Zig when they zag: Three marketing hacks you haven't considered

Issue November/December 2016 By Jared D. Correia

Marketing a solo or small law firm is hard work. The competition is steady. The potential clients are savvier than ever before. Plus, you've got, like, real work to do.

It's true that the majority of solo and small firm lawyers find distasteful anything that takes them away from substantive work, for which they are billing. Of course, they also intuitively understand that, without new clients, there will be no more new billing. So, there's a real push and pull between effectively gaining new clients, and efficiently serving the ones you've got. The latter is absolutely essential, since referrals (the lifeblood of successful law firms) often emanate from satisfied, existing or former clients. Nevertheless, attorneys who begin to rely too heavily on internal referrals, and ignore or neglect existing or novel marketing channels, place themselves at risk, by reducing the number of avenues through which they can acquire clients. Think of the model as various pipelines feeding into a single source; eliminating a pipeline reduces inflow. In this case, that inflow is law firm revenue.

Modern law firm marketing can be frustrating. Internet marketing feels more like you're dumping content into a vortex, without a graspable notion of the effect it has. Sometimes, it can feel like you're doing the same thing everybody else is trying to do - just less well. Things become routine; your marketing becomes boring - even to you.

If you're thinking along those lines, here are three ways to shake things up:

Post It Notes. Businesses used to send mail correspondence all of the time. Now, that method of advertising has slowed considerably, as more marketing dollars and effort are filtered to online campaigns. Nevertheless, people do still look at their mail. So, if you've been considering a paper mailing, it's not as crazy as it sounds. There is a strategy to apply, though: Go for odd or unusual mailer shapes. Remember that getting the mail is still a largely tactile experience. Your recipients are going to feel what they have in their hands, before they do anything else. Odd-shaped mailers are more noticeable, and will increase view and open rates. Sound familiar?

Boost Mobile. Social media remains extremely popular, especially now that grandparents are posting and sharing photos of their grandkids. Add the massive use of social media services to the staggering adoption of smartphones (even 90 percent of late-adopting lawyers are using them), and the result of that equation becomes clear: People are using smartphone apps to access social media services. And, statistics bear out that in-app search is increasing. So, if your potential clients are using Facebook's app on their smartphones more than anywhere else, it makes sense to expend advertising dollars and time in that space. As an experiment, 'boost' a Facebook post, which will expand the number of users who see it; it's cheap, and it may be highly effective.

The Tube. For men and women of a certain age, "the tube" still means television - even if YouTube is the second most popular search engine, after Google. (. . . which owns YouTube; but, I digress . . .) Video advertising is compelling, and suits modern attention spans better than traditional, text-based advertising. If your law firm is not using video advertising, this may be a good time to try it. Put a short, introductory video on your website. Create and manage a YouTube channel. Try YouTube advertising; you can control your budget, set target options and access analytics.

If your law firm marketing is feeling a little stale, hit the refresh button.

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