So what are The Four Pillars of Marketing? The Four Pillars provide the construct for lawyers to use as they seek to develop and implement a marketing plan that will cover all the most important elements and best practices for lawyers. It’s not enough to just write articles, or just attend networking events. The Four Pillars of Marketing will provide a structure for you to make sure you are touching a host of marketing best practices for lawyers.
My goal as a consultant and coach to lawyers is to boil “all of this marketing stuff” down into categories and tasks that make sense to you and, most importantly, are manageable. I know that you don’t have a lot of time and likely feel consistent pressure to bill hours and deliver legal services. That said, it is equally important for you to make the time to keep your marketing efforts moving forward.
The Pillars acknowledge how important it is to retain and grow your best relationships while also proactively developing new business, increasing your name recognition in the marketplace, and pursuing targeted communications.
Pillar I – Retain and Grow Existing Relationships
Before you launch into meeting new people, first leverage the best of what you have. I like to consider this the most important pillar. As you know, a significant portion of next year’s revenue will come from your existing clients, contacts, and referral sources. These activities make sure you are acknowledging and building upon your best current relationships. Consider your efforts in the following areas:
- Client Satisfaction – Administer a web-based “end-of-case” or “end-of-matter” survey to keep your finger on the pulse of client satisfaction.
- Client Service – Read The E-Myth Attorney, by Michael E. Gerber and develop systems and processes to run your practice.
- Cross-Marketing – Create a spreadsheet to ensure you are fully serving your existing clients (Client names in rows and services as column heads).
- Referral Source Development – Review a list of your clients over the past two years. Who referred those clients to you? Create a list of your best referral sources and schedule coffee or lunch.
Pillar II – New Business Development
I know you didn’t go to law school to become a sales person, but developing new business is and will continue to be the lifeblood of your practice. Developing new business will keep you in new clients now and into the future. You should have a steady stream of new clients – not just new cases or matters for existing clients. A minimum of 30% of your revenue each year should come from new business. To do this, you should commit to:
- Networking – Identify your top clients, prospective clients, and referral sources. Weave relationship building throughout the fabric of your practice and stay in touch with your best contacts.
- Targeted Business Development – Think about what your best clients have in common, then identify companies or referral sources who interact with these groups every day. Identify creative ways in which to get in front of these groups.
- Market Research – Before you meet with a new person, take the time to review their LinkedIn profile (see if you have contacts in common with them), read their website, do a Google search for their name. Even basic research like this will allow you to ask brilliant questions and find out what you might have in common.
- Trade and Professional Association Involvement – Join an association that attracts your best clients or referral sources. Attend meetings, write for their publication, speak at their monthly or quarterly meetings.
Pillar III – Increase Name Recognition and Awareness
With blogging and social media, keeping your name recognition high is easier than ever. If people don’t know who you are because of low name recognition in the marketplace, it will be a LOT harder to build your practice. Since the inception of LinkedIn in 2007, the process of developing and maintaining high name recognition has skyrocketed. It’s easier now than ever to keep your name recognition high. Consider these ideas:
- Social Media – Never stop connecting with people you know on LinkedIn. If you come across something interesting or just published a blog, post it on your profile. Make social media part of your daily life – not just something you do if you ever have the time.
- Branding – Take a look at your brand (website, materials, letterhead, how your dress). Would you hire you? Make sure you not only look the part of a successful lawyer, but that your website and materials convey the class and sophistication you bring to your clients.
- Public Relations – Tap into the third-party credibility of the media. Watch for the reporters who cover stories in your area(s) and reach out to them with your thoughts, comments, and other related story ideas.
- Community Involvement – Consider serving on a non-profit board. Your fellow board members will see the commitment you have and will assume you are also a diligent and thoughtful lawyer.
Pillar IV – Targeted and Effective Communications
If people don’t know who you are, it will be significantly harder to attract new business. One of the most important components of communications is to practice targeted communications to key audiences you are trying to reach. I would rather have you communicating to smaller groups and to make each communication 100% relevant to their needs. In other words, I want you to provide timely, relevant content to people who could hire or refer you. Consider these strategies:
- Communicate with your Clients – Break your contacts into different groups (by industry or profession). Only communicate information that will be relevant to that group. No firm newsletters. No mass-communications.
- Manage your Contacts – We recommend Constant Contact or MailChimp, two user-friendly e-databases that allow for you to send specific information to a targeted group of people.
- Have a GREAT Website – Please look at your website. If you cringe, make the investment in having your site redone. It matters. While a website will not generate business FOR you, it will determine whether (or not) the visitor will call you.
- Mingle with your Clients – Move into a new office? Have a reception. Attending a trade show? Take your clients to dinner. Want to celebrate summer? Invite your clients out on a boat. Have information to share? Host a seminar or a webinar.
By having a basic understanding of The Four Pillars of Marketing, you will ensure your marketing strategy is balanced and that it will produce the results you need. Consider The Four Pillars of Marketing as your checklist to ensure you attract the highest quality clients.
Terrie S. Wheeler, MBC | I am the founder and president of Professional Services Marketing, LLC. It is my job to help lawyers grow their practices at every level including having a working knowledge of marketing best practices. I enjoy using The Four Pillars of Marketing because it works! Access our free marketing webinars on many of the topics covered in this article, or email me, Terrie@psm-marketing.com.