As Director of JurisLead, one of the responsibilities I take very seriously is to share the knowledge I have learned from working with hundreds of law firms across the country. Law schools and higher education in general have done a poor job of teaching lawyers how to effectively market their law practice. The legal industry has a long history of eschewing marketing and sales efforts due to tradition and the mistaken idea that it somehow diminishes professional decorum. Nothing could be further from the truth. As it becomes more difficult to grow your practice through simple word of mouth, legal directories and the phone book, so too it is becoming more difficult for consumers to effectively know who they should contact when they have a serious legal issue. Law firms that understand the need for consumers to clearly identify the type of help they need and assuage their fears of actually talking to and hiring a lawyer will come out ahead.
By now you have already heard of the myriad ways to market your firm whether it’s building a website, social media marketing, networking strategies, pay per click, the list goes on and on. It can be so overwhelming that it can create a form of paralysis where it becomes easier to simply default to the status quo of doing nothing and relying on the same old approach to growing your practice.
So where would be an appropriate place to begin the process of developing a strategy to break out of this cycle? The answer is that knowledge is power and collective knowledge is supremely powerful. Marketing education is key to understanding the tools available to grow your practice and which ones make the most sense for your specific firm. You don’t have to do it all yourself. Depending on the size of your firm you have a tremendous resource of potential educators already in house—your attorneys. Each one of them has their own unique perspective and can present on a variety of business development topics.
To start, simply make marketing and business development the top priority for your firm. Set a weekly or bi-weekly meeting where each partner and associate is assigned a business development topic to present to the team. An example would be to break it down to “content marketing”, “search engine pay per click”, “ social media marketing”, “intake procedures (yes, this is part of your marketing!)”, etc. If your operations are spread out as many law offices are these days, technology has got your back. Simply set up a conference call with join.me or similar screen sharing program. You can all join in for the audio/visual presentation from the comfort of your own office. Record the event and make it available to anyone in the firm.
It’s amazing what can come from an approach like this. Not only do you leverage the brilliance of your team, but you begin to gain instant consensus on ideas and improvements that everyone can get behind. The reality is that not all marketing tactics make sense for all firms. For instance everyone may think that they need to do television advertising or Google pay per click but there are many alternatives that can produce excellent results for a fraction of the cost (see how JurisLead can beat your current ROI). Or the conversations can uncover gaps in the intake process where the intake team is missing valuable opportunities to “close” the incoming prospect therefore reducing your conversion rate and profitability.
The key to all of this is to make this approach as fun and accessible as possible. Appointing one person to ensure that scheduling and participation are optimized is a good idea in addition to logging notes for the team. Go around in a circle and let everyone participate. Establish an agenda and make sure everyone adheres to a time limit (this is crucial as brainstorming sessions can take on a life of their own).
The invested time of your team for an hour or so every two weeks might just end up supercharging your business development efforts many time over.