listed in the directory as a member. Reporters often consult these directories when they need a legal expert.
Speak at a seminar or trade show and make sure the reporters you want to reach are invited. After the event, send them a copy of your speech along with a friendly note inviting them to call you with any questions.
Attend business events and civic events where reporters are present — and introduce yourself.
5. Develop an Online Review Strategy
In 2019, it is critical for your firm to have an online review strategy. First, identify the review websites and directories that are most relevant to your practice — whether Yelp, Facebook, Findlaw, Avvo or sites more specific to your niche. (See “Top 10 Attorney Directories Where You Should be Found.”) Casey Meraz at JurisDigital notes that Facebook, Avvo and Findlaw typically rank for popular “city + lawyer” keywords in Google search.
Since getting reviews from clients can be a time-consuming process, I recommend automating it. There are several companies, such as GatherUp, Podium and BirdEye, that can take care of gathering customer reviews and making sure they are posted.