Sharon: Good morning, everybody. Welcome to Law Firm Administrators as Marketing Champions, What You Can Do to Ignite Your Firm’s Marketing.
We developed this webinar after talking to a lot of administrators, probably some of you who are listening. We recently attended one of the ALA regional conferences and similar to what we experienced at many other conferences, we talked with administrators and what we found is the comments fall into three areas, the comments that we hear when we talk to administrators about marketing. The comments are generally, “Oh, you do marketing and public relations? Our firm is thinking about embarking on a marketing program. May I have your card?” That’s one comment. Another comment we hear is, “My firm does have a marketing and public relationship program and a marketing and business and development program, but I really don’t think we do it as efficiently as we could. We’re sporadic and I’ve talking to them about trying to improve it, but I just haven’t really been able to facilitate movement.” And the last thing that we hear is that, “I’ve been trying to get my firm to do some marketing and business development and I’ve talked to them. I’ve talked to firm management, but I just can’t get them to move.” And that’s probably the thing that we hear the most often. We also know, having talked to a lot of administrators over the years, the vast majority are real marketing champions and that’s probably because you are up to your elbows in the business aspect of the firm, as opposed to be coming from a lawyer’s perspective and so you see in high relief the need for marketing. So we wanted to do today is to give you some ideas as to how you can set a foundation for your firm’s marketing, move it a little bit forward, whether or not you hire marketing directors in the future, you bring in a marketing firm or if it’s just something that you’re going to set the groundwork for just because you want to move the firm forward and hopefully today after this webinar, you’ll have some actionable ideas as to what you can do to impact your firm’s marketing.
Igniting Your Firm’s Marketing. The first thing is that you one of your roles—and I know that you already wear so many hats. One of the first tasks of adding a few more to yours is that you are the ones who very, very often identify the need for marketing. Another role here that we see and we play already in many ways is that of coach. You’re coaching in terms of HR; you’re coaching in terms of IT and this is expanding that role in terms of marketing. Another aspect we’ll be talking about is positioning yourself as a marketing resource. You can be a marketing resource to your firm without a marketing director, without an outside marketing firm. There’s a lot you can do to be a resource and then lastly and probably the most area is that you can help your firm build that marketing infrastructure which is important no matter what you’re doing in terms of if your firm is going to grow. So those are some of the areas that we’re going to cover today.
First of all, just an introduction, I’m Sharon Berman. My firm is Berbay Corporation, Marketing and Public Relations. We create the visibility and credibility that accelerate revenue growth and I’m with my colleague today, Beth Miller, one of our senior account managers.
Beth: Hi, everyone. Thanks for joining us. So the first thing we want to look at is tracking sources of business. We sit down with firms and prospects all the time and we ask them, “Are you tracking where business is coming from?” And we hear a couple of responses, one being, “Well, not really” or maybe the managing partner or some of the practice area partners say, “We receive a lot of referrals from this firm or this accounting firm or something like that.” But this is really critical to determine going forward. Where do you put your marketing dollars? Where do you put your time and effort and is it working? If you’re not tracking where business is coming from, how do you know where to go? So this is the perfect time—it’s rounding out the end of the year, starting a new year, to implement a system to track your business and Sharon is going to talk a little bit about in terms of the importance of not only new leaves that turn into clients, but also prospects that may not immediately turn into a client.
Sharon: In general, we find a lot of resistance to tracking where business comes from which really is a little surprising just in terms of who wouldn’t want to know where your leads and new business is coming from, but we find that when firms are tracking, they’re tracking the sources of new business: who became clients and where did they come from. And that’s great, but that doesn’t really tell you. There’s a lot that’s left unsaid there. What about the leads that you’re generating that don’t become clients? You want to be tracking all the leads that you’re getting, whether qualified or not because if you’re tracking and let’s say you’re running an ad or you’ve just embarked on a search engine optimization campaign and you’re getting a lot of unqualified leads, you want to know that so you can be changing things or you can say, “Well, we could be running a different ad or it didn’t pay us to do anything in Superlawyers this year whatever. The important aspect of this is that you want to be tracking not just new business, but also where your leads are coming from, from your website, from ads, from talks and it isn’t notoriously difficult to track, but you want to be tracking as much as possible.
