Thursday, December 4, 2008

Marketing Your Family Law Practice

Grant Griffiths runs a neat little blog called "blog for profit." Today he features a great article entitled Marketing a Professional Service Firm. Written by guest contributor Mark Merenda, it includes basic concepts that we may tend to overlook. For example:
1. Invest in a great image.

Most of your prospective clients are not qualified to judge what you do or how good at it you might be. They don’t have X-ray vision, and will have to judge by other things. Appearances will play a huge role in that. Don’t fight this phenomenon (“What should matter is what a good attorney I am!”) — accept it. Think about the role of appearances in buying a car, or choosing a mate. Pretty important, right? Your business card, your website, your brochure, your suit all send messages about who you are. When a product is invisible (like a professional service), in the eyes of the consumer, the package becomes the product. I am not saying that it isn’t important that you be a good attorney/accountant/financial advisor/whatever. I am saying that it is very important that you look as good as you are.

2. Show up

Woody Allen said 80 percent of success in life is showing up. Your would-be clients are not hanging around in your reception area. They are out there. When people buy professional services, they buy the person providing the service. They don’t the ACME law firm. They buy Jim, the lawyer. In marketing lingo, this is called a “relationship buy.” And the biggest obstacle in any relationship is the first one: I don’t know you. That’s why seminars, speaking opportunities, and networking events are so important. Most people do not consider themselves qualified to judge your abilities as a professional. But everyone considers him- or herself eminently qualified to judge who they like and trust.

3. Build your referral network.

Referred business is the best business. It comes in the door pre-sold with third-party credibility. It has a very low acquisition cost, and psychologically, it’s so much more satisfying to be sought out, than to have to pitch yourself. Also, each professional referral source can send you not one client, but many clients, and not just this year, but for many years. Building a strong referral network can take enormous pressure off your marketing.

The problem is that most professionals build their referral network by happenstance: “I happened to meet this guy down at the courthouse, we happened to have a drink together, now he sends me a client every now and then.”
That’s not the way to go about it. The right way is systematically and continuously.
There are four steps: Define the target universe (who can send me business?); identify the members of the target universe (get a list.); initiate the relationship (break the ice); drip (periodically, everyone in your universe gets something from you).

4. Get all over this Internet thing.

It is difficult to overstate the importance or influence of the Internet revolution. Many scientists believe it to be the fourth most important development in human communication (first being the development of spoken language; second being the development of the alphabet and written language; and third being the invention of the printing press).

That means you must participate in this phenomenon, or be left behind. Recognize that this presents you with a wonderful opportunity to level the playing field with big firms.
What to do?

Have a great website with lots of good content. Write a blog. (Some experts believe there is no need for a “static” website, if you have a good blog.) Practice good search engine optimization. Have a conversion strategy. Try new things like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. Read and comment on the blogs of others. Create value and be willing to share.
Please click here to take a look at the entire article.

Please be sure to visit www.hardinglaw.com, the website for the law firm of Harding & Associates, for more information on California family law.

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