As marketing advisors, one question we constantly grapple with is this: How can time-starved lawyers become efficient, but still effective marketers? Driven to distraction by constant interruptions, difficult staffing issues and demanding clients, most attorneys don’t take the time to do what it takes.
Yet, many of our attorney clients are very good at marketing when placed in the right situations. It’s getting them there that’s the problem. Making phone calls with contacts often involves a lot of phone tag, calendaring client development events takes time, planning the basic logistics of marketing is distracting.
As a rule, attorneys aren’t very good at the planning and logistics behind their marketing plan. Yet this phase is essential. Without someone to initiate and organize these steps, most marketing efforts will never get off the ground.
If you aren’t successful in setting up lunches, dinners and meetings with referral sources, your client development efforts aren’t going to be very strategic. If you’re not meeting with the right people, then you’re relying on nothing more than happenstance to promote your practice. Happenstance will take you only so far. We advise our clients to take a more proactive approach.
Large firms can rely upon marketing directors to deal with client development. But what does the small firm practitioner do?
Enter the Marketing Assistant, a marketing support position we consider so vital to an effective marketing program that we name it Asset #3 in our new book, How Good Attorneys Become Great Marketers . In much the same way that a paralegal handles the time-consuming but less important tasks associated with legal work, a Marketing Assistant is someone who can handle the logistics that support your marketing efforts, such as:
• Scheduling lunch/breakfast marketing meetings
• Managing your database of clients and referral sources
• Planning parties, seminars and other group events
• Building and managing a TOMA program – newsletter, email, birthday list
• Assisting in preparation for speaking engagements
• Prompting you to write thank you notes
• Delivering gifts and buy tickets for your referral sources
• Nudging you into action when you stop marketing
There are several different ways for small firms to employ a marketing assistant. For $8 to $15 per hour, depending on your location, you can hire someone to work for you part time – 5 to 10 hours a week is more than adequate to support most attorneys’ efforts.
If you require more support, hire someone full-time or draft one of your existing staff members to help.
No matter how you set it up, this is an idea that works. We have identified the 21 most important Marketing Assets that a Rainmaker must acquire to be successful, and rate having a marketing assistant third overall in effectiveness.
If you are too busy to initiate client development activities, don’t despair – delegate.