By Ally Kennedy
Welcome to week 2 of Be the CEO Of Your Law Firm 6-week series focused around the 6 Roles and Responsibilities as the CEO of your law firm. As a reminder, the 6 Roles and Responsibilities are:
- Client Satisfaction
- Strategy and Vision
This week we are focusing on the 2nd Role and Responsibility as the CEO of your law firm: Marketing.
Marketing is not a dirty word. You do great work and people need to know how to find you. If you don’t market your firm, that in turn does a disservice to the people that you would like to serve. It should not be easier to find a bad lawyer or notario than it is to find you. Marketing is key.
Also, let me let you in on a little secret… marketing is fun! Marketing is the way to capture your voice and spread your mission throughout the community. It is fun and exciting to get creative with your marketing strategies so that people can interact with your law firm in a meaningful way.
If creating a marketing plan sounds boring or overwhelming to you, I completely understand because I felt the same way. That’s why I want to help you create a meaningful marketing plan that you enjoy making and implementing, and that honors the excellent work that you do.
Create a Meaningful Marketing Plan
Ideal Client Profile
In order to make a plan for your marketing efforts, you must first define who it is that you want to reach. This is a very important step that one must be strategic about. (For more on strategizing and creating your firm’s vision, click here. Oftentimes when we are starting our firms or busy running our firms, we focus on “door law,” meaning doing cases of anyone who walks through the door. Of course there is nothing wrong with taking all of the cases that you are competent to handle and that can help pay the bills. However, by delving deep into your Ideal Client and defining him or her, you can make sure that your marketing efforts are stretching as far as they can.
In order to create an Ideal Client Profile, you must take a very deep look at the cases you want to do and the specific people that you would like to serve. There is an excellent Amiga Doc that walks through pages of considerations and questions that is very powerful, but here are some questions to get you started. Please know that there are so many more considerations than those listed here.
- If you had to do one case type every day for the rest of your career, what would it be?
- Who is your favorite client(s)?
- What did you like about that client(s)?
- What is the client’s sex?
- Marital Status?
- How many children?
- Sexual orientation?
Your Ideal Client Profile will guide you through the next two parts of your marketing plan: online marketing and engagement marketing.
Online marketing is comprised of two main parts: social media and website. Everything that you do in your online marketing should be targeted and specific to your Ideal Client. Here are some additional considerations for your Ideal Client Profile that need to be considered in creating your online marketing plan:
- What does he or she do when she is online?
- What sites does she visit?
- What does she google?
- Does she use email?
- If so what does she email about?
- What apps does she use?
- What blogs does she read?
- What online media does she use for news?
There are many social media websites and it is critical to ensure that you are leveraging the right social media channels in your marketing campaign. How do you know which site is the right one? It is the site where your Ideal Client is. It is worth taking the time to determine which social media your Ideal Client uses because running a successful, meaningful social media plan is very time intensive. As lawyers, what we lack is time so you don’t want to spend a lot of time building your Twitter presence when your Ideal Clients aren’t there. (I made this mistake in the beginning with doing a regular blog that was not visited often because my Ideal Clients simply were not interested in a regular blog, even if it was in Spanish.)
An intimate understanding of your Ideal Client will help you understand how you can communicate with him or her through social media. Social media is meant to be a conversation. It is a way for people to get to know you and your firm and interact with you in a more personal way.
I have used Facebook to create a community of great information and regular contact with the Latino immigrant community. Over the course of the last 4 years, I have cultivated an interactive space where we receive a lot of questions through our statuses and inbox messages and we now generate approximately 50% of new business through Facebook, and sometimes it is even more than that. The best part is that it is completely free! My biggest lesson on running my social media Facebook campaign is that I have to reach people in a way that is meaningful to them: using their language, speaking in a way that they understand, and answering the questions that I know that they have but they may not feel comfortable asking.
A website is basically required for business these days so make sure that your website counts. When I decided to look at my website and adapt it toward my Ideal Client, I realized that so many attorneys have “cookie cutter” websites. We give the overview of our firm, our profiles tell where we went to law school and our professional associations, we give the obligatory sentence about what we do in our free time, and we have our contact information.
Usually a client is coming to us when there is something going wrong in their lives. Finding an attorney is a stressful process. People are scared because they want their situations to be fixed. They are scared because they think it will be really expensive. They are scared to put their trust into someone that they don’t know. They have specific pain points. For example, my clients have the pain points of fearing that they will be deported, separated from their families, be unable to work legally, and that they will never be able to come back to the US. This is exactly what the website must address.
Our websites need to show our Ideal Clients that (1) we have handled that case type before, (2) that we have won similar cases, and (3) that we are committed to the success of the case. Our websites also need to communicate our mission and values as a law firm and set up the type of customer experience that a client can expect.
The About Me Section is the most important. Most clients do not care where we went to law school and are not impressed by our professional associations. What they want to know is that we can handle their cases and they can trust you. Your About Me section is your opportunity to express why you do the work that you do, how you achieve the results that you achieve, and demonstrate your dedication to your clients. In our teams’ bios, every single person wrote about why s/he is doing this work. I am confident that an immigrant looking for legal services would be more comfortable working with us knowing our passion and heart for the work that we do.
We all know that word of mouth is the best way to get referrals, which means that our current and past clients spread the word about us and recommend us. That is why it is critical to nurture and cultivate the relationship with current and past clients.
It is important to have a “touch” with current and past clients on a regular basis. For example, calling every current client once a month to check in is a great way to connect with your clients and let them know that you value you them and are thinking about them.
In terms of past clients and current clients, a “touch” can come via email, card, or other mailer. In our firm, we send out postcard mailers each season (4 times a year) to say hello and send holiday wishes. You would not believe the incredible response that we receive from this! People call us and thank us for their postcards. We also send birthday cards to clients, their spouses, and their kids.
Determine how current and past clients want to be communicated with, and maximize that communication.
For more information about this, check out our previous article on Engagement Marketing.
Get some great info with our Amiga Power Hour: Marketing for Immigration Attorneys. We go into depth and there is a great workbook that goes along with it.
The Be the CEO of your Law Firm Power Hour also goes into Marketing and the other 5 Roles and Responsibilities as the CEO of your Law Firm in more detail.
In the Women, Power, and Money conference, Lory D. Rosenberg and I went into detail about marketing, branding, business, and more. It is worth it for the workbook alone!
Let us know some marketing strategies that you like and that have worked for you!
About your Ally in Life, Business and Law:
Alexandra "Ally" Kennedy is a national award-winning attorney and the founder of AMIGA Lawyers and Alexandra Kennedy Immigration Law.. After becoming a mother, and in a matter of 3 months, Ally transformed her practice from earning in pesos to earning 6-figures and she is passionate about teaching attorneys how they can do the same. Ally empowers lawyers to be the CEOs of their law firms with her weekly blog, webinars, and conferences where she teaches step-by-step how to do the work they love while running a profitable legal business. Ally lives outside of Seattle with her partner and their 5 children.