Lawyer Marketing &
- Do You Need A Plan?
Who needs a plan? Not you! Of course
not, why would you have plan for marketing your
business? Do you use a plan in the following areas of
- Estate planning for taxes.
- Litigation - plaintiff or defendant - discovery
- A simple letter to a client or an opponet.
You use a plan in everything you do. It's just
that some plans are no longer formally, detailed
documents since you have the plan memorized and down
pat. At one time, you used a map for directions to
your favorite vacation spot; now you don't use the map
because you know where you are going. Now do you
myths or errors in law office marketing.
- We're lawyers, not business men.
Failure to acknowledge that you are not only in
a profession but a profession that is a business
will mean you and the "dot commers" have a
lot in "dot common" - not making money.
- Normal marketing techniques work for lawyers.
What a way to lose your license. Not only are
there ethical and professional responsibility
limitations you must account for, but this is not a
tube of toothpaste that you are selling. Not
every technique works for toothpaste, and ditto for
your law practice.
- Marketing is Selling.
No. Selling is selling. Marketing is
taking advantage of every encounter you have with a
member or the public or a potential client and
transforming that into a positive experience.
They may not be a client today, or even the next;
but when they become a client, maybe, just maybe the
experience with you was positive enough so that you
will be their lawyer. Clients are not buying a
marketing plan or a will or any other particular
legal commodity. Surprisingly enough, many
lawyers can do what you do; you are not
unique. Therefore, what is it that will make
you stand out? The intangibles of your
professional service if they are new clients - the
building, the card, the letterhead, the reputation,
the handshake, the caring, the competence, the
coffee mug. All of them or something
else. But it must be you and your name or firm
that comes to mind when a lawyer is needed. No
blue light specials here.
- Let's use a brochure or newsletter.
Not by itself folks. If you do not plan to
sell you and your practice yourself, then you may
have to rely on a piece of paper to do it for
you. However, a brochure can't carry you for
long. Eventually, you must deliver.
Brochures and newsletters are only one step in the
process - just another opportunity to have a
positive encounter with a potential client.
- Reputation sells.
Reputation reminds me of a local automobile tire
campaign - 'Reputation you can ride on.' Well,
you law firm's reputation is what you have done in
the past; therefore, it is a platform for your
future. But your client's live in the present,
and your firm's reputation is embodied in that
lawyer and that case with that client. It's
kind of like, "Well, what have you done for me
lately." Do a good job, and they will
tell a few people. Do a bad job, and the whole
world knows it. Maintain your reputation, but
live in the past and rely on it as your sole
competitive marketing tool.
- Quality Sells.
Quality is part and parcel to
professionalism. Quality work should be a
given. Quality does not give you a competitive
edge, but lack of quality can keep you out of the
marketing game. Besides, a quality product
packaged with an arrogant, self-centered, and
uncaring lawyer may end up hidden in the other
- Marketing Budget Equates to Percentage of
Not necessarily. I once heard a story that Error
Flynn said that when you are down and out without a
penny or a job was the time to put on your best suit
and hat and hit the town. Well,
maybe. In either event, arbitrary
formulas don't work. Plan on what it is you
want to accomplish and spend accordingly.
Other marketing tools to monitor this is a marketing
calendar to see if things are working.
- Image is what counts.
No. Reality counts. Image gets them
in the door. Quality and reality is what keeps
them there and coming back for more.
- Marketing is a science.
No. Marketing like war is an art.
Nothing works the same way twice. Television
may fly in New York City, but local cable access may
have an empty audience in Lower Five Mile, West
Virginia. Sometimes the pros from Dover don't
know what is best for you, but you should (and must)
listen before making that decision.
- Marketing does not need planning.
Do I really have to address that one
again. I have an Army phrase we used -
"Failing to plan is planning to
fail." End of discussion.
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