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SmallLaw: Here Is the 2011 Marketing Plan for Your Law Firm You Were Going to Prepare

By Lee Rosen | Thursday, January 6, 2011

Originally published on January 4, 2011 in our free SmallLaw newsletter. Instead of reading SmallLaw here after the fact, sign up now to receive future issues in realtime.


Do you work in a large law firm? If so, you're reading the wrong version of this column. Read the BigLaw version instead.

This month a variety of "experts" will push your firm to put together a marketing plan for 2011. That's a great idea! Many of us who manage small firms will get to it right after we put the finishing touches on our 2010 marketing plan.

Oh yeah, that's right. We're really not going to write a 2011 marketing plan. We'll be lucky to find the time and energy to get to any marketing in 2011 between the clients, the upset paralegal, the unpaid receivables, the kids calling on the cell phone, and the need to hit the grocery store on the way home. A marketing plan isn't on the agenda no matter how much we know we should plan, budget, and calendar the necessary activities to continue to grow the quantity and quality of our clients. We just don't have the time, the energy, or the inclination.

Well, I have a solution for you so you won't have to feel guilty about skipping out on the planning. I've written your 2011 marketing plan for you. It's not the perfect marketing plan, but I guarantee that if you complete even half the tasks I've planned for you, you're going to see substantial new business flowing through your door. If that doesn't happen, email me a note in December and I'll fully refund what you paid for this SmallLaw newsletter.

You'll have to pick and choose the elements of the plan that work best for your firm. Obviously, you'll have to adapt the plan to your practice whether it's representing businesses or handling criminal cases. Tweak it to make it fit. If your firm has multiple practice areas, focus all of your marketing activities on your most promising (or favorite) practice area.

Send a letter to one-tenth of your existing clients. Thank them for allowing you to perform their work and ask whether they'd like to talk to you, at no charge, about any issue. Have them call and schedule a phone conference if they'd like to talk. Also, schedule lunch with two prospective referral sources.

Send the same letter to the next tenth of your clients and repeat every month until you finish in October. Also, schedule two more lunches and continue these lunches each month until November.

Continue with letters and lunches and write an article for any publication your target clientele likely reads. Limit yourself to 750 words (shorter than this article) and submit it.

More letters and lunches. Be sure to buy a reprint of the article from last month and place it on your Web site to note that you've been published. This month, join a club — any club will do. Lots of people like the Rotary. Just join a club. Also, write a quick note to everyone you've had lunch with since January and schedule coffee with them for next month.

Letters, lunches, and coffee with everyone you lunched with from January to March. Start asking your happiest clients and former clients to post reviews on your Google Places page (if permitted by your state's rules). Also, rack your brain for a connection to a local media outlet — TV, radio, or newspaper. You've got to know someone who knows someone. Just think it through for now.

Letters, lunches, and coffee with everyone from your April and May lunches. Call your media contact and introduce yourself. Sure, it's going to be weird if your connection is tenuous. Just do it — it's in the plan, right? Tell the contact that you're an expert in your area of the law and offer to make yourself available if he or she ever has questions.

Letters, lunches, and coffee. Also, write follow-up notes to everyone on your lunch list just to check in. Now you should be in a cycle with the lunch people. Do lunch, have coffee, and send a note every 90 days to everyone on the list. Also, go ahead and write another article for publication. Plus, you're still going to your club meetings, right? Offer to help with the club newsletter (it's good to get your name in print).

Letters, lunches, coffee, and follow-up notes. Keep the cycle going. Reprint your article on your Web site. Keep going to the club meetings. It's time again to ask for endorsements on your Google Places page. These endorsements need to become a regular practice so that you're asking new people to recommend your firm every three months.

Letters, lunches, coffee, follow-up notes, and club meetings. Call your media contact again. Offer information on recent developments and remind the person that you exist. Be friendly and helpful. Maybe the journalist would like some lunch or coffee? Send a follow-up note.

Letters, lunches, coffee, notes, and club meetings. You're busy, you're tired, and you're overrun with new clients. Seriously, if you've followed this plan, you're getting crushed. Keep it up. Don't slow down. If you need to regulate the volume of work, then raise your prices or hire some help. Don't stop. Stopping is the enemy. Go, go, go!

Take a break from client letters. You've made it through the list. Send holiday cards to everyone. Consider a holiday party for your lunch and coffee people. Don't stop with lunches, coffee, notes, and club meetings. Your club will have a holiday party. Offer to play the trumpet for people to dance to (I'm kidding, but you should go to the party next month).

Take a break from everything except the club holiday party, your bar association holiday party, and your firm holiday party. Rest and draft your marketing plan for 2012 (I won't be able to write your 2012 marketing plan).

By the end of 2011, you've sent all of your clients a letter reminding them that you exist and can help. You've met a bunch of new referral sources and had a chance to get to know them. You've met a ton of new people in your club. You've been recommended numerous times on Google. You've likely been published in several magazines, and you've probably been quoted in the local media. It's been a very good marketing year.

That's the plan. If you execute on this plan, you'll have a huge year. If you don't, you probably won't. Marketing can be systematic, entertaining, and productive. It doesn't have to be complicated. Try this plan. You'll be glad you did.

Written by Lee Rosen of Divorce Discourse.

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Topics: Law Firm Marketing/Publications/Web Sites | SmallLaw
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