When was the last time you heard these words: “My friend/brother/sister/cousin said I should hire you because you are the best at what you do?” Whether you answered, “Just a few minutes ago” or “Not in awhile,” you should be doing something to maintain and grow your fan base.
During my recent presentation at the Broward County Hispanic Bar Association’s monthly luncheon, I revealed the three biggest mistakes law firms are making with their online marketing. In my last post, I covered mistake #1: going into the World Wide Web without a niche. Today I’m here to discuss mistake #2: thinking your firm will survive or better yet flourish without a list!
Attorney and legal marketing guru Ben Glass refers to this as “growing your herd of raving fans.” Ben uses this phrase as a way of illustrating to his Great Legal Marketing community that they need to tend to their past and current clients, as well as find ways to cultivate new clients (through charity, free offers and quality information) in order to grow their practices. It makes sense right? Think about it this way – how far could a celebrity get without his or her groupies? Not very far. And, neither will your law firm without a loyal fan base.
So, what can you do to get your firm’s name in lights?
#1: Become a Local Celebrity
Groupies follow celebrities. This much we know. They buy tabloid magazines, watch TMZ and visit the gossip blogs daily to see what their favorite stars are wearing, eating, drinking, and where they’re going. The same will go for you. If you’re a big shot in your community, you better believe you will form a legion of followers who will hang on your every move too. Not a local celeb yet? Well then, it’s time to let Mister DeMille know you’re ready for your close-up. And, don’t worry. You won’t need a Hollywood agent to get attention, you just have to act on some of these note-worthy activities:
- Become a local philanthropist – research causes and charities in your firm’s area and donate your time or money to one or more that you feel especially passionate about. For example, a few of our clients have made great strides in their locales by backing initiatives that enforce strict penalties against motorists who text while driving or drive while intoxicated;
- Sponsor a local sports team – if you’re diehard sports fan, you can seek out a high school athletic team in need of a new field, equipment or coaches;
- Sponsor a school’s arts or academic club – sports not your thing? No problem. There are lots of people who prefer the arts or academia over sports. Consider extending your generosity to a local high school’s drama or math club; or
- Sponsor an annual “walk/run for the cure” event – encourage your staff, family and friends to participate too!
As with any marketing endeavor, you shouldn’t just dive in head first (unless you are really doing it for the love of the cause). You’ll want to evaluate whether the benefits outweigh the costs. You should also ask yourself if you’ll be able to keep the commitment of your time or money for the long haul and, most importantly, if your goals for raising awareness of your firm are met by your charitable efforts.
Some questions you’ll want to ask the organization you’re donating to include: Where will my logo be displayed and how often? Is my sponsorship exclusive? What other businesses are sponsoring the event at my level? Any additional benefits? Get these answers and any others terms important to you in writing.
At We Do Web Content we’ve raised our “local celebrity” status by donating to disaster relief funds,local food banks during the holidays and getting underprivileged children the supplies they need forback to school. These are easy starter events any attorney can jump on in his or her community.
#2: Assume the Role of an Expert (Because You Are!)
How have you displayed your knowledge and expertise to your target audience? With a website?! Pff! A website is absolutely necessary these days. Definitely nothing special. Are you considered a thought leader by your peers? Don’t know? Oy! Look, no one knows the laws in your geographic area like you do, so why not show your prospects and referral network who’s the man/woman?
Simply consider the credentials you look for in an expert and work on getting those notches on your proverbial belt.
We always advise our clients to:
Publish a book. Hardcover, paperback or digital, publishing your own book is easier than ever with today’s technology. The best part is, they can be your next great marketing tool if you promote them properly. All you have to do is get your thoughts down on paper or on a handheld recorder and hire a writer/editor to pretty it up.
And, don’t let the age-old excuse of not having time stop you. We have written and designed dozens of eBooks from scratch for our clients. If you don’t have time to draft 25 to 100 pages of information, at least write an outline, gather some initial reference material and hire a firm like We Do Web Content to handle the grunt work (we live and die for this stuff!). Then, all you have to do is make edits to the manuscript. Easy as that!
I challenge you to make it your next mission to share your knowledge about the topic(s) you know best with the world. Having an eBook or two (or three) about your niche, is one of the easiest ways to demonstrate your experience and position yourself as an expert within your industry.
How to cash in on your book: Yeah, you can sell your published works on and off your website, but you’ll realize more gains if you give them away for nothing (well, next to nothing that is). Allow me to explain. People have a hard time resisting freebies, and books can easily convert a prospect to a groupie with the click of a button.
You should promote your book as a FREE DOWNLOAD through your website in exchange for the requestor’s full name and email address (this is why I said, “give it away for next to nothing“). Simply add a short order form (the less you ask for, the better) to the top right-hand corner of your website with a thumbnail image of your book(s) and watch the leads come in (this is your ROI).
