Attorney Referral Marketing Technique: Add Partners with DMs

Attorney Referral Marketing Technique: Add Partners with DMs

Joe Volta, who practices injury law in the Carolinas, has been successfully growing his book of business using attorney referral marketing.  The vast majority of his open case files have come from lawyers he met on Instagram.  He has spent zero dollars building his productive referral network.

The referral marketing technique

Two years ago Joe began contacting lawyers who had a lot of Instagram followers.  Through regular contact using Direct Messages, Joe worked to build relationships with those lawyers.  Over time those relationships turned into referral partnerships.  Using that technique, Joe has built his referral network to 50 sources.  

Joe: “I started in January 2021.  I followed other lawyers to see what the accounts with a lot of followers did.  I then reached out to those attorneys using DMs, and commented frequently on their posts.  If you send random DMs you are often not going to hear back.  But I would comment regularly and try to become part of their community, which led to becoming friends with them.  That led to me obtaining cases in the Carolinas from them.”

Kara: “You’re looking to attract referral sources rather than prospective clients, right?”

Joe: “Exactly.  A lot of my page is geared towards meeting other attorneys.  In the Carolinas you can ethically fee split.  So I promote to attorneys with big national followings.  I’m trying to become the lawyer they know, like, and trust.”

“I’ve let those lawyers know that I will do everything by the book – I never solicit clients, and I share fees.  I’d rather have a 2/3s, 50/50, or 60/40 of a dollar than have no case at all.”

“I have 115 open files.  100 of those files are from attorney referrals.  If I didn’t have those lawyers who know, like, and trust that I’m going to take care of their clients and their brand, I wouldn’t have anywhere near the number of files I have now.”

Caveat

You can’t just barge in and ask for referrals.  Just as you do when pursuing clients directly on social media, you first need to become a familiar and known presence to the prospective referral source.

Joe: “I build my referral relationships by continually talking to these folks.  I comment on their posts, and have conversations.  I comment on their successes, things they’re doing with their kids or families.  Or if they lost a family member or friend, I offer my condolences.  A lot of it is trying to build friendships.”

“If they’re handling a case in the Carolinas pre-lit and don’t want to refer it, I give them my pleadings and case law they can use to put pressure on insurance companies.  It is a long game.”

“I use social media to build people up, to get friends I would not ordinarily have because of the distance.”

Your posts

Ideally the prospective referral sources will follow your page, where you can periodically post information that demonstrates your competence and soft-sells the advantages of referring local cases to you.

Joe: “On my Instagram page I try to do some of those educational posts for the organic reach and for people who might not understand insurance.  Then I mix in posts that talk to other lawyers.  ‘Our laws in the Carolinas are different from New York’s, California’s, or Wyoming’s.  Send the case to me.  You might make more from a referral fee than if you try to handle it yourself.”

Major social marketers

Your initial targets are the attorneys with large social followings.  They are receiving leads all over the country, and likely don’t have trusted names in every state to whom they can send their out-of-state cases.

These same attorneys are also likely receiving leads outside their specialty, so don’t limit your targets to lawyers in your specialty.  If their social videos are discussing a variety of legal situations, or they are commenting on high-profile legal news stories, they are receiving leads in multiple specialties.

Joe: “I’m licensed in North and South Carolina.  A lot of attorneys, especially if they have been practicing awhile, are not licensed in both states.  So I let the national marketers know that, ‘I will help you in North and South Carolina, and that I am happy to share a fee with you – anything that is ethical and above board.’  

“Most people are happy to connect, and put their clients in the hands of someone they know will care about those clients and make the referring attorney look good.  Not only am I trying to make myself look good, I really worry about and focus on making my referral partner look good.”

Free

This technique requires an investment of time rather than money.  

But what makes it superior to the old face-to-face approach at lunches and networking events is its efficiency.  You spend no time trying to schedule a mutually-acceptable meetup time, or traveling to and from the meetup location.

Joe: “Personally, I don’t spend any money on marketing.  It is all sweat equity – DM’g all those attorneys, emailing other lawyers on listservs that I’m a part of to build those relationships.”

