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Five things anyone can do to market their firm

I have a presentation coming up, speaking in front of an entire 100-person firm at an offsite retreat. That includes everyone: partners, associates, paralegals, secretaries and IT professionals. I was asked to focus on what everyone in the room can do to help the firm with marketing and business development. This seemed like a great idea, but then, I sat down and tried to think about what in the world would be relevant to such a diverse audience. Honestly, I was stumped.

Finally inspiration arrived. I've been doing marketing for law firms for more than 20 years, and for most of that time, when I explained my job to the average person, I could they often didn't get it. It only recently dawned on me that social media has demystified and, I daresay, democratized marketing. Social media has taken an opaque concept and turned it into something that most 13-year-olds not only understand, but actually use every single day. Not only can everyone be a marketer, there are lots and lots of things that we can do that are quick, easy and actionable. Once the light bulb hit me over the head, it was easy to start the presentation.

This is how YOU (yes, YOU) can help:

1. Send the marketing team your business cards/contact details for every client, prospect and referral source that you interact with (online and in person).

I really mean it. Every. Single. One. We need to grow our reach, understand our client and prospect base, segment our email lists and build better communication tools. Who among us doesn't run into someone practically every week who could be a client or who knows a client? Don't forget to briefly tag your contacts too. For example, are they part of an established company or startup? Prospect or client? Investor or other service provider? It may seem boring and tactical, but this type of information is marketing gold when you're trying to build your content marketing strategy. Further, we need to track and update client records, so we understand the full spectrum of communications with each contact.

2. We are all marketers.

Like it or not, social media has transformed all of us into marketers. Not everyone is comfortable posting photos of themselves or their family, but you can still help your company. In my experience, social media posts with people front and center generate the most engagement by far. The posts of people, and especially the ones that involve our feelings, dreams, disappointments, celebrations, etc. are the ones that every one looks at. Why not celebrate your colleagues' achievements with a photo or congratulate a client after a major deal closes? Depending on your company's social media policy, I don't necessarily recommend posting photos without permission from your marketing group, but at the very least, send your company social media gatekeeper the photo(s) and give them the opportunity to decide whether and how to use it. They may even shoot it back to you and ask you to post it yourself.

A note to all the marketers reading this: I recommend that you identify two to three themes for people to focus their efforts on. For example, you might want to do a social media campaign to enhance your recruiting efforts, so you could create a hashtag like, #whoarewe, that features your company's professionals and how and why they ended up working for you.

3. Use a checklist.

This was my original concept for the entire presentation because checklists have been very powerful in fields like aviation and medicine. I got the idea after listening to a podcast that featured Atul Gawande, who wrote the book "The Checklist Manifesto." In the book Mr. Gawande argues that our world has become so complex that it is very important to break down processes into simple discrete steps and assign those steps to specific people. Commercial aviation has been using checklists for many years to ensure that all systems are set up properly before take off. Mr. Gawande explains the growing use of checklists in medicine and the remarkable effect they've had on decreasing infection rates and mortality after surgeries in many countries.

So what does a checklist do for marketing and business development?

  • Break down complex processes into straightforward steps

  • Clarify which team members are responsible

  • Increase knowledge and understanding of clients/prospects

  • Build the contact database

  • Gather data to enhance marketing effectiveness

  • Create a strong argument for why clients should hire you

  • Create a process for follow up

Check out my pre-meeting marketing and business development checklist here.

4. Share your meetings with your team!

This is so simple, but people don't do it. When you have a meeting with a prospect or client, whether it's successful or not, you need to email, call or speak with someone on the marketing team to input that data into the CRM system. I can't tell you how many times I've heard the story within firms that sounds like this, "I went to meet with prospect A, and it turns out Partner X was in there just six months ago. I had no idea, and apparently the message is the same now as it was then, they don't really need legal counsel right now." Obviously, this doesn't look great to your prospect. Plus, the client might be more likely to hire you if you were able to communicate the breadth of your relationship and understanding of the company from multiple perspectives.

Don't be a hoarder. Share.

5. Build/improve your LinkedIn profile.

We all know how important it is to be on LinkedIn when you're looking for a job, but did you also know how much it helps your company to share updates? LinkedIn's reach is massive. There are 260 million active LinkedIn users and more than double that number have an account. In addition, LinkedIn makes up more than 50% of all social traffic to B2B websites and blogs. I have had multiple experiences myself of sharing content on LinkedIn and receiving a call or email not long after with a question about a possible project. It's very effective. Here is a quick and dirty list of what you need to do to leverage your LinkedIn profile to help your company:

  • Build an effective profile headline (this the value you bring, not your title)

  • Be sure to use a professional photo

  • Spend time crafting a compelling summary in the first person

  • Connect with current and former colleagues, friends, neighbors and service providers

  • Share your company's content and add your own perspective

If you need help building your LinkedIn profile, find out more about our LinkedIn packages.

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