(photo credit: Kate’s Paperie)
So you’ve created your Rainmaking Plan; you have developed a picture of your ideal client or niche and you have a list of goals you want to achieve with deadlines. Now, how are you going to go about achieving it?
What most solos have a tendency to do is the “throw it against the wall to see if it sticks” method of marketing. As I mentioned in my first post here, this is a reference to an old technique for seeing if pasta was cooked al dente. So they try everything once and if it doesn’t work they try something else.
While you should try different tactics and techniques to build your book of business, doing everything by yourself is time consuming and ineffective. Instead, think about trying one or two business development and marketing tactics and use it consistently for at least a few months. Then, you can decide whether or not it is successful.
So here is a very short list of business development and marketing ideas that cost little to nothing (but time) to use:
- Networking Events: Attend events where your ideal clients can be found. Almost every single industry, hobby or niche has an association which you can find and join. Then, go to the events and meet the people with whom you would like to work or get referrals.
- Seminar/Webinar Speaking: Again, these associations always are looking for good speakers to provide pertinent information to their members. Offer a seminar or program which is of interest to them. Also, consider holding your own webinar or seminar.
- Blogging: Create a blog in which you write posts about what your ideal clients want to know (not what you think they should know).
- Guest Blogging: What websites are your ideal clients or niche reading? A quick search will tell you. Then, visit those websites and offer to write a post for the people who are reading it (just as I am doing now on Solo Practice University, she writes with a grin). Since fresh content is one of most important objectives to most blogs and websites, many of them are seeking fresh “voices” to help keep their readers happy.
- Referral Group of Other Solos: Since you are a solo who is practicing in a specific practice area, find other solos who do not compete with you or with each other. Each attorney should have their own practice area – one family lawyer, one personal injury attorney, one real estate attorney (which you can further break into one commercial and one residential lawyer) and so forth. Meet on a regular basis, no less than once per month. You can not only provide referrals to one another, but also to meet and discuss the business of being solo. It’s sort of like creating a multi-discipline law firm without having the partners. And you won’t feel like you are doing it all alone.
- Referral Group of Strategic Referral Partners: A Strategic Referral Partner, also known as a Center of Influence, is a person who works with the same ideal clients you want to reach. These are your ideal clients’ accountants, financial service advisors, insurance agents or anyone who does business in the same niche you are interested in obtaining clients. Create, or join, a group where you can meet with these people on a regular basis.
- Newsletters: Create a newsletter and send it to your email list on a regular basis. Populate the newsletter with information that would be of interest to them. Please get permission to send your email list a newsletter (and no, just collecting a business card from someone does not constitute permission – ask if they want to be on the list).
- Social Media: Determine the social media site your ideal clients use regularly to create a presence on that site. Post information, answer queries (in an ethical manner), ask questions, and show your personality.
- Referral Marketing Strategy: Create a strategy to ask both current and former clients for referrals. What’s the worst thing they can say? “No, I don’t know anyone you can help at this time.” Even so, you have put yourself back into their thoughts and if someone does need a referral, your name may come up.
- Follow Up!: Regardless of how you meet someone; whether it be on-line or off, follow up with them. Whether it is a potential client, a current client, or a referral source, take the conversation from the networking event or the social media site to a more intimate conversation. And do it quickly. Make it a rule that you will follow up within a specific period of time.
While this is a very, very short list of business development and marketing activities you can use (and I could list of over 100 different ideas, techniques and tactics), the point is to find one, two or three tactics you will use on a regular and consistent basis. Give the activity a chance before you decide it doesn’t work.
I will be detailing each one of the above in individual future posts, not only to enable you to know how to use each tactic more effectively but also ethically, since each tactic has ethics pitfalls of which you should be aware.
All opinions, advice, and experiences of guest bloggers/columnists are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, practices or experiences of Solo Practice University®.