Expansion

Joe strengthens his new referral relationships … and adds new ones … by meeting face-to-face at marketing-oriented legal conferences.  

Joe: “Last year I went to the CEOLawyer conference, which is Ali Awad’s.  He is really big on Instagram and does great things.  Even though he is a younger attorney license-wise than I am, I really respect what he has been able to build.  I met a lot of attorneys there and got 10 new cases, 3 of which are 6-figure cases, just from the lawyers I met there.”

“There are other attorneys I got to meet there for the first time in person who were already sending me cases.  It’s all about fostering those relationships.  I can’t say that enough.  People do business with those who they know, like, and trust.”

“Coming up in July I’m going to the Law di Gras conference in San Diego.  I’m hoping to meet in person the attorneys who up to this point I have only had contact with online.”

Parting tip

Everyone needs and loves positive reviews, so this following approach of Joe’s is a wise one.

Joe: “I ask a lot of my clients, ‘Hey, if you’re happy with what I did, can you leave a review not only only on my site, but can you also leave a review on that attorney’s site because they referred you to an attorney who really helped you out and you are thankful they did.  I’ve found the referring lawyers really appreciate that.”

If you want to grow your referral network, start following and engaging with lawyers on Instagram who have large followings.  Many of them don’t have their nationwide referral networks fully built out, and you may fill a gap.  

But remember to build the relationship first and ask for referrals second.

7 Steps to More Lawyer-to-Lawyer Referrals

7 Steps to More Lawyer-to-Lawyer Referrals

Referrals are far and away your best marketing channel, as you own it 100% and no algorithm change, price increase, or influx of competitors is going to diminish its effectiveness.

Best of all, the ROI of referrals exceeds that of all your other marketing investments, for small dollars are all that is needed to fund an effective referral-generating program.

In this article, we outline for you the 7 steps we use to generate more lawyer-to-lawyer and other professional referrals. You can readily use these steps yourself or with your team.

For an alternate approach to growing your referral network, you can read here how a young lawyer added 50 referral sources and 100 cases using DMs.

Step 1: Set expansion goals. Can you 2x or 3x your referrals?

Begin by analyzing your current referral flow and efforts. How many are you receiving and what are you doing to obtain them?

3-4x scenario

Maybe your volume is low – 10-20% of your new clients are referred by lawyers, allied professionals, and past clients. And you and your team are not spending much time cultivating those referral sources, let alone seeking new sources.

In this situation, we would set aggressive targets: (1) triple your referrals within 18 months and (2) quadruple them in 30 months.

50% increase scenario

At the other end of the growth spectrum are lawyers who receive 50% or more of their new clients by referral, devote material attention to existing referral sources, and periodically seek out new sources.

Because the base number is already large, a 50% increase within two years would add a lot more referrals. But that target would still be achievable, for it is the rare attorney whose team is doing everything possible to maximize referral flow.

Step 2: Create a growth calendar

We increase referrals for lawyers using five tactics:

(a) Introduce you to new referral sources
(b) Build relationships with those new prospective referrers
(c) Strengthen your relationships with your existing referrers
(d) Keep you memorable and referrable with past clients
(e) Track progress against goals

Before getting started, we calendar what will be done and when. Below I outline what is scheduled for each of the five tactics, and in subsequent emails I detail the work we do for each tactic.

None of the processes requires special expertise so you should be able to readily plug the work into your practice, but receiving guidance the first few times can be helpful.

a. Introduce you to new referral sources

We first create a list of 50 local prospects, obtain your additions and deletions, then begin calling. It takes about two hours of dialing to set each appointment. We begin by setting two appointments a month, with each about two weeks apart.

b. Build relationships with those new prospective referrers

There is an art to doing this effectively. Depending on how the introductory call went, we contact the new source on your behalf a variety of ways four to seven times in the first year. Using scheduled cards, gifts, and emails, we seek to establish a personal connection that lasts.

