- Instructor: Attorney Bob Schaller
- Lectures: 12
Client Development & Lead Generation
Every lawyer who wants to generate bankruptcy clients, build a book of business, and build a successful legal practice should take this course. A lawyer who generates clients is called a “rainmaker.” A rainmaker understands this simple truth:
Marketing = Clients = Profits = Success = Freedom
Without clients, a lawyer is relegated to associate status working for rainmakers. An associate typically works for lower wages than rainmakers, and is denied profit sharing enjoyed by rainmakers. An associate also works at the whim and fancy of rainmakers and lack agency to control his/her work environment, opportunities, and advancement. Rainmakers are the boss! This writing teaches an associate to become a rainmaker so he/she can be his/her own boss.
A lawyer new to bankruptcy often feels marketing is a daunting task – a hurdle too great to overcome. Unschooled in marketing, the lawyer feels intimidated and unable to take the first step. A young lawyer must take Confucius’ teachings to heart and realize that even the most difficult venture has a starting point; something which begins with the first step. Remember Confucius’ saying, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” This writing is the first step of a future rainmaker’s journey.
Legal marketing is a broad term relating to the acquisition of clients. But this writing focuses on the heart of legal marketing as it relates to a lawyer new to bankruptcy. Demographics and market research are examined because they play a big role in legal marketing. Demographics are the key to successful bankruptcy marketing. Demographic analysis is the collection and analysis of broad characteristics of past bankruptcy filers. Demographers study the bankruptcy population on factors such as age, sex, marital status, income, child support/alimony amount of unsecured debt, number of dependents, disability, and retirement. Demographics define the universe of targeted prospects. A clear understanding of the target group is essential to effective marketing and eliminates unproductive marketing efforts and squandering of limited marketing resources.
Referrals are a key concept that is discussed from multiple dimensions, including referrals from family and friends, referrals from existing clients, referrals from fellow professionals, and referrals from in-person networking. Referral marketing may be the least expensive format with the best cost per client ratio.
Marketing thru family and friends is considered. Each lawyer should explain to family and friends that the lawyer is building a practice and needs family and friends to act like marketing “ambassadors” to help build a client base. The lawyer is instructed to ask these ambassadors to reach out to their contacts and spread the word that the lawyer practices bankruptcy and can help those contacts when the need arises.
Referral marketing with existing clients is examined. A strong emphasis is placed on word-of-mouth referrals given by existing and former clients. Client referrals help generate additional clients and build loyalty within the existing and former client base.
Referral marketing with fellow professionals is analyzed. Lawyers are urged to target those professionals who enjoy a natural symbiotic relationship with a bankruptcy attorney. These professionals have clients who are in financial distress and need bankruptcy relief. Full-text, sample referral letters are provided so that they can be sent to other lawyers, bankers, realtors, and more.
Network marketing is also examined. Networking promotes an attorney and builds solid business relationships with referrers. The resulting referrals solidify prospects’ feeling of trust in the attorney personally and confidence in the attorney’s abilities. Combined, they are a catalyst for building a legal practice. Sample networking questions and practice dialogue are provided.
Direct mail is examined because it can play a pivotal role in bankruptcy marketing. Direct mail allows a lawyer to segment the market and target those prospects most likely to need bankruptcy protection. One of the great advantages of direct mail is that a lawyer can reach specific audience segments with personalized messages. The full text of successful direct mail pieces is included.
Brochure marketing is studied in a separate chapter with a focus on the “10 Benefits of Brochure Marketing.” Brochures are one of the most effective and versatile marketing tools used to inform prospective bankruptcy clients of the lawyer’s services. They are simple to produce compared to other forms of marketing. Brochures are cost effective and easy to distribute. Brochure marketing is well worth adding to a lawyer’s marketing toolbox.
Newsletter marketing is also covered in this writing with specific examples of successful campaign pieces. Newsletter marketing is the strategy by which a lawyer sends informational and service-focused content via U.S. mail or email to a subscriber base that compromises prospective and existing clients. Newsletter marketing is the younger sister of direct mail marketing. Newsletters are really a subset of direct mail letters, but a special chapter is warranted because of the effectiveness of newsletters in the bankruptcy arena.
Email marketing is explored in a separate chapter. Marketing legal services via email can be a fast, flexible, and cost-effective method of reaching prospects and retaining existing clients by encouraging visits to a lawyer’s website. Email marketing allows a lawyer to create personalized messages to the lawyer’s targeted audience. Emails can incorporate links to specialized landing pages to improve response rates to an email marketing campaign.
Advertising is also an important component of legal marketing. This writing considers ethical issues every lawyer must understand before starting to advertise for bankruptcy clients, including specific words and phrases that must appear in every advertising piece, as required by the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
Social media is a vital part of marketing. LinkedIn is studied as a form of free marketing and paid advertising. LinkedIn is a networking tool for professionals. A lawyer can seek connections with other professionals to facilitate cross referrals. A lawyer can even find strategic marketing partners through LinkedIn. LinkedIn also helps a lawyer to be found when prospective clients conduct a LinkedIn search by the lawyer’s name. Brand building is important to a lawyer new to bankruptcy and LinkedIn helps an attorney build a brand, so the lawyer stands out among the bankruptcy bar and demonstrates his/her marketability.
YouTube is critiqued as a valuable source of free marketing and paid advertising. Creating a YouTube channel can dramatically expand a lawyer’s marketing reach. YouTube videos enhance a lawyer’s visibility within a highly targeted audience using limited resources. YouTube can also be used as a highly targeted, low-cost advertising platform that reaches prospects precisely when those prospects are searching for information about services the lawyer provides. Videos can attract prospects, share testimonials, showcase services, distinguish competitors, and offer tutorials.
Google Ads (formerly Google Adwords) search campaigns are explored with a virtual walk-through of the steps needed to start a real-life search campaign. Google Ads provides a lawyer with the power to reach a targeted audience with relevant advertising messages. Google Ads allows a lawyer to measure the results of an advertising campaign and tweak underperforming advertisements for enhanced performance. Google Ads allows a lawyer to maintain control of the advertising budget. The beauty of Google Ads is the immediacy of the platform. A lawyer can cause a display ad to appear on a prospect’s search result when he/she is actively looking for bankruptcy information. This allows the lawyer’s display ad to be shown to prospects when they are most likely to be receptive to the lawyer’s marketing message.
Facebook advertising concludes the writing. Facebook’s business “Pages” and paid ads are explored with a virtual walk-through of the steps needed to create a Facebook Page for a bankruptcy lawyer and start a real-life paid search campaign. Facebook provides a lawyer with the power to reach a targeted audience via free posts and with targeted advertising messages. As with Google Ads, Facebook allows a lawyer to measure the results of each advertising campaign and tweak underperforming advertisements for enhanced performance. Facebook allows a lawyer to maintain control of the advertising budget. The beauty of Facebook is its ubiquity – millions of Americans use Facebook. A lawyer can micromanage the targeted audience by demographic data with surprising accuracy.
In sum, legal marketing is probably one of the most vital skills a lawyer must develop when starting a bankruptcy practice. Marketing drives a lawyer’s image and attracts prospective clients to the firm. Successful legal marketing helps a lawyer new to bankruptcy stand out from the competition and helps prospects find the lawyer.
Legal Marketing Fundamentals
Referrals from Networking
Direct Mail Marketing
Referrals from Professionals
Referrals from Existing Clients
Referrals from Family & Friends