Dear Alison,

I wanted to write to you after our phone conversation this morning, when you fired me as your marketing consultant.

I didn’t take it personally when you said that what I suggested wouldn’t work for you, because your law firm “is different.”

Well, on one level, every law firm is different. But not different enough to disregard best marketing practices.

However, I understand where you’re coming from.

You said that you didn’t want to spend 4-6 hours a week on your practice. I, too, was like that once, early on in my legal career. I was in the same situation then as you are now. I didn’t have the free time for anything that didn’t directly relate to client cases.

However, I had to change my perspective when we started to get hammered by the competition. I wanted more cases and eventually I learned that the only solution was to spend the required time on marketing instead.

I already had the clients that I had. Where were the next clients going to come from?

If I had carried on in the same way, doing just as I had done before, nothing would have changed; my caseload would have stayed the same, maybe even shrunk.

You see, nothing happens unless you take action. Since my recommendations – which you disagree with – involve taking action, I understand why it was easier for you to fire me rather than take the necessary steps to get something started. The easiest thing to do is nothing.

If I’d been in practice for more than 20 years and was told I had to change, well maybe I too would be reluctant. But refusing to recognize the turning tide – especially when your competitors do recognize where things are headed and are taking action – will definitely leave you behind.

You didn’t like my recommendation to refresh your website and update the content. I know this is no small task yet it’s more important now than ever. Everyone has a smartphone now and yet I noticed that your website was built before the iPhone was even invented. 50% of website traffic is with mobile devices. The search engines want to send people to websites that are mobile friendly. So if you don’t refresh your website, you’ll lose traffic from the search engines. As a result, you won’t grow your client base. Period.

Despite the phenomenal growth in online videos and the importance of YouTube as a search engine in its own right, you don’t want to spend the time making videos. It’s a big step to start creating videos on a regular basis if you’ve never done it before. Yet I see the huge success lawyers in your field are having with video and this would be one way to help you stand head and shoulders above your competition.

How many other lawyers practicing elder law in Nebraska have helpful and informative videos on their websites? Check out your competition and find out. When you offer yourself as a knowledgeable expert, providing videos with information helpful to your ideal clients, some of them will call your office. But with no videos, they’ll look somewhere else for the information they need.

Similarly with my suggestion of writing a book, you felt it was too much effort for the possible reward. It doesn’t have to be a magnum opus but it does have to provide helpful information. The SSD guide that my law practice gives away is only 50 pages long. But I’m the only lawyer in the area who has a free book available and that makes me the expert around here. Don’t you think you’d be more in demand if you were the #1 expert in Nebraska on elder law, with a book to prove it?

You’ve already got the foundations of one marketing best-practice by keeping a database of your past clients. So it puzzles me why you don’t want to start capturing information from visitors to your website. They’re leads. Once you have their information, whether an email address, a phone number or even a mailing address, you can start to follow-up with them.

I could provide you with a long list of lawyers who will swear by the importance of following up with leads to convert them into clients. In fact I wrote about it just last week on my blog, after having spoken to one lawyer who quadrupled his new cases, just by following up. You can’t follow up if you don’t have their contact information! But you refuse to have an opt-in on your website.

Marketing is marketing, Alison. You use the same marketing best practices, whether you’re selling dog kennels or legal services.

You practice elder law in Nebraska, while I’ve focused on PI and SSD in the Carolinas. Yes, your law practice is different, but not in any significant way when it comes to marketing.

I’ve helped lawyers in all areas of the law, not just Personal Injury or SSD.

Marketing is marketing.

When it comes to marketing a law firm, our practices really aren’t that different at all.

The fact is, though you may not want to hear it, I could have grown your practice substantially (and made you a lot of money in the process) if you were prepared to do what’s necessary.

I guess it’s just not for everyone.

Everyone wants more, but you have to be willing to do what it takes to make that happen.

And if you’re not willing to do what it takes to grow your firm, then your firm is dying – plain and simple.

Let me know if you change your mind.

Ken Hardison

(Some details have been changed to protect confidentiality)

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