How you market your law practice depends on what type of practice you have. For some practice areas such as personal injury, bankruptcy, criminal and, to some extent, family law, direct marketing via advertising through websites, emails, print, and TV works. But for many practice areas, the most effective way to market is through relationships. Relationship marketing, simply put, is getting to know potential clients and referral sources, then developing and maintaining a connection with those people. In my work as a coach, I find that many lawyers do not know how to do relationship marketing correctly and therefore waste time and energy. There is a lot involved in developing relationships that may provide legal business. Here is how to start:
Get organized. You probably already know many people who could become clients or referral sources but, chances are, they are scattered through your emails, contacts, business cards, alumni directories, etc. I recommend you create a document, a spreadsheet or a table, that will keep all of your prospects in one place so that you can see the big picture and plan your marketing accordingly.
The document should include:
- contact information
- how you connected with the prospect
- anything you have in common (law school, undergrad, civic organization, club, sports...)
- notes about your last contact
- a date for follow-up contact
- a designation of either a business prospect or referral source
- a grade, A to C, of how likely they will be to provide business or referrals for you
Once you have your marketing prospects document filled with your prospects' information, the next step is to utilize the document as your go-to tool for establishing and maintaining relationships. For your A and B prospects, you should develop an individual plan of regular contacts, for your C prospects your approach might be more generic, such as a periodic group email, individually addressed.
Referral sources may be in the same business sector, such as financial planners, accountants or real estate agents. You could decide to market to them as a group by providing information or something that would be of value to that sector.
The most important thing in relationship marketing is to establish regular contact with your prospects. After you have connected with a prospect, set a date for the next connection and put it both on the marketing contacts document and your calendar.
There is a lot more involved in successful relationship marketing but it needs to start with organization. How about getting started? For other suggestions on marketing your law practice, check out the marketing page.
Have a Great Practice!