Free seminars provide the backbone of this firm’s multi-pronged marketing effort.
Marketing a law practice with multiple areas of law can be challenging. How do you focus on each area without losing your concentration? What do you do to connect with large segments of society who could use your services?
To help us navigate how a law practice can do this successfully, I sat down with Mandy Darr from Sivia Business & Legal Services, P.C. (Sivia) to find out how they successfully grow their practice. Like many practices, they rely a lot on building relationships in their neighborhood.
One thing that stuck out was that they do this through seminars they regularly hold in the community. While not the only source of business, they have become a staple of how Sivia continues to give back to the community.
Can you give me an overview of what you do at Sivia?
“My role is a marketing director and I oversee all marketing and communications. I also do some work with a sister title company as well.
“It’s my job to execute our company’s marketing plan. We do a wide range of activities – from seminars to presentations for corporate groups. Furthermore, we do a lot of social media, traditional press releases, interviews, e-newsletters, and blogs.”
What practice area do you specialize in?
“We have a number of practice areas. We do business law, employment law, some family law, and estate planning, what we call life care planning, which includes special needs planning, Medicaid planning, and veteran’s benefits. We do some litigation with regards to business law and protecting assets from frivolous lawsuits. We have a wide range of specialties.”
What is your main method for finding business?
“I have definitely found that this is a relationship-oriented business. The seminars provide a real good boost. We can see results pretty quickly when the seminars are done. Then we usually record them and put them on our website.
“It’s not us holding seminars by ourselves. I think that kind of insinuates you’re trying to make a sale. What we try to do is partner with other groups, or ask a small business development center or local university if they would be interested in specific topics.
“We’ve had a lawyer present to local businesses. You see a lot of return from those sessions.
“One of our attorneys does a lot with special needs. We work with 4 or 5 non-profit groups. We put together a very comprehensive seminar. Even though we’re organizing it and managing it, it provides a lot of useful information and immediate feedback. We have a lot of people coming in just from that. I think it’s presented in such a way that it’s not a sell. It really is providing a lot of useful information.”
How many seminars do you do a year?
“The number of seminars depends on our clients’ and partner’s needs. Our special needs seminars – we have one in September – that’s our second one this year on special needs. This upcoming seminar should be a much bigger one. I think we had 75 people registered for the last one.
“Then with different business development seminars – the one we did with the small business development center we had roughly 70 people. It depends on the topic. We put together a seminar for our Illinois area clients with the new medical marijuana law and the concealed and carry law.
“Those two laws really have an enormous impact on businesses, and the law isn’t necessarily clear and you need to explain it and how it’s going to affect businesses. So we probably host 10 times or more on this topic this year alone, because no one understands how it affects businesses. So that’s one we had a lot of success with this year.”
If you have 75 people what’s the percentage that you close with? Or do you follow up with them?
“Anytime we make specific contact, meaning somebody comes up and talks to us later where we’re able to get contact information, we definitely do follow ups.
“I don’t have specific numbers because sometimes, like with our development seminar that we gave, we’ll get a call months later where somebody says, ‘I saw the presentation at the small business development center.’ I think a lot of times people come and we’ve planted a seed in their mind for when they need our services. They know when it’s time who they want to contact, but they’re not necessarily ready at that time.
“We’ve seen that with the special needs too, because one of the main points about it is guardianship. Even though people might find out about needing guardianship and learn more at the seminar, they have to start the process. It’s not something you can necessarily do immediately.
“In fact, it could be years later when their child is older that they need to start the process, but they know they found an attorney that they can trust. We’ve had a lot of immediate feedback, but it’s also something that keeps on growing.”
Is that your main method for marketing?
“It’s just one piece of the marketing that we do. I think it helps build relationships, and that’s something I feel is useful. We do some traditional advertising, but I tend to shy away from that. We try to get press releases out, interviews with the media. We do have a YouTube channel, and have a number of different social media channels for the firm.
“We also have iTunes content that people can download. We have a lot of resources on our website. All of the valuable content we added is something that’s fairly new. I think giving clients as much information as possible is definitely important.
“We’ve done a lot to help prepare prospective clients on how the process works, what to expect when you come visit with an attorney, what the timelines are, questions they may not think of while they’re meeting with an attorney but they can always go to our website and find that information.”
What else are you doing to build relationships?
“We’ve been tracking birthdays, client anniversaries, making sure we get cards out to our clients. Anytime we have a new consultation come in, even if they don’t stay with us, we still send them a note saying it was great to meet you. You just never know when it can come back to you. We have a newsletter we send out every month to our client list. That’s pretty popular as well.
“Finally, we have the client appreciation party where we invite all of our clients to come in and meet with us and talk with us. We try to keep a very open door policy.”
Do you handle the intake process?
“No, that is done by the paralegals.”
How do you know who gets the leads?
“We have 3 paralegals, and once they get an intake form or they make an appointment for our client, they then email me the client’s name, any contact information that they have at that time and where they heard about us, so I can track where our clients are coming from. Then I’ve got an excel spreadsheet that I put the information in and it’s all there. If more contact information comes they let me know. So then we can add them to our Christmas card list or our newsletter and that sort of thing.
“If they were referred to us by another client we send them a card as well.”
Any final thoughts?
“What I’ve definitely found is that building relationships and trust are very important.”