Beth: And so that results in capturing the information and it starts with anybody at the firm from the receptionist all the way up to partner because everyone needs to understand the importance of—if you receive a phone call or a business card or something like that, you need to make sure that it’s being tracked and where the source came from. So you’re concerned as sort of a coach to educate everyone on the importance of capturing this information—in terms of phone calls, how did you hear about us? Was it from the website? Was it an ad that ran? Was it a bylined article that one of the attorneys left? Is there a lead behind it or is it a speaking engagement? Who referred you? It is important to know perhaps organizations that the attorneys are part of. Is the dollars being spent on that paying off at the end of the year. In terms of search terms, if you’re making ongoing updates to your website, you’re implementing search engine optimization, it’s important to know once again that if you are making a real push for your intellectual property practice and your pumping out that copy and adding a lot of content, are those few words paying off or should you readjust what you’re doing and look at different keywords?
In terms of reporting, most importantly is to be consistent, talking to everybody, gathering the business cards, making sure there’s a system put in place. Is it whether the attorney comes back to the office from a lunch and hands over business cards to the assistant? Is it a weekly e-mail roundup of who did you talk to this week? Is it looking at recent publications in terms of attorney news and things like that—and those attorneys might be getting your referrals, and of course encouraging its use.
Sharon: And just following up what Beth was saying, in terms of reporting and the reporting consistently, maybe it’s sending out a weekly e-mail saying what kind of leads did you receive this week, who might have called you for referrals, tracking down those names. One of the reason that you want to track where referrals are coming from is because you want to track them as incoming referrals and also as outgoing referrals because and this you’ve probably encountered—in your firm, we hear it from our clients where somebody feels that they’re giving out referrals and not getting anything back and if you’re not tracking that, you might have that maybe uncomfortable feeling, but when you have some kind of numbers in front of you and you’ve just sent the third or fourth referral out to somebody and not received it—in fact, you want to know that and be able to follow up with that person. I mean just say, “Listen. I sent you some referrals and there’s no reciprocity here. Let’s talk about it.” Also, in this weekly e-mail list say, you want to encourage everybody to report and you want to centralize that reporting in terms of having one person who’s going to be collecting the information in terms of leads generated, in terms of calls, in terms of new business, leads to the website. You want to have everything come to one person and have that one person do the tracking and then the other aspect of that is the analysis. I mean this doesn’t do any good unless somebody’s looking at the numbers. I mean we talk to a lot of people, law firms, that have a lot of the data, let’s say, for websites, but are not looking at the information. So you want to be capturing it. That’s great. It’s the first step, but you also want to be analyzing it.
Beth: And so, what do you do with all of this information. We hear a lot that, “Well, I have a stack of business cards on my desk” or “Oh, I just know their information offhand if I need to make a phone call” or “I have my outlook list.” We encourage coming up with a centralized database. Now, a database can be as simple or as expensive as it works for your firm. We don’t want to get anybody bogged down with trying to come up with a new customer relationship management with all the bells and whistles. If it works for you to start with, a tick sheet or Excel spreadsheet or something like that and that’s your foundation, that’s great. Down the road, you can then compile everything into a larger database that works for you, but once again, the importance is just being able to track all of this information ongoing and that there’s a central place. We even have an Excel sheet that if it would be helpful and we sent it to you afterwards just to see how we’re using something like that, we’d be happy to send it to you.
