LFMM 007 Transcript: Law Firm Marketing Tactics I Used to Get My Very First Clients

Click here to go to the show notes from episode 7

Welcome to episode 7 of the Law Firm Marketing Mastery podcast! Where our aim in this to start and build a successful law firm, get more clients, and make more money, step by step. I am your host, Christopher Small. On today’s episode we’re going to talk about some direct marketing magic I made last week, and an update on my radio advertising adventure.

In this week speaker feature segment I’m going to talk about how I got my first client, and some of the other non-traditional things I did to try to get business.

Finally, in this week’s Tip of The Week we’re going to talk about opportunities lost.

Week in Review

Okay, let’s dive right in. So this week I did a lot related to marketing my law firm. I think last week I talked about kind of the hard core dive I was doing into copyrighting. I was reading a lot of books about copyrighting and about direct mail advertising.

I was reading some stuff from Dan Kennedy. I was reading some stuff from some older school dudes. And I listed a lot of those books last week and so as soon as I learned that one of the important things to do is to take that information and put it into practice, and so that’s what I did.

1. DUI Direct Mail Advertisement

I put together a new DUI mailer. I’ve been sending one out for about eight weeks, probably. I’d gotten a few clients from it, it definitely was paying off, I think. I figured out I was paying about 60, like 60 cents or 65 cents per potential client lead when you add it in postage and paper and ink and things like that. And obviously if you sign up even one client from that work, let’s say $4000, there’s a lot of potential client letters that go out before you start losing money.

So anyway, what I wanted to do is ramp that up. I wanted to be better at that. I wanted to increase my response rate, and the way to do that is to write a better letter basically. So, I dove into copyrighting. I learned a lot about direct mail advertising and I learned a lot about things that I can do to make my letter better and make it more persuasive, get my point across better, let people know what I was doing and why I was there.

I finally put that together, and actually it hasn’t been mailed out yet, which is another deal entirely and that’s… I guess another important lesson is that when you get a vendor that you’re using, and I’m using a printing company for this, because each one of my letter now is four pages long, so I want to have someone to mail merge those, with all the potential prospect names that I have, and then I wanted to have someone do all that for me, put it all together so I didn’t have to worry about it.

And the printing company that I have been using has one dude, I guess the only guy in the whole company, that knows how to mail merge, at a printing company! So he’s been out of town, or he’s been, I don’t know, unable to use email or something, so my contact there hasn’t been able to get the print job set, and we’ve been waiting for like three days. And three days is too long for this.

I told him, I’m like: “Hey, this is potentially a week after week job that I am going to need. It’s steady income for you – the paper salesman – steady income for the printing company, and let’s make this happen.”

But he’s not making it happen, so I think we’re going to have to go somewhere else.

But I’m excited to get these letters out. I’m excited to see if they work, and how well they work, and if we get some response. I’ve mailed out, so I have… I am doing a split test and the only difference is headlines. One has one headline, and one has another headline. And maybe I will talk a little bit more in-depth about that pretty soon, and about what my letter looks like and about the effectiveness of it. I’ll definitely talk about whether or not it works. But if you’re going to be doing some direct mail stuff you’ve got to know what you’re doing or you’re just wasting your own time.

2. Monthly Newsletter Shipped Out

So that is one big thing I was doing last week. Another thing that I did was finalize the mailer or monthly paper newsletter and that went really well. I changed the format of that again; it’s now really just like a letter, it looks like a type written letter that you would have sent, maybe to your grandma or something, back in the day, if you were typing your letter as opposed to hand writing them.

And so we’ll see how that works. The purpose that is really just keep in touch with my past clients and all my contacts and let them know what’s going on with the firm, just remind them that we’re out there, that we’re here to help, and let them know what’s going on with us. I think those kind of letters help form a personal relationship with people, and people like to do business with people they like, so that’s another thing that I have been doing.

3. Getting Closer to Radio Advertising Success

The last thing that I did, as relates to marketing and things like that, is, I had another talk with the radio guy that has been trying to sell me ads.

He came up with some new test, ads. and he sent me the copy on that, and I read through it. It’s not terrible. I wasn’t extremely excited with it.

