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Law firm marketing and business development strategies

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Should You Outsource Your Law Firm Marketing? [Infographic]

Posted in Law Firm Marketing

Should You Outsource Your Law Firm Marketing? [Infographic]Typically, lawyers are among those who are considered to be helpers. Other people are supposed to come to you for help — which may be why it can be hard to be the one who is seeking out help.

However, there are many law firm marketing tasks that you can and should delegate or outsource because it’s simply not the best use of your time. To build a successful law firm, your entire team needs to be laser-focused on your core competencies — which means that many business functions can and should be outsourced.

There are also several law firm marketing functions that you should keep in your own hands, including cultivating relationships with clients and referral sources.

When it comes to outsourcing your law firm marketing and business development efforts, there is a five-step process we recommend our clients follow:

  1. Identify the marketing strategies and business development tools that will work best for your practice area.
  2. Analyze your firm’s realistic ability to effectively design and implement the plan using existing, internal team members.
  3. Select which strategies your firm will handle internally and which ones you want to outsource.
  4. Interview and select an outsourced legal marketing company that can assist you.
  5. Set realistic goals and benchmarks.

Once you have selected which marketing tools you want to use, the next step is to analyze your law firm’s current ability to design, develop, implement and maintain the marketing plan. You must be realistic! The worst thing you can do is try to do it all by yourself or force your staff to do it. If your plan is to “dump” a bunch of marketing activities onto an already overwhelmed office manager because s/he took a couple of marketing classes in college, then don’t be surprised when it implodes.

It takes years of dedication working with thousands of different attorneys, running test after test and trying dozens of different law firm marketing techniques with different practice areas to truly become an expert legal marketer! I would propose that it’s not something you can truly achieve an expertise in by practicing a few hours a week, any more than you can become a lawyer by reading a John Grisham novel.

If you decide to hire outsource some of your law firm marketing, be sure the company you choose can meet these criteria:

  • They can point to other attorneys they work with;
  • They have a written blueprint for how they intend to generate and convert leads for your law firm;
  • They charge a flat fee that’s reasonable and based on results;
  • They have clearly identified strategies to track and measure actual results.

To learn what it takes to develop and implement a law firm marketing plan for your firm, consider attending a Rainmaker Retreat.  We have two sessions scheduled for the rest of this year:

  • November 9-10, 2018 — Miami, FL/The Ritz Carlton Fort Lauderdale
  • December 7-8, 2018 — Los Angeles, CA/The Ritz Carlton, Marina del Rey

Plan ahead and take advantage of the Early Bird pricing, where you can save 30% off the regular price.  You can register here now.

This infographic provides some good ways for you to weigh the cost/benefit of outsourcing vs. insourcing:

 

Tried-and-True Tips to Attract Your Ideal Clients [Infographic]

Posted in Law Firm Development, Law Firm Marketing

Here’s a lesson that many attorneys learn the hard way: you will never have that lifestyle law firm you want if you keep taking on the wrong types of clients — which are those that fall outside a pre-defined category of what constitutes your ideal clients.

These five tried-and-true tips will help you attract the ideal clients you want and keep them coming back to you:

Tried and True Tips to Attract Your Ideal Clients

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Breaking the 7 Figure Barrier: An Explosive Interview with Small Business Guru Michael GerberBreaking the 7 Figure Barrier: An Explosive Interview with Small Business Guru Michael Gerber

INC Magazine has called Michael Gerber “The World’s #1 Small Business Guru,” and I interviewed him on how attorneys can take their firm to the next level of success.

As the author of a number of books on entrepreneurship, including the best selling Awakening the Entrepreneur Within and The E-Myth Revisited, Michael is arguably the most famous consultant for small companies. He coined the phrase “working on your business versus working in your business,” which has become the mantra for tens of thousands of business owners.

Michael has worked with over 70,000 small business owners over the last 40 years, teaching business owners who possess significant technical skills but few business skills how to transform their companies into world-class organizations.

The time I spent with Michael was transformative for my own business, and I know what he has to teach can transform yours as well. That is why we have created a new FREE audio interview that you can access at Breaking the 7 Figure Barrier: An Explosive Interview with Small Business Guru Michael Gerber.

