People buy from those they know, like and trust, so your first 3 steps should focus on those elements. Obviously, people need to know you exist before they can start a relationship with you. That means you should consider all the ways you can put your firm image and message out into the community. There is an endless list of strategies to be visible, but some of the most effective are:
- Having a 1st page ranking on the search engines. Google, Yahoo and Bing, both on the organic and Local Places listing
- Drive people from your search engine listing to a special landing page where you offer a free report or CD
- Advertising free seminars on estate planning topics by direct mail, newspapers, radio and even TV
- Networking with centers of influence by sending out monthly e-alerts on topical issues in the law
- Create endorsed seminars for clients of related professionals
- Producing a monthly or quarterly online or offline newsletter
- Write a regular blog and create articles on the web
- Speak before local groups on the latest estate planning strategies
- Book yourself on radio and TV talk shows as an expert guest
- Stay in constant contact with your existing clients who can spread the good word about your firm
In the process of spreading your message on all these platforms, you’ll inevitably be seen as a likeable, trustworthy expert in your field.
One of the best ways to get known and liked is to offer something of value for free. Let your prospects sample your outstanding services. It’s a risk-free way to let them see what you can deliver. In fact, we believe that you should “move the free line” out as far as you can. In exchange for a prospect’s contact information, you offer free reports on various estate planning issues. You can offer CDs where you take on a topic in more depth or a DVD of you presenting a seminar. These can be physical products or offered online on your web landing page. Of course, the absolute best way for people to sample your services is for them to see you live and in person presenting an estate planning seminar. They see your personality, your presence and hear your expertise right before their eyes.
Of course, once you have their contact information you can start to move them down the sales funnel. It’s like they’ve raised their hands saying, “Yes, I want that free report on Special Needs or that CD about Living Trusts or to attend a free seminar.” Once their hand is up, you can start a drip marketing campaign to them, offering more information, a free consultation or just general news around their topic of interest. This can be by newsletter, e-mail, postcards or any other method that moves them toward retaining your firm.
Once they retain your firm, the communication really starts in earnest. We recommend a minimum of 12 touches per year. They can be greeting cards for birthdays, anniversaries, holidays or special events you’re holding. You can touch them with invitations to additional seminars, client appreciation events, or by sending articles you find interesting in magazines and newspapers. The idea is to build up the lifetime value of each client by offering them new services. It might be funeral trusts, advanced planning, or if you’re properly licensed, investment products.
After you’ve had them sample your services, retain your firm, buy additional services, you’re ideally positioned to have them refer their friends, their family members and their co-workers.
So there you have it in a nutshell. You can use this as a framework to launch your own successful marketing campaigns.
President & Co-Founder
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue Suite 300
San Diego, CA 92123