How Will YOU Make 2012 a Different Kind of Year?
By Kimberly Alford Rice
About this time every year, I receive a flurry of calls and emails from clients and contacts who are indecisive and unclear about what they can do to make the new year successful for their practice. I hear a variety of comments along the lines of “I’ve tried this marketing tactic and that marketing tactic and it just doesn’t work…” Sound familiar?
So, how will you make 2012 a different kind of year? Better?
While lawyers may know “what” they need to do to promote themselves and their services, I have found over many years that 1. they don’t always understand the “how” to promote themselves and their services; 2. more times than not, they approach “marketing” like quail hunting – in a scattershot manner; and 3. for whatever reason, time management issues usually, they are unable/unwilling to consistently follow through.
To get started on strong footing and to make 2012 a different kind of year for you and your practice, allow me to challenge your marketing mindset.
Times Have Changed
Whether or not you are part of a large law firm or are a sole practitioner, ultimately, it is up to you to create what you want for your practice. Sure, you may have an army-size marketing department and other support services, but you cannot rely solely upon passive marketing tactics such as firm newsletters, brochure-ware, your website bio, etc. to assist you to develop your own book of business.
Below are 2 ideas to incorporate into your 2012 marketing plan:
Your Network Needs You
When you report to superiors, getting out of your office for extended periods of time can be challenging, but if you present to your supervising attorney a quarterly plan for how you intend to grow your network to build a client base, he/she should be pleased that you are taking the initiative to become self-sustaining. First, research 2012 event calendars for organizations in which you are involved (or in which you want to be involved) and diary them on your calendar, creating an Alert in Outlook. Honor these commitments. My mantra “Go where your (wanna be) clients go…industry groups, business development groups, arts groups, etc. Ask a trusted colleague to “check” your networking skills. Are you being effective?
Calling All Authors
To assist in developing a reputation as an expert in your area of practice, it has never been easier to be published - - in print and online publications, blogs, op-ed columns, etc. Carefully select a venue in which you know your prospects reads, and pitch an article topic to the editor. It really is that simple. It’s not necessary to deliver a Pulitzer Prize-winning thesis, just a 1,000-word article that is cogent to your audience. Don’t “know” your audience…that’s another conversation.
To proactively build and sustain a healthy practice over the course of your career, you must develop sound strategies which reach specific audiences in a meaningful way over a sustained period of time. There are many economical ways to do that but they do not include any one-shot wonders like supporting your nephew’s Little League with a one-time advertisement placement, rarely updating your website bio, or even attending a scattershot array of networking events without appropriately following up in a timely manner.
Marketing legal services is evolving, with many new ways to attract and retain clients. Some marketing strategies have lost their magic while others are emerging as winners.
One marketing truth won’t change. Clients will continue to purchase legal services from trustworthy and competent people who can demonstrate, beyond a reasonable doubt, that they can produce the results they promise. Demonstrate that to the market and you’ll have clients lined up to work with you.
Kimberly Alford Rice is principal of KLA Marketing Associates, a business development advisory firm focusing on legal services. As a law marketing authority, Kimberly helps law firms and lawyers develop practical business development and marketing strategies which lead directly to new clients and increased revenues. Additionally, Kimberly provides career management services to lawyers in transition. She may be reached at 609-458-0415 or via email at email@example.com.