In this exclusive interview, Michael discusses with me:

  • How the E-Myth Principles apply to law firms
  • The 4 stages of business and how to move from a job to a practice to a business to an enterprise
  • How to compete in an aggressive marketplace like legal
  • Why services don’t matter anymore and the power of differentiation
  • How to build a law firm that works without you
  • Why you must shift the conversations you have with prospects from money to value and how to do this
  • Tips to creating a lifestyle law firm

Sign up now to get this free interview and we will send you a link to download the audio interview as well as a PDF transcript.

 

Grab New Opportunities by Repurposing Your Content [Slideshow]

Posted in Digital Marketing for Law Firms, Law Firm Marketing

How to Extend the Life of Your Digital Content [Infographic]This post from June 2018 has been updated to include a slide presentation from Search Engine Journal’s recent webinar on How to Identify Lost & Missed Content Opportunities.

While the relevancy of content marketing has never been greater (research shows that it generates 3x as many leads than traditional marketing and costs 62% less), we all struggle with the reality that no matter how brilliant our content is, it has a finite shelf life. The great ideas and advice we give out today will be forgotten tomorrow…or will they?

The good news is that great content can have a renewable shelf life if you know how to make it go the distance. With numerous online outlets and the varied ways you can present it — text, photos, infographics, video, etc. — your brilliant bon mots can travel far and wide across the Web.

The slideshow below provides you with instruction on how to repurpose and extend the life of your law firm marketing content. Not only will you be getting more eyes on your prized words or images, you will also be driving more traffic (leads!) to your main website and improving your SEO as well since high quality content is one of the most important ranking factors for Google.

Websites that are considered by Google to be high quality need sufficient expertise on a particular topic to be authoritative and trustworthy. According to Google, the standard for expertise depends on the topic of a particular page. Each page must have a purpose and then that purpose must be fulfilled with expert content — words, videos, etc.

For law firm websites, your information must be accurate, factual, clearly written and comprehensive. If the topic of the page is broad, the text is expected to have a lot of information on that topic. If the topic is narrow, the text may not be as lengthy. Both can still rank as high quality.

To summarize: write high quality content on topics of the greatest interest to your target market and then use the tips below to repurpose your high performing content to capture more opportunities you may have been missing all along.

How to Get Out of Your Marketing Rut & Grow Your Law Firm

Posted in Law Firm Development, Law Firm Marketing

How to Get Out of Your Marketing Rut & Grow Your Law FirmThere aren’t too many excuses I haven’t heard from lawyers who won’t do what it takes to market their law firm effectively:

I don’t have the time.

I don’t have the money.

I don’t know how.

My clients aren’t on social media.

My practice is highly specialized so I don’t need to market it.

All of them are really saying the same thing: I’m scared. Because who will handle all those new leads? Who will do the work? If I grow my law firm, I’ll have to hire more people. I like things the way they are now.

People who are comfortable in their rut will find any excuse to grab on to in order to stay where they are. There’s not much I can do about that and I frankly have no interest in trying.

What I am interested in — what makes me get up every morning excited about going to work — is helping those attorneys who truly do want to learn how to grow their law firms.

The quickest way to climb out of a no-growth rut is to attend our Rainmaker Retreat. And you don’t have to take my word for it — here are some actual quotes from lawyers who attended recent sessions:

Las Vegas, August 17-18, 2018

“I learned the importance of the client experience and the impact it has on conversions and the importance of having one person dedicated solely to intakes.”- Janet R., Staff, Criminal Law/Immigration, Phoenix, AZ

“My fourth Rainmaker Retreat and I am still benefiting from attending because my perspective and needs change every year as my business grows.”- Michael L., Solo, Corporate, San Diego, CA

Los Angeles, July 20-21, 2018

“We had lost our passion for helping people, work had become mundane. Within three minutes of listening to the Rainmaker speakers, I felt re-energized about what we do.” – Steve M., Office Manager, Bankruptcy, Pinellas Park, FL