Sharon: But if you guys would like a sample of how—and this is very elementary—but if you’d like a sample of how we track where our business comes from, we’d be happy to get that to you. So just send us an e-mail. And the other thing in terms of a database, this database is a little bit different than the one that you’d be looking at for your leads. This is the one that you’re going to—I always ask the question if you had a glowing article about you on the front page of the Wall Street Journal today about your firm, a profile, or on the front page of the New York Times and you wanted to let everybody know about it right away, could you get that information out? I mean that’s really the catch. How do you communicate and communicate consistently with your clients? We were talking with a firm recently that—I always look at this as pushing a boulder uphill. It’s great for your lawyers to be out there lunching and schmoozing and networking. That’s very, very important, but they could only reach as far as their personal universe. The only way you’re going to keep up with people and stay in front of them consistently is by other kinds of touches in terms of direct mail, e-mail, that sort of thing. And you need a database to do that.
Beth: In terms of—if it’s just an article or something like that, it’s also important to code the contacts that are going in into groups: is it a past client? Is it a prospective client? Are you looking at your referral sources in terms of attorneys, CPA’s, things like that because perhaps that recent bi-lined article that you’d like to mail out or e-mail doesn’t necessarily warrant going through the entire database. So it’s important to code according to how you’d like to distribute things. And again, it’s great to segment very closely down at the same time. If you can just have some basic groups that it would make sense to get some of your materials out to, that can be a helpful start as well as keeping it current. I mean that’s really—I mean a database is only as good as—if it was done in 2005, then it’s pretty much useless. So making sure that once again there is consistent updates and that one central person is getting any sort of updates to it.
Sharon: And anybody that’s here who has heard of me talk about marketing knows that we believe that your database, whatever you want to call it, your mailing list, is the most important thing you can have in your marketing. I mean it’s more important than anything else because you need to be able to consistently communicate with–the people who know you, remind them who you are, remind them that you are around and so this can be sometimes a very daunting project, but one of the most worthwhile things you can do and as Beth was saying, once you’ve done it and keeping it up to date, if you just keep it up to date, it’s really the easiest part and you’ll have something that can really make a difference in your business.
The other part of your marketing infrastructure is developing an annual marketing calendar. The value here is the ability to plan. The ability to plan can given you cost-efficiencies in terms of sometimes if you’re not paying the rush charges or sometimes you can negotiate things if you’re doing it during the let’s say a vendor’s slower times. It also gives you the ability not to be caught off guard and to be running around two days before the conference because nobody—it really just came up so quickly. So we really advise putting together an annual marketing calendar.
Beth: We’ve identified a few things that we think are important to get on your calendar, the first being conferences. Conferences are typically planned a while out. So why not get it on there and look at how to maximize your time there? Are you exhibiting there? What materials need to be prepared prior to the conference? Do things need to be shipped out beforehand? If there’s going to be clients or perspective clients, why not try and get some space time while you’re there? And these things need to be done in advance. We always say why not maximize your time before, during and after. The same holds true for speaking engagements. Speaking is a great way to create visibility for attorneys and re-enforce the credibility, but we hear it that, “I give a lot of speaking engagements and I’m out there giving presentations and I spend a lot of time putting the Power Point together, but I don’t think I get a lot back out of it.” But I think some folks are missing the mark in terms of getting a blurb up on the website beforehand, contacting if you know the attendees beforehand and talking to them about any questions they might have. Once again, preparing material so it’s not midnight the night before and you’re putting together that presentation. Also look at, “O.K., what’s going to be our follow-up? “ The attorney doesn’t leave the speaking engagement and then so O.K., now what? You already have a plan in place and once again, you can maximize your time there. We’ll talk about putting nominations and rankings later on in terms of how to develop those, but once again, you can be looking at—if it’s November and it’s due in February, let’s start compiling successes now or knowing the criteria. So once again you’re not drafting—the attorney’s not sitting down after a full day’s work and drafting a 2,000-word submission.
Looking at blogs. Blogs are timely. They need to be regularly posted and once again with social media, if you’re not being consistent about it, then it loses its impact. So whether it’s two, three blogs a week and who’s responsible for it, you can see out ahead and plan for topics.
