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In the business world, one of the best ways to learn how to be successful is to observe the work of successful people. As your law firm begins to expand its marketing, a good place to start gathering ideas is to see how your vendors are marketing to you.

How does that small, local courier service you use market its business to you? Do you know their logo? Do you know which car is theirs when they pull up to the building? Chances are, their marketing materials are clear and offer a distinct, memorable advantage.

What about the cleaning service that has been pitching their business to you of late? Did they leave you a rate card or any other handouts? How much time did you spend looking at them?

You can you learn a lot about pitching your business from the people who pitch you theirs. That salesman you always try to avoid? What is he doing wrong? What about your real estate agent? How did she get your business?

Think back to when you were looking for an IT firm to use to set up your new office. All of their websites looked good (they are in IT, for goodness sake). But one of them had to stand out; one of them had some point of difference that your firm connected with. Were they informative or general? Were they clever or serious? Which company did you pick and how did the strength of their website help you choose? What types of companies send you newsletters? Do you spend any time reading them? If so, what caught your eye?

Think of the companies whose newsletters you choose to receive and what did they do to pique your interest in their services. Now imagine you are the one who needs a lawyer. Evaluating which of the marketing efforts by your vendors, colleagues and friends have worked and exploring why they worked can be a helpful tool to evaluate your own tools.

Think about the courier. You may have seen his metallic red-painted MINI Cooper zipping around town for six months before you saw some of his printed materials on a table at the Chamber of Commerce meeting. Hisbusiness card is that same metallic redand his flyer matched with his rates,hours and service area all easy to read.Next thing you knew you were calling him up to run signed paperwork across town for you. That is the power of a cohesive marketing strategy. Does it mean you need to get a new paint job on your car? No. But the takeaway here is that when you stand out, people respond.

Your real estate agent sends out a newsletter. Often you throw it away without reading a word. Consider what keeps you on the page when you do not throw it away. When you read it, what is your take away? Your firm’s newsletter can get more attention if you learn from the mistakes and successes of others.

How do you want your prospective clients to see you? If you put yourself in their shoes, you’ll see how many firms they have to choose from and how many of those firms do a below average job of marketing. If your firm stands out from that crowd, then it will get more business and grow faster.

Getting yourself into your prospective clients’ position helps you see howothers see you. You can see whether your marketing materials are (or are not) cohesive. You can see how a sharply designed logo will help potential clients associate quality work with your firm.

You do not have to repaint your car and your website does not have to usegimmicks to market your firm well. But you can learn from other businesses what works and what does not when trying to drum up new clients and cases.

About Author

Chris Wilkerson is a former contributor to Bigger Law Firm Magazine.

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