“The Rainmaker Institute obviously has the magic formula for law firm success. Their suggestions are invaluable and should be implemented by every firm to attract and retain clients. I can’t wait to implement new systems to make my staff more efficient.” – D. Karapetian, Solo, Immigration, Glendale, CA

Chicago, June 22-23, 2018

“The professionals at TRI have invigorated my interest in the business of my law practice. I will immediately outline an action plan for introducing TRI’s solutions and enjoy the growth.” – R. Middleton, Tax/Estate Planning, Chicago, IL

“I really appreciated Donovan and Adam sitting down with me to look over what I currently have, where I want to go, and then help me figure out what services are best for me right now.” – M. Emery, Solo, PI/MVA, Louisville, KY

Atlanta, May 19-20, 2018

“LCS software can’t be beat. We love available statistics!”- K. Forward, Family/Criminal, Asheville, NC

“I found your program to be highly informative and useful. I wish I had attended your seminar decades ago.” – M. Conway, Partner, Bankruptcy, Fairfax, VA

San Francisco, April 27-28, 2018

“Very informative! Our office completed an 8-week training and I found the seminar just as useful. I would like our intake staff to come to a live seminar down the line.” – K. Ortega, Office Manager, Workers Comp, Oakland, CA

“Eye opening experience and insightful. Dad taught me how to practice, you taught me how to run a practice.”- M. Belli, Solo, PI/Employment, Mill Valley, CA

Philadelphia, March 23-24, 2018

“This program was absolutely what I needed. I’m leaving with a marketing plan that I can begin implementing immediately. I have been at a loss when it comes to generating leads with only two tools in my kit. I’m happy to say this is no longer the case. I would highly recommend Rainmaker Retreat to any attorney looking to grow their business.”- G. Franklin, Marketing Director, Employment/Small Business, Voorhees, NJ

“The seminar was an impressive and well-organized presentation of both practical and technical tools and suggestions which provide obvious, immediate and quantifiable benefits.” – D. Nesbit, Partner, Elder Law, Mechanicsburg, PA

If you’ve found yourself using any of the excuses I listed above, let me tell you why a Rainmaker Retreat is for you:

Time: It’s only 2 days, a Friday and a Saturday.

Money: The cost is only $697 if you register early enough, 30% off the regular price.

Don’t know how: You will learn how in these two days by creating an actual plan you can put into place the day you get home.

Clients not on social media: 76% of adult Internet users are on social media and you can bet your clients are there.

Highly specialized practice: You may have a niche, but do you own that niche? You’ll learn how in two days.

We have sessions scheduled for the rest of this year, and they are filling up fast:

  • September 14-15, 2018 — Atlanta, GA/The Ritz-Carlton Atlanta (special offer: $497 until 9/12)
  • October 12-13, 2018 — New Orleans, LA/The Roosevelt New Orleans
  • November 9-10, 2018 — Miami, FL/The Ritz Carlton Fort Lauderdale
  • December 7-8, 2018 — Los Angeles, CA/The Ritz-Carlton Marina del Rey

Plan ahead and take advantage of the Early Bird pricing, where you can save 30% off the regular price.  You can register here now.

 

 

Tips for Converting Clients Into Great Referral Sources

Posted in Generating Referrals for Attorneys

Tips for Converting Clients Into Great Referral SourcesWhile attorneys always covet referrals, many fall short when it comes to cultivating referral sources as part of their law firm marketing efforts. I believe that part of this stems from the attorney mindset of always being the helper, which often stands in your way of asking for the help you need to gain more referrals.

Getting a referral from a client really starts with this 5-step process:

  1. Be easy to do business with. Automation is great for many functions, but it should always be viewed as to the impact it has on the experience your clients have with your firm.
  2. Over-educate. Prepare a new client intake package that educates new clients on every aspect of your business.
  3. Over-deliver. Over-deliver not only in the services you provide, but by keeping in touch with all your clients. Many attorneys focus on getting new clients to the detriment of keeping contact with existing or old clients. Remember who got you to where you already are.
  4. Get feedback. Client satisfaction surveys are wonderful ways to get feedback that will help you improve upon areas of your firm you probably weren’t even aware needed improvement. There are many free survey services out there that can help you implement a quick email survey; use these to ask clients about your services and give them the chance to be heard. They will appreciate and remember it.
  5. Say thank you. Make it a habit to send personal thank you notes or make calls to clients whose business you value.

