Marketing Your Firm, Guerilla Style

Vol. 2, No. 1

Melinda Hohlbein is a former marketing consultant in Seattle, Washington, and the current marketing director for CHILD, the Children’s Institute for Learning Differences, a regional center providing therapeutic day school and therapy services.

 

It’s unconventional, creative, low-cost, and—best of all—effective. Use these one-to-many approaches to find new clients and maximize the benefits of your time and expertise.

 

  • Work it. Can you package some of what you know into a self-help seminar that would appeal to potential clients? Find a trade show, community college, professional agency, or local community center where you can present your information for free or at low cost. Fill that room with people who have the kinds of problems your firm solves and help them with the basics. Many of them will need a professional, and whom do you think they’ll call?
  • Yelp. Nothing says, “I’m the one to hire,” as well as a personal referral. Ask your current clients to help you get the word out. With a little encouragement, happy clients will post their review of your services to social networking, user review, and local search sites, such as Yelp, Lawyers.com, and Avvo. Do not underestimate these resources. Your savvy potential clients are there reading right now. Will they find you?
  • Fish in a barrel. Find out where your potential clients congregate and offer to present to them on a hot, relevant topic. For example, professional associations are a good bet because they usually have regular meetings and frequently need speakers. Always leave time for Q&A at the end to show your knowledge and expertise. Attendees will keep your business card handy.
  • Speak to me. Find radio talk shows that cater to audiences that would benefit from an expert in your field of practice. Landlord/tenant? Find a real estate program. Adoption your area of expertise? Offer to answer questions on a parenting show. If you’re afraid of public speaking, join the club: Rotary, that is, and beef up your speaking skills. Your answers will be heard by thousands of potential new clients.
  • Go viral. Answer frequently asked questions in short, interesting videos and publish them to websites such as YouTube or Bing to reach potential clients. Make titles and content compelling, “Five Common Mistakes When Creating a Trust,” or “Three Things to Do If You’re Thinking About Filing for Divorce.” Include your URL in the video, and make a modest pitch at the end to contact you for further questions if the viewer needs legal help in your state.
  • We, we, we, all the way home. Do you refer clients to a noncompeting business such as a CPA, real estate agent, or mortgage company? Build on that rapport with a discussion about how to partner with them on creating a seminar or joint newsletter that provides information that helps both of your client bases.
  • He said, she said. This one is more common sense than guerilla, but track where your referrals come from and do more of same. Does that expensive ad in the law journal yield enough clients to be worth what you spent? Is that financial planner that came to your seminar last summer consistently sending you two to three clients per month? You should know the answer, so that you can pamper your working referral sources and jettison money-sucking nonperformers.
  • If you write them, they will come. Articles. Write them. Submit them. Add them to your website. Articles are a compelling calling card and really help keep your name in the minds of potential clients.
  • He never calls; she never writes. Do you contact your clients regularly? Why not? Encourage them to keep you on their short list of go-to professionals by sending them relevant, timely information monthly or quarterly. Tease them with an abstract from your latest article or recap a new ruling that affects their business. Don’t forget to close with an offer of assistance or to answer any questions they may have.
  • A tangled Web. These days, potential clients will look at your website before they decide to call you. Make your site compelling and your contact information easy to find. Three must-haves:
o   Polish. Your website needs to reflect your firm's professional services and only a sophisticated, well-designed site will effectively attract new clients. Scrap the do-it-yourself site your brother-in-law made for you and spend your resources wisely on a professional site. It’s your best first impression, so make it count.
o   In a word. What are the keywords prospective clients use to find services like yours? Unlawful detainer? Wills? Divorce? Know them. The content on your website should be filled with these keywords to help your website appear closer to the top on search results. Your website developer should also place these keywords in the metatags on your site. (Metatags are HTML code that is used by many Internet search engines to index your site for visitors.)
o   Resources. Collect helpful articles, provide forms, link to useful sites, answer frequently asked questions—and you'll attract potential clients. With your über-resource section, clients will find and bookmark your site while searching for help—and easily find your number when they need an expert.

    You may be overwhelmed looking at this list and much too busy to waste time on marketing. You’ll have lots more free time if you don’t make reaching out to new clients a priority. Pick one a month to work on and get going. That phone isn’t going to ring itself.

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