BOSTON – Few firms have the luxury of an unlimited marketing budget — especially small firms, and especially now. But even if you don’t have the budget to support your ultimate wish list, there are inexpensive ways to ensure you can still put your best marketing foot forward.
1) Maintain your database of contacts.
Your network of contacts is an invaluable resource for bringing in business. Keeping that information up to date and organized is essential. If you store your contacts in Outlook, create categories for your contacts based on their industry or client status (e.g. “client,” “prospects,” etc.).
An Excel spreadsheet is another easy way to update and sort your contact list. Keeping the list current will allow you easily to send alerts, newsletters or invitations to upcoming events.
2) Leverage existing memberships and sponsorships.
Most attorneys are members of bar associations and industry organizations. Put your membership dollars to good use and find ways to be actively involved and make an impact.
Consider joining a committee or offering to co-host an event with the organization. Many organizations are continually seeking new programming ideas, so suggest a topic that you could help put together and co-host the event. Two mailing lists are better than one!
3) Become a thought leader by blogging and sharing content.
Like it or not, blogs are here to stay. There are many free blogging platforms available that can help you get started, such as WordPress or Blogger, which give you the option to customize with your branding.
The key to blogging is doing it consistently. Before you start, have a plan in place as to what you will write about and how often you will blog, and be sure to have a list of go-to topics you can fall back on.
Blog content does not always have to be original ideas. If you read an interesting article, post it to your blog and give a quick summary of why your readers may find it interesting.
Think about creating a monthly newsletter that includes some of your recent blog posts, upcoming speaking engagements or industry trends you are following. Send the newsletter to your database of contacts.
Mailchimp is a free email marketing tool that includes easy-to-use email templates that you can customize with your branding.
4) Get the most out of LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is a powerful social networking tool designed for businesses. Beyond just the basic profile, LinkedIn provides a great platform to share your latest newsletter and engage with your contacts.
Maximize your LinkedIn “virtual presence” by updating your bio, sharing your latest news, and connecting with your contacts. Comment on your connections’ recent status update or congratulate them on a job change.
To further help you engage with your connections, LinkedIn even includes a relationship tool called “LinkedIn Contacts.” It gives you the ability to include personal notes on where you met particular contacts and even can remind you to reach out to contacts at a certain date.
For some attorneys, active involvement in an association is a natural way to strengthen relationships and affirm experience. For others, writing, reading and commenting on articles is their strength. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. The key is to find the best model for you and remain consistent in your commitment to marketing your firm.
Caroline Von Flatern is the marketing manager at Sherin & Lodgen. A member of the board of the Legal Marketing Association/New England chapter, she can be contacted at CMVonFlatern@sherin.com. Katherine Scobbo is the client development administrator at Ferriter, Scobbo & Rodophele, and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.