For me, I’m looking for something that’s a little bit different, I guess. I want something that has that punch that would really get the response that I’m looking for. I didn’t necessarily hear that from him, so he’s going to try to come up with some more stuff, I’m going to try to come up with some copy and again, we’ll see how that goes, and I’ll obviously let you know how that turns out and I’ll give you a breakdown kind of on what I spent and what I made, how many new clients I got from that and that might be a whole episode itself too, it’s just what goes into radio advertising, what you want to think about, what are the important factors to think about.

So that’s another thing that’s been going on. I also asked a guy to give me a specific break down on these prices. When he quoted the fee it was something like: “Yeah, you get 30 ads, Monday and Tuesday, at this time, and you get 30 ads at this time, and then you get something like 10,000 web impressions.”

But it’s not broken down, you know, as opposed to like: “10 AM to 2 PM is our drive time, that is when the ads are most expensive, we’re going to give you one here, 2 PM to 5 PM, is our slow time, so we’re going to give you three here, at this price…” He didn’t do that, so I want to make sure that I know what I’m paying for and when I’m getting the ads, and when the people are going to be there listening to them.

We’ll see if he gets back to me on that. I’m sure he will; he’s been working with me for a long time trying to get the sales, so he’s not going to give up now. But I’ll let you know what happens when I’ll hear back from that.

4. Law Firm Marketing Mastery Monthly eNewsletter Shipped

I also sent out the monthly email newsletter for Law Firm Marketing Mastery. If you didn’t get that, then you’re not on our email list and you should probably do that, you can go sign up for it lawfirmmarketingmastery.com. The newsletter sign up is right there on the front page and the side bar there, you can’t miss it, it’s really big.

And with that on Tuesday, this Tuesday we’ll be doing our, which will be tomorrow, I guess by the time this thing gets aired to everyone, I’ll be doing my monthly webinar that I do with the people that subscribe to the email list. And to be honest with you I cannot remember what the topic is this week, but I know it’s a good one, and maybe I’ll look that up and tell you.

But, anyway, if you want to be a part of the free monthly webinar that I do, then you’re definitely going to want to subscribe to the newsletter, because that’s the only way that you can get the information on that.

So again, just go to lawfirmmarketingmastery.com and sign up for the free newsletter. There is no obligation or anything and you can get my monthly newsletter which breaks down all of the money that I make for the month.

I give you my true expenses, I give you my true income, and give you an idea on whether or not the stuff that I’m talking about really works. I also typically will give some… a little bit more insight into my firm in a way that it’s going, and stuff like that. So, go take a look at that.

Feature Segment: How I Got My First Law Firm Clients

Okay, now, onto the feature segment! I figured that I would go back in time, I know a lot of people that are listening to this are starting their law firm, or are thinking about starting a law firm, and if I could go back in time and do one think different, and I spent a lot of time on this, but I still will spend more time just thinking about how can I get clients? How can I get in front of people that need my service?

So I thought I’d talk to you a little bit about some of the things that I did and some of the kind of more non-traditional things that I did that worked, and some that didn’t work, and just to give you some ideas in case you’re starting out, and you’ve got some free time, and you want to go market your business, okay?

Let’s just dive right into this.

I will admit, at the beginning that the first two ideas here that I’m going to talk about are related, or I got from Rjon. If you’ve been a long time reader of the blog or maybe you’re kind of interested in starting a law firm, you have probably heard of Rjon Robins. He is a law firm management and marketing guy; he sells some services that he puts together and when I first started out I bought his program and it was fantastic, and I still endorse it today, and he’s actually been probably the first interview here.

So I figured, you know, we need to start interviewing some people that can help you out, that have a little specific information that maybe I don’t have, and maybe just give you a little bit of a different slant on things. So I think I’m going to try to get him in here for an interview, and ask him some questions.

So, if you have any questions that you want to ask Rjon you can email me at christophersmall@lawfirmmarketingmastery.com and just tell me, it’s an Rjon question, or something like that, and I’ll make a whole bunch of them and make sure some get asked to him. I’m probably going to do that interview in the next few weeks, and post it a couple of weeks after that, so maybe like second or third week of January, we’ll probably try to get that up.

But anyway big tangent there. But I digress – I guess as they say.

Law Firm Marketing Adventure #1: The Farmer’s Market

So, one of the first things I did when I was marketing my business was, I went to the printer, and I bought a sign that was I think something like seven feet long, and three feet wide, and it just said “Lawyer” on it, with a period. It just said “Lawyer.” Maybe not even a period. In red bright red letters, big bright red letters, “Lawyer.”

