A lawyer poses the question, “What is your best marketing advice?” I respond simply, “Identify your ‘Ideal Client’ and nurture and cultivate the relationship with your Ideal Client through a series of educational and informative newsletters, speaking events, books and social events.”
Few lawyers take the time to paint a clear picture of their Ideal Client and ever fewer have a system for nurturing and cultivating these relationships. Instead, injury lawyers spend big bucks on mass advertising chasing their next big case. But even when you land that next big case, it’s just a single case that won’t result in any future cases. The top lawyers don’t chase a single case—they think LONG TERM by developing strong relationships with prominent referral sources.
Step #1: Paint a Picture of Your Ideal Client
Your “Ideal Client” is the person who sends you a steady stream of high quality cases every week, and ideally, every day. Your Ideal Client loves your work and raves about you to her family and friends and when a new case is referred to you, the client arrives at your office with a stamp of approval from your Ideal Client. Once you identify the 3-5 persons who refer your highest value cases, you’ve identified your “Ideal Client”.
For our plaintiffs’ medical malpractice law firm in Upstate New York, our Ideal Client has 3 qualities:
- Own a high volume plaintiffs’ personal injury law firm in New York State,
- Do not practice medical malpractice, and
- Between 35 to 55 years of age
Our Ideal client is a relatively young, highly motivated plaintiffs’ personal injury lawyer with a high volume practice with thousands of injury cases and wants nothing to do with medical malpractice. This lawyer won’t just refer a new malpractice case on occasion—he’ll refer new cases every week. And because he’s relatively young, our Ideal Client will refer new cases over the rest of my career.
Step #2: Attracting Your Ideal Client
The most powerful form of marketing is, and always, will be face-to-face. Business lunches and informal get-togethers are okay, but the best form of marketing consists of educational speeches (preferably for CLE credits) that help your prospective referral partners build their practices.
Offer free speeches and books to the county, regional and state bar associations without asking for a penny. The executive directors of the bar associations crave new speaking events and will be thrilled with your offer for an educational speech. The bar associations will endorse you and promote your event and you’re building your mini-celebrity status with their members.
Your speech for lawyers might be:
- How to Get Your Lawyer Website on the First Page of Google,
- The Jury Project: How to Read the Mind of the Jurors at Your Next Trial,
- The Power of Facebook Ads for Lawyers
Write a book for your lawyer friends with your best tips and advice about injury law. Your book might address jury selection or tips for conquering the internet with a lawyer website. A guide or book that gives away all of your best advice will open doors with potential referral partners and give you status as the authority who “wrote the book”.
Step #3: Nurturing the Relationship with Your Ideal Client
Stay “top of mind” with your Ideal Clients with a monthly print newsletter and a weekly email newsletter consisting of your best tips and advice for your referral partners. Give value, ask for nothing and DON’T HOLD ANYTHING BACK! Your newsletter will be a constant reminder of the value that you add for your ideal clients and when it comes time to refer a case, who will they think of?
Get creative with unique social events that will create a bond with your referral partners. Sponsor a special event:
- Happy hour at the local tavern for members of the bar association,
- “Lunch and Learn” about social media with a speech from a Facebook guru, or
- A Blues Cruise on a yacht for your clients, referral partners and prospective referral partners.
Limited budget? Send two-dozen bagels with a signed “thank you” note on custom stationary to your best referral partners. Drop off the bagels in person and get to know the office staff. Cut out newspapers articles about verdicts and settlements of lawyers in your town, laminate them and send a handwritten note of congratulations to your referral partners. Mail your “evergreen” articles (i.e., “The Law of Jury Selection in New York”) to prospective referral sources.
You are doing something that no one else is doing—you’re giving away valuable, actionable advice that has the power to change law practices. Not only will this create goodwill, you will become the “lawyers’ lawyer” and a mini-celebrity among your peers.
Show Us What You’ve Got
None of you will get better alone—we need each other to succeed. I’ve shared with you my best marketing advice and have a favor to ask: post a comment with one or two of your best marketing tips. If you are one of the first five to leave a comment with your best marketing advice, we will show you some love by mailing you a signed, hard cover copy of my book, The Power of a System: How to Build the Injury Law Practice of Your Dreams.
And if you don’t want to share a few tips, that’s fine but take a moment to say “hi” and let us know if you have specific marketing or management obstacles. Maybe we can help.