Celebrating its seventh year, the Super Marketing Conference in Boston, a collaboration between MassLOMAP, the ABA Law Practice Division and Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, brought expert speakers from around the country to provide practical, hands-on advice to solo and small law firms. Over the course of two days of excellent content, five themes emerged.
As you move forward with your marketing plans, consider how you can turn these themes into action steps.
Theme 1: Make Time
Katy Goshtasbi of Puris Brand Solutions set the tone in the first panel, “Practical Marketing: Stories from the Trenches,” when she discussed how it takes at least nine touches with potential clients before they recognize or consider your services. What that means for lawyers, she explained, is that you need to market regularly and consistently. But that’s tough as a solo or small firm attorney. Panelists emphasized the importance of blocking out time in your calendar for marketing. This might be as little as 10 minutes per day to scroll through social media feeds or schedule posts, or it might involve designating one day per week to cultivate referral relationships via lunches, coffee and other meetings. By making your marketing more intentional, you can curb the peaks and valleys of client and revenue generation that plague many small firms.
Theme 2: Track Your Efforts
Time devoted to your marketing means time not spent elsewhere, such as on billable work. There is a cost to marketing efforts so you better have an understanding of what is working and what isn’t. Sofia Lingos of Trident Legal highlighted the importance of developing a budget for marketing efforts and reviewing it regularly to determine whether you’re spending money in the right place. To assess what’s working, Gyi Tsakalakis of AttorneySync recommended using free tools such as Google Analytics to learn loads of information about visitors to your website, Google PageSpeed Insights to address your page load speed, Google Search Console to monitor your website’s search result rankings, and Google Search Analytics to learn about the types of queries that generate your site as a result. (Tip: Tsakalakis said the first action item is to set up Google My Business — key to appearing in Google search results.)
Theme 3: Create an Image That Resonates
IP attorney Matt Yospin relayed his marketing goal to attendees: “I want people to know me, like me, and trust me.” His entire marketing strategy is centered around that motto. Other speakers agreed.
- In discussing the virtual reception service Ruby Receptionists’ customer service model, Christina Burns stressed trust, loyalty and relationships as key. You can develop these by letting people get to know the real you.
- Goshtasbi gave an example of a video she produced for her website that presented her own life story as a way for potential clients to make a deeper connection with her.
- Another creative strategy, presented by Charity Anastasio of the Maryland State Bar Association, Law Office Management Assistance, is to use your fee agreements to strengthen the relationship between you and your client (or potential client). Conference attendees attempted rewrites of traditional contract language to make it clearer and friendlier to the client.
- Finally, when networking, be clear with your potential referral sources. Have a “call me when,” said Justin Kelsey of Skylark Law & Mediation PC, so people you are speaking with understand precisely when they should call you to make a referral. In fact, Kelsey suggested having two “call me whens”: one for when a referral source should call about a potential client, and one for when they should call you about fun (e.g., “Call me when you want to go kayaking”).
Theme 4: Get Reviews
The importance of online reviews is not a breaking news concept; it has been discussed on Attorney at Work, here, here and here. But lawyers have yet to jump completely on the bandwagon (surprise, surprise). According to Ben Kreaden of Broadly, a majority of people trust online reviews just as much as they trust word-of-mouth recommendations. For reviews, attorneys should consider Google, Yelp and Facebook. In fact, if you have a Google My Business page, it will appear in the right-hand side of Google search results along with a list of reviews from other sources such as Facebook and Yelp. If you are concerned about negative reviews, understand that everyone gets a few. (They’re a reality today’s lawyers must face.) Develop a process for collecting reviews, such as sending an email to clients whenever you’re closing a matter, encouraging them to submit a review to Google, Yelp or Facebook and including a direct link to the review page so they can be there in a click.
Theme 5: Mobile or Bust
A website that is not mobile-friendly is no longer acceptable, echoed a number of speakers throughout the conference. Ensure that your site is mobile-friendly by running Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test and consider mobile for every one of your marketing efforts. For example:
- How does your website appear on mobile devices?
- Is your e-newsletter readable via a mobile device?
- Can a potential client use one click of a button on their phone to contact you from your website?
Furthermore, be aware that Google will penalize you in site rankings if your site is not mobile-friendly.
Thanks to our summer intern, Haley Prudent, for her contribution to this article through her diligent conference reporting. Thanks also to all of our sponsors, including 1SEO, Broadly, MediaSmack, Martindale Nolo, Ruby Receptionists, Digital WarRoom and Mass Lawyers Weekly.
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