This is the first in a six part series covering legal marketing mistakes that lawyers make when starting a law firm. I originally wanted to share only the “biggest” mistake that lawyers make, but quickly realized that there are just too many mistakes happening and that I would never be able to write about them all in just one blog post. So I’ve decided to start with #6 and work my way down to the number one mistake that I see young lawyers making.
Mistake #6 – Not doing any marketing and then wondering why the phone isn’t ringing
If taken on a different list, this could be the number one mistake that lawyers make, but as you will see in future posts, there are far more grave mistakes that I see lawyers making, so “not marketing” is #6 on my list.
What happened when I stopped marketing my law practice
I’ve been guilty of this myself. When I first started my practice back in 2005, I did get a flurry of new business at the very beginning as a result of my marketing efforts. But then the business started to dry up and I couldn’t figure out why. At the time I was using a personal marketing coach to keep me accountable, and I asked her what was going on.
She then asked me what I had been doing to market my practice over the last month. I sheepishly replied – “nothing.” Then she said something that has stayed with me to this day. She said that I better get started because:
If you start taking action now on your marketing, it is going to take three to four months for you to see results.
That scared me, big time. And then I took some action. Generally speaking, she is correct. Many marketing ideas take 3-4 months to manifest themselves in new clients. But there are many other activities that will lead to a new client almost immediately. Think of what would happen to your practice if you scheduling an early morning coffee meeting, as well as a lunch meeting with a potential referral source each day, everyday, for two weeks. That’s 20 meetings with people that are in a position to refer you business. Do you think that you wouldn’t get at least ONE new client as a result of those meetings?
There are lots of different things you can do to market your law practice – you need to pick one and do it, every single day.
“But I don’t have time to market my practice”
Running a law firm is not easy, and the business isn’t just going to come to you. There are lots of other lawyers out there that are marketing their practices everyday and that will be more than happy to snatch up your prospective clients. You need to start finding time. Whether you get to the office 30 minutes earlier and call 5 prospective referral sources a day (a technique that I relied heavily on when I first started my practice) or write an article or blog post for your website every day, you need to do something.
My rule of thumb is that you must do one thing to market your law practice every single day.
What are some things you can do to market your law practice?
Here are a couple quick ideas of easy things you can do to market your law practice right now:
- Pick up the phone and ask another attorney (or some other referral source) to lunch or coffee
- Write an article or blog post for your website
- Send a thank you note to someone you recently met
- Join a networking group or attend a networking function
- Organize a meetup around your practice area
- Develop a seminar for your target audience and advertise it on linked in or facebook
- Write a personalized, practice newsletter
- Create an opt-in form and follow-up sequence on your website
- Create a podcast for your practice
- Create some video for your website and put it on youtube
The list of things you can do is endless. My recommendation is to create a spreadsheet of all the ideas you have, and then write down how many new clients you think will come from you implementing each idea. The ideas that are most likely to bring you a new client are the most difficult things to do. (i.e. asking someone to lunch or coffee is a lot harder than writing a blog post, but taking a referral source to lunch is much more likely to lead you to a new client). Pick the idea that is most likely to get you a new client quickly and then start to implement.
Once you have settled on one idea to implement, do it each day, every day, for one week. That’s all. Start today. You may not immediately get a new client, but you will feel an awful lot better about the situation you are in and where your firm is going.
There is something magical about taking action in this sort of way. It’s cathartic almost. You will have a renewed sense of energy and excitement for your practice.
Like I said before, try this for a week. If the idea you choose to implement doesn’t work right away, that’s ok. Ask yourself whether it is the idea or your execution of the idea, or a little of both. If the idea isn’t working for you, then try something new – again, set your goal to do it for a week. Eventually, something will click for you and then you will make it a habit to do it everyday.
Tomorrow I will be writing about marketing mistake number 5 – so stay tuned.
As always, I would encourage you to share your experiences and what you are doing to market your law practice in the comments section below.