Marketing Musts for Solo Attorneys
When you decide to open a solo practice, marketing may not be at the forefront of your mind. After all, you went into business to be an attorney, not to be a marketing professional. You don’t want to come off as sleazy in your advertising methods, but some methods are required. A solo attorney is a business, after all, and you need a framework in place to welcome new clients.
As much as it seems beside the point, a solo practice needs to develop a marketing plan right off the bat. If you go through the motions of setting up a marketing plan, the payoff can be great. Here’s a good plan to follow — advice stemming from the school of life as well as Denise Horan, Principal of Integrated Management & Sales Consulting for the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce:
1) Decide what kind of practice you want.
What are your goals as an attorney? Write a vision or mission statement.
Where do you see your practice in 3 or 5 years? Work backward from that point.
2) Find out what your marketplace looks like.
Who is your competition and what are they doing?
Is your niche highly competitive? This will determine your marketing plan and budget.
3) Pinpoint your target market.
What kind of people do you want to work with? Create a profile of your ideal clients.
Make notes on their dispositions, industries, and personal needs.
4) Build an Online Presence.
Create your website and become active on social media.
Sign up for an online directory listing.
5) Promote yourself and your firm to your target market.
Decide what marketing methods you’ll use and make a list.
Gain visibility in your market through community events or joining a board or association.
Stay active in the local bar association and other professional organizations.
Offer pro bono services and get involved with volunteer work.
I can’t emphasize enough the importance of step four. These days, having a functional online presence for your practice is as basic a need as having a desk to work at — maybe even more important than a desk in today’s mobile economy.
Creating a website that accurately represents the vision and mission of your practice, while effectively targeting your ideal clients is daunting, but there are ready and willing professionals waiting to help.
Social media: petty, right? Wrong. Social media platforms have become a veritable community marketplace. Just as important as socializing within industries at bar association and other organizational events is being able to communicate with an entire online community of potential contacts and clients via social media. There’s a whole world of nonstop chatter going on about topics vital to your practice, so get out there and participate!
The bottom line is that when people are looking for information, their computer — rather, Google — is their first stop. A website, an online presence, and a prominent directory listing means clients will be able to find you right when they need you.