Ten Best Marketing Strategies for 2011 Teleseminar Led by: Dan Couvrette, CEO, Divorce Marketing Group

SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE:

The best three strategies to make your website perform better
The best four strategies to help you take advantage of social media marketing
The best three strategies for developing quality referrals

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Dan Couvrette:

Welcome. We conduct these teleseminars every month for professionals serving the divorce market, in order to give them ideas on how to best market their practice. Today, we’re providing a VERY ambitious Teleseminar called the “10 Best Marketing Tips for 2011.”

This will be a rapid-fire presentation, and I’m not sure if I can get to all of the items in the 30 minutes we have today. So if you’d like a transcript of the teleseminar, send me your email address now or after the seminar. My email address is DanC@DivorceMarketingGroup.com, and my phone number is (866) 803-6667 extension 24.

So let’s get started!

Here are the top 10 tips we’re going to cover in today’s teleseminar:

1. Create a plan
2. Get some help
3. Read one book on marketing and one book on business development
4. Take a fresh look at your website
5. Get active on LinkedIn
6. Get active on Facebook
7. Ask your referral sources for content, articles and information you can share with your clients
8. Start or enhance your newsletter
9. Visit www.DivorceMarketingGroup.com and read the articles we have there
10. Attend our monthly teleseminar and use it to benchmark your progress

Now for the details…

Divorce Marketing Group is a marketing firm dedicated to helping divorce professionals market their practices. We’ve been doing this for over 16 years. We promise that this or any other teleseminar won’t be one big sales pitch for our company. Instead, we’ll provide you with great ideas to help market your practice.

Having said that, I want to give you a sense of what we do, so that you can better appreciate why it’s worthwhile to heed our advice. Also, the advice we offer in our teleseminars is the same advice hat we follow at DMG – so we know that it works!

Our clients include hundreds of family lawyers, mediators, CDFAs, financial planners, accountants, real estate professionals. For the past 15 years, we’ve published Divorce Magazine, and so we understand the needs, issues and concerns of divorcing people. Our website, www.DivorceMagazine.com, was launched in 1996 (the same time we launched our magazine), and so we understand the Internet, too.

We’ve been building client websites for the past nine years. We also provide SEO (search engine optimization) of websites to get higher ranking on Google, etc. We help clients with social media marketing, we produce videos, and we provide custom publications that are branded to our clients’ firms.

In addition, we provide our clients with monthly electronic newsletters that they can feature on their websites, send to their clients, and share with their referral sources. We’re also going to launch Family Lawyer Magazine and FamilyLawMagazine.com this year. I’ll go into details later on.

Frankly, we do everything to help market and promote you, the divorce professional. We create products and services that help our clients:

retain a constant flow of quality divorce clients
grow their business
stand out from their peers
look the best they can possibly look
be remembered by their referral sources
be recognized as one of the “tops” in their field
be found when a potential divorcing person is looking for somebody in their field

All of this can’t be accomplished by doing one thing, like, say, only having a website. While having a great website is critical to success, it’s NOT the only thing you need to focus on. You need to have a full compliment of marketing tools and techniques working to grow your practice. Let’s look at them now.

TIP #1: Create a plan for 2011

Like the saying goes: “If you don’t know where you’re going you’ll never get there.”

I recommend that you read the book Getting Things Done by David Allan. It will help you get clear about what you want to do, and give you structure to help you become more organized, more effective and less stressed — all in one.

Here’s how to create your plan:

A. Clarify the purpose of your marketing.
What are the objectives of your plan? Do you want more clients this year? Better clients? More collaborative cases? More mediation cases? Do you want to add to your team? Maybe more time off? More profitable?

B. Set up a schedule to develop and monitor your marketing strategy.
Put time in your agenda, and treat it as important as client appointments – even more important — because this time represents the planning and action time you must invest in order to ensure a successful business practice; both in the present and future.

Take us for example. If we didn’t schedule these monthly teleseminars and announce it to the world, then I guarantee they’d never happen! We’re just like you – we never have “free time” – but by making a commitment and letting the world know about it, we’re committed and on the hook if we don’t make it happen. You need to do the same: commit!

However, it’s also true that you can only do so much. So I recommend, when you think of something you want to do, make a list of in order of priority and use the letters A, B and C.

The fact is, you may never get to B and C items, but at least you’ll keep these ideas in your consciousness for future consideration. Or if you follow the Getting Things Done formula, you’ll get them out of your consciousness and onto piece of paper or document in order to free you mind up.

