In a recent Wall Street Journal article by Jamie Heller, law firms will experience a flat to 5-6% decline in business this year. Partners are being scrutinized more closely as is outside counsel. Our experience in the field indicates that firms are less inclined to take on personal injury cases unless there are obvious injuries (i.e., fractures). Soft tissue injury cases are becoming a matter of the past as are medical malpractice cases, which are often labor-intensive, with hard to prove relationships between malpractice and injury and prohibitively costly expenses (expert witnesses, reconstructions, research…). Larger firms are cutting “non-producers” within their ranks and solo and small- to medium sized firms are more tightly focusing their advertising budget.
Below are several zero-to-low cost marketing tips that can be implemented immediately and may help to maintain or increase your practice’s income status/ client retention:
1. Stay in touch with your clients. Instead of frantic calls to or from your clients when case activity occurs, schedule set, periodic update calls or notices to your clients. If there is no activity, simply have your assistant (digital, human or combination) mail/email a contact information update request to your client. Otherwise, if you know there are upcoming events that will require your client’s input, don’t upset your entire schedule with 2 minute phone calls here and there. Schedule several hours biweekly with a set list of clients to discuss their matters.
2. Network. Great movie; invaluable concept. LinkedIn recently announced an agreement with the traditional online lawyer directory LexisNexis Martindale Hubbell. LinkedIn is quickly becoming the largest professional networking site in the world. LinkedIn has added a powerful social networking component onto the Martindale site. As of last week, 260,000 lawyers have LinkedIn accounts. Join today.
3. Blog. Use Blogger, WordPress; any generic application will do but get your firm’s business out there. Prospective clients, as the rest of the online world now, wants information. They actively seek it and you need to provide it. Remaining faceless in a society that increasingly demands transparency and data is suicidal for any business. And write your own blog, or assign to someone competent within your firm. There are businesses that will provide fee-based “blogs” but we would firmly advise not to waste your budget on this tactic. Your blog needs to reflect your firm’s personality, even if you update it once every two weeks.
4. Identify and target your market. The most attuned attorneys are focusing on niche markets and sniper-shooting their advertising efforts.
We hope these tips help your business; it helps ours!
BNI Operatves: Street smart: Web savvy.
As always, be safe,