The thought of sitting on a one-legged chair doesn’t sound very appealing. A one-legged or even two-legged chair, is precarious at best, hard to depend on and you’re never quite sure which way you are going to fall. So who would bother parking their tukkis on one? Well, many business owners do sit on and rely on one-legged chairs more often than you may think. Let me explain. You can view the marketing and public relations efforts of your business much like the legs of a chair. That chair may be solid and dependable or it may be wobbling on two legs with one broken leg. The more marketing and promotion components (legs) you have to support your practice, the more stable and predictable your incoming business will be. Unfortunately some owners perch their businesses on one-legged efforts, oftentimes without even realizing it. If you are an attorney and you are not reaching your desired outcome, you may want to take a closer look at your marketing approach to make sure you are placing your practice on a solid foundation for growing it, or simply maintaining it, depending on your goals.
To start, look at the framework you have in place for your current marketing and promotion efforts. What type of infrastructure do you have in place now that supports your law firm’s financial goals and generates predictable revenue? If your plans and execution are on the hit and miss side rather than an actual system, now could be the perfect time to roll up your sleeves and create a blueprint for a sturdier “chair.”
Creating your blueprint… First, you’ll want to identify the number of chairs that you’ll want to create. Each target audience (your ideal client groups) will need to have their own marketing chair to support it. For example, you may have three primary types of prospective clients that you can provide guidance to and best serve (effective workflow systems). You may even want to tap into a new target audience that you have not previously served but want to add to your practice repertoire.
Once you’ve acknowledged each target audience, you’ll need to identify their needs and then customize your marketing message to meet each of their needs. Your marketing messages will be the seats for each of your chairs.
Now that you’ve identified the services you want to provide, who you want to provide those services to and create their respective messages, you’re ready for the next step. You’ll create a stable base by creating the legs that will carry your marketing message out into your community and bring those prospective clients into your office. Some practices rely solely on word of mouth to bring the business in, which by the way, is a key “leg” to have in place, but having it as the only leg to stand on won’t sustain the practice day in and day out. Adding more legs to your approach will make a world of difference. Along with word of mouth referrals, look at what other ways you can get the word out about the work that you do. You can share your customized marketing messages through networking with clients and other professionals, advertising, direct mail, local media, social media online and community involvement. All of these steps can add much needed reinforcement that may be missing in your efforts.
Finally you’ll want to execute these well-thought out plans and ideas. Calendar a daily, weekly or monthly reminder for completing these marketing “leg” activities to continuously spread the word about your law firm and services. The more exposure you have targeted at the right audience, the more likely you’ll hit your goals.
With a good blueprint, the right tools, and consistent and deliberate execution, you can create the business you desire and deserve.
Susan Russel, Practice Building Consultant
Associate Director of Education
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.