Newsletters. Once again, it’s important to have a schedule. The worst thing you can do is “Let’s get the firm newsletter started” and it goes out in January and then another one doesn’t go out until November and the recipients are saying, “Gosh. I got one last year and I didn’t get one this year. What’s going on?” It can really kind of hurt your visibility in front of your contacts. So you can commit to doing, let’s say, a quarterly newsletter and you know ahead of time that you need to round out that article from the attorney or looking at drafting recaps of your recent successes and things like that and there’s accountability for it.
We’ll be talking about that later on as well in terms of getting things regularly posted or if there are practice areas that you’d like to expand on, committing to getting the copy up and adding articles and things like that and being able to look ahead and see, “O.K., we’re going to have this done by June and June is when we’re making our push to expand up the IP practice.”
Social medical ties in kind of with blogs in terms of consistency. If you’re tweeting or you have your Linkedin profile up but you haven’t had a status update in two months, again, it loses some of its impact. Sharon, anything in terms of social media and consistency or —
Sharon: Well, consistency is the hallmark of success in marketing. That’s what makes the difference as opposed to any—you can have a very pedestrian marketing program and it can be a lot more efficient if you’re consistent about it, as opposed to something where you have this one big bang, but in terms of calendaring, if your firm isn’t doing anything—and that’s something that you—we presume that since you’re on this call, you’re interesting in facilitating marketing in your firm, that’s maybe something that if you or one of your assistants can do or maybe it’s something or maybe it’s one of the associates who’s interested in marketing can take on with your encouragement. One thing is too, you want to be looking at calendaring of course the dates of something, but look at the dates of when things need to be done, who’s responsible. Let’s say for the newsletter, when does somebody need to start gathering the articles or reminding everybody that the articles are due and putting that on the calendar is going to make you stronger as somebody who can facilitate marketing in the firm as well as just keep marketing top-of-mind for your lawyers.
Beth: And so moving into public relations and how to increase the firm’s visibility. One thing you can do is look at developing a media database and why is this important? This allows you to identify where the firm wants to be. Once again, is it pushing on a particular practice area and looking at litigation publications or developing relationships with Los Angeles Business Journal because over time, you’d like to have a profile there or something like that. It allows you to insert yourself in the news stream and we hear attorneys say, “Why is so and so always quoted?” Well, probably because they’re being proactive and over time they’ve developed a relationship with somebody. Reporters don’t necessarily want to rely on the same resource every time. They’re under deadlines and if they have a short list of people they know they can a hold of, they’re going to turn to them. So why not be part of that short list?
Sharon: So where you want to start with is you want to develop—we call it a media database. You want to put together a list of the journalists and editors who are going to be covering relevant areas to your firm, areas that are relevant in terms of your practice areas or industry areas and that would be anything from legal, business, industry, professional and it can be print, on line and a lot of times today, there’s a different editor or journalist in the print version than there is on the on line version on the website. So you want to be looking at both those. Bloggers, you want to know who the key bloggers are. Broadcasts, if it’s somebody’s business reporters or people who are following the market, whatever area that’s relevant to your firm and then you also want to be following a select group via social media because more and more journalists are posting what they’re looking for, the kinds of resources they need on Twitter, Facebook, that sort of thing. So you don’t want to overlook that.
Beth: And you can see what they’re writing about and if it’s something that the attorney would like to be positioned as an expert on, you see a Twitter post or something like that, they can immediately shoot an e-mail over and say, “I saw your comment on this. I’d love to serve as a resource to help you expand on that story.” If you do kind of any update article or something like that down the road that they know that your attorney is available.
Sharon: O.K. So once you have this database which is always the most important part, the core, what are you going to do with it? Well, what you want to do is you want to let the media know selectively what news the news is with your firm and what the news is that your firm is spotting and I really want to emphasize the words “news,” because what you don’t want to do is you don’t want to annoy any journalist by inundating them with things that might not be of interest to them, but if you can be encouraging in maybe facilitating discussion among the lawyers about what the trends are that they’re seeing, what they’re forecasting for the new year, whether it’s an IT, energy or whatever, those are the kinds of things that journalists are interested in. Maybe you can pull things from your newsletter. I mean there’s so much time and effort that goes into a newsletter. Why not think about how else to leverage that? Maybe not send a whole newsletter, maybe there’s an article you think might be of interest or there’s a particular blog post that your firm has just put up that you think might be of interest. Producers, editors, journalists, they all need material and the more you can help them, the more they’re going to turn to you as a resource.
