“Everything you’ve been told about building
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Marketing Your Law Firm Like No One Else

Lawyers are copycat marketers. If the big-name law firm has a garish billboard advertisement shouting “I’ll fight for you”, then maybe you should have one too, right? Au contraire, my friend. Copycat marketing is an almost certain path to mediocrity.

Perhaps you’re looking for a unique marketing strategy that is dignified, enhances the image of lawyers and just might bring a few cases to your firm. These powerful marketing campaigns will bring weekly media attention for your law firm, referrals of big cases and boost morale in your community. With these campaigns, you will be different from every other lawyer.

How to be Different from Every Other Law Firm

4 years ago, Charles E. Boyk, Esq., an injury lawyer in Toledo, Ohio, was looking for a way to promote his book about bicycle safety. Chuck E. Boyk, Esq. came up with the idea of promoting bike safety through a weekly bike give-away. At first, the campaign gained little attention, but slowly it gained traction with the media.

Here’s how it works: the firm has a 13-week program in the Summer when it gives away 13 bikes. Every week, the firm reaches out for nominations for children who have done something positive for their community, i.e., “Do you know a kid who deserves a new bike and has done something great for the community?

The second you stop thinking how much money is this [community marketing] going to make, it becomes more authentic.

Anneke Kurt Godlewski, Marketing Director for Charles E. Boyk Law Offices, LLC

Nominations can be made through a page on the firm’s website and the firm sends links to the website for nominations. The firm’s clients can nominate their own children and the firm gets prized “Google Juice” from the links to their website from the media and schools.

The nominations consist of short, feel-good stories that have a human interest that might interest reporters. The firm picks a winner of the most compelling story that reporters would like to share with their audience, i.e., “Joey brought a blanket to homeless person.”

A Public Service Announcement that the Media Craves

The firm has the bike give-away ceremony at the local bike shop at 3:00 p.m. (the best time for media to pick up the story) and invites the media to attend the ceremony. The firm sends a press release to the media (TV, radio and newspapers) the night before and the day of the award ceremony.

A local CBS affiliate sends a TV crew to video the award ceremony and share the winner’s story, and the other three local TV stations often attend. Reporters sometimes take video of the ceremony on Facebook Live. The ceremony is a news story that is a gift to the local media, who crave feel-good stories.

The firm posts video of the award ceremony of the kid winning the bike and shares the video with the media and on their Facebook page. On the morning after the ceremony, the winner appears live to share his/her story on the local CBS affiliate. The TV station mentions the law firm of Charles Boyk at the beginning of the news clip.

A Return on Investment Unlike Any Other

How does this measure up cost-wise? Charles E. Boyk, Esq. spends a total of $2k on an ad spend to promote the give-away with display ads on the website of the local CBS affiliate and incurs $150 per bike. The total spend is less than $5k.

And the time commitment? Once the system is in place, Anneke Kurt Godlewski, Director of Communications and Marketing for Charles E. Boyk Law Offices, LLC, shows up for the give-away ceremonies and creates a new press release every week. That’s it—low cost, high return and amazingly unique.

The Power of Community Marketing

The firm gets hundreds of media mentions, is in the news 3x/week during the 13 weeks of Summer, and gets thousands of shares/likes/views on the firm’s Facebook page. The winner’s story is shared on the firm’s Facebook page and in their print and e-newsletters.

Everyone nominated is added to the firm’s newsletter list, and the firm gives away 2k bike helmets obtained through a grant from the American Academy of Pediatrics. At the award ceremony, reporters are given a key tag with the phone number for Charles E. Boyk, Esq., “Call us 24/7 if you need legal commentary”.

Earned media attention is worth more than paid ads.

Anneke Kurt Godlewski, Marketing Director for Charles E. Boyk Law Offices, LLC

The media craves the public service announcements and as a bonus, a NBC reporter referred a six-figure injury case to the firm. The feel-good stories are fodder for the firm’s newsletters and social media and creates goodwill with the media, reporters, and current and prospective clients.

Charles E. Boyk Law Offices, LLC is not just another injury law firm—they are continually showing their love for their community through heart-warming stories. And the return on investment? Priceless.

