Thursday, January 05, 2006

Top 10 Tips for Marketing Your Expert Practice

This is the time of year when we are inundated with the Ten Worst Soundbites, the Top Ten Trends in Hair, Ten Ways to Keep Your New Year's Resolutions. So, to jump on the bandwagon and hopefully jumpstart your year, I present the Top 10 Tips for Marketing Your Expert Practice.

1. Create your marketing for your public, not the public. Lawyers are not attracted to and do not respond to gimmicks and other devices that consumers sometimes do. Legal industry standards also preclude results-oriented advertising ("I can help your side win"). Anything with your name on it should be professional and conservative.

2. Determine your target prospects, and focus your promotional activities. Not all attorneys are your prospects.

3. Branding matters. People remember things subliminally as well as directly, so be consistent and easy to recall. State your name and tagline (the explanation of what you are or do) the same way on all of your materials. It is your identity.

4. Repeat engagements and referrals are indeed the ideal sources of business, but word-of-mouth business rarely occurs passively. Well-planned and consistently executed efforts can result in apparently "effortless" client development.

5. Writing and speaking, both within your professional or trade group and for attorney organizations, are the most beneficial marketing activities you can perform. They provide an opportunity to showcase your communication skills and establish you as the authority in your field.

6. Make it easy for prospects to locate you, with listings and possibly advertising, but also mix with attorney groups and individual attorneys in person. Nothing can communicate your value better than you.

7. Proofread, fanatically, everything you write or design--CV, card, stationery, brochure, fee schedule and other forms, correspondence and, certainly, your expert report. Errors make you look sloppy or careless and can come back to haunt you.

8. Hone your communication skills. A well-written report and effective testimony can result not only in additional cases from your retaining counsel but also in future business from opposing counsel.

9. People with whom you have some level of relationship--clients, previous inquirers, referral sources and professional associates--are more valuable than new prospects. They are "the golden goose," which should be groomed. Frequent communication with people in your personal database is more of a profitable investment than a cost.

10. Public relations is the creation, shaping and nurturing of your image in the minds of your public. Marketing is the communication of that image. Success does not just happen--it is planned. Create your impression deliberately and thoughtfully, and devise a strategy with a mixture of marketing activities for your desired results.

1 comment:

Cindy Pinsonnault said...

Great tips! Keep 'em coming. I especially agree with numbers 1, 7 and 8.

Thanks for the data.