Beth: And also consider putting together an expert list which is your own attorney who wants to be quoted and interviewed and serve as background commentary for stories. List out your attorneys and their areas of expertise and consider sending that over to some of the major outlets that you’d like to be positioned in front of and once again, when they have a particular story pop up and they can look back and say that John Smith can talk about this insurance regulation, you’ll get the phone call and also have your attorneys understand that they’re serving as a resource. A lot of times, interviews don’t necessarily result in a quote or they’ll not be the featured person through the article. Maybe they just have a small sound byte, but it’s dissolving that ongoing relationship or sometimes articles get cut by the editors or something like that, but the reporter, journalist, producer will appreciate the fact that you’re available and contributing your time and more frequently than not, they’re going to turn to you down the road when they have additional opportunities.
Sharon: So what do you do when one of your lawyers gets the call from the media in terms of maybe you’ve sent something out and the journalist and wants to talk to him further? Number one is just make sure that you emphasize that—your lawyer does not have to—he can take time to prepare. He can say, “Can you give me an idea of the questions, what’s your deadline?” That’s always a key question, what’s your deadline, and say, “Can I call you back in a half an hour if there’s time. Let me just think about this.” So your lawyer can think it through which is really important. They want to be thinking in sound bytes which for most people do not just come off the tip of their tongue and the other thing is you want to just remind them that there’s no such thing as off the record, that if they don’t want to see it in print, they shouldn’t say it. Besides that, it’s great when you get that call saying, “I’d really like to hear more about this trend that you’re seeing or what you see for the new year,” that sort of thing.
Beth: Another part of this is developing a nominations and rankings list and why is this important? It’s important because so many firms are saying that “We’d like to level the playing field.” Perhaps you’re a small firm that wants to compete against—if you’re a ten-person firm going against a hundred-attorney law firm—and being on the same list or receiving the same award as that other firm, once again, it levels the playing field. Somebody in the community is going to see that attorney’s name against the other and being on the same list that they can consider them at the same level and it’s also gives you the opportunity to—did the firm have a recent case success? Perhaps you’re highlighting that within a particular—it’s law 360 and what MDT award and your attorney led that litigation and so you have the opportunity to highlight a particular success that way or looking at practice group successes. Once again, if you’re trying to push and increase revenues for a particular practice area, there’s a lot of opportunity. So not just looking at an individual attorney award, but firm-wide and practice groups as well.
Sharon: So what you want to be doing—number one is you want to identify the relevant nominations and rankings. I’m sure you know that they just mushroom. There are so many lists and you probably get a different e-mail every day with another directory or another nomination or ranking. So you really need to be selective and decide which ones are important to you and your attorneys. Put those together in terms of getting them on the calendar in terms of what the deadline is and then when the nominations are going to be opening. Sometimes that doesn’t come up enough in advance. You have to keep your eye on that. You want to be thinking ahead and know the criteria that’s really key because a lot of times, it might be that they’ll say if you were nominated, if you were listed last year, you’re not eligible this year or sometimes there are age criteria and then you want to look at how you develop a compelling submission. I mean it has to be something that attracts their attention right away because they’re plowing through so much material. So they need to be compelling and succinct and something that’s really going to get them to stop and take notice.
Beth: And tying once again both knowing the criteria and developing compelling submissions, some awards that you’re submitting for may really just be submitting an attorney’s name, but there’s an opportunity, for instance, Superlawyers. They’ve really expressed that developing an online profile while it can’t be seen by the general public. They’re paying attention to that and it demonstrates that the attorney would like to be considered and you have the opportunity to post background information and successes and things like that. So it’s not just leaving it at submitting a name or relying on votes from elsewhere. And then, of course, there are others that—maybe it’s a 2,000-word submission and you need to submit the case name and a client reference and something like that and so as much as you can be compiling that throughout the year and you’re not scrambling around to put it together will benefit both you and the attorneys.
