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Karen Lundquist has built a small, international law practice focused on employment and business matters. Her firm, Lundquist & Lange, has offices in Minneapolis, Italy, Argentina, and Chile. Lundquist maintains a WordPress blog on topics of interest to her as well as the firm’s practice areas.
Lundquist & Lange has been up and running since November 2006, and in that time her firm has tried a number of different marketing strategies, from a radio show to local church bulletins to direct marketing. According to Lundquist, offline networking “is the real way to market. Personal marketing. Who do you know, what does your name mean and how are you perceived?”
Read on for highlights from the interview.
How long has your firm been up and running?
Since November, 2006.
What kind of law do you practice?
We do employment and business law, working with small and medium-sized businesses and with individuals as well. We also are expanding (and working on expanding) into international business law, in particular into South America and Italy.
Describe your (formal or informal) marketing plan, both online and offline.
In our first year and a half of existence, we have tried various marketing tactics, with differing degrees of success.
This is what we have done:
- Direct marketing letters (aimed at businesses we would like as clients. We work a lot with the Hispanic community, so we sent letters to a group of Latino-owned companies whose names we got from the LEDC, an organization we work with, as well as letters to recently formed companies (got that list from the Secretary of State), and companies that export to Italy and Argentina and Chile (countries we are focusing on);
- Brochure (some included with the direct marketing letters);
- Pro-bono clinic at Latino Economic Development Center (or LEDC, a non-profit that works with Latino small business owners);
- Seminars through Linea Legal Latina (part of HCBA), Mexican consulate and in collaboration with Contacto Multimedia;
- Weekly radio show on La Mera Buena, one of the Spanish radio stations in town, dealing with business and employment law issues;
- Directory listing in the Christian Business Directory;
- “Personal” marketing, i.e. joining and becoming more involved in the bar association, teaching at William Mitchell;
- Seminars in Italy aimed at Italian business importing products in US Seminar at Minnesota Trade Office on Trade in South America Organization of visit of Andres Pastrana, former president of Colombia, to talk about trade between US and Latin America (planned for this summer);
- Writing articles for Spanish newspapers in Cities (La Prensa, Vice Versa); and
- Involvement in local bar associations.
What unique challenges exist for you in trying to reach your potential clients?
We are really trying to expand internationally and to use the connections and the network that we have in certain areas of the world. We want to reach small and medium-sized US companies that export to these areas, as well as companies in South America and Italy that import their products or services here, or want to set up shop here, and need the assistance of a US lawyer. These companies exist! But how to find them, and get them to know about us, is the challenge.
Describe your ideal client(s).
Small or medium sized company, based either in Italy, Chile or Argentina, that imports its products or services into the US, or wants to set up a US subsidiary. Or conversely, a Minnesota company that wants to expand its market or do business in South America or Italy. Individuals in employment matters (not just discrimination). Small and medium sized business in Minnesota, advising or dealing with litigation
Did you pay someone to design your website? If so, who designed your website and what did they charge?
A friend of mine in Rome named Marco Quintavalle designed the website. We did a barter deal: the website for a new video camera, which cost about $650.00.
Do you advertise, either online or offline?
We have one listing in the Christian Business Directory, but that is the extent of our advertising. I want to place an ad in El Directorio.
Have you gotten good results from your advertising? If so, what works best?
No. I think we have gotten 4 or 5 calls from the listing. We haven’t done enough types of advertising to determine what works best.
Do you blog?
I do. The blog address is: www.lundquistandlange.com/blog
Do you consider your blog(s) part of your marketing effort?
I would consider it part of my marketing effort. However, it represents a smaller part due to the placement of the blog on the website (it is a bit hidden. One of the things I have to change!). I don’t think that many people even come across it. But that being said, it is always a way to portray something about you and your firm, so for that reason, it is part of my marketing effort.
How often do you post?
For several months, I was posting weekly. Past month has been bi-monthly. I am getting back in the habit of posting weekly.
What topics do you cover / what do you write about?
I find topics that are of interest to me and relate to our practice. Employment issues, interesting recent court decisions, international law topics that pique my interest and matters that regard immigration and undocumented workers (due to our work with the Hispanic market)
Has it been worthwhile?
Don’t know honestly if it has been worthwhile. I enjoy it though.
Any thoughts on online networking as a marketing method?
I think the on-line networking as a marketing method is excellent, if you consider online networking the website and/or blog. Websites are crucial, and I think it takes away from a firm’s credibility and image if they don’t have a website nowadays, or if they have a poorly done site.
Do you use online social networking services (ex.: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, MySpace)?
Any thoughts on online social networking as a marketing method?
See above for the social networks I belong to. I don’t consider it to be part of my marketing effort. I make very little if any effort to keep up with my online social networks. I only respond to requests from other individuals to join their network, or the friend requests on Facebook. I think the online networking is useless, to be honest. How many people really use it to network and what value is it? I think the whole work of online is deceptive, because it gives the illusion that you know all these people and are “connected” but what real interpersonal connection is there? None of value.
Do you do any other online marketing? If so, describe your experience and results.
Nope. We are lucky in that we come up very well in Google and other search engines (with certain search terms, of course), due to an effective website template that was designed by my cousin, as well as many links from his numerous real estate websites to our website.
Do you focus on networking offline? If so, how do you network offline?
I think this is the real way to market. Personal marketing. Who do you know, what does your name mean and how are you perceived? This takes time and energy. I think it is very valuable to be involved in the legal community (bar associations) and I am making more of an effort to do so (I just joined two committees). I also think that community connections are important.
How do you track the results of your marketing efforts?
I don’t. I am not that organized. Yet!
What part of your marketing effort have you found to be the most effective?
Website and personal marketing. Radio show has been great for exposure, but we haven’t gotten that many clients from it. Lots of phone calls, however.
Overall, what percentage of your time or how many hours per week would you say you spend on marketing?
5 hours per week.
How much would you estimate you spend on marketing each year?
Since this is only half-way through the second year of business, I really couldn’t say. I spent more at the beginning with the mailings and getting the website up and running. That, however, is an on-going task as you just can’t put it there and never touch it again. I want to now get some pictures of us up and a video introduction of us and the firm’s services.
What do you use for the following?
- Calendar. My best calendar is my memory. Then I fall back on Outlook.
- Tasks / to-dos. My memory. Occasionally I will use Outlook, and yesterday did write a post-it note to write two letters, but that is unusual.
- Contacts. pile of business cards on my desk and in my purse. Outlook. Post-it notes on my desk and sometimes in random places (like in books, or attached to a page in a notepad, or on my desk).
- E-mail. Outlook
- Word processing / document creation. Word.
- PDF creation. PDF Master.
- Timekeeping. Hand-writing in my agenda and transferring to Word document that I pass on to partner who does billing. I am trying to move to Amicus, but the tech problems have prevented that.
- Billing. I don’t do it (thank goodness!).
- Bookkeeping / accounting. I don’t do that either.