c. Strengthen your relationships with your existing referrers

Few attorneys regularly reach out to their referral sources, let alone personally thank them for each referral provided. We fill both gaps, and recommend you do the same. Handwritten cards and thoughtful small gifts can have a big impact. Again, calendaring the outreach can ensure it gets done.

d. Keep you memorable and referrable with past clients

We email an engaging and branded newsletter each month on your behalf. The content is mostly non-legal, as the recipients are typically past their legal problems. You don’t have to send a newsletter, but some form of contact that keeps your name fresh is important.

e. Track progress against goals

We match every referral to its source, and record whether the referral becomes a client. This allows us to target our education, in case a source needs additional guidance on who you serve, as well as reward your prolific referrers.

Step 3: Expand your network

The surest route to more referrals is to get additional lawyers sending them your way.

More sources typically means more referrals, so the first step we take when retained is to set phone appointments with local lawyers and allied professionals who are interested in discussing a referral relationship. Here is how we:

Introduce you to new referral sources

We begin by compiling a list of 50 local professionals, with 80% being attorneys and 20% allied professionals who in our experience are likely to be interested in discussing a referral alliance with you. We share the list with you, and you have the option to add or delete names.

We then start calling each name on the list. We explain that we are calling on your behalf to ask whether the professional is interested in discussing a referral relationship on a 15-minute call with you. If we are unable to reach the professional, we leave a voicemail and send an explanatory email. Those explanations frequently result in a return call.

It takes us about two hours of dialing and emailing to set one telephone appointment. To calendar these appointments, before we begin dialing we ask you to give us some times each week when you are likely to be available.

You and the interested professional will receive text and email reminders of the appointment. Sometimes one party re-schedules, but most phone appointments are held at the time initially set.

To quick-start your partnerships, we set two appointments per month for your first three months. In subsequent months we calendar one appointment per month with a prospective referral partner to give us time to help nurture the new relationships.

We have set hundreds of appointments for lawyers using this approach, and have a good understanding of which professionals are (1) likely to be interested and (2) willing and able to refer.

The phone appointment

Your primary goals in your introductory call should be to: (1) learn about the professional’s practice and clients/patients, (2) listen twice as much as you talk, and (3) establish a connection.

Ideally, you will have a few minutes before your call to prepare by reviewing the professional’s website, LinkedIn profile, Facebook page, and any other Google search results. You will also want to have several questions ready so you (1) are listening more than talking and (2) learn about the professional and his or her practice. Potential questions are:

— How did you come to start your practice?
— What do you enjoy the most about your work?
— What about your practice drives you nuts?
— What are your favorite types of clients/patients?
— What constitutes a great outcome?
— Who is an ideal referral?
— What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?

Step 4: Build relationships with your new referrers

As you meet new referral sources, either on your own or through the phone appointments we set up for you, it is important that you plan how you are going to strengthen those new relationships and then follow through on your plans.

Touch points

We recommend you nurture those new relationships with 4-6 contacts of varying types each year. Below we describe the different types of contacts you can make.

Words. Periodically sending thoughtful notes, ideally handwritten on your personal stationery, is a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to connect with a referral source. The note can reference something that made you think of the referrer, provide some personal news, or just express thankfulness for your new relationship.

Gifts. Ideally you have learned enough about your prospective new referral source so that you can tailor your gifts to their hobbies and interests. The gifts should not be expensive; something small but thoughtful is best. Maybe a team jersey or other alumni wear for a sports lover, travel memorabilia from a location the source loves, or bagels or other goodies for the office. Avoid branded swag that advertises your firm.

Time. An occasional face-to-face meeting, even if just for a few minutes in between CLE sessions or other Bar gatherings, can help cement new referral relationships. The trick is making the meeting about them and not you. What’s new in their life, practice, or outside interests? Do they have anything big coming up, whether hire, trip, or family addition?

Assistance. Providing a cross-referral remains the gold standard of helpfulness in referral partnerships, but there are many other ways you can assist. You can direct them to a new contact, whether potential hire, advisor, or vendor. You can recommend new tools that have proven useful in your practice.

