Once upon a time, estate planning law firms sent out expensive print invitations to prospects, selected by zip codes, served up an informative presentation along with lunch or dinner and clients just rolled in. Law firm marketing has come a long way since then, and while some markets find this still works, for others, the costs outweigh the benefits.
If you have a well-established program in your community, are you tracking enough data to know if it is paying for itself? If so, that’s great. If not, you may want to consider winding it down and substituting other activities, like participating in senior-oriented events or getting the entire firm involved in fundraising for a local not-for-profit that supports seniors.
Considering starting a workshop program? Many law firms are taking a second look at “retro” marketing, i.e., returning to printed materials and direct mail and workshops. Before you sign a contract and commit to a space, make sure that you are clear about the cost of the event. Include in your calculations the cost for staff to prepare, attend and follow up with attendees, rental of lists of names and addresses for mailing invitations, printed materials, the facility itself and refreshments.
Many workshop plans fail to include staff time, including your own time. Missing this cost can cause your financial evaluation of the workshop program to be inaccurate.
The rise of digital marketing has eclipsed the use of workshops for many estate planning law firms. The ability to conduct well-targeted digital marketing gives smaller firms with limited resources the ability to be as impactful in marketing as larger firms with bigger budgets. And it must be noted that millennials are less likely than their parents to take the time to attend marketing workshops. The best way to reach the next generation of clients is through digital media.
What about for new firms who are just getting established in already crowded markets? Here’s the challenge: you want to let people get to know you, but you’ve just started and your budget is limited. Our recommendation: piggyback on the events being held by not-for-profits in your community. Make sure that those attending the event are the same that you are targeting. Offer to speak, volunteer and get involved with one or more organizations while your digital marketing is working on your behalf. This way, your only cost is your time, and you are not locked into an expense over an extended period of time.