For the past few months, it seems as if the world has been sluggish, almost frozen in place, trying to get a handle on the pandemic. But new problems are developing quickly, and the old problems still exist. The community still needs help from lawyers to navigate them. Finding new clients in this environment can be tricky, though. Industry gatherings and in-person networking events have been eliminated. So, how do you network and maintain or expand your business in this environment?
Tip 1: Master Your Virtual Presence
By now you should have some form of web presence, such as a website that informs visitors about your services. If you have not already done so, take the time to make sure it is up to date, informative, and makes contacting you easy. If you do not have a web presence yet, you can build one yourself through a website host service such as Bluehost or HostGator Cloud. If you are uncomfortable designing it yourself, consider a website development service such as Uptown Website Works or Elite Legal Marketing. If possible, try to include a way for clients to schedule appointments with you during your work hours and a way for them to make payments online.
Tip 2: Reach Out to Community Groups
Every group and organization seems to be adapting to a virtual world. Take a moment to look around and see the various groups that may be hosting virtual meetings and gatherings. These are opportunities to network and introduce potential new clients to your services. Does your neighborhood have a community newsletter? Consider writing an article relevant to the times and your services. If you belong to a church or other community organization, consider doing the same on these platforms.
Another way to market your practice is by creating short videos in which you educate people on their rights and options. Upload the videos onto your social media platforms and offer them to community social media groups if they want to make them available to their members.
Tip 3: Host Webinars
Webinars are a great opportunity to showcase your expertise and interact with potential new clients. Do you have an estate planning practice? Consider hosting a webinar for your community on how to get started planning your estate or planning long-term care for aging loved ones. You can make it an interactive Q&A if you desire.
Tip 4: Keep Your Current Clients Informed
Your current clients are likely worried right now, too. Take the time to communicate to them what is going on at your firm regarding their matters and what is happening with the courts, if applicable. Are hearings being pushed back or proceeding remotely? Have you reduced your office hours, or is everyone working remotely? You can use your website, e-mail, newsletters, phone, or text messages, but find a way to let clients know you are thinking about them and continuing to give their matter the attention it deserves.
Tip 5: Connect with Potential Clients Through Video Chat
Because clients cannot connect with you one-on-one right now, you should make yourself available for video chats if possible. To make the virtual conference more efficient, try to have clients fill out online forms and submit any relevant documents so that you can be prepared to discuss the matter going into the call.
While there is no one-size-fits all solution to finding clients in 2020, by offering your services online and taking advantage of the digital connection opportunities, you retain existing customers during social distancing while also potentially opening your market to people outside your geographic area.
Published in GPSolo eReport, Volume 9, Number 10, May 2020. © 2020 by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association. The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of the American Bar Association or the Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division.