The unifying thread in all these contacts is giving. You are never asking for anything, including referrals. You are instead seeking to be a good friend, staying in touch and being helpful whenever you can.

Tips

We suggest you focus on the types of contacts you enjoy, for those are the ones you are most likely to stick with.

Some of these contacts can be delegated. In addition to setting up the initial phone appointments with prospective new referral sources, we typically handle gifting, thank you cards, and notes as part of our Referral Amplifier service.

Be sure to track your contacts so you know when the next one is due. Without that tracking you are likely to neglect some of your referral sources.

Whatever contact type or frequency you use, never fail to send thank-you’s for each referral received. That is the surest way to make that the last time a source sends you a referral.

Step 5: Cultivate your existing sources

When meeting with lawyers interested in our Referral Amplifier service, I frequently learn that they have no organized system for staying connected to the firm’s existing referral sources.

Contacts are haphazardly made, if done at all. Thank you’s for new referrals are infrequently sent. And updates are often not provided.

In these scenarios, the fixes needed are relatively straightforward. The trick is systematizing them so that they occur every time, and on schedule. The two most useful tools for creating your own referral-enhancing system are:

1. Referral-tracking sheet. All that is needed is a simple spreadsheet which notes: (a) the date a referral is received, (b) who provided it, and (c) whether the referral was signed as a client.

This is the data that will be used to determine:
– Are your referrals increasing?
– Who are your VIP referrers?
– Do any referral sources need additional instruction on who you serve?

2. Outreach calendar. Any digital calendaring software will work for this purpose. On it you will annually schedule 4-6 varying touch points every 2-3 months for each of your referral sources, both existing and new.

As detailed in my prior email, those touch points can be personal notes, gifts, get-togethers, or assistance. Varying them is helpful. And they should always be about giving, not receiving.

In addition, a handwritten thank you card should be sent each time a referral is received, along with periodic updates on matter progress and completion.

Implement this straightforward program of touch points, along with the steps I previously listed to add and cultivate new referral sources, and watch your professional referrals steadily increase.

Step 6: Stay memorable and referable with past clients

My interviews with nearly 100 successful attorney-marketers have identified 3 techniques for obtaining referrals from past clients:

1. Requests. I don’t recommend you directly ask for referrals from lawyers and other professionals, but I do for clients.

Lawyers understand that every professional wants to receive referrals. Clients do not know this and need to be told that referrals are important to your practice, you value them highly, and referrals receive special attention.

In the words of interviewee Chris Earley:

“We call it a culture of referrals. We can’t assume that people know we want referrals. ‘Just so you know, we are built on referrals and we would love and appreciate your referral. That would mean a lot to us.’ The more we said that, the more referrals flowed.”

2. Check-in calls. A useful technique during slow periods is to call past clients, inquire how they are doing, and then ask for referrals. Here is how interviewee Jennifer Gore-Cuthbert goes about it:

“In legal and other service businesses you have these meaningful relationships with clients, and then the relationship ends and you can fall out of touch. Every so often we like to call and say, ‘Hey, we were thinking about you and wanted to touch base. Are there any referrals you have outside of what we do? We have a large network of lawyers we can connect you with.’”

3. Newsletters. Old school? Yes. Effective? Also yes. Here is what interviewee Jason Melton says about them:

“Have a newsletter. How many times have I run into old clients and they don’t remember my name? If you asked me, ‘Who is my plumber,’ I don’t know. I can look it up in my phone, but don’t know off the top of my head. We are drinking our own kool-aid if we think people remember our names.”

Adopting even one of these 3 techniques will increase the number of referrals you receive from past clients. Adopting all 3 will have a sizable impact.

Step 7: Track results and expand your winning techniques

The last step in increasing your referrals is simple: track your results and do more of what is working.

If you find you have been successful at adding and cultivating new referral sources, keep it up. If paying more attention to your existing referral sources is increasing their productivity, try adding touch points.

If asking your past clients for referrals, calling them periodically, or sending them a newsletter is helping, try adding a second contact technique.

