Your law firm’s best marketing tool is your client base. “Reality-based” marketing is taking the lead over campaigns that once dedicated millions to hiring paid celebrities to promote your services. Why? Clients are “real” people who can tell “real” stories about how your business helped them, inspired them or offers the most desirable services.
Adopt a system for ongoing interviews with past and present clients that will help you shape your marketing message, personalize it and win your firm new business.
In addition to creating a powerful marketing tool, you also will have established a system to continually improve or expand your services. Don’t just ask clients what they like about the firm; ask them how you can make things better for them if they don’t like your firm, or ask if you should expand services.
Major law firms will spend tens of thousands of dollars each year on full-time or outside personnel to create and conduct client reviews, and much more incorporating findings into marketing tools. If you’d be willing to use some sweat equity and not dip into your budget, then solo attorneys and smaller law firms can capitalize on their client reviews that were successful.
5 Easy Steps to Market Client Reviews
1. Adopt a client interview system. The 500-lawyer firm Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll (www.ballardspahr.com) in Philadelphia hired a full-time “client interviewer” this year, utilizing the services of a veteran journalist to conduct regular interviews of existing clients to learn how to improve services. The goal was to capture unbiased results. Solo entrepreneurs and small law firms can use this approach without incurring the additional expense of hiring another full-time staff member by taking steps to ensure that a client questionnaire is unbiased in the questions asked, and open-ended to allow clients to volunteer comments.
2. Integrate positive client responses into your marketing campaign. Personal testimonials are a powerful marketing tool, and clients you interview can become your chief selling point. Don’t just ask clients if what they like and don’t like about your firm; ask if there was a problem that was solved for them. Ask for permission to fine-tune and shorten their responses; then post this along with their picture on your website and in your marketing handouts.
3. Integrate client testimonials into your advertising campaign. The 13-office firm Sedgwick, Detert Moran & Arnold (www.sdma.com) was a first-place winner this year at the Legal Marketing Association’s annual award ceremonies in Boston for its promotional series of internal posters that became external marketing materials. The “Women’s Forum” campaign featured on client and attorney relationships with breezy copy and attention-getting photographs of lawyers and clients.
4. Make client reviews part of your long-term marketing mix. The time you invest in capturing client reviews and using them as marketing tools can also become a strong addition to your annual reports and to permanent features of your Web site with special sections designed to focus on client testimonials.
5. Update client reviews every year. Every year, update client reviews. Your goal is to seek additional reviews from new clients, and also to revisit clients already interviewed for new comments and new insights on how to make your client interview process better. You can determine if you are providing the services your clients really want, while getting their active feedback and simultaneously building trust and loyalty while using your marketing to create new business.
Filed Under: Marketing
About the Author: Ruth Klein is an award-winning business owner, best-selling author and marketing and time management consultant whose clients range from solo entrepreneurs to the Fortune 500.