[Author: Noreen Fishman]
The business world today is hyper-focused on digital connectivity, especially during the pandemic. Lawyers traditionally depend on in-person business development, networking and word-of-mouth. However, the days of entertaining potential customers and restaurant recommendations and sports games are quickly becoming a relic of the past. On the other hand, resources normally spent on these activities can be reallocated to other means of networking, such as boosting your social media presence. Even if you’re an in-person networking pro, you can still struggle with virtual networking. In this article, we share tips on how to accelerate business development for lawyers in a digital world.
1. Take advantage of technology
Lawyers can accelerate their business development through face-to-face digital interactions. Implement Zoom coffee meetings, online seminars or webinars, etc. In addition to using tech tools to better automate marketing and sales efforts, there are plenty of tech tools that can keep you networking. Find out which tools will help you build more relationships digitally.
For a comprehensive overview of how to leverage marketing automation, check out this free on-demand webinar: What is marketing automation and how can it benefit your business?
2. Join industry LinkedIn groups
These groups help you stay in touch with like-minded people and are also a great way to stay up to date with what’s happening in your industry. LinkedIn is particularly useful for targeting industries through groups. Make sure you’re delivering value by posting unique content and being active in conversations. There’s definitely a right and a wrong way to approach groups, and members tend to see through self-promotional messages. In our past blog postwe looked at how lawyers should approach LinkedIn groups.
3. Optimize your social profiles
Having a strong social media presence is an important aspect of business development for lawyers. Make sure all of your profiles are complete, consistent, and on-brand. Optimizing your social media pages allows others to trust you and show up to your target audience. Use keywords where appropriate, make sure you have a professional photo, a punchy title, etc. See : Social Media Biography Tips for Lawyers.
4. Offer educational resources
One of the best ways to build business is to offer something of value. Most of the content you create as a lawyer should be education-focused. Try to create content that answers your audience’s questions and offers solutions. Articles like blogs, podcasts, informative videos, and e-books are a good place to start.
5. Create a virtual education content plan
Along with a traditional content plan where blogs and articles are promoted, consider offering a plan for more modern methods of educating your law firm’s target audience. Fortunately, technology has never been more accessible than it is today, making it easy for lawyers and legal marketers to lean into podcasts and webinars. Without geographic barriers, both are great digital mediums for reaching and educating large audiences.
6. Clean up your relationship tracking
Many professionals do not take advantage of a CRM system, and it costs them time and long-term transactions. Use your free time now to learn a new system and start organizing your database in it. If you don’t have a formal CRM system, an Excel spreadsheet is better than nothing.
7. Revise your business plans
If you’ve never written a comprehensive plan on how to get more business, now is the time. Set realistic goals and evaluate different ways to build credibility and brand awareness. Remember, if you head into next year without having a clear idea of your business development goals and a plan to achieve them, you are setting yourself up for failure.
Start by developing some SMART goalsthen identify the marketing channels and campaigns you will use to achieve those goals.
8. Take advantage of social media
In today’s digital landscape, brand identity is strongly tied to your social media presence. By creating your own personal brand and establishing a social media following, you can enhance your reputation as a lawyer, build trust with current and potential clients, and generate new opportunities to grow your practice.
A lot of people don’t use social media to the extent that they can because they’re not comfortable with it. Learn the basics, then spend time posting content, joining groups, and reaching out to prospects. For more tips, watch our on-demand webinar, How lawyers can use social media to build their brand and grow their practice.
9. Collaborate with other thought leaders
Lawyers can accelerate their business development by reaching out to potential partners or other colleagues and co-authoring a whitepaper, hosting a zoom webinar, or inviting them to your podcast. Connect with other industry leaders via social media and keep up to date with their typical projects/content. If you see something you like or could help with, contact us. Podcasters and YouTube channels are always looking for guests, and appearing on someone else’s show can do wonders for brand awareness.
10. Focus on current customers
The quality of the relationship is one of the most important aspects of choosing a law firm. Consider your most important customers and think about what else you can do for them. Go beyond such as sending a small gift or setting up calls to do presentations for them. Try to have a plan in place on how you will keep your current customers engaged. Even something as simple as sending a customer alert can be enough to let them know you are there and ready to help.
11. Have a plan for times of uncertainty
If COVID-19 has proven anything, it’s that traditional marketing tactics can’t always be trusted and the push to digital is essential these days. However, the bright side of it all is that our world is even more connected online. If you’re relying on an in-person event for lead generation, consider having back-up plans or an accompanying digital marketing campaign in place. Sending an email after an event or targeting attendees with ads can go a long way in keeping your name top of mind.
12. Block Downtime
There are many reasons not to focus on Business development – more precisely, delivery for customers! It is important to be disciplined and set aside some time each day to do business development activities. Many people find that mornings work best before they have to put out the day’s fires. Create a block of time in your calendar so you can respond to inquiries, check on current campaign results, work on future campaigns, and do anything else that is part of your business development plan.
13. Take Action
Every time you think, “I should really call XYZ from ABC Company,” but you don’t, you’re missing out on an opportunity. If you constantly tell yourself that you will do things later, you will likely miss many opportunities to grow your business. Act when you think about it.
14. Delegate if possible
Do you need to write down every proposal or could a junior staff member do it? Do you need to spend more time polishing that presentation or could a virtual assistant help? Automate maturation activities with messaging tools and receive automatic reminders with an efficient CRM system. This will free up a lot of your time and allow you to have even more valuable business development interactions.
15. Hone your skills
Your law school education was intended to prepare you for your legal career, and you probably never received formal training in business development and marketing. These days, having these kinds of skills is important if you plan to stay competitive. Check Good2bSocial Academy. We have courses covering topics like blog and digital marketingorganized specifically for lawyers.
16. Take advantage of the press
Did you just win a major case? Have you collaborated with anyone recently? If you have any new or exciting news, now is the time to put it all in a press release and send it out to the media. Remember that even if your story isn’t picked up, you can still post any of your stories on your site.
17. Start a referral program
You’d be surprised how many of your own customers would like to recommend you to a friend. Although digital is the way to go and word of mouth has lost its reliability, you can change old tactics into a digital format. Consider creating an email campaign letting customers know they can receive something for a referral from a friend who logs in as a customer.
18. Create case studies
Case studies are very important for law firms. They prove through actions and evidence that you can meet the expectations of your potential customers. Get the most out of your case studies by posting them on your website in an easy-to-find place and sharing them via social media or email.
19. Conduct and publish research
Researching topics in your industry thoroughly and publishing your findings is a great way to present yourself as a thought leader and get your name out there online. Although this tactic takes some time, the payoff could be a lot of leads.
20. Stay up to date on reviews
Online reviews are a must these days. Always keep up to date with your reviews and respond and deal with any negative comments immediately. You can also easily share your best reviews on your site with a simple tool like bird’s eye. And don’t forget to encourage your customers to leave reviews too! Current and positive reviews will improve your appearance in the eyes of potential customers and in the eyes of Google’s search algorithm
As the digital world continues to permeate the business world, successful lawyers will be those who know how to build business online. These tactics can help you with lawyer business development, but one of the most important aspects of business development is consistency. Business development is a long term endeavor, not a short game.
Are the business development professionals at your company looking for additional coaching training and professional development?
This post has been edited and reposted from March 10, 2021.