And I went down to the local farmers market, it was open every Sunday, and it was pretty busy, they probably got a couple thousand people in there a day, at least, and I bought a booth. And I bought the booth and I set up a table, and I put my sign up and I just sat there.

I waited for people to come up and talk to me. And if they came to talk to me, the thing was, I told them: “Look, I’m a lawyer, and I’m a criminal defense lawyer, and I’m a traffic lawyer, and if you have a legal question for me you can ask me. If I can answer it I will, and if I cannot, I will send you to someone that I know and trust that will be able to answer the question for you. All you have to do is give me your name, your email address, your phone number, and your address, your contact information. Just give me your contact information, and I will answer your question, or I will direct you to someone that can answer your question.”

So I did that. Rjon’s advice, I think, was to do it for like six weeks. And the thing about it is, you know, week one – you probably may not get that much response. People will kind of walk up and will say “What’s going on, what are you doing?” And you tell them what’s going on, and they’ll think it’s kind of funny and cool and some people will have a question, some will just chat you up and that would be that.

And then, week two, you’ll get a little bit more response. What will happen is, the same people will come by there, week after week, and the longer that you’re there, the more they’ll start to trust you. And so if they have an actual legal question eventually they will come up and ask it, and talk to you, so you know, again, it builds up week three, week four, week five.

I honestly, I think I only made it, I think I did it for three straight weeks, and then I stopped doing it. It worked, I actually did get some clients from it, which is amazing. I got my first client from doing that, my first real client. It was a traffic ticket, and it was fantastic. But it was a long day, and I had to wake up early and it’s just kind of one of those things where I didn’t want to do it.

And that’s the cool thing about being the boss. If you decide you don’t want to do something, then you know what? You don’t have to do it. So I stopped doing it. It did work though. I did get some clients; I did make some good contacts and meet some good people. And the other thing about that is that that’s a great way to build relationships with other lawyers too, because what you can do is, you can call, let’s say somebody would come in with a family law question for example.

What I can do is I can reach out to some family lawyers, or some family law firm owners, and I can say, “Look, I’ve got some people coming to me with family law questions and I don’t do family law. I trust you and you seem like a good lawyer, would you mind if I referred these people to you? Will you take care of them, do a good job?”

And it’s building those kinds of relationships that can then lead to some reciprocal business on your part. When someone calls them, when a client calls them, that is going through a divorce, they may get a traffic ticket or they get in some trouble, hopefully they’ll think of me and they’ll send them my way.

And you know, honestly, if they don’t, if that doesn’t happen, then maybe you’ll find another family lawyer to help you out. There’s a whole bunch of everybody out there. So that farmers market idea is a good one. And the other thing about that is it just gets you out there, gets you meeting people, gets you talking about your business, and it gets you a little bit more committed. You tell people “I’m out here, I have my own firm.”

You can hand out some business cards. obviously you are going to have a stack of business cards there too.

So, if you’ve got some time, if you don’t mind giving up a Sunday every week for a few weeks, then I would definitely give that a try. It’s really effective, like I said it’s really one of those good, uncomfortable, out of the box kind of experiences that can help you push yourself to doing the next activity that you need to do to kind of push your business forward.

Law Firm Marketing Adventure #2: 40 Bars in 40 Nights

Okay, the second thing that I did was also an Rjon recommendation. He called it, and this is kind of specific to criminal defense and traffic defense, but you can probably kind of tweak it and do it for something else, whatever your other practice area is, if you can just think of a right forum to do it in. And what he called it was, he called it “40 bars in 40 nights.”

I think it’s pretty self-explanatory, right? 40 bars in 40 nights.

What you do with that is basically take stack of your business cards, you know 10-15-20 business cards, you go into a bar, and you do this during the week. Go in when it’s not that busy, and you just sit down, order a drink, maybe an appetizer or something, and you just talk up the bartender.

You find out who they are, what’s going on with them, what’s going on with the bar. And obviously what you do is probably going to come up, and you know, the fact that you’ve got a stack of business cards there, and if they know anyone that needs your help, they can just give them the business card or send them to you, and then they can do that.

So that’s another good way to get up there. For me, it was extremely uncomfortable. I didn’t get any business from this, but I think I only made it to two bars though before I quit. It just wasn’t really my style and I didn’t go through with it all the way.