Sharon: So continuing on with public relations and increasing your visibility, there’s a key word that I’m always using and that is leveraging. How do you leverage all of this because really unless you—it’s great to be quoted in the Wall Street Journal, but I don’t have any time. I never get to it during the day. I don’t have a chance to look at it online and I may just be tired at the end of the day and toss my paper in the recycling. So I don’t know that your attorney was quoted. You need to capture this information and leverage it and that’s where the power of doing all of this comes in. So how do you leverage it? You can leverage it by working with your attorneys on the reprints, by obtaining permission for reprints to be posted on the website. You don’t want to be violating any copyright so I’m not talking about maybe posting the whole article, but maybe it’s just the blurb describing that the attorney was quoted and what they were quoted about and linking it to the attorney’s bio. Social media. You want to at least be letting the world know that somebody was quoted and why they were quoted and what their pithy statement was that reflects their expertise and you also want to make sure that things like this are reflected in their bios so that when people read them, they know that this guy was quoted in Fortune or he’s been on CNN. I mean that’s part of the whole reason of doing this for that credibility.
Beth: It’s what’s going to set you apart as opposed to just saying, “I have an expertise in AVNC.” I mean it’s great to say that, but it really carries a lot of weight to say, “I have an expertise in this and look at the various places that provide that third-party credibility to say that I’ve been quoted or I was recognized on this award listing because I am such an expert in intellectual properties.”
Sharon: And that’s part of leveling the play field. I mean that’s how small firms can compete because if somebody’s looking at an IP attorney from a larger firm and they’re looking at somebody from a smaller firm and the person from the smaller firm has been ranked and listed and quoted and has the credibility of being published, then that’s what levels the playing field. So you can do a lot in terms of helping your firm along those lines.
Beth: Another important piece of the marketing puzzle is your website. More and more people are turning online to if somebody’s been referred to your firm or they’re searching on line for legal services, whatever it may be, they’re going to your website to validate who you are and what you’re doing. So it’s important that it stays fresh. I mean as marketers, the first thing we go to is news and announcements. I mean what’s the firm doing right now as opposed to just reading a description of the firm overview and bio. So again, it’s looking at what can separate you from the firm down the street and you can get real stuck on thinking, “Oh, my gosh, we’ve got to do a website overhaul.” And that’s not really the case most of them time. Most websites have a good structure and it’s just as long as you can pump it up with some of these things, you’re well on your way. So work with your attorneys to keep their bios updated in terms of a lot of these things we’re talking about. Were you are quoted, what awards need to be updated and things like that and come up with a time and system to make sure that things get updated. Perhaps this is just on a quarterly basis and you’re sending that e-mail roundup or working through the attorney’s assistant to get updates. Also, looking at news and announcements. Again, maybe that’s a weekly e-mail about what were the recent successes or did you just complete that speaking engagement and we need to update that and is there anything else we can pump up the site with. Also looking at case studies and perhaps you’re pulling this from some of the nominations submissions you’re doing, but again, it’s posting that on the website so that it sets you apart and prospective clients and referral sources can see your approach to legal services and just that you’re being strategic and it’s not just once again talking about, “Well, here’s my background. Here’s where I went law school.” It’s what sets you apart.