As the leads make it to your inbox, add their names to your list and follow up with themimmediately and repeatedly. This is how you create and grow your firm’s band of groupies and stay top of mind. You hit them with valuable information and sell to them later.
Bonus tip: Monthly newsletters are another way to keep your groupies in-the-know about your firm and personal life. If you pack your newsletter with information that is entertaining and important to your audience, your groupies will share it with their friends, which will definitely lead to more groupies.
If you’re using your site’s order form for multiple marketing assets (i.e., contact requests, book downloads and newsletter subscriptions), make sure you perform a double opt-in by sending the requestor/subscriber an email asking them to confirm their recent action on your website. This will avoid your future email messages being classified as spam.
Speak at important events. Stage fright, speech phobia, performance anxiety… whatever your feelings on public speaking, you’re going to have to find a way to get over them if you want to be thought of as an industry expert.
Being a keynote speaker at an event that draws in hundreds of new attendees each time can translate into new clients and referral sources for your firm. Many of our clients have successfully increased their firms’ bottom line by sharing their legal expertise at conferences and seminars.
You can start small and perfect your technique by joining a local Toastmasters club. Then, once you’re ready to take your act on the road, offer to speak at local business seminars, chamber of commerce meetings and community events. Of course, you’ll want to speak at events that offer the opportunity to grow your network of referral partners and potential clients. And, don’t forget to add their names to your list!
If you’re having difficulty landing speaking gigs, improve your pitch with these tips:
- Promote your niche – become “the go-to guy (or gal)” for your area of expertise.
- Attend the kinds of events you want to speak at – when you become a known face in these venues and get to know the regulars, your name will be much more recognizable on a speaker application.
- Connect with meeting planners – there are professionals whose job it is to find suitable speakers for their seminars. If you can get on their radar with a simple phone call or email, you’ll improve your chances of being called upon to speak at relevant conventions.
- Promote your appearances – let your groupies know when and where you’ll be speaking next and specifically ask them to spread the word. Keep a list of prior appearances updated on your website and Linkedin profile so your peers and prospects can see how popular you are.
There are many online resources you can tap into to find events, seminars and conventions that are in need of expert speakers. For example, you can get listed on SpeakerServices.com’s directory to have the gigs come to you. eSpeakers.com is another directory that helps you land speaking engagements.
You can also search the National Trade and Professional Association’s directory for trade shows, seminars and conventions in your niche. There you will find a calendar and database for potential speaking opportunities across the nation.
Get quoted in the news. As the saying goes, any publicity is good publicity. If you want to gain groupies, you’ll want good publicity, so make your own!
Make friends with local journalists – local news channels and newspapers are always on the hunt for community news stories and local experts to weigh-in on national topics. For example, a personal injury attorney in Plantation, Florida could offer their thoughts on red light cameras and their potential to increase traffic accidents. Or, if you have an employee training to represent the USA in the next Olympics, tell your local news station how your firm is supporting his or her efforts.
Another great way to get your name in the news (in a positive way!) is to create your own news-worthy events and write exciting press releases about them. Press releases aren’t just for Fortune 500 companies looking to announce their latest merger or acquisition. With sites like PRweb and The Associated Press, anyone can write and publish a press release.
A well-written press release can create buzz for your firm on and offline. As word gets around about your company’s latest news, you’ll have new batch of groupies wanting to connect!
Be the first name your groupies utter when asked who is the best attorney for _________ (insert your practice area). You know that great list of groupies I’m helping you collect? If you’ve been listening, you’re already devising a plan to send them your books and add them to your newsletter mailing list. However, the work doesn’t stop there. If you’re going to convert groupies to clients you’ll need to follow-up with them quickly and often.
After they’ve had a week or two to read your book or they’ve got at least one issue of your newsletter, it’s time to reconnect. Send a follow-up email to see how they’re doing with your materials. Do they have questions? Do they still need your firm’s services? If so, remind them how they can get in contact with you and become a client.
I like to suggest our clients use an email follow-up service like Infusionsoft or Blue Orchid. These applications allow you to organize your groupies, as well as schedule and measure the success of your marketing campaigns. Both systems come with pre-loaded email responses for easy set up. A good rule of thumb is to stagger your communications so you don’t come off as a spammer.
Your firm’s newsletter is a prime opportunity to stay on your past and current clients’ radar. Even if they don’t ever need your legal services again, they have plenty of friends and family who may ask them for a recommendation in the future. By sending your past and present clients regular emails, newsletters and holiday greetings, you’ll keep your name in the forefront of their minds.
Discover how We Do Web Content Can Boost Your Online Presence
Having groupies means you need fresh and relevant content on your website at all times to keep them engaged and interested in you. We Do Web Content can help promote your business and grow your fan base with authoritative, informational content for your groupies to share.
Get started today! Give us a call at 888-594-5442 or complete our online contact form to speak with our sales director about all of the services we offer to grow your practice.