C. Reflect and clarify your plan.

The beginning of the year is a good time for reflection, so start clarifying your plan by asking and answering a series of questions like:

Who do you want to target in 2011? Are they average families, high net worth individuals, entrepreneurs?
What are the benefits of choosing your firm?
What distinguishes your practice from others? Is it your outstanding service? The rates you charge? Your responsiveness? Your approach (such as litigation vs. ADR)? Your experience? Other areas of expertise you might possess? Something else?

D. Select your marketing mix.

Lists of specific media, collateral materials and service providers you will use for your website, videos, ads for online and offline media, newsletter/electronic newsletter, firm brochures, etc.

E. Determine what you’re willing to invest in both time and money.

You should have a dollar amount for your budget, and for each item on your list. Plus, you should clearly define who in your firm will be responsible for executing these items, and provide dates for when you will analyze and review the results.

E. Analyze your marketing plan for completeness.

Your marketing plan should include:

A time line for the execution of your marketing plan
A list of goals and objectives for your marketing plan
A list of strategies for your plan
A list of things that need to be investigated

The fact is, you really can’t get your administration people involved in the marketing of your firm until you have a plan. Plus, they will respond much better to a plan than to a variety of unrelated requests to do additional work. So make sure you’ve created a plan, and let your staff know what the plan is so they can get on board and make a contribution. We look more about involving staff in the next tip.

TIP #2: Get some help – otherwise it won’t get done

One of the things we’ve found to be quite consistent with the professional we work with (e.g. family lawyers, mediators, financial planners, accountants), is that they normally don’t have time to market themselves. Of course, this is one of the reasons why they hire us, because we take a huge burden off their shoulders. But the truth is, is that they still need to be doing some things to make their marketing program work the best it can.

In our experience, clients see a bigger and faster return on their marketing investment when they have their assistants helping them, or when one of their associates also participates in the marketing. For example, we worked with a client and her assistant, and showed them both what that they needed to do regarding social media marketing. As a result of that training, within two weeks they were actively blogging, updating their Facebook page, sending our Tweets on Twitter, and generating a lot of buzz and activity. That would not have happened without the assistant getting things done!

We have another client who had her assistant on a call with us when we were explaining how to roll out their monthly eNewsletter. We set them up on Constant Contact, showed them how to set up and send out their eNewsletter, and within a couple of days they had:

a system in place to capture client email addresses
entered the names of their current clients and professional contacts
were ready to send out the eNewsletter

Now, I don’t want to underestimate the value of the services we provide to our clients at Divorce Marketing Group, but the fact is, for any of our clients to get maximum value from their marketing programs they need to put some effort into utilizing those programs. And that means they need to do a little or sometimes a lot of work on their end.

I say “a little work or a lot of work” because each client is unique in terms of where their practice is terms of development. For example, some practices are just starting out, others have a consistent flow of business, and some are changing their focus (e.g. from a litigation type of practice to a mediation or collaborative practice, and so on). Where your practice is, and where it wants to go, determine how much work you’ll need to do to market effectively.

Other work that assistants can do includes:

Setting up a system for capturing contacts and information
Making sure things get updated
Sending our communications, requesting information, etc.

TIP #3: Read one book on marketing this year and one book on business

I recommend that you read a book on the topic of Social Media, because it’s an important way to market yourself now — and it will become an increasingly important way to market yourself in the future.

Here’s something interesting: I was at a family lawyers’ conference this week in Chicago and attended a talk about social media. They discussed how divorcing clients had jeopardized their cases because of inappropriate things they had written on their Facebook page and in emails, and so on. Now I know this conversation may have been interesting from a legal point of view, but I also know it would put off family lawyers who may have been thinking of promoting their practice on Facebook. Many would come to the conclusion that being active with a corporate page on Facebook is a bad idea – but that conclusion is wrong! And they’re paying the price for that error by losing business.

Facebook is only a bad idea if you put inappropriate information or comments on your page. The basic advice we give our clients is: if you wouldn’t put it on your website, don’t put it on your Facebook page. We’ll focus more on Facebook later on.

I also recommend that you read the book called The E Myth by Michael Gerber, to help you think about yourself as being in business, not in practice.

TIP #4: Take a fresh look at your website

You can take a fresh, analytical and objective look at your website by asking these questions:

Does it accurately reflect my practice?

Is it up to date?
Will a prospective client be impressed with the look and feel of the site?
Will a prospective client be impressed with the content I have on my site?
Is my website all about me and my associates, or does it contain information that will talk to potential clients?
How does it compare to your competitors websites?
Can my website be found if a prospective client Googles my name or my firm name?

If you need help with your website, need a website, or need help showing up in searches, talk to us – because we do it all.

TIP #5: Get more information for your clients

Who could you ask for articles or information, which could then be added to your website, made available at your office, or included in your eNewsletter?

