Marketing Tips in Down Economy

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Many experts will say that more resources should be put into marketing when the economy is not doing so well. This is fine, except there may be fewer resources available for marketing … and clients’legal budgets may be limited.

If you have a need to cut costs, it does not mean that marketing should discontinue. There are many things that can be done, which are quite inexpensive, maybe even free.

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Marketing Tips in Down Economy

  1. 1. MARKETinG MArKeting tiPS in A DoWn eConoMy By eD Miller AnD ShAnA gilliS Many experts will say that more resources should be put into Also, email the same press releases to other potentially inter- marketing when the economy is not doing so well. This is fine, ested contacts in your rolodex. You can, again for free, communi- except there may be fewer resources available for marketing … cate your expertise and accomplishments to your clients, referral and clients’ legal budgets may be limited. sources and prospects. if you have a need to cut costs, it does not mean that market- Write Articles ing should discontinue. There are many things that can be done,Getting published is probably much easier than you think. Con- which are quite inexpensive, maybe even free. tact editors with ideas that would appeal to their respective read- erships. invite a client or another appropriate contact to co-write Maintain Website with you. once published, you should Your website is a great resource for request a PdF of your article. Again, potential clients to collect information email it to your contacts and don’t for- “Research shows that on your firm. Make sure you main- get to post to your firm website. Re- many prospects who look tain it with the most up-to-date infor- search shows that many prospects who on the internet for lawyers, mation. Your website should include look on the internet for lawyers, first information about the firm, attorneys, get to a particular website through ar- first get to a particular including their speaking engagements ticles. website through articles.” and published articles and cases, and practice areas. Your website should Use Your E-mail help the potential client make the in- Because money might be tight, all formed decision to hire you. those client entertainment events, lunches and dinners may be unrealistic. Therefore, to interact Leverage your online presence by providing useful and infor- with your contacts, use your email as a marketing tool on a more mative online content, driving traffic to your site and increasing frequent basis. Find excuses to say hello, ask about family and your firm’s visibility. business, email articles of interest and so on. Never mind all the money you will save on gas! Use Public Relations Get yourself in your local newspapers, law journals, business if you currently send newsletters, think about sending them publications and alumni magazines. send newsworthy items to electronically. While there are spam filters and delete is easy to all of the above and other publications, which are appropriate hit, it will certainly save a bunch in printing and mailing costs. to your practice. Newsworthy items can include appointments, awards and recognitions, client successes (get client permission Seminars first, of course), charitable activities, speaking engagements, po- Many other professionals (accounting firms, banks, financial litical appointments, etc. You may even want to get more creative companies, even other lawyers) conduct seminars free of charge. by issuing press releases about unusual items, such as getting pub- Attend these as a guest, you will probably even get a free breakfast lished and coaching your kid’s team to a championship. This is all or lunch. seriously, use these opportunities to meet new people free publicity, and most publications will only except releases via with whom you can cultivate business relationships. email—no postage or printing costs! (Continued on page 27) FALL/WINTER 008
  2. 2. Marketing Tips in a Down Economy (Continued from page 26) if you conduct seminars, think about charging a modest fee Leverage Your Expertise to offset costs. Most people will not mind paying a small fee if There is an old adage that someone else’s misfortune can be they are interested in the topic. Another benefit is that, if there your fortune. it may sound crass, but it is not meant to be. Bad is a charge, people are more apt to actually attend. Again, use economic conditions may create opportunities. People are los- email to promote your seminar as opposed to a mail invite and/ ing their jobs; perhaps, you can focus on employment issues or or advertising. Also, use email to follow-up with guests after employee benefits issues. the seminar and drive traffic to your site with seminar-related content, like the PowerPoint presentation, seminar materials or The key is to be a friend during hard times. When the econ- video of the event. omy turns, your friends will remember that you were there in their time of need. Social Networking Get a page on Linkedin or even Facebook. These free web- in conclusion, you should get the most out of money you sites are excellent to reconnect with stale relationships. The spend and find creative ways to market without spending much key is to be active on these sites, including telling people what money. in turn, you can pass the savings on to your clients. you do, posting links to articles you have written, and asking hopefully, they will return the favor as the economy improves. questions about what your contacts are doing. Use your rela- tionships to gain business opportunities. The goal should not be to accumulate the most contacts in the world, but to cultivate and maintain business relationships. A side benefit is that you Ed Miller is the Chief Marketing Officer will indeed stay in touch with old friends. and Shana Gillis is the Marketing Manager of Norris McLaughlin Marcus, PA These are just a few tips that you can use to stretch your mar- located in Bridgewater. keting dollars. of course, if the economy is so bad that clients don’t have the money to hire lawyers, you have a bigger chal- lenge. hopefully, the following will provide some guidance on how to deal with this problem. Creative Billing Practices discuss with your clients what will help them during this cri- sis. Perhaps you can staff matters at a lower level so associates can do the bulk of the work, even offer to write off much of your time while serving in more of a supervisory role. Perhaps some matters can be taken on a contingency basis. Tell the client that you are willing to share more of the risk until the tide turns. Maybe fixed fees for certain matters are appropriate. Again, the options are plenty. discuss with your client what will help. Value-Added Services Provide more freebies to your clients. do in-house training programs and don’t bill all your time in answering simple ques- tions. Other creative value-added services could include allow- ing clients to use your facilities or bartering services when fea- sible and mutually beneficial. Another example is, where credit is hard to come by, you can help clients find financing. FALL/WINTER 008

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