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You finally got your law firm up and running. Letterhead, check. Business cards, check. You even have a nice looking website and an ad in the local print directory. Or you’re an established law firm who has used traditional marketing to get more clients, it’s been decent…but you’re ready to take your law practice to the next level with a fresh influx of new clients and signed retainers. How do you do this? Well, let’s not completely throw out the traditional marketing rule book just yet…but take a look at a new approach. I will begin by saying that this approach that I will be outlining is not a quick flip to get a fast influx of new retainers, but more of a long run approach to ensuring the health of your practice for years to come(provided you keep it up). So, let’s take a closer look at these 5 elements shall we?

Who Are Your Clients?

Yes, this is a rather simple question but one that is often overlooked by most businesses. You need to know the persona of those who use your services to effectively be able to market to them. It’s akin to going into the baseball championships and knowing the opposing team’s style and methods of play. Now the question is how do we figure out who our target persona is and how to market to them? Well, the details would be based on your particular practice area…but the general rules are the same.

  • Take a look at your former clients basic demographic data. Age? Income Level? Status in Life(career, family, etc). This is the simplest way to get started…chart it out for a solid visual.

  • Previous consultations that didn’t retain you. Take a look at why they decided against using your services. Did the persona not match to your law firm’s brand? Or did they just not need exactly what you were offering? This data can be valuable by running counter to the clients that did hire you.

  • Research. Use social media and various communities on the Internet. What is the demographic of people asking questions related to your area of law? Where are they spending their time online? This research is valuable in not only telling you who your target persona is but also where they are online…make a note of this in bold!

Remember that determining your target persona is not a one time thing. The smart law firm will revisit their target persona’s from time to time. It’s not uncommon for this data to shift over time as the law firm evolves and grows. I would recommend at least a quick review of this information quarterly.

Listen To Your Target Persona!

You’re an Attorney, so I’m sure that you’re rather good at listening…so use those skills in this arena to land new clients who value what you have to offer. How do you listen? How do you find the questions and concerns from your target persona? Well, if you were diligent and thorough in the above step of determining your target persona, you would know where they hang out. Now is the time to hang out with them online. Here’s a few concepts to keep in mind while you’re “listening”;

  • What are they going through in their lives? This will clue you into what’s going on inside of their heads and perhaps potential questions and concerns that they may have.

  • What are their questions? By knowing what your target persona is asking you can better research and formulate possible answers. Just don’t jump in at this point and try to solve all of their problems…remember, we’re just listening at this point.

  • What are their fears and concerns? Fear is a powerful thing and can lead to some pretty rash decision making. By understanding your target persona’s true fears and concerns you can better advise them down the road.

  • Remember! Be a good Attorney and simply listen at this point.

As you already know, a great deal of information can be gleaned from simply sitting back and listening. Apply those skills to listening to your potential clients online and you can gain insight into how to solve their problems.

Become A Thought Leader

Now that you understand your target persona as well as their fears, concerns, and questions you are well equipped to become a “Thought Leader” for your industry online. This is the part of your online marketing strategy that will require some forward planning and strategy, because you will be writing. So how do you become a thought leader and show your target persona that you know what you’re talking about and are there to help them? Well, a few quick ideas come to mind;

  • Be an information guide, not a gatekeeper. With the widespread use of the Internet and the fact that over 80% of consumers research online before making a purchase decision, old tactics are obsolete. Gone are the days when you can think of yourself as the all knowing master of the universe and the only one that has the knowledge your target persona is seeking. Trust me, they are coming to you armed with quite a bit of research. With that in mind, wouldn’t you want them to see before they call your office that you know what you’re talking about?

  • Write authoritative and engaging content. Help your target persona with their issues by writing a guide, article, or even a graphic representation(what are you reading right now? Yep!). Write a regular blog, send them an article you wrote, post on social media. Help them with their research and it will ultimately lead them to your door.

  • Provide guidance and not necessarily legal advice. I know that this is a concern for you as a legal professional. Of course the content you put out there doesn’t have to be legal advice, but expert guidance. Use a disclaimer to be on the safe side.

  • Promote your content. It’s not enough to just have the best piece of advice, you need to get it in front of those that can benefit from it. So promote it! Use the information about where your target persona is hanging out online and get that information to them!

Becoming a thought leader in your industry doesn’t happen overnight and will require a bit of “sweat equity”, but it will pay off in the long run. In fact, Google reports that organizations with a content strategy get 66% more traffic to their websites and 80% more business. Wouldn’t you like to burden your assistant with that increase? Yeah, I thought so!

Engage With Your Target Persona

With writing engaging and authoritative content and becoming a thought leader in your industry comes questions and concerns from your target persona. Now is the time to shine and provide them with the information that they need. Let’s look at a few ways we can do that;

  • Answer questions. Like I said above, with good content questions will come. Be available to answer these questions. Provide further guidance and advice.

  • Be conversational. Your target persona needs you, so be there for them. Answer their question then follow up with another question. Get to the bottom of what their needs and fears are. Don’t go into this with the hopes of getting a signed retainer out of them, but it will happen more often than not.

  • Be social. Ask questions and hold quick surveys to get people talking. Go beyond social media. Seek out message boards and forums that your target persona uses. Check out Quora…it’s pretty good and has millions of users.

Go Beyond The Retainer And Case

Once you are completed with a client’s case is the best time to further engage them. We call this client delight, and it’s your best form of advertising. Keep your name in the forefront of their thoughts as they continue on with their lives. They will surely bring more business in the door for you. A few things you can do to accomplish this include;

  • Keep in touch. Yep, simple and to the point. Drop them an email or phone call a few months after the case. Just say hi.

  • Keep them in the loop. Have an email newsletter and make sure that the subscribe to it. In the newsletter encourage them to forward it to their friends, family, and associates.

  • Get them to follow your social media channels. This is great for passively keeping your former clients around. Quite often they will jump in on a discussion and offer their positive experiences with you.

  • Ask for a testimonial. Social proof is a powerful thing, it can be the one factor that gets a potential client to reach out to you. So ask former clients for a testimonial…you can always redact their personal information so they can maintain their anonymity.

By using these 5 elements, you will be well on your way to establishing a long term game plan for the health of your practice. It will require some extra work, but all of the statistics out there will tell you that it is worth it. Of course, these techniques may have slight variances based on your target persona and area of law practice. Just be sure to apply them and always revisit and analyze!

 

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