It’s easy to get busy with the every day running of a law firm and forget about trying to grow the practice. Here are 15 simple, inexpensive ideas that can help you expand and seriously boost your income:
1. Meet the Public
You need to get out of your office and strategically network – meet with potential clients as often as possible. This typically does not happen in your office, but in theirs or on neutral ground such as a community function or even coffee shops.
2. Use Your Current Clients
Did you know that 80% of your new business will come from about 20% of your old clients? Proactively manage existing relationships. Look over your clients to determine which ones will provide you with the most work and then build on that relationship. You always want to get new clients into your marketing funnel, but don’t forget about the ones you already have. Remember, they already know you and like you. It is easier to retain them than to find one to replace them.
3. Learn To Say “No!”
You will not want to take every case that walks through the door. Evaluate the likelihood of getting paid, whether the case is a good fit, whether the case will be profitable, and whether your time could be better spend elsewhere. Focus only on the cases that make sense for you and your firm.
4. Budget Time and Money Towards Marketing
Most lawyers work about 2500 hours a year with 1100 of those hours on non-billable items such as training, management, education, research, and marketing. Do not limit your marketing! You should allot 600 hours a year and three to ten percent of your gross revenues to marketing and marketing functions such as advertising, website, marketing training, and client promotion.
5. Get Involved In Your Community
Find a community organization that you can get behind. Many organizations are looking for board members and attorneys oftentimes make great fits for local boards. Your legal expertise will offer great insights to other board members and your community. Plus, you’ll be contributing to your community while networking with other business people.
6. Internal Marketing
Everyone at your firm should know the kind of work that you can do and where you want to expand. Look at cross-selling opportunities as well.
Yes, you finished law school, but your training should not end there. Consider adding some marketing training or personal coaching. Find ways where you can learn various marketing skills from other attorneys in your firm, or in surrounding law firms that do not compete with you.
8. Create an Avatar and U.S.P.
An avatar is a fancy name for your “perfect client”. Create a list of where you would find your perfect client and the type of work they would send you. Then figure out what you would say when you meet them. This will include your unique selling proposition (USP) that sets you apart from other firms or attorneys. With all marketing, you must figure out a way to stand out from the crowd.
9. Understand Your Clients
Do a little research to find out what your clients really need. If you know what keeps them up at night, you can figure out how to help them. If you truly understand their “pain points” you can craft your marketing and your messaging to resonate with those points. This can help create better customer engagement and more leads.
10. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
This is a program that tracks the who, when, and how of your clients to allow you to come up with a marketing strategy. It is easy for mistakes to occur A good legal CRM is Amicus Attorney.
11. Get Writing
Your customers will see you as an expert if you have written articles available for them to read. These can be published in top journals and magazines, but also in online magazines, blogs, and newsletters.
12. More on Writing
You should always be sending the articles you write to your list of clients and potential clients. The idea is for them to feel that you are an expert. Once you’ve sent the article, then put the article on your website so that those people not on your email and mail list can see that you have expertise. You might even go one step further and create a seminar or presentation on the article.
13. Leverage Your Junior Staff
You do not have to do everything. No matter the size of your firm, use your junior staff to do the custodial tasks – the ones that don’t contribute to your bottom line – so that you can focus on those that do.
14. Look at Your Website
Websites are a must. They should support your marketing approach. Your website should have your client in mind, be educational, offer needed information, show your expertise, show that real people work in the firm, use videos, and be picked up by search engines, especially Google.
15. Just Do It
Nike got it right. You just have to start taking action, also known as discipline. Sit down and get together a time line of marketing activities and then stick to the plan.
By looking at these 15 things, you can grow your business without spending a fortune. Where will you get started?