Back when the recession hit, we were bombarded by questions from attorneys about how to market – as many were feeling the pinch of the downturn and were looking for help. Our response was the same then as it is today: Attorneys must always market to their referral sources – but most don’t do it. Sitting in your Outlook Contacts, on your smartphone and within your case management software are contacts to at least hundreds and maybe thousands of referral sources. And many of them are the very happy clients who would gladly refer you if you gave them a nudge. Many legal marketing firms like to focus on advertising but we think referral marketing is more cost effective.
We tell this story: An executive goes to a cocktail party and meets a life insurance salesman. The next day, the salesman sends the exec an e-mail with his contact information. A week later, someone asks the executive about life insurance and he then refers him to the aforementioned salesman. Then moments later, he kicks himself because his brother-in-law sells life insurance, and he completely “forgot” about him.
Referral marketing keeps you top of mind with your clients, friends and spheres of influence. Attorneys should be regularly reminding their network of contacts about what they do, their successes and new offerings.
We develop referral marketing programs that are specifically tailored for attorneys. We put you on a referral marketing schedule and make sure you reach out to your contacts at least quarterly but hopefully monthly. And this need not be detailed, labor intensive communications. Offering good wishes on holidays is easy, for example. Birthday cards require a bit more work but can be set up too. We even set up a law firm client to regularly tell referral sources about how much they pay in referral fees per year. Though our tactics may not be unique among legal marketing firms, we believe they are effective. Many options exist but the key is to get moving on it.
We can also develop a target list of potential referral attorneys, broken down by geography or practice area.