Wisconsin Lawyer: What Keeps You Awake at Night?: How can I attract new clients in these tough economic times?:

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    What Keeps You Awake at Night?: How can I attract new clients in these tough economic times?

    Due to the downward changes in the economy of my community, business has slowed. How can I expand my income stream by getting new clients and retaining current clients? 

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    Wisconsin LawyerWisconsin Lawyer
    Vol. 82, No. 2, February 2009

    Opportunity to Provide Cost-effective Representation

    Elizabeth T. 
RussellIf my experience is any indication, the current economic climate presents great opportunities for solo and small firm practitioners. I am busier now than I’ve ever been. Why? Because larger clients are looking for more cost-effective representation. Clients won’t find marble or fine cherry paneling in my office. They’ll be greeted in a comfortable, professional environment, but they won’t think twice that their fees are subsidizing opulence. More importantly, once we’ve worked together they’ll learn that my services are equal in quality to what they’d receive from larger firms – but the service is more personal; the billing makes more sense; and the bottom line works in their favor (as well as mine). It’s a true break in the clouds during otherwise troubling times.

    Elizabeth T. Russell, Madison

    Use Social Media to Market Your Firm

    Sean M. SweeneyI am a strong believer that social media, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and blogging, are the wave of the future. For centuries, lawyers “advertised” by providing quality service and being sources of knowledge to the community. They were well respected for their knowledge, and the profession was widely regarded as a helping profession. I don’t think the profession has changed substantially, but the public perception of it has, and part of that is because the method of advertising has changed. After the advent of television but before the Internet existed, sharing knowledge with the community was no longer a viable way of advertising. Word of mouth was no match for TV, radio, and yellow page ads that screamed to consumers, Hire Me! but nothing else. More and more firms merged, and large firms grew larger to take advantage of economies of scale in advertising; as a result, the public perception of attorneys as a whole declined.

    Now, all of a sudden, the playing field is again leveling. The popularity of social networking sites makes it possible to return, now on a large scale, to the method of advertising that served the profession so well in the past. Through LinkedIn and Twitter you can make personal connections with professionals in your area, and through blogging you can leverage the most trusted research tool, Google, to your advantage. Every attorney in this state has a veritable wealth of information to provide to the public, and the public is dying to know about it. Thousands of people search on Google and other search engines every day for answers to legal questions, and through a blog, you can be the one to lead them to that answer, and ultimately, lead them to hiring you. If you demonstrate your knowledge of a subject that a potential client is already searching for, you are infinitely more likely to be contacted by that client for representation than if the person simply saw your name and letterhead in a directory somewhere.

    The best thing about a blog is that the information you put into one is exactly what Google loves. Google is in the business of providing the best possible result to its users. It generates this result through an algorithm that values new, updated, and relevant content very highly. A well written blog provides all these things, and blogs cost just a few dollars and a couple of hours a month to run.

    I just started a collaborative blog for all Wisconsin attorneys, free of charge, at www.Wisconsin-Lawyers-Blog.com. Readers are welcome to contact me, com sms hallingcayo hallingcayo sms com, for help in setting up a profile and preparing to blog. The greater the number of people who join and contribute, the more visibility we will have on Google and the more likely it is that our individual articles will be found by potential clients who want our services and are searching on Google.

    Whether you try blogging through my site, set up your own site, or jump on LinkedIn and Twitter, or do all three, I believe that blogging and social media will be the most effective way to get your name, and your expertise, in front of potential clients.

    Sean M. Sweeney, Milwaukee, www.MilwaukeeBusinessLawBlog.com, www.Wisconsin-Lawyers-Blog.com