Marketing games can help you achieve your marketing goals

  • January 08, 2009
  • Gary Holstein

Too often, lawyers dread and resent the effort required to market their services to referral sources. Often, they misunderstand what is involved. They also don’t realize that there are many ways to turn marketing into an enjoyable challenge.

Referral marketing is the systematic process through which lawyers make themselves known, liked, and trusted by those who are in a position to refer clients to them. If you think of referral marketing in this interpersonal context, you’ll probably realize that you can market yourself and feel comfortable at the same time.

To focus you and your staff on important marketing functions, consider structuring your marketing efforts as a game. This strategy will keep you thinking about results, reduce the stress you probably experience when you think of marketing, and encourage everybody to get onboard with the effort.

Issue a marketing challenge

Often, lawyers’ intentions to market become overshadowed by the demands of the practice. Yet to successfully grow a practice, lawyers need to make three significant marketing contacts per week. What’s significant? A conversation of at least 20 minutes, best conducted over a meal, or at a venue that provides some face time with the referral source.

To make this more fun, issue a challenge. Announce that each time you or another lawyer in your office makes a marketing contact, he or she will put a small amount of money, ranging from $2 to $5, in a specified basket. At the end of every month, the staff votes on how to spend the balance that has accrued. This simple activity keeps everyone focused on marketing, involves the staff and injects some fun into the process.

You can create the same reward system to monitor who sends out the largest number of thank you notes to sources referring business to the firm, the number of new clients, the number of new referral sources, or any other metric that helps the whole firm concentrate on marketing.

Develop a signature event

You can also create a reward for the person who comes up with the best signature marketing event idea. A signature event is generally held once a year; it becomes an occasion that both referral sources and possibly even the community look forward to, and one that others associate with your firm. Because so many lawyers feel a strong responsibility to advancing the public good, the signature event is often linked to a charitable cause. In this case, your firm can partner with the charitable organization or any organization that is synergistic with your practice.

For example, you can sponsor golf tournaments, wine and cheese parties, chocolate gatherings, jazz nights, and softball games—there are many possibilities to explore. Consider holiday-themed events too. For ideas, ask people outside your firm and even referral sources; they’ll appreciate being solicited. If you come up with several ideas, ask your staff or partners to vote for the best one. Treat the winners to dinner, or offer some other type of recognition.

These ideas will make everyone feel good—and you’ll be accomplishing your marketing goals in a way that’s not merely painless, but also fun.

Gary Holstein, a practice advisor with Atticus, Inc., is a management consultant, experienced manager, and senior advisor who has consulted with corporations throughout the United States, Europe, and the Pacific Basin. This article was originally published at The Complete Lawyer, an online resource for legal profession. Reproduced with permission.