How to Use the Internet to Drive Referrals

Referrals are the number one source of business for most solo & small law practices. But according to a Texas Tech survey, the average law firm is only receiving about 1/3 of the referrals they could be receiving from past clients.

That means there’s a huge opportunity to grow your business simply by doing a better job of cultivating your referral network.

The really good news is that you can leverage the internet to make this happen, without a significant increase in the time and effort on your end. There are two key goals that you need to focus on in order to drive referrals: Top-of-mind awareness, and education.

Top-of-mind awareness. For a referral to happen, your contact needs to recognize the opportunity when it presents itself. If a friend is looking for bankruptcy help, there’s a limited opportunity for your referral source to make the referral happen. That’s why top-of-mind awareness matters. You need your referral network to immediately think of you when the opportunity arises. Not hours later, certainly not days later. Right away. It takes an ongoing strategy to make this happen – to claim and defend valuable “real estate” in the minds of your referral network.

Education. Second, your network needs to know what you do and who you can help. This sounds obvious, but it’s amazing how often lawyers struggle to communicate this information to their network. If you have a single area of practice, it’s easier and more memorable. Your goal should be to educate network on what a good referral looks like. What types of clients do you serve, and what challenges do you help them overcome. Think of your referral network as an army out there working for you – it’s your job to give them clear and memorable marching orders.

Now, here are two great ways to use the internet to accomplish these goals:

Your Email Newsletter. This is your secret weapon. Every single lawyer should have an email newsletter that goes out to their entire network, once per month at minimum. It’s shocking to me how many lawyers don’t do this. This strategy guarantees that everyone in your network will hear from you once per month, at least. A few months ago I wrote an in-depth blog entry covering the ingredients of an effective email newsletter, so I won’t repeat that here, but I do suggest that you check it out. However, I will repeat the strategic guiding principle: Your newsletter isn’t about you – it’s about your readers. Build a resource that your network will look forward to receiving each month. Provide value. Educate them. This is how you keep them engaged.

Social Media. While your email newsletter is ideal for a few significant “touch-points” each month, social media can create multiple quick touch-points every single day. An active presence on the major social media networks – particularly Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn – gives you the ability to quickly and easily connect with your network, remind them that you’re still out there doing great work, and remind them exactly what it is that you do. Encourage your network to “Like” your Facebook Business Page, follow you on Twitter, and connect on LinkedIn. For more details on how to create a successful social media marketing strategy, check out this blog entry.

I could write about this topic all day, but we’re running out of space. The bottom line is this: There are more referrals out there to be had for your law practice, and you can use the internet to cash them in. If you’d like help making this happen, click here to request a Discovery Call with my team

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Daniel Decker

Daniel Decker is a co-founder and Partner at Spotlight Branding. In addition to helping lawyers stand out from the crowd, he spends his time writing, dreaming up new marketing strategies, and coming up with catchy subject lines. In his spare time, Daniel enjoys playing sports, guitar, politics, and Minnesota sports.

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