It’s a good time, as we begin a new year, to consider some basics when addressing legal marketing.  I was asked this week by a freelance writer for CPAmerica International’s newsletter to respond to five questions for an article about “marketing for law firms.” Rather than present my answers in a lengthy post (which I really try to avoid – but don’t always succeed), I will present the 5 questions and answers in three posts in order to keep each short. First, I’ll take up some basic suggestions and the most common mistakes:

1.       “What concrete suggestions do you have for law firms concerning their marketing?”

  • Plan (set goals and measurable objectives for firm/practice, identify targets, and specify action items to reach those targets);
  • Budget;
  • Implement the plan, by:
  • Visiting key clients (firms will find that it is the most effectively concrete thing they can do to obtain more work),
  • Getting to know the client’s business,
  • Writing (articles, book, blog, column) and speaking to target audiences,
  • Making friends in the media,
  • Getting involved in organizations relating to target audiences, and network,
  • Seeking feedback on the firm,
  • Treating the client like a human being and partner,
  • Don’t surprise the client – about anything,
  • Returning clients calls ASAP, if not sooner,
  • Developing a personal relationship (not just a business one) with clients – or finding clients that the firm wants to develop personal relationships with,
  • Entertaining clients and referral sources,
  • Referring potential customers/clients to others,
  • Offering advice at no charge, and
  • Suggesting fixed fees, whenever possible.

2.      “What are some of the common mistakes to avoid in legal marketing?”

  • Failure to plan,
  • Failure to implement plan, and
  • Failure to get a professional to help the firm do both (since lawyers are not trained in the areas of marketing and business development – certainly not in law school).

Next: Budgeting