Author: Charley Mann, Chief Marketing Officer, Great Legal Marketing
Rolling over into a new year has special implications for any attorney dealing with long-term financial planning, such as estate planning, elder law, and special needs planning. Many “planning attorneys” like you are handling responsibilities with tax season for clients and possibly coordinating with other professionals. For some offices, this adds a good bit of extra strain at the beginning of a new year.
However, this doesn’t mean you can relax on your marketing! After all, once the dust settles, you don’t want to have a stagnant year ahead of you. Knowing that you’ll be extra busy with legal work for the first quarter, your best bet is to prepare now for whatever marketing you want to do during the first half of the year.
Let’s dig into three fantastic opportunities you have to be extra successful in growing your practice during 2018…
- Packing Seminars with Multi-media Campaigns
Seminars remain a top client generation tool for estate planning practices. In the past, flyers, print ads, and direct mail dominated the marketing used to pack these seminars. These days, however, there are more opportunities than ever to get your message out to the right people - and fast!
But before I go any farther, let me say that you should NOT stop spending on offline marketing. Direct mail, done right, often brings in the best leads. Correctly placed print ads can help you hunt “whales” (high-end, affluent clients) with precise targeting. There is no doubt in the power of connecting with a potential client offline through these medias.
The difference now is that you can also advertise online, and your options are much better today than they were just five years ago. Previously, online advertising was dominated by those awful “banner ads” (aka display advertising) you see on websites everywhere. Now, the best advertisers focus on sniper-like precision delivered by Google AdWords and Facebook Ads. Each one serves a special purpose, so let’s take a further look…
Google AdWords: This advertising opportunity is all about capturing search traffic. However, you’re not trying to grab people searching for “estate planning attorney” online. Instead, you are trying to capture the attention of people searching for answers to question such as “what are the tax benefits of creating a trust for my kids.” The page people click on should contain an answer to the question along with an offer to attend your next seminar.
Facebook Ads: Instead of focusing on search traffic, you target your “ideal client.” Basically, put together the demographic information of your best clients and then create ads targeting them only. Facebook allows you to show ads only to people who fit your perfect criteria. For example, you could target men in their 50s who have children and an estimated annual income of $200,000 or more. The ad directs them to sign up for your seminar where they will learn how to protect their wealth when it transfers to their kids.
- Use Technology for a Seamless Client Experience
What sets your firm apart in terms of the experience a client has with your legal services? Great firms make the whole process seamless. And the best firms make sure they advertise how easy it can be!
Your client wants their planning process to be as easy as possible. How can you cater to that desire? Well, there are options like online document signing through DocuSign and video chat for people who want to avoid a long drive to and from the office. You can use screen-sharing technology in most video chat programs to present information to clients.
One of my favorite opportunities is using video to prepare clients for the process. When someone schedules an appointment with you, your assistant should send an email to the client with a video going over what the meeting will cover. In the video, you can tell the viewer what documents to bring and what sort of questions you will ask. This way you end up with better prepared clients who are wowed by the experience you created for them.
Even little touches like online appointment setting can cater to clients who lead an online-first lifestyle.
Let me quickly caution against abandoning the “old-fashioned” methods. Clients should still be able to set appointments over the phone and can sign things in person at an appointment. You don’t have to force technology on those who don’t want to deal with it - and there are those who prefer avoiding hiccups and glitches that may occur. But making it available allows you to attract a brand-new crowd that wants to do things as efficiently as possible.
In your marketing, don’t forget to talk about how easy you make things for the client! It’s great to have all these cool gadgets, but you won’t get to use them if you don’t showcase how they ease the burden on a client.
- Focus More Than Ever on the Emotional Needs of Clients
Any law firm can talk about how much they care and how long they’ve been in practice. If you’re saying the same thing in your marketing, it’s time to separate yourself from the pack. The best way to accomplish this is by focusing on the emotional journey of your clients.
For example, not all of your clients are simply looking to “save money on estate taxes when your kids receive their inheritance.” Many want to “keep your hard-earned money in your family instead of being siphoned away through abrasive ‘death taxes’ imposed by the government.” Can you feel how one phrase is emotionally charged compared to the other? Your potential clients will definitely take note!
There is no greater advantage in marketing than making an emotional connection with potential clients. It builds a relationship between the two of you that can’t be broken through something as simple as the years another firm has been open or another attorney’s membership in one organization or another. You lock in the client’s interest on your practice.
You’ll probably find this part gratifying for yourself as well. You have my permission to shed the constraints keeping you from getting creative! Ask yourself, “What does my client really want?” Keep repeating that question until you uncover a truth you never expected and building marketing around the idea.
You might be surprised that I didn’t talk more about the newest update from Google or social media trends. Instead, I see 2018 as a year where stronger connections will triumph. And those connections are built through emotional connections, client experience, and meeting people where they like to go (e.g. Facebook, Google, etc).
If you want to discover even more incredible opportunities to boost your marketing in 2018 and beyond, grab this free report from Great Legal Marketing! You’ll see exactly how solo and small firm attorneys from across the country (and even around the world) are making big, positive, profitable changes to their practices.
Charley Mann is the Chief Marketing Officer of Great Legal Marketing, a membership organization dedicated to the success of solo and small firm attorneys. Great Legal Marketing provides its members with guidance, templates, and one-on-one support to build better law firms that support the desired lifestyle of its owner(s).