Education is Key

If you want more referrals, then you need to kick the education process into high gear. To provide you with great referrals, your referral sources need to know the answers to the following questions:

What does a great referral look like to you?

  • Be brief, but clearly articulate it
  • Give one or two examples, but make sure the examples reinforce each other and are not opposites or extremes. Focus on your typical client.
  • Be specific, not generic. Don’t say, “anyone who needs a divorce lawyer.” Instead, say “a small business owner or executive who is considering divorce.”

How do I make a referral to your office?

  • Do you prefer an email introduction, a phone call or an in-person meeting?
  • Will you call the referral or do they need to call you?

What do I need to tell referrals about you and your firm?

  • Be specific. Don’t list every practice area, focus on the one or two major areas where your best clients come from.
  • Use language that non-attorneys understand. Don’t use terms like family law, civil litigation or commercial litigation because they won’t know what these terms mean and they won’t ask you to clarify.

What’s in it for me?

  • If your state allows you to give a referral fee to other attorneys, do it.
  • Otherwise, at least send a thank-you card or small gift or anything to acknowledge their referral, even if it doesn’t end up as a paying client.

Why should I refer to you?

  • Most people believe lawyers don’t want or need referrals or they get all their clients from their own advertising efforts.
  • Help them understand that your business is just like any other profession and relies on referrals to friends, family members, colleagues, business associates, etc.
  • Educate them on how you are different from other attorneys and why they should send referrals to you. Do not say you are similar to other attorneys!

Do you charge a consultation fee and, if so, how much?

  • Should you charge a consultation fee? It depends.
  • If you have too many unqualified prospects, then charge a consult fee to get rid of the tire kickers. If you need more prospects, then make the consult complimentary.
  • If you usually charge a fee, tell them how much
  • If you normally charge a consult fee but will waive it under certain conditions, tell them what those conditions are.
  • If you offer complimentary consultations, be sure to tell them what that looks like (not a sales pitch/over the phone or in person/how long does it go, etc.

What information can I give to interested prospects?

  • Provide your referral sources with your business cards, brochures if you have them and a one-sheet of your skills, abilities, practice areas, etc. with your website address.

You cannot assume that the people you are counting on as referral sources know everything you know about your firm and why you are the best fit for someone they know.  And once you educate them, keep doing it in informal ways that help keep you in their minds as someone who can solve specific problems for their friends, family members or peers.

Law Firm Management Cheat Sheet [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted in Law Firm Management

A law firm rarely ever fails for lack of talent.  It fails due to a litany of bad business practices, inefficiencies, infighting and hubris, as well as a number of other reasons that have nothing to do with the intelligence or talent of the lawyers themselves.

Being good at practicing law only gives you permission to compete in the marketplace; it is not a competitive advantage. To be successful in the business of law today, you have to offer a true competitive advantage — and more effectively market that advantage and not merely your competency.

Law firms that want to go from survive to thrive have to know how to run their law firm like a business. You need to understand and apply the key principles of business development, operations, management, and law firm marketing every single day.

There are 10 major areas of focus for every successful law firm owner as detailed in the law firm management cheat sheet below. Feel free to download the graphic and keep it for handy reference.

And if you need to improve your proficiency in any of these areas, attend a Rainmaker Retreat. We have four more sessions planned for 2018:

  • September 14-15, 2018 — Atlanta, GA
  • October 12-13, 2018 — New Orleans, LA
  • November 9-10, 2018 — Miami, FL
  • December 7-8, 2018 — Los Angeles, CA

Law Firm Management Cheat Sheet [INFOGRAPHIC]

Networking Your Way to More and Better Referrals

Posted in Networking

Networking Your Way to More and Better ReferralsNetworking is about establishing mutually beneficial relationships, not a contest to see how many business cards you can collect. And to secure those mutually beneficial relationships, you need to be strategic about the people you meet. Not everyone who crosses your path will necessarily qualify for that role.