In summary

Quickly recapping, the 7 steps to more referrals covered in this email series were:

1. Set expansion goals. Can you 2x or 3x your referrals?
2. Create your referral growth calendar
3. Expand your network
4. Build relationships with your new referrers
5. Cultivate your existing referral sources
6. Stay memorable and referrable with past clients
7. Track results and expand your winning techniques

I hope you have found this introduction to increasing your referrals helpful.

10 Attorney Marketing Tips From My Interviews

10 Attorney Marketing Tips From My Interviews

So much helpful advice is contained in my past interviews that I thought I should organize it by topic.  When the recommendations of these successful attorney-marketers are grouped together, you can learn a lot about marketing your law firm.

This article focuses on affordable changes you can make that will lift the results of the marketing you are already doing.

1. Brand yourself

Brandon Pettijohn recording

[13:59] “I purchased the name The Port City Attorney while still in law school. I have been building The Port City Attorney brand since 2017. Having enough time in the space has helped, and the resulting brand recognition has been a big part of our growth.”

Josh Hodges recording

[4:25] “A lot of people in smaller towns don’t want to go to the big city if they don’t have to. And I wanted to brand as the local guy. I know having a nickname like The Bulldog works, but I thought it was cheesy and didn’t want to do that. But I knew that having something you’re known for was needed.”

 [4:50] “The best name thing I could think of that did not embarrass me was The Hometown Lawyer. But then I really have to be Mr. Hometown and publicize other local people. So we do a lot of videos where I shout out local restaurants. I’ve done that for a couple of years.”

My comments

You don’t need to go to extremes to have a memorable name.  You may not be comfortable with combative brand names like pitbull, hammer, or bulldog, but many less aggressive names exist.  Examples from my interview list include: money lawyer, breakup lawyer, justice team, brand attorney, lemon law queen, case handler, Myrtle Beach biker lawyer, MVP accident attorneys, and CEO lawyer.  

Using a brand name instead of your name also increases the value and salability of your practice.  New clients will not expect you to be available.  However, rebranding takes time and repetition, so is best done early in your firm’s life.

2. Locate in a growing area

Brandon Pettijohn recording

[10:27] “Wilmington is the base metropolitan area of southeastern North Carolina. One of the growing communities just outside of Wilmington is Leland, where they’re putting hundreds of million dollars into the community. Lots of people are moving here. So I moved my office across the river to Leland because there were no attorneys here in the area besides real estate closing attorneys. We have noticed steady growth in qualified leads coming from organic Google searches since we are the only litigation attorney in town.”

[11:07] “That relocation has been good for our growth. We gambled moving out of the downtown because I knew people might not want to cross the bridge for meetings. But I also factored into the decision the effect the Covid era had on everybody. People are more comfortable with Zoom meetings. While clients still come into our office, we don’t have the volume we did in 2019. We kept a small office in Wilmington just in case, but we haven’t had to use it.”

My comments

Brandon physically relocated, but you can obtain similar benefits by inexpensively obtaining co-working space in a growing or low-competition locale, and setting up a Google My Business profile for that location.

You can shorten the time it takes to obtain business from that profile by (1) beefing it up with photos, videos, and reviews, and (2) regularly adding content to your site which includes that location’s name.

I know one large injury practice that now obtains 40% of its new clients from a neighboring city where it has one unstaffed co-working space costing only $150/month.

3. Monitor your intake

Josh Hodges recording

If you recommend them, can you share the answering service that you use? 

[20:05] “I give every answering service I have used a B- or C+. The last one I used provided great service but were sometimes rude to callers. The new service is peppy and nice on the phone, but when I have a problem they don’t get back to me quickly.”

[20:53] “You need to listen to the calls and give them pointers. You can’t assume they’re picking up every time, either. With CallRail you can see if your calls are being answered. If  people think they can get away with being lazy or not doing their job, sometimes they will.”

Do you listen to the calls or make mystery calls? 

