Random Acts of Marketing can be Harmful to Your Business

For this blog post I am going to step back into my world as a bar association’s director of marketing and align it with the world of law firm business development. When I started my new position as director of membership they were at the end of their membership renewal campaign and my first task was to convert the non-renewals into renewals.

As I contacted each non-renewing member, a pattern was revealed.  The majority of the non-renewing members had little to no contact or involvement with the bar during the recent year. I became even more curious to discover if they were 1 yr members, less than 5 or more than 5 yrs as a member. Out of this thought process, I developed and implemented my strategic membership recruitment & retention marketing campaigns which can be reviewed here. The strategy included the plan plus the ability to measure the results – the ultimate goal being as increase in revenue. Now working in the law firm world, I can draw parallels between membership retention/recruitment and client/business development.

Your law firm marketing/business development plan needs to consist of two components – Attraction and Retention Marketing:

  1. Attraction Marketing – Ideas/strategies to attract potential clients;
  2. Retention Marketing – Ideas/strategies for retaining happy, satisfied clients who will retain you for future work and send you referral.

So you are marketing to your clients before you meet them and continue to market to them during and after the engagement creating a full circle, continual flowing growth.

4 Steps to Minding Your Own Business

As I did with my members, identify touch points, ways to consistently be marketing. In Ann Guinn’s book – Minding Your Own Business – she identifies 4 steps with the majority of you time being spent of retaining the clients you already have.

  1. Attraction Marketing to increase firm visibility, get new clients and/or raise the profile of a practice area or an attorney:
    1. The pre-hire phase of advertising, marketing efforts aimed at a target population to attract potential clients.
    2. Retention Marketing – focus on your current clients who will refer you and come back for other legal services:
      1. Initial consultation – marketing to potential clients from your attraction marketing strategies  and convincing them you are the best for the job;
      2. During representation – marketing continually to demonstrate the value of your services to your client;
      3. After representation – identify and implement marketing ideas that keep you in front of them for more work or for referring you to a friend, relative, co-worker.

Marketing experts tell us that it costs more to get new clients then retain existing clients. And it’s just more work to be continually marketing to get new clients. But every marketing plan still needs both pieces – recruiting new clients and retaining existing clients.

For now, I am going to focus on how to develop a strategy for attracting new clients and setting up a system to track your success. For more detailed ideas beyond the space for this article – please pick up a copy of Ann Guinn’s book. As with my membership growth strategies, you need to be able to track the success of a recruitment campaign and measure your return on investment. In the end you should be able to answer:

  1. What was the most effective marketing campaign implemented – which one yielded the most new clients;
  2. How much did it cost and how much revenue was generated from these new clients.

You can buy expensive advertising, you can use social media, and you can populate the Internet with your wisdom. But, most clients come to lawyers for help with a problem; and, most of them get to the lawyer by referral from someone they know and trust. You can’t buy most referral relationships. They come from living your life and doing good work and being available. If you are a solo, concentrate on being the best lawyer you know how to be, participate in organizations and public service that interests you, and you will wake up one day with enough clients to survive. The most difficult lesson to learn is really the easiest. Just be yourself. It works for public speaking, and it works for most professions. Core competency is essential, of course. But, after that, there is plenty of opportunity to just be who you are.