Posted by: johnocunningham | March 16, 2012

The Single Greatest Marketing Tip/Tool?

I have been monitoring a Linked-In discussion for lawyers and legal marketers in which the host has asked a powerful question: “What is your single best marketing tip or tool?”

Replies to this question quickly flew in from professional marketers and attorneys around the world, and I decided to aggregate, categorize and count up the answers.

The results are interesting. I counted roughly 20 recurring answers that were most common – some expressed a little differently, but all falling into the 20 categories below, which are arranged roughly in descending order of popularity among respondents:

  1. Meet with clients (and prospects) face to face.
  2. Focus on your referral networks – 80 percent of legal service buyers rank referrals and recommendations as “critical” to their buying decisions.
  3. Leverage your existing clients for more work and for referrals, recommendations and leads.
  4. Focus on service improvement because great service builds referrals and recommendations – measure and improve the fundamental components to great service.
  5. Focus on individual attorneys – help them to build individual marketing plans and develop personal selling skills.
  6. Emphasize how you are DIFFERENT. Don’t try to follow what other firms are doing or you will be viewed (and priced) as a commodity.
  7. Improve your Website – make it more user-friendly, more user-valued and more capable of converting prospects into clients.
  8. Provide better content, whether on the Web, or in print. Legal clients love content that is rich in practical value, and they rank great content as a marketing tool well above “fluffy” social events and novelty items.
  9. Focus on making ALL of your communications better, both internal and external. Respondents generally said: Keep it simple; Keep it short; Do it regularly; and Be consistent. If you can do those things, you should improve performance and sales.
  10. Measure the results of what you do. That way you can better determine return on investment and focus your efforts in the right direction.
  11. Ask for the business and the referrals. You don’t ask, you don’t get.
  12. Be available and respond quickly – in your office, on your phone, via your hand-held or whatever. Half of life is showing up and clients often say they turned to someone at a critical time just because they were available.
  13. Run a client-focused, client-driven business. Look at your organization as an upside down pyramid. The clients are at the top, and the front line providers report to them, and those who serve the providers report upward, etc. That means clients are the drivers, and strategies and tactics should be based on their preferences and not those of management. No clients at the top means no business and no jobs!
  14. Fish where the fish are. Don’t just go to the same old boring bar events. Find out where your clients and prospects go, what they read, what they listen to, and make your presence known in those communication conduits.
  15. Do social media training. It is the next wave. It is producing results now. If you get behind the curve, you won’t catch up.
  16. Learn about and execute search engine optimization (SEO). This is particularly important for smaller firms who are catering to ordinary consumers in divorce, criminal and personal injury actions.
  17. Empathize – understand your clients and prospects, and communicate in their language with focus on their values.
  18. Be authentic and truthful. That is what builds trust and leads to referrals. No trust means no sale.
  19. Know the client’s business and industry (or that of the prospect). I would have thought this answer would rank even higher because more than 80 percent of clients and prospects rate this as both hard to find and critical to buying decisions.
  20. Try something NEW. We all know lawyers, as a whole, are steeped in precedent and change-averse. Get them to embrace the idea of trying new things, and you will easily stand out from the crowd.

Well, those are the top 20 tips. Not necessarily in the order that I would have selected, but I think they compose a pretty good overall focus for legal service marketers. Happy hunting, mates !

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