But, again, I think it’s something that could be effective and it’s something that you definitely should try. And again, the thing here is you’ve got to get out there and do stuff and see if you like it, and see if it works. And then if it doesn’t, then it’s no skin off your back, it’s another story that you could tell someday when you have a podcast, like I do.

40 bars in 40 nights, I think, probably could be effective, especially if you went back, maybe if you went back to the same bar, a few nights in a row, it can work out.

Law Firm Marketing Adventure #3: Living Life Like Joe Girard

Another thing that I did, I didn’t do it for very long, I’m beginning to think about trying to do it again, is just literally handing out business cards to everyone I meet.

I read a book called… I cannot remember what it’s called, but it was about, let me look it up real quick. It’s about being the best salesman in the world. And this guy really just talks about… this guy literally was the best car salesman in the world. He was in the Guinness book world records, recognized by the Guinness book of world records, for selling the most cars. I’ve read it a bunch of times: “How to sell anything to anybody.”

I’ve got a bunch of great ideas from this book about how to sell, and about, really about how to take care of your current and past clients so that they continue to give you more and more business. This book is fantastic.

What I was going to talk about though was this, Joe Girard, he would hand out his card to everybody. And the fact of the matter is he rationalized it, I guess, or he knew…

This is where he was coming from: everybody at some point is going to need a car, and he’s a good car salesman, and he’s going to take the time to get people what they need, and so, it’s almost his duty to let people know about him. And you can think about yourself the same way. You’re a lawyer, yes, but you know, you’re probably good at what you do. You probably take pride in what you do.

It’s okay to let people know what you do, and ask them for their business, because you’re going to do a good job. For example, when I thought about handing out cards to people on the street I would say, “Look, I’m a traffic lawyer, if you ever get a traffic ticket, I can help you keep your car insurance low, I can keep your driving record clean, so call me for help”.

And if I didn’t tell that to someone, they may not know that that exists, or that it’s possible.

So I’m in some ways I’m doing a disservice to them and I’m doing a disservice to myself if I don’t tell them about what I do, and give them my card. It’s important to do that.

I did that for a while, again, it was kind of uncomfortable, but I’m thinking of doing it again because: a) I think it can be helpful, and b) I think it’s something that I should be doing and that people deserve to know about me when they need me.

Whether it is the grocery clerk at the grocery store, or the guy changing my oil, or, I don’t know, my dentist or whoever, right? Whomever you meet, give him your card, tell him what you do, tell him to give you a call if he ever gets in trouble or needs some help with whatever you’re doing, and that’s a great way to get some business. It’s a great way to create relationships too, because, ask for their card back, or ask them what they do, how you can help them out.

And you’d be surprised about the response that you get. I’ll give a link to that book in the show notes, Joe Girard’s book. It’s a short book, it’s cheap, I’m looking at it right now. You can get it for $2.39. It’s easy to read, and it’s got a ton of great information in there, so don’t hesitate to get that book, check it out, it’s awesome.

Okay, I’ve got some other things on here, but some I haven’t really tried yet, that I want to try in the future, so this probably isn’t a great time to talk about them since I wanted to talk about some of the things that I did, that I’ve actually done trying to get business. And the farmers market, and the 40 bars in 40 nights I think are some stuff that hardly anyone has probably ever done before. But those are the kinds of things that you need to do when you open a law firm, right?

If you want to be successful, if you want to help people out, if you want to make money, if you want to get clients, it’s stepping outside of your comfort zone, it’s doing things that work, or might work. It’s a calculated risk.

With the farmers market I think I spent a total of like a hundred bucks, paying to have the booth and the sign, and whatever, and then the 40 bars in 40 nights I paid maybe like 25-30 bucks for the drinks and the food I ate, and it was worth it.

I got to meet some new people, I got to hand out my business cards and make a little bit of money, so think about some of those things that you can do that are outside of the box, that allow you to make personal connections with people. You’ll be surprised how fast you’re making business.

So that’s it for our feature’s segment today. I’m going to try to keep this right around 30 minutes, and we’re at the 25 minute mark right now. So I’m going to move on to the tip of the week, which is actually about an opportunity lost.

