Marketers are always looking for new and innovative ways to create business development opportunities. But what advice should we reconsider?

This week we asked: How long have you been following legal marketing trends and ideas?

1, More than 5 years – 32%

2. 4-5 years – 0%

3. 1-3 years – 9%

4. Less than a year – 59%

My Thoughts: 68% of you are relatively new to the legal marketing world, having just come into the realm in the last three years. For you, social media like blogs and Twitter may be the norm—32% of you know it wasn’t always that way. Here are a few ideas from the past that may not have a place in the future…

Your website is your only online presence. Platforms like Twitter and Facebook, as well as the plethora of blogs and article directories give attorneys a direct connection to potential clients and establish their credibility. While a firm website is important in that it can outline basic information and firm vision, a more personal and specific line of communication such as a blog can help attorneys truly show what sets them apart from the competition.

Cards should only be sent for winter holidays. To truly stand out in a sea of holiday cards, I always advise my clients to send either Thanksgiving or New Year’s cards. (For the adventurous there is always July 4th as well!). The lesson here is to think outside the box. Don’t want to send holiday cards at all? Have a reception instead; send clients a card with an interesting article that relates to their business; or even keep a calendar of birthdays and the like. Communicate all year round…not just when you think you have to.

Law firms don’t have taglines. Though it’s still met with a bit of resistance from some, a lot of firms have accepted the benefits of having a tagline. Whether it’s simple, clever, funny or descriptive, a tagline can do wonders for helping firms not only show their points of differentiation, but establish their position and their firm culture among potential clients. Two other options to consider? First, a tagline doesn’t always have to be attached to a logo. It can simply be a strong positioning statement or headline that sums up a firm’s vision and point of differentiation. Second, it can be as simple as using "Trial Attorneys" versus "Attorneys at Law." It can set you apart and make clear your place in the legal field.

All you need is a capabilities brochure. While a beautiful and informative brochure can make for a great leave-behind, the secret is really in the content. Stop telling clients what you CAN do and show them what you’ve done. A results-driven brochure can incorporate case studies, statistics about the firm (and its lawyers) and the backgrounds of its attorneys.

Your bio should be about what you’ve done. Sure, clients want to know about your cases and clients… but what they really want to know is how those cases and clients apply to them. Refrain from compiling lists and instead focus on how your experience can be of service to a specific industry or group of clients. Make them understand why you’re the best at what you do and use those clients and cases as examples.

Legal marketing wisdom changes on a constant basis. As new methods of communication continue to crop up, the marketing opportunities for lawyers and firms continue to multiply. My best advice? Read books, subscribe to blogs and follow legal marketing news for the latest trends and ideas.

Many in the legal profession are hesitant to enter the world of social media.  Take a look what Kevin O’Keefe of Lexblog has to say on the subject:

Law firms have more to gain from social media than other business. Social media is based upon on engagement, networking, reputation building, and relationships. The exact keys to business development success in the law.

Social media provides a golden opportunity for law firms to gain an edge on their competitors. It’ll be interesting to see what firms take advantage of the opportunity by keeping pace with their client companies when it comes to social media spending.

Black Pearl: To prove my point, check out this article about why SEO may be outdated (already??)….