Sharon: In terms of your website also, you want your website to be a lead generator and today, I’m just flabbergasted when I hear—it used to be it was only for personal injury firms that might generate leads to online sources or personal bankruptcy, but that’s really changed. I hear all kinds of firms today get leads to the website and ideally you want to embark on a formal search engine optimization program and SEO campaign, but there’s a lot you can do, even in preparation for that or just in terms of contributing to that so that you can come up higher in the rankings and one of the things would be to identify ten to fifteen keywords that people might be searching on and that can be ten to fifteen words in each practice area. It can be, depending on how many practice areas you have, but you want to—in terms of the material that you’re posting, whether it’s in bios, whether it’s announcements, whether it’s in case studies, you want to begin incorporating those words and using them because that’s what’s going to contribute to people finding you online. So it’s terrific if you have an SEO campaign going or you’re working with an expert, but there’s a lot you can be doing right now because in many ways, that’s one of the first steps they’re going to be talking to you about. The other thing is, as we mentioned before, is tracking and analyzing your website results. If you have Google analytics, you want to be looking at those, who’s coming from where and two, if you’re working with some of the bigger firms, let’s say a Findlaw or a Lexis-Nexis, your should be getting those results and we find a lot of times that somebody is getting those results, but somebody might not be looking at them or they’re not even sure who in the firm who’s getting them. So you want to be looking at those results and making sure that you’re getting answers from the sources from whoever, whether its Findlaw, Lexis-Nexis in terms of what those mean so that you understand what the results are.
Beth: And it’s also worth mentioning in terms of if you have a newer website that you’ve developed, talking with your IT person or if it’s a word test site, there’s usually a content management solution and that allows you to easily make these updates or your IT person or perhaps an assistant if somebody can be designated to make regular updates. So you’re not waiting till the end of the year or you’re saying, “Oh, gosh, it’s somebody’s cousin that does this” and having that information at hand is very important and if you don’t know, you can be that person that can spearhead this and make sure that the website is being kept up to date.
Sharon: More online marketing. Let’s see. We’re talking about social media and first, what does social media include because sometimes people are confused about this. It usually includes—I mean there’s so many that’s proliferated, but the main players are—these blogs are part of social media, Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter are the main players right now. So what we emphasized is Linkedin because that’s really the place that most professionals are going. If your firm—I don’t know if there are lawyers in your firm, if they don’t already, you’d want them all to have pretty complete Linkedin profiles and to feel comfortable working with Linkedin, whether it’s just accepting links from people that they know and want to be linked to and using it as a way to distribute information about the firm’s success, new newsletter posts, blogs posted.
Beth: There’s also groups and question answers in terms of another way to position the attorney as an expert on a subject and we’ve heard from reporters that they’re actually checking on Linkedin in terms of if they have an interview with an attorney and before they get on, they say, “I checked out their Linkedin profile and haven’t even gone to the firm’s website.” And perhaps that’s because the attorney is keeping their personal Linkedin profile up to date, the reporter has fresh information as opposed to maybe the firm’s website that hasn’t been kept up to date. So it is important to have that asset and once again, you do need to keep fresh information there, otherwise it becomes stale just like the website.
Sharon: One thing too is if you’re firm doesn’t already one, I’m sure you’ve probably talked about, a social media policy. You want to have some means of knowing who is—you don’t want any attorney going rogue on you what is the process? Who needs to see the posts before something goes up? Who needs to review them? Who needs to approve them? So ideally there should be some sort of policy about social media.
Beth: A lot of firms I think shy away from—they just say, “We don’t touch social media just because of some of things Sharon mentioned, just bad things can happen if you will, but if you have some specifics in place, then that safeguards the firm if an attorney unfortunately make a comment on a blog they see or they’re tweeting about something, but if it’s an established social media policy and everyone sits down and talks about it, then everyone is in the loop and—
Sharon: And it’s something that really can’t avoid. I mean social media is just growing in importance and especially if younger attorneys join the firm, it’s not something that you can just put aside any more. It’s really critical to find a way to embrace it and make it work for your firm.
Beth: And certainly you don’t have to focus on—if only one particular area of social media works for the firm or that’s where you want to focus, we encourage that. Facebook is not for every type of practice area. So if it’ for you, that’s great.
