In our last GhostMarketer series article Six reasons to market your firm we looked at why you need a marketing plan to remain competitive. Now we turn to the how part.
Successful marketing needn’t cost a fortune – in fact many of the basics cost little or nothing! A great example of this is GhostMarketer which is part and parcel of your GhostConvey package.
Shoestring marketing is an old concept – tried and tested, and extremely powerful. Whether you have a large marketing budget or a limited one, follow the “6 Practical Steps” below to get maximum benefit for minimum cost.
- At minimal cost, and
- With minimal effort.
(Click on a topic for more detail)
In our next article we will look at "Targeted Marketing: Choosing your tools".
More articles in the GhostMarketer series by LawDotNews -
Article 1: Are you using GhostMarketer yet?
Article 2: Six reasons to market your firm
Article 4: Targeted Marketing: choosing tools
Article 5: GhostMarketer - Getting started
Article 6: Client newsletters
Article 7: Branding: The basics
Article 8: Marketing mistakes
Article 9: The proof of the pudding
Contact us on 086 110 5904 (or email firstname.lastname@example.org) for more on your free set up on the GhostMarketer platform and other LawDotNews services.
Jack Crook, Director at DotNews is well known to law firms as the author of LawDotNews. Jack’s legal qualifications (LLB Lond and LLB Rhod) are supplemented by many years of practical experience in law, in marketing his own firm, and in helping other small and medium sized professional firms to prosper by using simple, low-cost, effective marketing strategies.
1. Formulate your ultimate goal, and write it down
This is critical - you need to have a crystal clear idea of where you are going, or you will end up going nowhere! Set a clear, attainable goal, with a deadline.
e.g. "To maximise profits by increasing the level of new, good quality instructions (i.e. transfers over R3m) by 10% by end November 2016".
2. Profile your ideal client
The more detail you give in your description the better - all of your marketing from here on will be aimed at communicating with this target market.
e.g. "Anyone likely to invest in immovable property (specify price range) in (specify geographical area) within (specify a time period)".
3. List your preferred souces of new instructions, in order of priority
Some suggested sources would be: -
- Repeat business from existing property clients;
- New business from existing litigation (etc) clients;
- Referrals from existing clients;
- Referrals from business associates;
- New business from the general public;
4. Define clearly what your prospective clients want the ultimate outcome of your services to be (i.e. what do they need and want from you?)
e.g. "I want my house to be transferred and the purchase price paid to me as quickly as possible, with minimal effort and expense on my part".
5. List the benefits your clients will enjoy from your services
- A clear upfront explanation of the process and projected timeline;
- Regular meaningful reports on progress;
- Utmost integrity and professionalism;
6. Brainstorm how you will attract and retain the right clients
(Four possible avenues, and some practical suggestions, are given below - adjust and expand them to your firm's particular goals and circumstances).
6.1 Project a professional image
Most prospective clients these days will check you out online before they even think of contacting you. Make sure that at the very least you have in place these 2 online basics –
- A website: it needn’t be fancy or expensive, but it must project your professionalism. Keep it effortlessly updated with monthly newsletters via RSS feeds (we’ll show you how).
- A LinkedIn page for the firm and for each partner/director/professional.
- Check signage outside your offices – first impressions set the tone for every client visit.
- Your offices – Reception and telephone answering are usually the first point of contact and should receive special attention. Task someone specific to take responsibility for incoming e-mail enquiries.
- Branding – A strong corporate identity is essential and at its heart is your firm’s logo. Don’t try to make your own unless you are an expert (an amateurish logo is false economy). In a pinch it’s fine to just use your firm’s name as shown on your letterhead, but add colour to it for electronic communication (“e-colour” is free and very effective). Be sure to keep your branding consistent across all your client communications (e-mails, newsletters etc).
- Transfer the property, and pay the client, as quickly as possible;
- Minimise inconvenience to the client;
- Provide friendly, helpful service (continually improve staff training and motivation);
- Give client a clear upfront explanation of the process and projected timeline;
- Provide regular meaningful reports on progress;
- Create a basic database of all sellers, buyers and agents from every transfer, and add to it all potential new clients. We will show you how best to use your GhostConvey database to easily create segmented lists of contacts.
Set up a system of regular quality communication with your database, particularly after transfer -
- GhostMarketer: Use it to send targeted and scheduled messages to key segments of your database. We’ll show you how to set this up easily, with all your branding and contact details on each message.
- LawDotNews: Client newsletters have been at the core of every large firm’s marketing plans for decades because they work. Useful, interesting articles and strong branding of your newsletters is essential – we’ll show you how with our effortless, low-cost LawDotNews newsletter system.
- If your budget allows, provide informative brochures, both electronic and print – remember to highlight benefits to clients, not lists of services or processes
6.4 Keep in the "public eye"
(Not vital if you have the previous two steps covered, and low cost is essential - with new prospects, you need 6 to 11 regular repetitions of your name/branding before brand recognition kicks in).
- If time allows, network often with business, professional, social and charity groups;
- Keep your website updated with fresh material (e.g. put your client newsletters onto it monthly);
- If your budget allows, some media advertising - but targeted marketing is normally much more effective per Rand spent. Rather look for free publicity by giving "gifts" of time and expertise - write short helpful articles for the local press, for websites and blogs, networking sites etc; offer to be guest speaker at business and charity functions, etc.;
- Make your client e-newsletter short and useful; aim for your branding to be forwarded all over cyberspace at no extra cost;