Making a Difference in their Community

Trying to keep the momentum going after the Summer fun, Charles E. Boyk, Esq. thought of ways to help his public high school (and his alma mater, Roy C. Start High School in Toledo) and came up with “TPS [Toledo Pubic Schools] Proud”.

Here’s how “TPS Proud” works: At the beginning of each month, the firm sends a videographer to the high school during lunch hour and the firm’s marketing director, Anneke Kurt Godlewski, asks students to provide 20-second video clips about their favorite teacher. Anneke asks three questions of the students:

  • What is it about the teacher’s class that you like so much?
  • If you could tell your teacher one thing, what would it be?
  • What is the one thing that your teacher taught you that is going to stick with you after graduation?

The students get a chance to show their appreciation for their teachers and add some humor, i.e., “What do you think your teacher does after school?” The videographer collects 50-60 video clips and uploads them to a YouTube channel (“TPS Proud”), where each student has a playlist. The students are given a paper handout with instructions for finding their playlist on YouTube and asked to share their video on social media.

Showing Teachers that Their Students Care

The videos are sent to the teachers via email. Perhaps for the first time, the teachers get to see that their students actually care about them and the impact that they’ve had.

In the email, the teachers are given a link to nominate their “Student of the Month” (i.e., “Go this link to nominate your favorite student for the school.”) and the link sends the teacher to a nomination page on the law firm’s website. The links for the nominations go to the law firm’s website, which in turn delivers sought-after “Google Juice” for the firm’s website.

We’re trying to make a difference.

Anneke Kurt Godlewski, Director of Communications and Marketing for Charles E. Boyk Law Offices, LLC

From the nominations, the firm chooses winners based upon the most compelling stories. Many students come from broken families where no one attended college and the stories can be heart-warming. The impact of teachers on their students might otherwise remain an untold story, i.e., “Mrs. Richardson introduced me to the idea of college and now I’m going to THE Ohio State University…Maumee campus.”

A Feel-Good Story Like No Other

The firm schedules an award ceremony at the school and sends press releases to the local media and invites reporters and the local TV affiliates to attend; quotes from the winners are included in the press release. The firm videotapes the award ceremony, where the winning student and teacher are given a plaque and the teacher receives a $150 VISA gift card and the student receives a $50 VISA gift card. Some schools announce the winners at a school assembly.

This boosts enrollment, improves the morale of students, enhances the image of teachers and spreads a ton of good will to Charles E. Boyk Law Offices, LLC. The local community magazine, “Toledo Parent Magazine”, features stories of the winners for free.

Priceless Branding of a Law Firm

The media craves the public announcements of the winners and the story is often the feel-good lead story on the nightly news. At first, the reporters were hesitant to mention the firm’s name on the news, but as they came to realize the good will and positive impact, the reporters now embrace the firm’s sponsorship and mention “Boyk Law Offices” when the story is introduced on the nightly news. As a side benefit, the campaign builds goodwill with reporters.

Anything we send them [reporters] automatically gets read.

Anneke Kurt Godlewski, Director of Communications and Marketing for Charles E. Boyk Law Offices, LLC

Once the firm finished the promotion for Start Public High School, it expanded the program among each of the 9 public high schools in Toledo and then to the elementary schools. As the program expands, the firm shows video of prior winners and spreads the message through its print and e-newsletters, social media and tells all of their clients. The firm has 1,000 videos of students showing appreciation for their teachers.

What’s Stopping You from Doing This?

How do you get started? Just go to the Superintendent of Schools or the Principal of your local high school, tell them that you will incur all costs and this will boost morale, improve attendance and highlight the good work of their teachers and students. It’s a virtual no-brainer for the schools.

Total cost? $350 per month for the gift cards and plaques for the winners and $2k/month for digital ads to promote the campaign. The return on investment? We’ll let you decide.

 

photo credit: dalioPhoto billboarded via photopin (license)

Leave a comment below telling me what surprised, inspired or taught you the most (I personally respond to every comment). And if you disagree with my take on running a personal injury law firm, or have a specific, actionable tip, I’d love to hear from you.
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