Sharon: O.K. Another area where you as administrators can play a very important role is in fostering a marketing culture in terms of incorporating regular marketing needs or encouraging—if there’s already a management meeting or an all-hands-on attorney meeting every month or every other week or—I was going to say once a quarter, but ideally more often than that, you can encourage—if these things aren’t already being discussed, you want to be talking about—everybody’s talking about their current work because I’m sure it wouldn’t surprise you to find out that there’s not a lot of sharing of information sometimes in the firms and one partner doesn’t know what another’s working on, so to share the kinds of work so that people can keep their eyes and ears open for other opportunities. Who are the prospective clients that people are pursuing because you never know whose brother-in-law—maybe somebody you want to be pursuing, also promoting cross-selling and we understand that there are in firms and this can sometimes be a little challenging, but if communication is the first way that you’re going to be able to bring down barriers and have somebody bringing in–the IP attorney bringing in somebody in real estate transactions if that makes sense and just sharing of knowledge about who do you know.
Beth: Yeah, I think a lot of times it’s surprising sitting down in some of these meetings and somebody mentions an attorney that they have lunch with and then another attorney from maybe a different practice group chimes in and says, “Well, I’ve been trying to get him on the phone for a month.” And so it just really promotes being able to further the firm’s work.
Sharon: So we wanted to take some questions and I’ve been remiss in mentioning that there’s an area on your screen where you can enter some questions. I think we have some questions already. Let’s see. O.K. Question: If there was only one thing an administrator could do to help market their attorneys, what would it be? O.K. well that’s probably the most challenging question you could ask. We would probably say that it’s fostering a marketing culture in terms of encouraging communication, bringing marketing to the fore and keeping it top of mind. It has a role in almost every kind of meeting that you’re going to have, whether it’s to discuss finances in terms of promoting people, but I would say that’s probably just bringing that angle to everything you’re doing. That’s what we do say.
Beth: I agree and I think Sharon mentioned at the beginning that you’re entrenched in the business of the firm, but you see a lot of things differently than the attorneys do. You’re seeing it from the full scope and not just billable hours. So there is a great role you can play in marketing and working with the firm as a whole. Maybe the partners will never get on board with this, but some of the younger associates that are eager to make their mark or get on the partner track will be interested.
Sharon: Right. Let’s see. Questions. Several of you have asked for copies of the presentation. Yes, we’ll be happy to get you a copy of the presentation and we will be posting the recording with the technical difficulties included. Let’s see and those who requested the Excel spreadsheet, we’ll be happy to get those for you. Let’s see. Looking here.
Beth: In terms of, “the attorneys in my firm don’t believe in marketing? What do you recommend to help them see the value in it?” It’s taking the small steps. Maybe it is just working with one particular attorney that is eager and putting a few of these things in place and then hopefully at the next partner’s meeting or something like that, you can demonstrate what the published, bylined articles did to increase leads or got more people to the firm’s website or something like that. We understand that this can be a large undertaking, but if you just perhaps work with one attorney or focus on a particular activity, it’s a good start.
Sharon: Let’s see. If you have questions afterwards, please e-mail us or give us a call. We’d be happy to talk to you in more depth about anything that we’ve covered today. Let’s see. Going back here. Just to wrap up and continue on fostering a marketing culture. I think one of the things that can be so satisfying is to be positioning yourselves as marketing champions and I’m going to presume since you’re on this webinar that you’re interested in that—and you can do that by having a open door policy, an open door in terms of maybe of your younger attorneys or maybe it’s some of your partners who are interested in become rainmakers and just them knowing that you first are willing to listen to that and maybe give them some ideas, whether it’s attending the League of Marketing Association or talking with them about what they’re already doing and how they can get more out of that from a marketing perspective. You can be a resource without your firm having an outside marketing firm or a business coach. You can serve as a resource in many ways in terms of an open door and the support and encouragement that can all contribute to the firm’s success.
Beth: And as Sharon and I were saying, not only the firm’s success, but it also just, I think, enhances or gives you personal satisfaction in terms of going beyond the HR role or whatever it may be and creating a firm culture that everybody wants to be at and it’s not a revolving door of attorneys and things like that and it just creates more satisfaction for everyone.
Sharon: So that wraps up today. We believe that you can play a significant role in igniting your firm’s marketing. We are Berbay Corporation. We do marketing and public relations for law firms and we’d be happy to talk to you further. Thank you very much for joining us today.