I’ve said before that if you’re not growing, you’re dying.
But for an old dog like me to continue to succeed in business, not growing just isn’t an option. To keep my businesses relevant, I’ve had to grow and adapt to the world as it has changed around me.
The other week, I brought together a group of law firm owners who also want to stay ahead of the curve. They attended our Internet Boot Camp, where we taught them the latest tactics to successfully market their law practices online.
When I started my own law practice, I had business cards printed and placed an ad in my local Yellow Pages. I was actually the first person in the country to negotiate a fridge magnet on the cover of the book. But, I never had the opportunities that are so readily available now to market a business using the Internet.
I could never have imagined that the majority of people would have a device in their pockets that would enable them, in just a few seconds, to find out anything they wanted. Like who was their local lawyer, for instance.
Total science fiction.
It was a time when a store like Toys R Us made sense. There was a reason for that toy store existing at your local mall.
It was also a time when local malls were on the rise, something else that’s no longer true.
When Star Wars, personal stereos, ghetto-blasters and big hair were all the rage.
#1 Toy Store
The number one toy store, the one with the biggest range and the most stock, was Toys R Us. If you took your kids there, it was a big adventure letting them look at all the toys before picking one out.
No other local store would have anywhere near the same selection.
But this was before Amazon.
It was before stores like Target and Walmart started to compete with Toys R Us.
Toys R Us is no longer the only place to go for toys.
In fact, with Amazon at my fingertips, Toys R Us is the last place I would go now to buy toys.
The problem for the chain was that they didn’t keep up with changing tastes. They didn’t adapt with the market. And they stopped giving people a reason to go there.
The customers Toys R Us has failed to appeal to are Millennials; those people born between 1980 and 2000. They don’t just care about price, and they know they can get it cheaper online. They care about experiences. They care about ethics and corporate values.
They want more than just a simple transaction. They want every dollar they spend to have an uplifting effect, whether on themselves or on the rest of the world.
Toys R Us never made the shift into providing unique experiences for its customers. Disney, on the other hand, has always focused on this with their theme parks. Disney increased attendance at the Magic Kingdom in 2014 by 6% over the previous year.
Disney knows how to give a great experience. And after more than 60 years, there’s still a demand for what they’re offering.
Just because we have always done something a certain way in the past, it doesn’t mean we can do it forever and still enjoy its success. As law firm owners, we need to remember that we are, first and foremost, service providers for the public.
You can be as traditional and professional as you like, but it doesn’t matter if you don’t have any clients.
The way we used to do things might not be what our future clients want. For example, insisting on meetings at your office can appear inflexible to people who are used to summoning an Uber car from their smartphones.
Or you might appear outdated by insisting on putting letters in the mail, when your client has just organized their entire wedding over WhatsApp and Snapchat.
Meeting a potential new client in a coffee shop may not appeal to someone my age, but to a Millennial that could show a willingness to accommodate them and a certain informality that may appeal to them.
Offer What The Market Wants
With any product or service, if you don’t offer the market what it wants, you’re not going to be successful. And while you’re just thinking about this stuff, there are new lawyers graduating from law school who live this stuff.
A 25 year-old newly qualified lawyer is going to live and breathe coffee shop meetings, fast casual food, text messaging and live-streaming video. That’s your new competition.
To stay in this game, you can’t just rely on your existing client base. You’ve got to adapt in order to continue to appeal to new market segments. But you don’t have to scare off your current clients.
People like choice. So add new choices, whether it’s how and where you meet clients or the technology you use to communicate with them.
But the best way to find out what they really want is to ask them. And Millennials love being asked their opinions.
So do yourself a favor – identify your Millennial clients and take the time to ask them how you can improve what you offer them.
Marketing to Millennials From Anna Hrach
Here’s a clip from Anna Hrach’s presentation, Marketing to Millennials, at this month’s Internet Domination Bootcamp. During her mind-opening talk, she painted the picture of the differences of the millennial generation and how your firm can reach them.
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