Here are some networking tips:

Join the right groups: Don’t focus on legal groups or groups where a lot of attorneys gather (unless you get a lot of your business from other attorneys). You need to go where the decision makers meet, not the gatekeepers.

Join elite groups: Groups that cost several hundred dollars a year are better than cheap groups; groups that require a member to sponsor you are even better.

Remember your primary purpose: Remember your primary purpose in going to networking events is NOT to get new clients. Your primary purpose is to build a relationship with potential referral sources and to offer yourself as a referral source to them. When you understand the real reason for going to networking events, it takes all the pressure to perform off and keeps you focused on a more productive purpose—building relationships with people you could help and who may also be of help to you.

Ask open-ended questions: Use the 80/20 rule when you meet them — 80% of the conversation should be finding out about them. Ask open-ended questions like: What do you like best about the work you do? What are the biggest challenges your business is facing? How would I know if someone would be a good referral for you?

Be intentional in your follow-up: It does absolutely no good to go to a bunch of networking events, talk to people, collect business cards, and not follow-up. You must have a plan and reasons for following up with people you meet. Your primary reason is to learn more about their business and see if you would be a good referral source for them.

The infographic below from Network Wise provides additional tips for building a strong network both online and offline:

How to Create a YouTube Channel for Your Law Firm [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted in Social Media Marketing for Law Firms, Video Marketing

How to Create a YouTube Channel for Your Law Firm [INFOGRAPHIC]We know that lawyers love words.  But your potential clients love video, and hosting your video clips on YouTube and Facebook is an excellent way to make your case to those potential clients as well as improve your SEO.

Whether or not you have video already on your website, you should create a YouTube channel for your practice that will do double duty for you: persuading potential clients why they should hire you, and boosting your Google ranking.  Here’s how:

Pick your specialty.  You’ve heard me say it before, but it bears repeating:  one of the biggest legal marketing mistakes attorneys make is generalization.  You need to promote yourself as a specialist (in the marketing sense) – you’re a divorce lawyer, or a car accident attorney, or an estate planning lawyer.  Choose 3-4 topics within your area of specialization and develop informational talking points (no more than 3-4 minutes each) that potential clients will find useful.  And remember, you are not shooting a commercial – make it short and informational.

Shoot your videos.  Your clips do not need to be Hollywood-quality productions.  You can get an inexpensive DSLR camera with a built-in USB connection so you can upload each video to your computer, edit it, and create a file for your YouTube channel.

Set up your channel.  With YouTube, you can create your own TV channel (see the infographic below for how-to instructions).  The website will also walk you through the process, including uploading and tagging your video.  Be SURE you title and tag your video with your keywords (i.e., “Atlanta divorce lawyer”) so you feed those search engines.  You will also need to add a description – be as specific as possible and use your keywords. You should add captions since most people watch videos online with the sound off.

Promote your channel.  Add your YouTube channel URL to all your social media pages – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. – as well as to your email signature.  Have everyone in your practice add it to their social media and electronic signatures as well.  You can also search for relevant videos on YouTube and post a video reply linking your channel to those relevant videos.  And, of course, link your YouTube channel to your website and blog.

Online video is a great social media tool for your law firm marketing arsenal that can help you with SEO and attracting new clients.

7 Tips for Building a Better Law Firm Blog (& Why You Should)

Posted in Law Firm Blog

7 Tips for Building a Better Law Firm Blog (& Why You Should)Blogs hold a unique position in the online media landscape because they have become an accepted source of information. When used properly, a blog becomes a clear, consistent voice for your practice. It entices prospects, referral sources, colleagues, clients and thought leaders to engage you in dialogue. It keeps you top of mind and builds visibility among your target clients. Ultimately, it earns you more of the kind of client you most desire.