For example, if you’re a family lawyer, you could probably ask a therapist, financial planner, accountants, etc. for articles that would broaden the scope of you website, make it more useful, increase the chances somebody will come to your website, or recommend your website. And at the same time, you’ll deepen the relationship you have with the professionals who are providing you with the information – and you can’t do better than that!

Tip #6: Get active on LinkedIn

Linkedin has over 70 million users and is THE social media network for professionals. If you’re not on LinkedIn, you should be — because you’re losing business if you’re not.

I use LinkedIn to find people who might be interested in our marketing services, find new staff, announce information about our services, connect with groups, comment on conversations to help me stand out as a thought leader, offer specials to members of groups I’m in, reach people for these teleseminars. Plus, I’m found by people who are looking for me on LinkedIn.

If you have a Linkedin page, at the minimum I recommend you do the following:

If you don’t have a completed profile get it complete (including getting recommendations from other people)
If you haven’t done a mass LinkedIn request to everybody you know (starting with professionals who can or do refer business to you) do so.
Join at least five new groups. Pick groups that have either a professional or personal interest for you. Pick one or two groups conversations to follow for one month, and make at least one comment within the month on something the group is talking about. Or, initiate your own conversation — which is even better.
If you’re already doing the above I recommend that you start your own group, invite people to join, and generate conversations with your group. It’s like having a daily networking session at your office! You’ll stay connected with people that you know, and reach new people who you would have otherwise no way of connecting with.

While I could talk for hours about what you could do to promote you services on LinkedIn, instead I’ll suggest that you read about Social Media and educate yourself about LinkedIn and Facebook.

TIP #7: Get a Corporate Facebook page

If you have a corporate Facebook page and you’re not active – get active! Create a plan and post items that will be of interest to your clients and referral sources.

Facebook has over 550 million+ users, and is probably better known for personal, rather than professional types of networking. But you should have a professional presence on Facebook. Frankly, I’m not going to waste time trying to convince you to have a corporate Facebook page. You should have a presence on Facebook in the same way you should have a GREAT website – it’s a no brainer.

I had lunch at the family lawyers’ conference in Chicago with a younger lawyer (I’m 56 years old, so anybody under 40 is now considered younger). He was probably in his early 30s, and told me that he’s getting clients as a result of his Facebook page. Now that didn’t surprise me — but I surprised him when I asked if he realized that he was among a handful of lawyers who had a corporate Facebook page. I estimated that of the 200 family lawyers who we were having lunch with, I doubted if 3 in the group had a corporate Facebook page. He was shocked, and asked me why so many lawyers were missing out. In jest, I invited him to come on my sales calls with me, because he could tell the other family lawyers that, thanks to his Facebook presence, he took 10 clients away from them in 2010 (that’s how many clients he figured he had gotten as a result of Facebook the past year). And he expects more clients via Facebook in 2011, because he plans to be more active on Facebook this year.

TIP #8: Start an eNewsletter

We don’t know any better way to stay in touch with clients and professional referral sources than an eNewsletter, which is why we’ve created a monthly eNewsletter for our clients for the past nine years. It’s the easiest and least expensive way to provide information and stay connected. We can provide you with a monthly eNnewsletter, or you can create your own. If you choose to do so, make sure that you get content from other professionals like we do). Don’t make every article about you and your firm, because it will be boring. You need to cover a variety of subjects in your newsletter, and think about your readers and what is relevant to them.

TIP #9: Visit www.DivorceMarketingGroup.com and our marketing articles

Visit http://divorcemarketinggroup.com and you’ll find a number of articles in our resource section. Simply read the articles that are most of interest to you.

TIP #10: Make it habit to call in to our FREE monthly, 30 minute, Marketing Teleseminar every month

If your assistant is available, have him or her be on the call, too. Use the once-a-month frequency to: conduct a review of your program; congratulate yourself for getting some things done; and empower yourself to re-commit to what hasn’t yet been completed.

NEXT MONTH’S TELESEMINAR:

Next month’s seminar is on Thursday, Feb 17th and features North Carolina Family Lawyer Lee Rosen. It’s at 2:00pm PST. Please go to DMG for details.

SPECIAL ANNOUCEMENT:

We’re going to launch Family Lawyer Magazine and FamilyLawMagazine.com this year.

The magazine will be launched in August of this year, and will cover topics relating to the business of practicing family law, the latest court cases that matter, the best marketing strategies for family lawyers, and ways for family lawyers to reduce stress, be more effective and more profitable in their practice.

If you’d like to receive a FREE copy of the magazine when it comes out, simply send me an email with “FREE Family Lawyer Magazine” as the subject heading. My email address is DanC@DivorceMarketingGroup.com

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