When it comes to attorney marketing there are two types of thinking: Long Term Thinking and Short Term Thinking. Unfortunately, most attorneys think about the short term more than they think about the long term.
As a frame of reference, I am defining short term thinking as: The time frame between now, the present moment and the trailing twelve months. For the purposes of this discussion, Long Term thinking is thinking beyond the current twelve months.
Law firm marketing should always balance the need for new business today with the potential for developing business from existing clients (either through additional matters that develop with a client or through referrals sourced from within your client base). Attorneys must keep this in mind as they develop a marketing plan.
Most attorneys are concerned with now. They want to sign up a client today so that they can pay their light bill for this month. Even if they have substantial cash flow, they still are only concerned with bringing in the immediate transaction or bringing in the current issue.
There is value in thinking about the long term relationship with the client.
Look at it this way:
Attorney Marketing Short Term Thinking:
Never Turn Down Business: This is the mantra of a short term thinker. They never turn down anything. Everyone who walks in the door becomes a client, no matter what it takes. Reduce prices. Work with unrealistic deadlines. Burn out the associates. Get ’em in no matter what.
Bill By The Hour: Work on this matter as long as necessary or until the client runs out of money. Do some research and then do more research. Think about the client while you sleep and always, always keep track of your hours.
Focus on Marketing when Legal Work is Slow: When the case wraps attend a few networking meetings. Speak to your local Elks club when you don’t have any client work to do. Call a few friends and see if they need a lawyer. But only do this when things are slow.
Attorney Marketing Long Term Thinking:
Take on Only Clients That Fit the Mission and Purpose of the Law Firm: If we can truly make a difference for the client, we will take the case. If we can add value to the clients business or to his life, we should take the case. If we believe in the client, we should take the case.
Focus on Client Lifetime Value: The best matters come from existing clients. They know us, like us and trust us. If we have to invest in that relationship up front, that is fine because we know that this client will be with us for a long, long time.
Make Law Firm Marketing a Daily Habit: We do something each day that brings us closer to landing another client. This may take 20 minutes or it may take 2 hours. No matter what happens, we do something each and every day to move our marketing initiatives forward.
This video demonstrates the value in thinking about the long term when developing your marketing strategy.
Ultimately, the choice is yours. You can choose the short term view or the long term view of attorney marketing. If you choose the short term, you will be forced to constantly play catch-up. That is not fun. It is not productive. And it is not in the best interests of you or your law firm.
Think long term. You will be glad you did.