Lead Conversion and Good Marketing Tactics
Many lawyers fail to see the importance of a good marketing program, while others know that they should have one but simply cannot proceed. Closely tied to this is effective US law firm management. Both marketing online and offline requires extensive market research. As such, you need a legal consultant with extensive experience in marketing plans.
For marketing and business consultancy needs, get a team who can help your law firm. Call us at Richard James, Your Practice Mastered today.
US Law Firm Management and the Power of Lists
“Locked doors keep honest people honest.” (thought by some to be originally said by Robin Hobb)
I am deviating from my normal procedure of discussing a piece of copy or other advertising mechanisms. I want to use this opportunity to make a point about the power of the list. In this evolving world fueled by online marketing techniques, social media should never be taken lightly. Your list of friends, followers, connections, etc. on social media sites is part of the universe that makes up your potential business.
We have talked about this before, here on the island we have created, that your most valuable asset is not the building that you own, the quality of your legal services, your marketing material, or any other proprietary intellectual property. It is your prospect and client list. And the extent of their value is determined by your relationship to those lists. So I take the opportunity to make a point: Protect Your Most Valuable Asset!
Here are some rules to live by regarding the asset we call your list:
First, it starts with a mindset.
We must buy into the fact that your list is your most valuable asset and that we must protect it. Make sure we view all contacts we and our staff have with members on your list.
I can remember as if it was yesterday. My first job at the funeral home was to update my grandfather’s index file filled with client information. My grandfather had an old army filing cabinet (I knew it was an Army issue because it was green and had U.S. Army stenciled on the side). It had small drawers as they used at the library to create the Dewey Decimal system.
He had 1000 index cards made (this was WAY before Staples or Office Max). And it was our responsibility to update every family member’s card.
Here’s how it worked. When someone either died or came in to manage a pre-arrangement, we were to check first if a card existed for them and if not, created a card for them. If the card already existed, the job was to ensure the card had the most updated information. Then, you had to do the same for each of their family members. All of them: mother, father, sisters, brothers, children, and grandchildren. This way you could look up any member of the family and see instantly the relationship.
Oh, did I mention that you could not hand print the cards? Nope, that would provide inconsistencies in my grandfather’s O.C.D. brain. We had to type every card, every time. I think if Grandpa was raised during the computer era he would have invented what we know as Infusionsoft today. He already had a system of harvesting the data. But here’s the point. Grandpa was committed to building, updating, and protecting his list. And he transferred that focus to his son (my uncle) and then down to me.
Second, identify where our lists are located.
We must realize a list is defined as anywhere our clients and prospects are located in a database. Whether it’s an index card system or Facebook, any database where the information about our prospects and clients is harvested is considered a list.
This brings me to my next rule.
Third, make sure to protect your list!
The first line of defense is an excellent inspection process to ensure the data is being entered correctly. Someone should be inspecting or “auditing” the data regularly (say once a week or once a day for a very busy firm). And, we, as the owner, should spot-check the list periodically.
As good as we are about many of these things in our office, we still miss one occasionally. Not long before writing this article I proofed last month’s article and noticed three of the states listed for the new members listing were not capitalized. Since the data comes straight out of Infusionsoft, I know the reps didn’t enter the information correctly and the auditor didn’t catch it.
Thereafter, we make sure that the data is being entered correctly and completely. Also, we now have to protect access to the list. There must be rules that specify when and how our prospect and client data may leave the office. These rules must be part of our employee handbook (check out the Dashboard for a copy of ours) and reprimands must be made if these rules are broken.
In addition, if our data is located in an electronic database, user-specific rules must be created to determine who can and cannot download lists from our system.
Fourth, create rules about engagement with your list.
When it comes to social media marketing, one's interaction on social media builds relationships, viewership, clients, and ultimately ratings and hits to their websites. However, it might be best to restrict access by making very clear rules to follow if and when a member of our team can connect with someone via any social media channel.
There are two fundamental reasons for this:
- If people on your team say something less than politically correct which might be judged by others as offensive or opposite of their views, you could lose a client. Or worse, you could create a PR nightmare that will be very difficult to fix.
Remember, it doesn’t matter what the intention was, or if the statement was true or not. If it happens on the internet, some people believe it to be true. So, my advice, institute policy regarding social media. Determine if you are ok with your team friending, following, etc., your clients and prospects.
One time as I was discussing this with our team, I was informed of other companies the team knew about, in our industry, that lost clients due to a similar issue. Jon and I worked on our policy promptly. Maria, my E.C.I.B. (East Coast Italian Bride), for instance, declines requests from clients and Partner Club members. Not because she doesn’t want to know them but rather, she believes it to be good policy. I agree. Our employee handbook is regularly updated as well.
- The second reason this is very important is that, as a law firm, you do not have non-compete clauses with your associate attorneys. So, if you allow an associate to interact and build a relationship with your prospects and clients via social media, you are essentially undermining the very protection you built when you created Lead Generation and Lead Conversion Machines. If you need help developing or maintaining your system that ensures prospects turn into clients, you may need to have Your Perfect Client Lifecycle™ by Richard James.
What to Keep in Mind When Protecting Lists
Take it from someone who has seen more associates walk off with thousands of clients’ files following termination either voluntary or mandatory, you must protect the relationship you have with your list. And the best protection is to build a machine that an associate with no entrepreneurial spirit would find difficult or be unwilling to duplicate.
However, if, once you have built the necessary machines and automated the process, but given your associates the ability to migrate into your list on social media, provide content to that list and build relationships with the list, you have undermined the proprietary nature of the machines you have built. And I would argue that you have set up your associate to negotiate with you from a position of strength for increased pay as well as occasional insubordination.
Think of it this way. If your associate came to you and asked if it would be ok if they downloaded a list of your clients from your database so they could e-mail them interesting tidbits about his or her life, and provide meaningful content that built a relationship with the associate, would you do it? If your answer is yes, then we’ll have to agree to disagree. And, the consultant in me feels obligated to warn you of future storms on the horizon.
I repeat. The most valuable asset you have is your prospect and client list and your relationship to those lists. Your firm paid for every single lead, appointment, show, and hire. Whether the firm paid for them as a form of actual marketing dollars or from sweat equity by building a referral machine, it paid for them. And allowing an associate who did not pay for that relationship to potentially walk out the door with your clients is just not good business sense.
Look, I’m very optimistic. The first thing I do when I get to a new hotel room is to check that the hairdryer works. But I’m also a realist. Protect your list, you will be happy you did.
Contact us at Richard James, Your Practice Mastered™
Effective marketing is the umbrella where advertising, sales, and customer service reside. The right marketing company can provide what your practice and business needs. However, behind the best marketing strategies are carefully determined numbers. Yes, numbers. US law firm management, after all, is all about crunching data and numeric values.
Good marketing campaigns will help you stand out by boosting your web presence, credibility, and online reputation. A great marketing campaign, however, will help you translate potential customers into actual paying clients. With an expert on US law firm management helping you, you can make the most out of your internet marketing strategy.