[21:36] Yes, I have mystery called, I have had my mother in law call, and I have had my mom call. They  know my number now so I have had to get a new phone. I also send in forms under goofy names to learn how quickly they get back to me. They do pretty well.”

[22:04] “Lawyers who have large and successful firms tell me that they still worry about their intake and are always trying to make it better. It is just something that’s never perfect.”

[22:15] “I think compared to a lot of firms my age and size, we do pretty good, but I’m not happy with pretty good. I’m trying to get to very good. I’ll call back when I get there.”

My comments

If you are not regularly monitoring and training your intake team, then I’ll wager that your signup percentage can be improved.  I know one firm whose conversion rate jumped 40% with some instruction and incentives.  

A past interviewee whose business is training intake teams finds that his client firms frequently double their signup rates once they learn how to close during the initial consultation.

You should begin the improvement process by tracking the number of calls, appointments, and signups daily, weekly, and monthly.  Don’t let software slow you down; a simple spreadsheet can be used for this tracking.  Next, be sure to record your calls and periodically listen to them.  

Finally, always seek to close in one call.  Depending on your specialty, closing can mean setting an appointment with an attorney, or it can mean sending a retainer agreement and getting it signed within 3 days.

4. Improve your customer service

Adam Rossen recording

How do you keep that high level of customer service consistent throughout your firm, from the person answering a phone all the way through?

[14:23] “It takes a lot of coaching and a lot of mentoring. But it goes back to having clearly defined core values and then hiring, firing, and training based on those core values.”

[14:36] “It’s something we have learned a lot about in the last three years. It starts with hiring, which is designed like our marketing to attract and repel. So first and foremost, it’s about people who wouldn’t be a good fit or don’t fit our core values or don’t understand what we do for people here.”

[15:09] “We have invested heavily in training in the last two years, and we have built tons of modules, videos, and tests for training for many of our departments. We record our calls, and go over them as a team. We have scripts, but always want to make sure we don’t take out the human component of it. Right? ‘I got arrested and the police beat me up.’ ‘Okay, where do you live? Because that was the next question, right?”

[15:46] “We want to hire naturally empathetic people and then continue to motivate them and give them tips, tricks, and responses for different scenarios that they might encounter like objections to price.”

My comments

Great customer service is typically only achieved with the regular monitoring, training, and motivating that comes from paying personal attention like Adam does.

Yes, it starts with hiring empathetic people, and scripts and worksheets will help, but if you or a senior team member have the time available, role-play sessions will be the most effective way to bring new people along.  Alternatively, have them sit near your best role model so they can hear how various situations are handled by a pro.

5. Check up on your agency

Adam Rossen recording

[10:34] “With any agency a lot of oversight is required. They have other clients. Nobody will ever give it the full attention that you would yourself. So there is lots of communication.”

[10:55] “I used to be the lawyer to every client. And then for a few years we had two lawyers, me and Manny, who is now the managing partner. Now we have eight attorneys and it is making sure they have that deep personal relationship with say Susan, one of our board certified criminal defense attorneys. We have internal controls to make sure that the legal work, the communication, and the relationship building with our client, that Susan will do the same thing in the same way as if I was representing that client.” So it’s the same thing with BluShark. It is work that you can delegate, but you still have to manage it.”

[11:48] “That is so often overlooked and a very important piece of advice. Sometimes when I hear agencies are not delivering results, you have to look in the mirror and ask, ‘How are you tracking their progress? Have you set up the internal processes and foundation to make sure you are properly handling those precious leads?”

Samah Abukhodeir recording

[8:11] “Yes, absolutely. ROI is super important. We have a practice management system that all of the leads go through. And within that practice management system we are able to see what call number the lead came through. We create reports every month and review those reports with our vendors to make sure that we are getting bang for the buck that we’re spending on these marketing leads. Marketing is not cheap.”

[8:11] “This is something that I have been studying. It is one part of the business that I didn’t know anything about. For the last 9-12 months I have been researching marketing left and right.”

Josh Hodges recording

How did you vet your SEO vendor and the PPC agency? That is a question I hear frequently from attorneys. 

