Lawyers copy each other’s marketing tactics and figure that they should do what every other lawyer is doing in their town. WRONG! If you copy every other lawyer, you will be just like them: fighting for scraps and wondering where you will get your next case.
What if you thought outside the box and spent your time and money on a marketing campaign that dignifies our profession, creates new relationships with the members of the media and even brings you a few new cases? There are lawyers who have already mastered this…and they’re willing to share a few secrets with you.
How to Show Up Like No Other Lawyer
Community marketing is a long-term program for giving back to your local community. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination. From “Bikes for Kids” to Suicide Prevention Scholarships, there is no limit to the ways that you can give back to your community.
Injury lawyers, Rich Grungo, Jr., Esq. and Bill Colarulo, Esq. of Grungo Colarulo in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, have a landing page on their firm’s website that features their community programs (gcinjurylaw.com/community/):
- “The Deserving Teacher”
- “Adopt a Family”
- “Bikes for Kids”
- “Palmyra Nature Cove Clean Up with WHYY”
- “Out of the Darkness—American Foundation for Suicide Prevention”
- “Grungo Colarulo Wheel of Giving”
Hard not to like these guys, right? (and maybe a bit jealous). Rich and Bill promote their monthly “Wheel of Giving” on Facebook and show their charity wheel drawing on Facebook Live. Plenty of online love to go around with “likes” and “shares” of the firm’s Facebook page. Truth is, whatever Rich and Bill are doing, everyone should copy.
Injury lawyer, Paul Harding, Esq. of Martin, Harding & Mazzotti in Albany, New York, requires each of the firm’s 119 employees to belong to at least three civic organizations in their community. Paul’s firm throws its money behind the charitable events of the organizations and there’s plenty of love and goodwill returned to the firm. Maybe this is why Paul’s firm is a powerhouse among injury law firms in Upstate New York.
The Question You’re Dying to Ask
Okay, enough warm fuzzies already. There’s still one question you’re dying to ask: Does community marketing make a difference in the bottom line for a law firm?
Anneke Godlewski, the Director of Communications for Charles E. Boyk Law Offices, LLC (and the guru of community marketing), gave these reasons why her firm invests time and money in community marketing:
- It builds trust with the community and makes you seem human to your clients
- For us, it has equated to hundreds (and I mean HUNDREDS) of media mentions and great media partnerships. (Who would you trust more–a guy who you see in a ton of commercials, or a guy you see every week on the news?)
- It gives you something to talk about in your newsletter, eNewsletter, on social media, on your website, etc.
- All of the above has led to stellar brand awareness
- It allows us to differentiate ourselves from the all of the “other guys” who just talk about themselves, their settlements, and their “no fee guarantees”
- It’s cheap! I’m talking a couple thousand bucks for a full-fledged Bikes for Kids campaign (which is chump change compared to the insane cost of TV, radio, and PPC)
- Those media relationships you build by giving back means that the reporters like and trust you enough to report on the legal stuff you send press releases out about later
- The top-of-mind awareness leads to repeat referrals among your clients and the recipients of the giving
- Nominations for all of the programs drives a ton of traffic to your site
- It gives you a reason to talk to local businesses – instead of saying, “Hey, I’m a personal injury lawyer, let’s do business! Send me your referrals!”, you can instead say, “I’m giving away 10 free bikes to promote child safety. Do you know of a deserving child?” Which one sounds more authentic to you?
- Lay down at night after tearing up the day of a giveaway and tell me how you feel with your head on that pillow. I bet better than an ambulance-chasing competitor
Anneke has inside information that few lawyers know: community marketing works. Want more tips for growing a community marketing powerhouse, go to Anneke’s podcast interview (Episode #55) on the Maximum Lawyer podcast (FYI, the best lawyer podcast)
The Bottom Line about Community Marketing
Community marketing is inexpensive, helps build relationships and credibility with the media and might even get you a few new cases. So, why isn’t everyone at least trying this? Because lawyers are afraid of being unique and that’s a damn shame.
But you don’t have to be like every other lawyer in your town. Give community marketing a shot for one year (or hire someone to create a community based campaign for you) and let us know how it turned out. Hey, what have you got to lose, except maybe the King’s Ransom you spend every month on your advertising budget.
photo credit: Lorie Shaull For Heather Heyer. Her chihuahua, Violet, was named after her favorite color. via photopin (license)