Law firms spend a lot of money getting potential clients to call or contact them. From the local Yellow Pages that can cost thousands of dollars a month, to bus wrapping and taxicab ads, to billboards and of course online marketing, the investment can add up. Some mid-size law firms are spending upwards of $1 million per month in search of valuable leads.
What is surprising is that a lot of attorneys do not have a continuing marketing strategy to maximize the return on these expensive leads. In today's environment, that means more than a quarterly newsletter.
Building a following has become the new phone number. Whereas traditionally law firms would advertise a toll free number and website, I have recently seen television ads where firms advertise a shortened URL directing potential clients to their Facebook page or Twitter profile. Why are these firms so interested in building Twitter follower lists and building a network of fans on Facebook? It is all about the follow up.
When someone becomes a fan of your Facebook page, they become part of a list. You can use this list to send periodic updates to your fan following much like an email list. You can use it to advertise free seminars, discuss legislation changes, and even promote recent case results (if you are permitted to by your state advertising guidelines).
Twitter followers are valuable for two reasons. The first is web traffic. You should never Tweet without a link back to a full article on your website or blog. Retweeting is the second important reason. By posting intriguing tweets, you encourage followers to retweet, which allows you to reach your followers' followers and beyond.
You certainly should not forget about traditional email marketing. Everyone that contacts you on your website is a client, was a client, or are other lawyers that you collaborate with on occasion, and should be on a newsletter list. The newsletter should be on a regular schedule (monthly is the most common) and cover interesting topics such as notable cases, law changes, and so on. A topic that never gets old is how to change lawyers mid-case. People on your list that were leads but did not hire your firm probably went with another lawyer. By keeping your name in their inbox on a monthly basis you could be the name they see right after they yell at their current attorney for not being responsive and on top of things.
The other valuable element of the newsletter is similar to the retweet. The newsletter is something that can be easily forwarded to a friend or acquaintance. Right now, the people on your list may not have a friend or family member that needs legal help, but four months down the road that may change. Keeping your name readily available puts you on top of their list of firms to refer.
The key element with creating Facebook and Twitter updates and emailing newsletters successfully is interesting content. There is a fine line between content and spam and that line is drawn by topics. You never want to send advertisements to your follow up list. They already contacted you in some way or another; treating them like drivers on the interstate or late-night viewers of “Family Guy” reruns will not encourage them to pass on your information. People will forward useful information. They will forward interesting topics. They will forward intriguing stories. But they will not forward advertisements.
Keep your contact list interested in what you have to say and certainly stay in touch. The people that contact your firm today can be a great lead source months and years later.