You have a strong, well-established network and want to make sure your contacts will think of you when a question or legal issue arises. Your goal? To stay top-of-mind with your A-level connections. The following ideas represent communication best practices for lawyers who want to stay top-of-mind with their clients, contacts and referral sources.
In my world the word, blog, is an action verb. You have knowledge and insights others don’t; therefore, you should blog. Let’s first dispel a myth. A good blog post should be right around 500 words. It can be a challenge for lawyers to realize they do not have the space for, nor would their readers have the interest in a law review-type article. Here is a simple format for you to use when you blog:
- Catchy title – short and sweet.
- Short paragraph introducing the topic.
- Short paragraph talking about how the topic affects readers.
- Short paragraph on what action those impacted should take.
- Short paragraph of conclusion tying everything together and reinforcing a call to action.
Social Media: LinkedIn
One of the best ways to stay top-of-mind with your contacts is to comment on posts they make on LinkedIn, by congratulating them when they are promoted or have a work anniversary. A few other LinkedIn ideas include:
- Share your contacts’ posts with your network along with a positive note on why you are sharing.
- Use the “Advanced” feature on LinkedIn to search for the titles of people you would like to meet. Search only first and second level contacts, then ask your connection for an introduction.
- Review “People you may Know” on LinkedIn and connect with those you know; always include a personal note. • Use the message feature to reach out to someone you would like to meet for coffee.
If you are in a small firm, you will need to subscribe to an email service like Constant Contact or Mail Chimp. Subscriptions are based on the number of contacts you have and will likely cost $30-$50 per month. Once you have a subscription:
- Draft a communication featuring recent news including awards you have won, articles published, presentations given, recent blog posts or client successes.
- Make sure your website contains all of your valuable content, then link to it in the communication.
- Both services above offer analytics so you can see how many people opened and clicked through to your website.
Make it easy for your referral sources to refer you. Develop a one-page PDF they can send to their contacts that includes:
- A summary of your practice.
- Representative experience (see below).
- Client testimonials.
- Contact information.
- Social media links (which remain live in a PDF).
- Your firm’s branding and logo (pay a designer to create the template for you).
One of the most compelling communications you can write, representative experience, will be used on your website biography, in proposals, on LinkedIn, on the referral tool above, etc. Set a goal of creating five to 10 pieces. Use this template:
- Client Type: A generic summary of the client.
- Client Issue: Summarize why the client hired you.
- Approach: Your approach to meeting their needs – just the high points.
- Result: What you accomplished on behalf of your client.
As you tackle your print and electronic reading, watch for articles or blog posts that may be of interest to someone you know. Copy or forward the article with a nice note letting them know you thought they would find the piece interesting. Busy lawyers don’t generally do this, so it will make an impression.
Vincent Van Gogh said, “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” Writing short personal notes is one of those small things that will differentiate you. I don’t know about you but I keep almost all of the personal notes I receive. They make an impact on me. Invest in some firm-branded blank cards and use them regularly. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Thank someone for having coffee or lunch with you.
- Congratulate someone on an award, promotion or being featured in the press.
- Use a personal note to forward an article you thought your contact would be interested in.
- Let someone you met at an event know how much you enjoyed meeting them.
Still one of the easiest and most personal ways to connect with someone is to call them. Leave them a voice mail so they can hear the warmth in your voice. Let them know you were thinking about them and wanted to check in to see how they are doing.
As you look into 2016, make targeted communications a priority. When you stay top-of-mind with your best contacts, you will be the lawyer who gets asked to write, speak, partner with, have lunch, participate, volunteer, and in other ways retain and grow the relationships most important to you.