In a previous post for Lawyerist, I discussed how ‘old school’ methods of communicating with clients may be more effective now that technology seems to be taking over our lives. The same applies to your marketing. In this world of electronics, the most novel marketing approach might be the least ‘updated’ one — the human touch.
Find your pond
For most lawyers, although the internet, email, and social media can help extend their reach and can in many ways level the playing field with larger firms, their practice remains largely local. Most solo and small firm lawyers are admitted to practice in their state and perhaps one or two neighboring states. They have little time or ability to travel even to far-flung counties within their state to represent clients. As a practical matter, then, the vast majority of clients of solo and small firm lawyers are located in their local area or community.
If the above premise is correct, the best way to attract clients is to be the proverbial big fish in a small pond. Build strong, deep bonds with those in your local area. Get involved with your local community. Your involvement doesn’t even need to be law or business related. Find a local group, activity, or charity that you genuinely enjoy and actively participate. Over time, these “non-business” connections may become your best source of work, because they will be built around what you genuinely enjoy, and when you are enjoying yourself, you naturally present your best face to the world.
Take technology into the real world
Using social media, the internet and email are great ways to get started, to do research, to find communities of people interested in your service, and to identify potential referral sources and strategic partners. But in most cases, those online relationships will reach only so far. If you want to be the trusted advisor for your clients or the go-to source for business in your area, you need to create deeper relationships by taking those online connections offline, out of the virtual world and back into the real world.
For example, you can leverage your LinkedIn or Twitter connections by seeing who those individuals are connected to and request an introduction to a new contact. Or take a LinkedIn connection who you would like to get to know better out for lunch or coffee. That person may be a potential client or referral source, but they may also be someone you think you might be able to help. Often the best relationships are forged when the focus is on giving, rather than receiving.
Different clients are attracted to different lawyers for a reason. Pretending to be someone you aren’t will attract the wrong kinds of clients to your door, which usually results in dissatisfaction on the client’s part and frustration on the lawyer’s part. By developing your marketing message and materials around who you really are, you will attract clients who will work well with you. Being yourself leads to deeper and more genuine interactions — the epitome of the human touch.