It’s competitive out there. And while we frequently discuss a variety of more “markety” legal marketing ideas, there are a variety of strategies that you might not even think of as marketing at all. Which of course is good, because then perhaps your competitors haven’t thought of them either.

Here are 18 law firm marketing ideas that might not strike you as marketing:

  1. Answer a question on a listserv. – You have more to gain from helping colleagues than from hiding from them.
  2. Join a special interest bar association. – Special interest bar associations are a great way to meet lawyers that work in related fields.
  3. Publish an informational newsletter. – Don’t bore email subscribers with firm news they don’t care about. Tell them something they didn’t know.
  4. Take a referral source, client, or potential client to lunch. – Food makes friends.
  5. Mentor younger attorneys. – “The children are the future.” And they make good future referral sources.
  6. Initiate a thank you card, note, or email. – Showing your appreciation is professional and a good excuse to reach out.
  7. Participate in a civic, religious, or community meeting. – Community involvement is one of the best places to build your reputation and network.
  8. Say hello to people. – I’m always surprised by how many people put their heads down in elevators, waiting for the bus, etc. Say hi, see where it goes.
  9. Connect with an old friend or colleague. – Indulge in enjoyable recollection of past events.
  10. Congratulate someone for having success. – When your friends, clients, or colleagues have success, show them that you’re paying attention.
  11. Get involved with your state bar. – Whether it be writing for the Bar Journal, attending a Bar golf event, or listening to a seminar, being involved with your State Bar Association is key to meeting lawyers in your state.
  12. Pursue a public-speaking engagement. – Be it a practice seminar or a high school government class, spend some time speaking. Aside from your writing, there’s really no better way to demonstrate your knowledge and experience.
  13. Host a dinner. – (see lunch).
  14. Visit a client (don’t charge them). – While this might not work in all practice areas, scheduling a visit shows your appreciation.
  15. Be a sponsor. – Sponsor a charity. Sponsor an organization. Sponsor a scholarship.
  16. Join the LAB. – Shameless Lawyerist plug.
  17. Go back to law school. – Today’s law students are tomorrow’s young lawyers. Get to know them.
  18. Provide great client service. – In the end, the best way to get a new client is to be exceptional for your existing clients.

While these law firm marketing ideas might not be easily tracked through your web analytics and dedicated phone tracking numbers, they have been tried, tested, and proven by lawyers for decades. I think it’s helpful to think about your websites, blogs, seo, social media, and email marketing as relationship support tools, as opposed to, advertising media.

(photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mrsandman/70845442/)