Mark Merenda is one of the nation’s leading experts on marketing for attorneys. He will teach a course on marketing strategies for lawyers at Solo Practice University®.
Merenda founded Smart Marketing in 1994. Smart Marketing’s services include strategic planning, coaching, and practice development — as well as the design and implementation of websites, blogs, search engine optimization programs, seminars, brochures, newsletters and e-newsletters, advertising campaigns, corporate identity and image materials, direct mail, referral networks, and more. Merenda’s SmartBlog, founded in 2004, is a popular resource for attorneys and financial professionals with nearly 7,000 current subscribers.
Education And Professional Accreditation
A graduate of Bennington College, Merenda is a teaching Fellow at the Southern California Institute.
Presentations And Publications
Merenda gives lectures and presentations across the country, to groups including WealthCounsel, The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, The Ohio Forum of Estate Planning Attorneys, The Michigan Forum of Estate Planning Attorneys, The California Forum, The Society of Financial Service Professionals, and others. His list of publications is extensive, and includes Advisor Today, Bloomberg Wealth Manager, Marketing The Law Firm, National Underwriter, The National Law Journal, Elder Law Answers Monthly, CAPA2biz.com, and the Journal of the Institute for Dynamic Wealth Innovation. His articles may be downloaded or read online at Smart Marketing.
Syllabus – Marketing for Lawyers
1. What is marketing, anyway? Is it advertising? Is it public relations? Is it those awful billboards put up by personal injury attorneys? And anyway, shouldn’t the most important factor in your business success be your abilities as a lawyer? If you have a choice between being a great marketer or a great attorney, which should you choose? What is the difference between being an attorney, and being the owner of a small business called a law firm?
2. The Power of The Package. An hour long discussion of the importance of branding and image to the rapid development of a law practice, with examples from the worlds of psychology and commerce:
• Why people listen with their eyes
• The invisibility of legal services
• The inability of your potential clients to evaluate your skills, and the Joshua Bell story.
• Sensation transference: a tale of 7-Up and Folger’s Instant Coffee.
• Why, in a purely marketing sense, how you look is more important than how good a lawyer you are
• Your corporate brand, your brochure, your office, your website — how to look as great as you are
• A dirty little secret: Why a great image allows you to charge more for your services
• How image affects client satisfaction
• How branding and image can differentiate you in an era of commoditization of legal services.
3. Building Your Referral Network. An exploration of the wholesale side of business development:
• Why referred business is the best business
• How to build a referral-based practice systematically and continuously.
• Defining the target universe
• Identifying the members of the target universe
• Initiating the relationship
• The importance of dripping
• Tools of the trade
4. Marketing though public seminars. Why this remains the single best method of generating immediate revenue for your law firm.
• When people buy professional services, they buy the person who provides the service
• What is a “relationship buy”?
• Letting ‘em squeeze the Charmin
• What is the real goal of a seminar?
• What is the best structure for a seminar?
• What is the best way to fill the seats of your seminar with prospective clients?
• The importance of discussing price at the seminar — and how to do so
• The dog food story
5. Fees, fees, fees. Every lawyer is obsessed with fees. How much should they be? How can I raise them without losing clients? What is my competition charging?
• How the fee conveys value
• The fear of loss in human nature, and how it affects your fees
• How to raise your fees and see your sales go up, not down
• Why, if you are cagey about your fees, you have no right to complain about “tire kickers”
• How to present your fees, at your seminar, on your website, in a client meeting
• Take ten potential new clients and do the math
6. The Internet. It is the fourth great revolution in human communications (after the invention of language, the invention of written language, and the printing press). How to harness its enormous power to market your firm.
• Your website — an online brochure?
• The advent of the search engine, and the Google-ization of the world
• How search engines work
• Organic listings vs. pay-per-click
• Clicks vs. conversions
• The importance of landing pages
• If you ain’t bloggin’, you ain’t tryin’