A few weeks ago at a company meeting, one of our employees shared a story with the team. They told us they had gotten two speeding tickets within the last year. After each ticket, our employee opened their mailbox to find dozens of mailers from different local attorneys. These attorneys were on the ball, and they were pursuing this lead hard. Our team members estimated they received around 30 pieces of physical direct mail in total. But here’s the kicker: None of those attorneys got their business.

Instead of picking a mailer out of the stack, my employee turned to their friends and family.

“Hey,” they asked, “do you know any attorneys who do traffic tickets?”

The answer was “Yes!” In fact, they ended up using two separate referrals to handle their tickets because they were pulled over in two different cities.

If you do a lot of direct mail campaigns, this probably seems like a depressing story. After all, every lawyer who sent a mailer to my team member ended up totally wasting their time and money! But look on the bright side. What can you learn from this?

This story reveals one of the biggest holes law firms leave in their marketing strategies: They don’t stay in touch with their leads, clients, and referral partners. The truth is that even today, the majority of people don’t want to find their attorney through a piece of mail or an online advertisement. They want a referral from someone they already know and trust. And you can only get those referrals by staying in touch — an opportunity many lawyers miss out on. If you’ve ever let a lead walk out the door without following up or left a networking event with a business card you never added to your mailing list, then you’re guilty of this neglect.

Now, we’re not saying doing things like sending mailers, paying for SEO, running online ads, and buying legal referral services like Lawyers.com and AVVO don’t deserve to be part of your marketing strategy. They have their time and place. But they won’t patch the biggest hole or create the same amount of opportunity as simply nurturing your network, which includes your friends, family, colleagues, and connections (basically anyone you’ve spoken with or who follows you on social media) and, by extension, their friends, family, etc.

Here at Spotlight Branding, we have a strategy to help our clients stay in touch with their networks: The Content Loop™. Once a person from your network enters the loop, we use content to consistently stay in touch with them, remind them of what you do, and keep your firm’s name in their heads. Social media posts, email newsletters, and blogs all play a role. The Content Loop™ ensures that when the topic of lawyers comes up, everyone in your network will think of you first. Using this strategy, we’ve seen clients double or even triple their referrals.