By Terrie S. Wheeler
In early 2015, I wrote a series about your 2015 marketing plan, just as a new year was upon us and we were all feeling energized and ready to tackle new goals and resolutions. Now, with a couple of months under our belts, it is time to revisit our goals, both personal and professional, and to make sure we are making genuine progress against our stated objectives. Last month, I shared some smart tips for implementing your marketing plan using low cost, high impact strategies that are not far removed from the activities you are already doing. In this article, I offer some additional bright ideas that should take less time, money and effort than you might think and still have a real and lasting impact on the long-term growth of your practice. At the end of each section, look for ideas that you can start now (meaning today!) to continue the momentum you have started this year in better marketing your practice.
Bright Idea! Trade Association Involvement
Trade associations are generally ripe with both prospective clients and/or referral sources that can help you reach your business growth objectives. Before you pick this low-hanging fruit, however, here are a few tips:
- Research before you join – Ask your clients and referral sources what organizations they are involved in. Attend a couple of meetings before you join.
- Get known – Attend as many meetings as you can. If you can’t make the commitment to attend the meetings, don’t join right now.
- Extend your services – Offer to write for the organization’s publication and speak at monthly meetings on topics of interest to members.
- Follow up with members – When you find someone you would like to build a relationship with, add them to your sales pipeline (keep reading). Ask them to coffee to learn more about them. Ask great questions. Determine action steps and commit to following up.
A short note related to bar associations: use your bar association(s) to build relationships with your colleagues and to pursue your own professional development through CLE offerings. Over time, you will likely build solid relationships with other lawyers leading to friendships and referrals.
Offer to write a column answering common legal questions members have; interview a few members you hand-pick for content for your column (and great networking with the members you most want to meet!).
Bright Idea! Community Involvement
In addition to your pro bono commitments, consider becoming a nonprofit board member or volunteering in your community. Your clients and referral sources want to see that you are focused on more than just billable hours. Make sure the organization you become active in has a mission you deeply support and believe in. If it doesn’t, you will lose interest. If you are an exceptional board member or volunteer (prepared, attends meetings, asks great questions, follows through on commitments), you will undoubtedly be perceived as an excellent lawyer.
Make a list of three organizations you are interested in serving. Schedule time on your calendar to investigate the board appointment process online and follow up with your top choice.