A Law Firm Marketing Blog Series Edition #18
Welcome back to our blog series, in which we talk with some of today’s most knowledgeable legal marketing minds. In this edition, we hear from attorney and legal marketing blogger Joleena Louis.
We hope hearing the thoughts and ideas shared by the people in these blog posts, will inspire you to make positive changes to your marketing strategies. We also know that marketing legal services these days is more complex and challenging now than ever before, and hope that some of our readers may identify with some of the marketing struggles presented here, and perhaps be able to offer solutions.
The biggest goal of this blog series is to get the conversation going, so let’s dive in.
Our Marketing Conversation With Joleena Louis
Joleena Louis is a passionate family lawyer, who has been running her own firm in New York since 2013. Being a solo attorney in one of the country’s most competitive markets has provided Louis with a strong understanding of what the solo attorney goes through and the struggles they deal with in growing their practice. You can catch some of her sage marketing advice in places like Modernsolo.com and her column for the Law Firm Suites blog called “Things I Wish I Knew”.
In our below conversation with Louis, we discuss marketing as a solo attorney, what attorneys must do to find clients they’ll actually enjoy working with, and how to turn past clients into future referral sources.
Answering Legal: You often blog about solo attorney life, and how it can feel pretty isolated. What marketing advice would you have for solo attorneys?
Joleena Louis: My advice would be to connect with other solos. It’s only isolating if you allow it to be. I’ve cultivated a vast network of solo attorneys who I can reach out to for support, advice, referrals and to just vent about solo life.
The biggest way I connect with other solos is Facebook. There are many great Facebook groups for attorneys. I admin a group called Boss Lady, Esq., which is a group for female attorneys who own and run law practices. I’ve connected with amazing attorneys from all over the world in this group.
AL: Do you get the sense that a lot of solo attorneys feel pressure to take on all of their firm’s marketing responsibilities themselves?
Joleena: When you are starting out and have a small budget, you sometimes have to take on all marketing responsibilities yourself. My advice is to first figure out a marketing strategy that works for you and then delegate the things you don’t want or don’t have time to do. I create all my written content, but I have a marketing virtual assistant create graphics and schedule posts.
AL: What do attorneys need to do on the marketing side of things to find clients they’ll actually enjoy working with?
Joleena: First, figure out what kind of clients you want. Then look at the process from their point of view. Where would they go to look for a lawyer? Who would they ask? Would they search online? Are there any other professionals you know that may have the same clients?
Once you have these answers you will know where to focus your marketing efforts. Test, review, revise, test again until you find what works for you.
AL: How can lawyers go about maintaining relationships with past clients that result in them becoming future referral sources?
Joleena: I find it’s easier to accomplish this with a system. First, I maintain an email list that clients opt into. Send useful information and updates or even a monthly newsletter to remind past clients you exist. I also reach out to past clients at least once a year with a personal card. For an adoption, for example, I’d send a happy anniversary card on the day the adoption was finalized with a personal note and reminding them I’m here if they need other services or knows someone who does. This is something super easy a VA can do for you monthly that has a great ROI.
AL: As a New York attorney, we figure you might have some good insight on the following question. What must solo attorneys do to stand out from the pack in ultra-competitive markets?
Joleena: The best way to stand out is to niche down and become a specialist. Be known for something specific so that you are easy to remember and people come to you for that specific thing. One of the things I focus on is divorce for business owners. A referral source can know ten different divorce attorneys, but if the referral involves a business they are going to think of me first.
AL: Instagram is often quickly dismissed by attorneys as a marketing tool, yet you’ve seemed to be quite successful on the platform. What’s your secret?
Joleena: There is no real secret, just putting in work. I learned my audience and what appeals to them and post consistently. A lot of testing and analyzing until I found what works. My target client is on Instagram, so it works for my practice, but your target client may be somewhere else.
AL: For a lot of lawyers, finding actual value from LinkedIn is a challenge. How do you feel attorneys can make the most of their time on LinkedIn?
Joleena: I think you have to determine what you want to use it for. I don’t find LinkedIn useful in connecting with clients directly, however, it’s been very useful for connecting with referral sources. Don’t just make connections and do nothing with them. Reach out and schedule a call or a coffee. That’s the best way to get value from the platform.
AL: How have social scheduling tools and planning out social media content in advance made it easier for you to find social media success?
Joleena: Planning social content in advance saves time and helps you post consistently. You never have to worry about what to post. It also makes it easier to delegate the creation and scheduling of content when you have a plan. Most attorneys don’t post because they don’t know what to post.
AL: Is there anything attorneys need to be cautious of when scheduling out content weeks or months ahead of time?
Joleena: Just be aware of what’s going on in the world and be prepared to make changes. Maybe something happens in the news that is related to your practice area. Take advantage and post about it. Or maybe a tragedy occurs that day and the funny post you planned is now in poor taste. Just be aware.
AL: Of course a lot of marketing is done online these days, but are there any offline marketing methods that you still find to be effective?
Joleena: Good old fashion face to face networking is still the primary source of new business for me. On a weekly basis, I have coffee, lunch, or drinks with referral sources.
Also being helpful and providing excellent service. Current clients can be your biggest brand ambassadors.
AL: What’s your top piece of marketing advice for a solo attorney starting out in 2019?
Joleena: Meet as many people as possible, in person or online, and let them know how you can help.