Law Firm Marketing Mastery Tip of the Week

I know that I’ve talked about this on here before, I believe that I have, I know I’ve talked about it on the blog, in blog posts before, but Google is your friend when you start your law firm.

You’ve got Google voice, you’ve got Gmail, you’ve got all kinds of Google Analytics, Google Adwords keyword tool. You’ve got all kinds of great stuff, great tools that Google gives you for free, to help you run your business and make it successful.

And up until Thursday or Friday you could also get the entire Google apps suite for free. What Google apps suite gives you is Gmail, it gives you Google Drive, which is their kind of file storage and file transfer system. You get their contacts, and their contact management. You get their calendar, you get… what else do you get that is good? That’s pretty much it.

But those three things are fantastic and they are all free: Gmail; Google Calendar; and Google drive. You got those for free, for your business.

You can hook up your company, email or company website to them and so your email would be in a Gmail application, and it is all free. For example you Google me at christophersmall@lawfirmmarketingmastery.com then that funnels to me through Gmail, and then opens up and it’s a Gmail application for my email.

But, starting, or ending on Thursday was the free trial. Now you’ve got to pay. It’s still really, really cheap – it’s only 5 dollars per user. I don’t know if that’s for month, or for year, or what. But it’s not free anymore, and I think if you didn’t get it yet, that’s too bad, I still think you should seriously consider when you’re setting up your law firm.

And if you are setting up your law firm one of the first things you should do is get your own domain name and hook that up with an email address, because it’s just way more professional to have “yourname@youremailaddress” then using Gmail or Comcast or Hotmail or yahoo or whatever.

I know some dudes that do it. I know some attorneys that do it. Some old school attorneys that still use their comcast.com email address for work, and I mean, it seems to work for them and people don’t seem to mind. But you know, as we move forward, it’s so easy to get your own domain, and to get an email address attached that domain, that you should just do it. It just adds one more kind of level of trustworthiness to what you do.

Just like having a website, right? Even if nobody finds your website on Google, the best thing that can happen is someone hears about you, they go look you up on the internet and they can see that you are legit, they can see that you have testimonials, they can see your picture, they can hear about you, they can learn about you, they can learn about what you do, and they can know that if they ask you for help that you’re going to be able to help them out.

Get your email address attached to your domain name. But that’s not the lesson you are getting in tip of the week. The lesson is, you know: stop waiting, stop planning, and start taking action. That’s a free thing that you could have done. You could have spent $12 on a domain name, etc. and now that opportunity is lost.

And every day that you don’t take a step forward is an opportunity lost for you to move forward and do something different, do something exciting, do something that you want to do.

So, make the decision today to take just one small step forward, to do one thing towards reaching your goals, no matter how small it is.

Register that domain name, look for domain names, decide on a domain name, a law firm name or pick something. Just do one actual thing that moves you closer to your goals.

I was listening to a podcast last week on, it’s called prenuer.com, and it’s like entrepreneur.com without the “entre”. So prenuer.com, this guy has a podcast, his name is Pete Williams: genius business man, he’s not a lawyer. He’s got all kinds of stuff that call him the Richard Branson of Australia or something.

Anyway, they were talking about, he was writing a book and he was talking with the person that was on the podcast and getting the book done and he referenced some famous authors and I can’t remember who they are, I’m terrible at doing that, I’m going to pay more attention on that moving forward.

But anyway, they asked this author: “How do you beat writer’s block? How do you finish your books, because it’s tough!”

And the author said: “I have a personal goal of writing at least one sentence per day.”

Because, if you write one sentence per day, it typically will turn into more than sentence. It’s just the actual act of getting started that is tough to do and that makes all the difference. And that holds true here for starting a law firm, for marketing a law firm.

Taking that first step is often the most difficult thing to do.

So, I hope you had a good week and I hope you have a good week coming up here. It’s almost Christmas time. I want to keep busting these out every week. I’ve got some good topics coming up, and try set up some interviews.

If there’s anything that you want to hear about specifically, if you have any questions I would love to answer them. If you have any reviews, I would love for you to give them. You can go to website, and follow me on Twitter: @csmall; you can go to Facebook to search Law Firm Marketing Mastery, and like me, like us there.

So thanks for listening, if you like the show, please follow us on iTunes and leave us review at lawfirmmarketingmastery.com/podcast. If you have a question or comment please leave it at lawfirmmarketingmastery.com.

Talk to you soon!