Marketing made easy: a common-sense marketing plan

Published on: 
Published on 11/14/05

As the Cheshire Cat observed to Alice long ago, the path you take doesn't matter if you don't care where you're going.

That applies to marketing for too many lawyers and law firms. We know we want more clients and more business, so we go to a trade association meeting, invite a prospect to lunch, send out a newsletter and hope something sticks. This scattershot approach is counterproductive. It's far more effective to develop a plan and adhere to it.

Target your strategies

Rank a list of five things you do to market yourself or your law firm in the order of what has worked best. Which activities bring the most profitable new clients, develop most referral sources or generate the most inquiries?

Your list might read:

  1. Networking with other professionals and referral sources
  2. Seminars
  3. Website
  4. Advertising
  5. PR

Now cross the bottom two off the list. You need to be ruthless; this is no time for sentiment or favorites. Stop doing them and put the money you've devoted to them back into the top three performers - the ones with the most bang for the buck.

Target your clients

Create a profile of your ideal client and develop a marketing strategy that focuses on this target, not everyone. You can increase your revenue dramatically by focusing on clients who will give you the work that you want. A client profile should answer these questions:

  • What characteristics describe your ideal client?
  • What is your client's occupation?
  • What are their demographics?
  • Where are they located?
  • How do you know when it's a "fit"?
  • What about financials - monthly fee, annual income, other profit centers?
  • What is your ideal personal client relationship?
  • How do you view your practice - vocation or calling, vision or dream?

Target your work

If you get new work from clients you want, you may need to free up time by declining matters from an existing client who is a real pain. Few attorneys want to "fire" clients, but there are legitimate ways to target your work with less desirable clients.

Consider increasing your fee. This is done more easily when you use "value" (flat fee) billing, but it can also be done in hourly billing matters by creating a minimum fee.

A budget, accepted by the client, is usually helpful. You are telling the client, in essence, that you will incur some of the pitfalls of working with them if the price is right and if their behavior (in areas like prompt payment and minimizing unnecessary phone calls) is acceptable.

Targeting your existing work in this way reinforces client perceptions that you're good and that you're in demand by many people, which allows you to command a higher price for your services - the definition of successful marketing.

This Coach’s Corner Article is listed under the following categories: