What is Marketing
Marketing: A management process through which goods or services move from concept to consumer. (Business Dictionary.com)
You are a lawyer providing a legal service. You are also a business. As a business you have all the management problems of every business owner including marketing your business. With a well-planned marketing strategy, your law business will grow over time.
The process of marketing includes four elements:
- Identification, selection, and development of a product or service
- Determination of price
- Selection of distribution channel to reach your ideal client
- Development and implementation of a promotional strategy
Identification, Selection, and Development of a Service
Your first consideration is to decide what type of law you wish to practice. Often this became evident in law school as you studied the various areas of law or you accepted an internship and spent hours researching personal injury, civil rights, or criminal law and you became fascinated.
Another approach is to study your town. Research the census statistics, join the Chamber of Commerce, study the businesses—determine the composition of the area to determine what legal services are needed. Use that information to start a practice or add a new needed practice area to your list of services.
Once the area of practice is identified and selected, develop an expertise by attending conferences and ICLE seminars, teaching, and writing articles for your state or local bar association.
Determination of Price
Pricing is a complicated issue worthy of study. Prices should be based on the client’s subjective value placed on solving his or her problem. Because it’s subjective, it can be hard to figure out. Don’t quote over the phone—have a meeting with the prospective client, analyze the information, and offer to send the quote the next day. You may also decide to offer some services at a fixed price—a price that is attractive to target clients and profitable to the law firm over time.
Selection of Distribution Channels
Take some time and decide who will buy your services. Once you know who you want to attract, then decide how to reach that person. One way is the Internet—PEW research says more than 75% of consumers use the Internet to find a lawyer or to learn more about the lawyer recommended to them. A website creates a good first impression and helps build trust and credibility. More consumers are turning to legal directories, so update your profile on the SBM Member Directory. Social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn helps build relationships.
Face-to-face networking is another way to meet people and expand your client base. You can join volunteer organizations with goals you support, sit on boards, teach a class, give a speech, and network with other lawyers.
Develop & Implement a Promotional Strategy
First, establish what marketing strategies you will use; second, determine how many hours a week you will be able to devote to your plan and last, establish a budget for estimated costs. Always ask clients how they came to you, ask them for referrals in your closing letter, and use an analytics program to determine how your online strategies are doing.
Marketing is more than selling. It is a way of thinking in terms of your clients’ needs and their satisfaction. If you turn your thoughts to them and not yourself, you’ll get more referrals and your business will grow.
Roberta Gubbins has served as the editor of the Ingham County Legal News. Since leaving the paper, she provides services as a ghostwriter editing articles, blogs, and e-blasts for lawyers and law firms. She is the editor of Briefs, the Ingham County Bar Association e-newsletter, and The Mentor, SBM Master Lawyers Section newsletter.
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