How to Make Time For Legal Marketing and Business Development

One of the chief complaints I receive from the attorneys that I meet and work with is that they just don’t have time for legal marketing. While billable hours, day-to-day emergencies and time outside the office all add up, there are definite ways to go about making time for legal marketing and business development. The key is to think of it as an ongoing habit, not something to “make time for.” Rather than seeing marketing and business development as a burden, think of it as an integral part of your day-to-day life. The interesting thing about creating this kind of habit is that once you find the right system for your individual lifestyle it should simply become second nature.

The benefits to making time are numerous. Aside from building relationships with potential clients and referral sources, taking advantage of marketing and business development opportunities can help increase your visibility AND credibility in the legal arena and beyond. Writing articles and participating in social media help you create and build a personal brand-something that every lawyer should have. True dedication and time commitment can even bring you recognition as an expert in your chosen practice area or within a specific industry.

Below are a few suggestions and lessons from attorneys I’ve worked with, as well as my own observations and experience. Choose the path that make sense for you or adapt the suggestions to work within your own day, but give it a chance. Do something! The rewards you will reap are far greater than a 5-minute time commitment.

  • Multi-task. No one I know comes into the office and immediately gets to work. One solution to the time crunch is to fold your marketing and business development efforts into your morning routine. As you sit down to your desk with your morning coffee or tea (or breakfast…) browse through your contacts or referral lists and send a few emails; read a legal marketing blog; update your social media or even spend 10 minutes working on a potential article or speech. By 9 am you’ll have accomplished something solid and can focus the rest of your day on other endeavors. Alternately, you can do the same thing during a quick lunch at your desk or coffee break. You’d be surprised how far 10 minutes can go.
  • Save it up. One attorney I know has created a special folder in her email Inbox specifically for legal marketing emails. As the weekly or daily updates from the blogs and social media groups she subscribes to come in she simply directs them to the folder. Then, once a week she takes an hour out of her day to read through the week’s emails and respond to them accordingly. She’s able to keep up to date on legal marketing news and colleague updates, post articles and communicate about possible speaking engagements without disrupting the flow of her day.
  • End your day. A colleague of mine channels his efforts into work all day but integrates marketing into his nighttime routine. With the stresses of the day (and impending deadlines, phone calls and emails) over, he sets aside 15-20 minutes a night before bed to investigate marketing leads, send emails to potential referral sources and work on articles and social media.
  • Schedule it in… for the first month. If all else fails, treat legal marketing as a literal client. Put it on your schedule and make no excuses for not paying attention to it, just as you would a client. Whether it’s once a week or biweekly, set aside specific time for uninterrupted focus. After the first month I can guarantee that finding time for business development will feel effortless.

Simple in theory but never easy in practice, without a true commitment you can never reap the rewards of a solid marketing habit. Filling your pipeline with work, receiving recognition as an expert and gaining credibility and visibility won’t happen all at once, but you can be sure they will happen. Just as with any other endeavor, it takes focus and time to see results.

Making New Business Development a Priority – You Wouldn’t Ignore Accounting, Would You?

Everybody’s in Sales

Business development should always be a priority, but it’s especially important for organizations that don’t have a sales force. In my opinion, everybody within an organization is in sales, because every touch-point with the outside world is an impression that you leave and an opportunity to sell. Too many times I have encountered a culture where business development was viewed as something that someone had to do (begrudgingly) and nobody took ownership. Somebody within your organization has to own sales and business development. This person needs to understand the process, or be able to hire somebody who does. Talking to somebody at an airport bar while waiting for a flight is one way to plug your business, but how many times can you do that? We need to think of business development as something that is replicable and that could be continued even if people leave the organization.

Set Up Systems

My opinion is that, if you get hit by a bus tomorrow and nobody can continue your job, because there is no system in place, you don’t really have a business. Warren Buffet once said “you need to set up a system for your organization that an idiot can run, because at one day that will happen” (check out the quote!).

Systems are used for engineering, IT, production, or accounting. Nobody would expect a company to not have an accounting system but it’s highly common for companies to live without any system when it comes to sales. That is when I developed the blueprint of “Selling & Dating” and how the two compare. It’s a humorous way of looking at the process, but if one follows the steps sales becomes more transparent.

Selling is a Process

That’s probably why most people are afraid of sales, because there is no guidelines, no blueprint. Hiring somebody who is charismatic is very often an option that is chosen. But charisma only takes you so far. Sales really is a process and once everyone in the organization understands that, it will be a lot easier to follow. There is this fear of selling, almost a disdain where sales is viewed as a practice where we have to persuade another person to buy something that they really need or like. Once we shift that mindset and understand that as long as we meet a need that another person has, it’s so much easier to embrace selling.

In my opinion, the fear and reluctance to selling stems from the fact that we are not taught to do it in a process oriented way. “Just pick up the phone and pitch our business”, seems to be the advice that many people are given, especially in smaller organizations. Once you have developed an ideal prospect profile and you know that what you are offering is something that your target will need, you can be structured in your approach and have a conversation rather than a sales chat.

Trust me, it works every single time.

Never forget those 3!

When developing the benefits to your audiences, always remember to develop messaging that helps them get their attention. If you have read my blog you will remember that people buy because you can help them:

  • Make money and/or
  • Save money or time and/or
  • Improve their reputation internally

Online Business Development For Beginners

Are you ready to kick off your online business development the right way? You’ll be pleased to know that there are many excellent established practices that can help guide your business from its beginning all the way through a fruitful and long journey of success. While online marketing has many similarities to traditional marketing, there are also many differences, as well as new facets and angles to consider. To properly succeed with online business development you need to understand the ins and outs of online marketing.

The great thing about online business development is that it doesn’t need to cost any money. Yes, there are paid online advertising opportunities, including the popular Google AdWords (a Pay Per Click service). These tools can be successful but aren’t the best place to start, especially when you are on a budget. You have to turn to free methods that can pay serious dividends for the time you put in.

When you’re creating your new website, you have to realize how online content is different from offline content. The content of your website needs to be easily readable and digestible. It should be short and to the point, and it should draw people into it. People skim rather than read online, so you have to find a way to get your point across in less time and in less space.

Another key difference between online business development and offline marketing is that before people ever even evaluate whether they want to read your content, they need a chance to get to your site, your blog or your article. This is opposed to say, an advertisement in a newspaper, where anybody flipping through the newspaper will see your advertisement. All you have to do there is capture their attention.

With your online business, you need to capture their attention as well, but you first need to get them there. This entails search engine optimization, social networking and link building among other strategies to drive traffic to your website. Search engine optimization involves creating keyword-optimized content that will help get you found in search engines.