[8:35] “The first year or two that I was in business, I had no money to put into it. So I read a lot about SEO and PPC and started doing them on my own. I had some success early on and learned enough to know which questions to ask.”

[9:00] “An SEO vendor needs to talk about more than impressions and rank. I want to know, ‘Did I get calls? Were they good calls? Did I get consultations? Did they turn into cases? What target KPIs are we talking about?’”

[9:40] “I have my own AdWords account that I set up, and I let them into it. I’m not going to let them run ads for me with me not being able to see results for myself with them providing me a report. Are they counting as a conversion a prospect who types in my name?  That person would have found me anyway.  I care about people typing in ‘car accident near me.’”

My comments

Someone has to police your digital marketing agency.  Josh has a background in SEO and PPC, which allows him to keep his agencies on track. 

If you don’t, consider using someone knowledgeable about the work your agency should be doing to monitor them.  Unmonitored agencies are more likely to give your account less attention, for they nearly always have more work requests from clients than they can handle.

I recommend that you communicate regularly, require reports containing the proper metrics, and share detailed results with your agency like who is actually signing up and which signers are quality clients.  This sharing will help your agency focus on generating wanted prospects, rather than just prospects.

6. Track your numbers

Joe Nazarian recording 

How do you stay on track and get your team to understand the importance of those numbers?

[16:08] “We have a weekly meeting. We input all of our numbers and track them on a quarterly basis. When we have our quarterly meetings, we discuss all the numbers to see where we are off and what is a problem. We immediately adjust, address the issue, and get it fixed as soon as possible.”

[16:30] “We understand exactly what’s happening, what needs to be strengthened, what is going wrong, and what is going right. Even if I miss a meeting, I can pull up the company scorecard and see if things are falling apart or going well. I can read the numbers and see if they are off.”

My comments

While your agency needs to know the end result of its marketing, you should know the beginning of the agency’s effective marketing – the marketing that delivers clients and wanted but unconverted prospects.  

How many leads, appointments, and signups do you need each week and month to hit your growth and profitability goals?  Are you ahead or behind plan?  By how much?  These performance indicators should be monitored daily by you and the key members of your team.

7. Solicit reviews

Adam Rossen recording

How were you getting your satisfied clients to leave you those positive reviews?

[33:13] “It is one happy client and one review at a time. It starts with our strategy session, building know, like, and trust, and treating them like people. It starts with getting to know them rather than just talking about their case or what they’re accused of doing.”

[33:47] “We are relationship builders. Yeah, I’m good at marketing, and I was good at law. But it is about the relationship. Not every client is going to say, ‘I was wasted and hit five cars and ran, but my lawyer got me off.’ Some will put the juicy details in their review, but they don’t have to. We tell clients that they can just say how they felt when they got arrested, how they found us, and how we made them feel. Were we easy to talk to, how did we treat you during the case, did we get you amazing results? A lot of people will say, ‘I don’t want to go on video for you, but I’ll write that all day.’”

At what point are you asking for that review? Are you sending them an email with the link? 

[34:56] “People differ on this. They say you can ask for a review at any time. We prefer to ask when the case is over. We ask by email and text. And if we just finished their case in the courthouse and got him a reduction of charge or dismissal, we will ask, ‘Do you mind writing it right now? It will really help us.’ We tell people, ‘When you were stressed and didn’t know where to turn, your review helps us help the next person who is stressed and doesn’t know where to turn.’”

Arkady Frekthman recording

You have impressive past client reviews. How are you getting those?

[21:53] “We have a system where we ask clients to write us a review, usually at different stages. It doesn’t have to be when we’re giving them the check. Of course, that’s the best time. But if you do something nice for them in the beginning like getting them a payment to get their car fixed, then you could ask them, ‘Hey, do you mind writing us a review?’ We’ll send them a link either by text or email, whatever they prefer. And then just a little bit of a follow up and then they’ll click and they’ll write us a review.”

