Today’s holiday marketing plan requires a little more thought than in years past. States are taking a more stringent look at attorney marketing as a whole and specifically to “nonlawyer lead generation services and the entire lawyer-client referral process,” according to the American Bar Association.
In addition, there is much more competition among law practices. If your law firm is to do well with its law firm marketing ideas, the holiday marketing plan must become focused on the client rather than focused on touting its own products. Finally, with online technology that is available today, law firms need to have a firm understanding of the nature of online marketing to build upon relationships with clients and referral sources.
Gift-giving is also generating attention among state bar associations. It’s important not to appear to be giving extravagant gifts to sources in exchange for referrals. Such actions may be construed as legal fee sharing or a pay for referrals situation. While gift giving is not entirely prohibited, it is best practice to keep the cost of the gifts to a minimum. Let the gift simply say, “We appreciate you.”
As far as generating new business targeted for the holiday season with your holiday marketing plan, the ABA advises not to do this. In a nutshell, the holiday season is for socializing. Instead, let your holiday marketing efforts work to generate business for after the season and beyond.
Online and Social Media Marketing
Online and social media is a fantastic and important mix in your holiday marketing plan. You can use online and social media in one of two ways. First, use it as a research tool before networking events. Second, use the technology to discover how the law firm can work to make your online and social media ideas integrate with your other law firm marketing ideas for the holiday season.
To work as efficiently and successfully as possible, use your social media marketing ideas to break down the various practice areas of your firm’s practices. Treat each practice area as a separate business, generating targets for both consumers and referral sources. This also works year-round within your law firm marketing plan.
One of the most basic law firm marketing ideas for the holiday season is to distribute holiday cards to your clients and referral sources. These days, cards come in two formats: eCards and traditional cards. They both make great additions to your law firm marketing plan. First, generate an email or USPS address list of those to whom you wish to send a card. Be prepared to personalize each card with a short note. This cannot be overlooked as it sends the message that each recipient is important to you and not just part of an impersonal mass mailing.
ECards are relatively inexpensive and are digitally distributed. Visit sites such as Hallmark, 123 Greetings or American Greetings to find an appropriate card. Some suggest you find one with a little humor mixed in, while most law firms go for the stately, conservative approach.
When choosing traditional cards to send, use high-quality paper or card stock. This suggests that your law firm is prosperous, which give a great impression for a law firm. In addition to the personal note, sign each card to give it that extra personal touch.
As the end and beginning of the year is traditionally a time for changes, create a blog or other piece of content that announces the big news. It’s also a good idea to include any major progress that the firm has made during the current, ending year.
One of the newer law firm marketing ideas is to add video to your marketing plan. You don’t have to spend big tons of money to generate a good-looking video. Just make sure it looks and sounds professional. It should last from two to three minutes. For small or midsize law firms, have everyone appear in the video. Simply wish your viewers a happy and warm holiday season. Distribute your video via your blog, website and social media accounts.
Consider making a charitable donation to a cause of your choosing. Giving to charity is one of those traditional law firm marketing ideas that ring as heartfelt with your past and future clients along with referral sources. Not only will a donation engender positive exposure for the firm, but it will help those who need it most. To check out the validity of organizations or to find an organization, visit Charity Watch. You might also consider a brief press release as long as it’s relatively humble, perhaps bringing attention to the chosen charity rather than focusing on the law firm.
These are just a few law firm marketing ideas for the holidays. Get creative and be brilliant. But remember, the key is to be thoughtful and appreciative. You are marketing during the holidays to develop business for after the holiday season.