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Legal Marketing


T Commit to person-to-person networking T Gain buy-in from internal and external supporters


T Develop an efficient and viable system for continually gathering, categorizing, and maintaining contacts


T


Schedule regular communication in the person-to-person network alongside other standard touches


Developing long-term professional relationships


requires time and commitment. Dr. Ivan Misner, Founder and Chairman of BNI – the world’s largest business networking organization – performed a survey of more than 12,000 business professionals. The study found that those who said networking played a role in their success spent an average of 6.3 hours a week participating in networking activities. In contrast, the majority of people who said networking did not play a role in their success spent only 2 hours or less per week developing their network. You will need the cooperation and full support of your staff to put in these hours and deliver a consistent message to your network. Attend events to meet new people. Use websites like 99events.com to find events in large cities. Attending a business event, for example, can help you network with startups and entrepreneurs in need of legal services. Request a guest list prior to the event and identify people you would like to include in your network; before the event, perform research to learn how these individuals may need your services. Ask the event host to introduce you to these people. Arrive at functions early and stay late to increase the opportunity to meet panelists and people of interest. TIP: Do not buy a seat at one table at an event – purchase seats at multiple tables to increase the number of people you meet. The ABA Journal also suggests lawyers volunteer


to be greeters at business receptions. This gives you an excellent opportunity to introduce yourself to a large number of people you might not otherwise meet. Before the event, research the main topics and develop a relevant elevator pitch to deliver to new contacts. When meeting a new person ask questions like:


T What do you do for a living? T What started you in this line of work? T What projects are you working on? T How are things going in your industry? T Who else should I be talking to? Be sure to ask open-ended questions and look for


opportunities to ask follow-up questions. When you get 38 Trial Reporter / Winter 2014


back to the office, research potential contacts to learn more about how they might fit into your network. Develop a website and write a blog at least once a


week. Provide timely and useful information that builds brand loyalty. Use social media networks to bring potential clients to your blog or website. These networks allow you to create “click-through” links that allow Twitter, Facebook, and other readers to “click through’ to your website. Visitors can share your link with people in their networks by re-tweeting on Twitter, liking on Facebook, sharing on LinkedIn, or clicking on +1 on Google+. If enough people share your post, it will “go viral” and potentially reach hundreds, thousands or even millions of people. To get your content to go viral, use the various social


networks at the right time of day. According to Bitly, the link shortening click-through service, each social network has its own rhythm. To achieve a high click count on Twitter, for example, post Monday through Thursday between 1 and 3 pm EST, and avoid posting after 8 pm EST and weekends altogether. Links posted on Facebook between 1 and 4 pmEST have the highest number of click-throughs, peaking at 3 pm on Wednesdays. Postings after 7 pm EST on Tumblr receive more click-throughs over 24 hours than postings in the middle of a weekday. Social media helps you reach hundreds, if not


thousands or millions, of internet users but you will need to funnel qualified leads into your network by accurately categorizing contacts and developing personal relationships with each of the qualified candidates. You will need to organize and categorize your new contacts in a way that works for you and for your staff. It is helpful to keep all networking contact lists in one system, preferably on a computer rather than in a rolodex or printout. Once you have assembled your contacts in one place,


identify relationships that are important and potentially beneficial to your solo or small practice. To be most effective, assemble, organize, categorize, and systemize these contacts according to your relationship to them. For example, create one category of past clients, another category of interested clients, and a third group of attorneys who might refer cases to you. At the minimum, categorize contacts to ensure your communications go out only to interested parties. Tailor each message to a specific audience. Build, renew, and maintain these important relationships; left unattended, networks become less effective. Person-to-person networking and longstanding


relationship building requires regular, consistent communication. This communication can occur by telephone, email, through social media outlets, or in


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