The Covid 19 virus has had quite an impact on all of us. For attorneys, it has impacted some practice areas for the good and some for the not-so-good. Covid business is booming in Bankruptcy, Estate Planning, and Family Law. Not doing so well are practice areas where uncertainty and caution dictates a wait and see attitude by prospects. For example, mergers and acquisitions and transactions involving a business growing or expanding its market share.
Marketing has always been a necessary and integral part of successful law practice. However, Covid 19 has created marketing challenges for lawyers. For lawyers who use the relationship-building technique for developing new business, the options available have narrowed. While networking has been an excellent way to develop business, with the virus, meetings in which you can connect personally with prospects, are just about nil. Likewise, meeting one-on-one for lunches or coffee no longer works. In the hierarchy of marketing tools, direct contact is usually at the top of the list in terms of effectiveness. With this no longer being an effective option, what to do?
A resourceful attorney will adjust to the new circumstances. Some will not and will suffer a loss of business, possibly significant. The smart way to go is to look at other marketing tools and adapt. In the marketing tools’ effectiveness hierarchy, direct contact with prospective clients, and prospective referral sources are at the top. Advertising is at the bottom of the hierarchy. Generally speaking, advertising is not effective for most law practice areas. For some areas, like Personal Injury, Bankruptcy, and Family Law, it can work well but there can be a significant cost involved. And, the most usual advertising venues, Adwords and Facebook, are confusing to use and, depending on the popularity of the keyword or keyword phrase, prices can range up into the hundreds of dollars per click. Of course, you must continue to pay to play.
For the majority of practice areas, relationship marketing is the way to go. Still. “People do business with people they know and like (and trust).” Your job as a marketer is to get prospects to know you and like you. Let’s assume you are likable, the job then is to get prospects to know you. Take the direct contact method and modify it to indirect contact. Here are some suggestions:
- Email. You already use it, how about amping it up and contacting more contacts and prospects or contact them more regularly? Think of a reason to reach out. Perhaps a question you have that the person could answer for you. Or a tip or some information that would be useful to them.
- Telephone. Like email but even better; you can have a conversation with a back and forth. Talking will give you a more personal contact with your prospect and allows for improvision. Be sure to have a reason for the call though and don’t waste their time.
- Zoom calls. Yes, we are beginning to loathe them but there are a lot of Zooms out there that you might work for you marketing-wise. The goal, just as in in-person networking events, is to find a person(s) you want to connect with for a later non-Zoom conversation. Of course, if you have something to say, all the better, but be polite.
- Webinars. The same thing, they are an opportunity to connect. You can attend or, better yet, if you have an expertise to share, set one up, it isn’t hard. You can also record it (Zoom calls too) and use it in your indirect marketing. You could send a link to the webinar or Zoom call in an email to people you know, prospects, etc.
- CLEs. Lawyers have to attend them. If you have expertise or experience to share, see if you can arrange one through your state or local bar association. You can be the star. Often overlooked as a source of business, lawyers can be excellent referral sources. Consider CEs from other professions or associations. For example, a Tax attorney conducting a CE for CPAs on new regulations that will affect their practices.
- Videos. Possibly the most overlooked, and yet one of the most effective methods, of marketing! It works especially well for lawyers. Having a video(s) on your website gives prospective clients an opportunity to see you walk and talk. It show’s them you know your stuff. People have lots of legal questions in your practice area that you could answer for them. Do some searches on YouTube and see what other attorneys are doing. AND, YouTube is the 2nd most popular search engine-right after Google! Upload your videos to Google, even set up a channel for your firm, and your videos will be searchable by Google.
These are a few suggestions. What are some other ways you can connect with prospects indirectly to get them to know you and like you?
Whatever marketing tools you use, make marketing an integral part of your law practice.