Organic, networking, newsletters, and speaking bring in a steady flow of new clients to this Chicago-area Social Security disability firm.
I recently had a family friend awarded disability benefits by the Social Security Administration. It was a long road, but fortunately the friend’s attorney was there for him. I had the opportunity to sit down and interview this attorney about how his firm’s marketing.
Here is how Jeffrey Rabin of Jeffrey A. Rabin & Associates (Rabin) built his 5-lawyer local disability practice (http://www.rabinsslaw.com/), and the marketing processes he developed over the past 26 years.
“I started the firm in April 1988 to represent people who are disabled and need benefits from the Social Security Administration. We represent people with serious medical problems who are unable to work and are either trying to get Social Security benefits or supplemental security benefits.
We have two ways to get business. I divide it up between on the ground and in the air. This has evolved since I first started as a lawyer.”
“When I first started as a lawyer, the only way was to market on the ground — by making friends. Making contacts with doctors and social workers and giving speeches. I give 20-30 speeches per year on Social Security laws. Additionally, I have been on the board of directors for three groups. Volunteering my time, legal, and business expertise, while at the same time, making friends and referrals.
“The second way is on the air. At the beginning, we went on television and did commercials. However, television became saturated and expensive. We needed numerous staff to answer all the questions, when only a certain percentage are valid calls.
“Now our marketing focuses on the internet. I spent a lot of money, time, and effort on the website. Our website has a lot of video and in-depth material. We have a blog, as well as a social media presence with active Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ accounts.”
1. Getting Involved in the Community
“The nice thing about having a Social Security practice is that it can help anyone. I have spoken with organizations as diverse as Rotary, marketing, patient support, mental health, and hospital groups.
“Patient support groups are based around specific illness. I once gave a presentation to care givers, because they have to deal with Social Security and/or disability for their family.
“I speak to numerous organizations like the MS, Arthritis, and Lupus foundations. I have spoken with insurance company groups which are involved in long-term disability and insurance.
“I am on the board of board of directors for the National Association of Mental Illness (NAMI) for DuPage County, as well as the board of the Alliance to End Homelessness in Suburban Cook County, and the advisory board of the Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, and Chemical Sensitivity Coalition of Chicago.
As you can see, not all of this is just about getting sales. By being serving the communities he represents, Jeffrey also has the ability to do the greatest good. What better way to get business, than by helping others learn?
2. Blogging And Social Media
“By far the best traffic comes from organic searches for my website. I would guess that organic searches for my website are driving half of the referrals for my business. A lot of people search the internet for lawyers. If you are not getting business from the internet, then you are missing a large source of clients.”
“Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ supplement the website and the entire marketing engine. Having a strong website with a lot of content that is well optimized is a big help, so when Google is searched for the right answer prospects come to me first.”
3. Pay Per Click Campaigns
“We also pay per click advertising.
“Some of our clients come from Facebook. In fact, we had a client come in today because of a Facebook ad.”
Rabin also employs retargeting. The firm’s ads would follow me across the internet for the next few weeks because I visited the Rabin firm’s site. See the Facebook ad to the right.
How Do You Convert This Traffic?
“I have a director of intake, Hank Weasel, who is a superb salesperson and very easy to talk with. Most new sales calls go to Hank or me. If both of us are busy, then the calls go to any lawyer or paralegal. We try to make sure that new prospects never go to voicemail. They get immediate priority.
“All inquiries from the website go to Hank first, and we try to call back immediately. Then we have a follow up system in place in case we do not reach them immediately.
“I have an 800 number, because you really need to have one. However, I really concentrate my marketing efforts in northern Illinois. I made a conscious decision not to become a national company. I know those companies. They are good people, but there is a different quality of work between a national and a local law firm.
“I did not want to sacrifice quality for our local relationships by becoming national. The 800 number is there for those who want it, but we focus on the northern Illinois region.
“When someone calls, Hank or I will spend 5 minutes asking screening questions to determine if we have a viable case, so we can set up a time to meet in the office. We try to do face to face with every client.
“I prefer the face-to-face meeting, even though it slows the process down a bit, because it produces a better result for the client.”
Staying Top of Mind
Jeffrey keeps in touch with his network.
“Our newsletters have made a huge difference. We do two different types of newsletters. We send out a newsletter every month to referral sources, social workers, doctors, support group leaders who send us business now or in the future. They get a snail mail letter every month.
“The biggest problem is that as you mature as an attorney and you make a lot of contacts, you can’t talk to all of those people all of the time. So I have sent out a newsletter once a month for the past 20 years. I found it to be a very important marketing tool.
“The other thing we just started doing a year ago, is a newsletter to our former clients. Even if you help your clients, you need to keep your face in front of them. They are just general topics about Social Security or consumer issues for the main purpose of saying, ‘Hey! We are still out and don’t forget about us.’
“This has been a real successful tool, and we have been getting referrals from past clients.”
“I am not good on the number, and do not want to get too much into specifics, but we have been achieving our goals for each month. The only metric that really matters is the number of clients we sign up each month.”