As featured in Bloomberg Law on Dec. 15, 2021.
The start of the new year is when people try to commit to improving their mental and physical health by going to the gym, cutting back on social media, or curbing their consumption of carbohydrates. Yet when thinking about goals for 2022, lawyers may be best served by considering their marketing aspirations and how best to get the most return on their personal marketing investment.
Lawyers can take the following steps to ensure that they are spending their time wisely. Whether you call these resolutions or annual to-do’s, they are vital to marketing health.
Identify the Impediments
Consider the pain points you have regarding marketing and what makes developing business difficult for you.
For example, are you recreating the wheel each time you pitch a piece of business? Do you lack the patience to follow-up with contacts you’ve made at an event? Only by taking the time to think about the marketing tasks that you have had trouble with can you address them and create systems to remove the pain.
Create Personal Systems
Having some easy-to-use systems in place can help to remind you to track your new business pitches or to provide a spot online where you keep boilerplate text to use when following up with those you meet.
If there are marketing tactics that you want to employ on a regular basis, but in the past they have slipped through the cracks or seem too time-consuming, sometimes a regular periodic reminder on your calendar can be a big help. If you have a marketing department, work with them on helping you solve these issues. Chances are, they’ll have some great ideas and technologies for systems to put into place.
Focus on Existing Clients
Before chasing the new shiny penny, focus on making your existing clients as happy as possible. The adage that the best source of new business is an existing client is true.
Not only are you more likely to generate business from someone who has already given you work in the past, but existing relationships are often the source of referrals. Meet with your existing clients, particularly when there isn’t a matter pending. Find out how they are doing in their role, what they think of your work over the past year, and learn about their aspirations are for 2022.
Forget about being in sales mode—just listen.
Think About Objectives First, Then Tactics
Consider your objectives for 2022. Do you aim to get more work from existing clients or work from new clients? Are you interested in cross-marketing your abilities and your practice area internally to others at the firm?
While tactics such as seminars, press campaigns, and target marketing are essential to include in your marketing mix, the most valuable time you’ll spend in the marketing process is at the start, in thinking about your objectives
Exercise Your Marketing Muscle
Consumer surveys report that finding time to exercise is the number one resolution Americans make each year, but what about exercising your marketing muscle?
By committing to just one meeting a week, or even one meeting each month, with someone you don’t generally do work with, you’ll get better at describing your practice and at branching out to grow your network. As a result, the meetings will become easier and at the same time, you’ll grow your network and your skill.
Update Your Contacts
Whether you use LinkedIn, a customer relationship management system, or just the address book that comes with your email, be sure to incorporate into the list the new contacts you’ve made during 2020.
Connections you have lost touch with but who you were close to many years ago can also bring great value to your network. Don’t limit your network to just those who may be potential clients. The more occupationally diverse your network, the better it will serve you.
Audit Your Social Media
Take a look at your social media channels and be bold about thinking of the best ways to improve them. Do you need a more robust LinkedIn profile, or does your website bio need to be updated with new cases or matters?
January is the perfect time to take a look at the different places your name appears online and find ways to refine the information you are broadcasting.
Continuously Provide Benefits to Clients
Throughout the year, be cognizant of ways to help clients, whether by introducing them to people they want to meet or by providing ideas to help their business.
One general counsel I know has said that he valued his law firm because one of their partners gave him great advice in helping him to restructure his legal department. While the firm likely didn’t get paid for that work, it was something that this client valued.
Finally, if you find that you aren’t great at finding ways to help clients that go beyond your work with them, have a brainstorming session with other lawyers at your firm, a marketing consultant, or, if you have them, with your in-house marketing professionals. Going that extra mile in a competitive environment can make an enormous difference.