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Starting A Law Firm: Creating the Marketing Portfolio

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Diversify, diversify, diversify.  That’s the advice you’ll commonly hear if you’re investing in the market.  Well, that advice applies with equal force when you’re starting a law firm and investing in yourself.  Just as you need a portfolio for stock investment, so too, you’ll want a portfolio of activities by which to market your practice.  Despite what many gurus would have you believe, there’s no silver bullet when it comes to marketing.  Which is why you should avoid spending every last cent you have on one resource, like pricey online advertisements or SEO or direct mail or other “secret systems” designed to attract clients.  Moreover, what works for some practice areas does not necessarily work for others – so don’t assume that the $5000 package for bankruptcy or trust and estates lawyers will necessarily apply to your corporate or family law practice.

Of course, some activities work better than others – but even with the best tracking, it’s tough to always accurately match a particular initiative to a client.  For example, in my practice, for all of my blogging and social media participation, virtually all of my clients come from personal referrals, whom I’ve met through pro bono activities or trade association work.  Some of the referrals I’ve never worked with at all, but I suspect that they’ve seen my published work or heard my name through other colleagues.  Given that so much of my work comes through personal referrals, does that mean that I should stop blogging or tweeting or take down my LinkedIn profile?  Of course not.  Because I suspect that these sources – which show my expertise and credentials- give my referral sources (particularly those I haven’t worked with firsthand) additional comfort when they pass my name along.

To best illustrate the portfolio concept, I’ve created the graphic that accompanies this post.  MAJOR CAVEAT: the percentages shown on the chart do not reflect what I do in my practice, nor are they recommended or suggested.  I wanted to include virtually every possible type of online marketing on the chart  but I certainly don’t suggest that anyone try to do everything all at once.  As for the percentages, I just tried to roughly divide all of the activities up evenly – though even on this chart, I did try to assign slightly greater weight to person-to-person contacts, articles and blogging because I do believe that substantive or interpersonal activities generate more and better quality clients than mass advertising.

So, do you have a marketing portfolio – and how does yours look?

Note: if you want to create one of these neat looking graphs in a couple of seconds, check out NCES Kids Zone .  Yes, it’s a kids’ site, but it generates the nicest looking graphs of all the programs I’ve found.

A Solo’s Marketing Portfolio

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