Here are the 7 key areas you need to focus on in order to develop a law firm blog that delivers qualified leads, including:

  1. Structure — organizing your blog for maximum visual appeal and ease of navigation is important for engagement. Remember, most readers scan, so break up your test for easy reading.
  2. Address the interests of your target market. If you’ve been practicing law for awhile, you should already know the problems that face your target market. Each problem becomes a database of ideas from which to draw your blog subject matter. Sprinkle your posts with your insights and experience and you create something of value to potential clients.
  3. Add other voices. Many of the most popular blogs have multiple authors. If you have partners and associates, ask them to contribute. If it’s just you, seek out other experts — perhaps strategic referral partners like CPAs, accountants, bankers, etc. – who would be willing to contribute to your blog. If you view your blog as a publication for the benefit of your target market, you begin to see more possibilities for adding valuable content from others.
  4. Call-to-action — showcase one clear call-to-action on your blog home page and position it on the page where it is easily visible.
  5. Social sharing — empowering engagement through social sharing — linking your blog to your social media pages and using Share plug-ins — allows users to pass along your content, thus doing some of the lead generation heavy lifting for you. (NOTE: If you use WordPress — the most popular blogging platform — you are now no longer be able to automatically share your posts on Facebook. To share your posts, you’re going to have to post directly on your Facebook page with a link back to your blog.)
  6. Page speed — page load speed is important since research shows more than most people will abandon a site if it takes more than three seconds to load.
  7. Capture email addresses. Email is still the #1 marketing tool for lead generation and will help you nurture repeat visitors to your law firm marketing blog. We have a standalone email sign-up form on our blog encouraging visitors to sign up for our monthly email newsletter and you should, too.

And if you think that blogs aren’t worth the time and trouble, then you need to be aware of these 7 stats about what blogging can do for business:

How to Use Targeted Facebook Ads to Zero In On Your Ideal Clients

Posted in Social Media Marketing for Law Firms

How to Use Targeted Facebook Ads to Zero In On Your Ideal ClientsSocial media is huge. Literally. There are billions of people on Facebook alone, so how can you be sure you are reaching your ideal client with your Facebook ads? Thankfully, this monster social media platform is doing more for business than ever before to help you find and target your ideal clients.

Here are four distinct ways attorneys can use Facebook to zero in on their ideal target market:

Life Events

Many legal practice areas correlate to certain life events. For example, an estate planning attorney in Los Angeles may want to engage with high net worth individuals who are newly engaged or newly married for asset protection services. Since most people tend to post major life events on their Facebook timelines, there are a lot of life events to choose from. Example: for that estate planning attorney in L.A., Facebook turned up 8,300 individuals with a net worth over $1 million who are either newly engaged or newly married. Or say you are a divorce lawyer in L.A. who wants to target newly separated individuals that may need a divorce attorney soon. Right now, Facebook says there are 2,600 of these people with net incomes of $100K-$500K.

Custom Audiences

This advanced feature allows you to import your existing contact list into Facebook so you can target your ads to current clients and prospects. You can also create a Custom Audience based on visitors to your website, Facebook video viewers, people who have engaged with your posts, and people who have liked your page. Once you have uploaded your contacts, there are additional targeting options so you can target ads by income, zip code, job function, net worth, marital status, interests, and more. This is an incredibly powerful targeting tool tailor-made for law firms that have a good handle on their ideal target market.

Lookalike Audiences

Once you have created a Custom Audiences list, the site has a feature called Lookalike Audiences that will target other people who are similar to those in your Custom Audiences list.

To create a Lookalike Audience, Facebook examines the common qualities of the people in your Custom Audience and then finds other people in the region you specify who best match the qualities of your Custom Audience. You can use any of the Facebook targeting options to narrow your Lookalike list.

Layer Targeting Options

One of the most powerful features of Facebook ad targeting is the ability to layer targeting options on top of one another to create a highly specific audience. For example, some of the categories include ethnicity (African-American, Hispanic-Bilingual, Hispanic-English dominant, Hispanic-Spanish dominant, Asian American, etc.), household composition (empty nesters, grandparents, new parents, new teen drivers, no children in home, veterans, working women, etc.), moms (“green” moms, moms of grade schoolers, moms of high schoolers, new moms, soccer moms, stay-at-home moms, etc.) industries, and many more.

Using these robust audience identification tools, you will probably find that Facebook ads typically outperform Google ads and are cheaper as well.