As 2009 draws to a close, it is time to start looking ahead to 2010. As you conduct your yearly review of your practice, formulate new ideas for attracting business, and evaluate your business development efforts, remember that your 2010 marketing efforts should be consistent and persistent.

New marketing tools are being developed at an ever-increasing rate, fueled by technology. It is easy to get caught up in the latest craze, but time is limited. Using a new marketing tool will probably mean sacrificing something else. Jumping from one “bright, shiny object” to another can lead to “random acts of marketing,” or one-time efforts that are unlikely to establish a relationship, build trust, or cement your message in the mind of your audience.

People do business with people they know, like, and trust. But establishing trust takes time. Plan to be in front of your target audience (potential clients, referral sources, etc.) on a number of occasions so that they can get to know who you are and what you can do for them. Provide valuable and repeated contributions to become an established member of their community, whether that community is an online network, Twitter, or a local business group.

If you want to experiment with a new marketing tool, create a plan to integrate that tool into and enhance your existing marketing activities. Determine whether the tool is appropriate for your target audience, commit the time to learn how to use the tool, and use it consistently and repeatedly to fill your practice with a steady stream of quality clients.

(photo: Sarah Parrott)


  1. I like this advice. Yet – I think that one’s personality style may affect what works for each person. I’m an explorer. I explore to learn. Then I integrate the new marketing tool with the previously mastered ones. The exploring and integration process are, however, near simultaneous – with the explorations and learning a few steps ahead of the integration process. How about more concrete examples? Ok. For me: bar associations; article writing, editing, publishing (print); email listservs; traditional (static) websites development; blogging; and most recently, social networking sites and microblogging. Shields makes good points here, including, I think: that consistency is essential. Every time I’ve added the next activity, I kept all the ones before. So on one level there is more to do. But as one masters each activity, they become easier – eventually becoming second nature.

  2. Steve Miller says:

    The primary obligation of each law firm business owner is to DO SOMETHING NEW each year. Improve. While it is too easy to have an annual staff meeting to review the past year’s accomplishments, it is even more important to review the past year’s failures. What goals set in January 2009 have yet to be achieved? Why? What percentage of the firm’s practice management software is really being used? Does anyone know? When was the last time someone evaluated how much more productive each employee could be? 2010 could be a really great year if you actually improve the firm’s productivity. New Year’s resolutions for your law business should not be relegated to the same level of importance as “losing those 15 pounds” or “getting to the gym more often”. Losers merely try. Winners Just Do It.

  3. Great comments, Steve and Thomas. Steve, I agree that those who actually implement are way ahead of the game (I have a whole category of posts on my Legal Ease blog entitled “Do Something!” for that exact reason), and I like your thoughts about looking at what didn’t work and why. Thomas, you hit it on the head when you said that you explore to learn, but you continue doing what you were doing before as well. The problem with “bright, shiny object syndrome” is flitting from one thing to another without actually seeing whether the last thing worked or integrating it with what you are already doing.

    Thanks for reading!

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