[22:30] “Another thing I’ve been doing, when somebody calls you about a matter that you don’t handle, say real estate or divorce, but instead of saying, ‘We don’t do that’ and hanging up, I’ll speak to them for a few seconds and recommend somebody else who does. Then if they’re happy with the consultation, we will ask, ‘Oh, do you mind leaving us a nice review because we helped you?’ Oftentimes they will.”

My comments

Reviews need to be pursued.  To remain competitive with firms which have an active review solicitation effort, you need to devote effort to building up your review collection.  

Seeking them needs to be part of your firm’s culture.  Obtaining good ones should be celebrated.  And those who obtain the most or the best reviews should be rewarded.  A solid incentive program can be all that is needed to get and keep the reviews flowing.

8. Stay in touch

Samah Abukhodeir recording

Do you have any follow up for those folks who inquire but do not sign up right away?

[15:35] “We have different campaigns through our lead management system. Depending on how that call goes with the attorney, the attorney will put them in a different campaign depending on if we want to nurture them as a future client or if this is definitely not the type of client we want. So there are different campaigns that they can be put through.”

Have you tried text campaigns?

[16:04] We use texts, emails, and phone calls. They are called gas calls. Even when a client finishes their case, we will still check up on them after 6, 12, and 18 months.” 

I’m sure the regular check-ins contribute to your referral flow. Do you keep in touch any other ways? 

[16:36] “We have a newsletter that goes out once or twice a month.  In it we will touch upon something that is going on in the family or probate world.”

Adam Rossen recording

How do you stay in touch with your past clients?

[22:16] “We mail a printed monthly newsletter. We also send an e-newsletter. We want to stay in touch with past clients as many ways as we can. We encourage them to follow us on social media. Everybody on our staff is encouraged to send out birthday, congratulations, sympathy and thank you cards. We have internal metrics of how many cards we are supposed to be sending out per month.”

Joe Nazarian recording

[5:48] “One other thing we do is we make sure that we send gifts to all of our clients, friends and family once or twice a year. And we’ve gotten a lot of great results from that.”

My comments

I like Joe’s approach of – as he phrases it – watering the green grass. Promoting to your fans to obtain more referrals like Joe does generates calls from the best kind of prospects – ones who aren’t lawyer or price shopping. 

A newsletter is another proven way to lift your past-client referrals, for they can’t recommend you if they don’t remember your name.  Most of my interviewees send one at least monthly.

9. Tighten your focus

Adam Rossen recording

[31:51] “My advice is to focus on one or two marketing channels, and commit to them.  That is hard for a lot of people. You get FOMO that somebody else is doing something and you are not.  For us, it was getting reviews because the reviews help with our Google business profile and improves conversions because of the social proof.”

[32:50] “Six years ago people were telling me it can’t be done in criminal defense. We have over 750 reviews now, and we will probably have over a thousand within six months.”

I like your advice of picking a few high priority items to focus on. Some attorneys I speak with have 100 things they want to do.

[36:03] “Paralysis by analysis. Our third core value, which is one of our most important, is take action. Don’t confuse activity with accomplishment. It is better to go deep to accomplish a goal than to take a shotgun approach and dabble in a bunch of little things.”

[36:26] “We don’t handle any other type of law. I know you know about the importance of niching down. That advice applies to marketing as well as to a practice area.”

My comments

It takes patience, but Adam’s advice to focus on a limited number of marketing channels is solid.  You want quick results, but the channels that deliver quick results aren’t the best ones to use long-term.  

The channels that time to deliver, like SEO, social media, reviews, and client referrals – are the ones that will deliver over the long haul.

10. Get help from peers

Diego Bustillos recording 

Tell us about the community aspect of your coaching program.

[11:43] “The community has been a huge part of our growth in the coaching program. We get to exchange ideas and especially ask questions. Everyone is very open. It’s like we are part of a global law firm. And when we all are growing, we are all helping more people.”

[13:29] “Reaching out to other attorneys, not being afraid to be vulnerable and saying, ‘We’re struggling with this. Has this ever happened to you? How did you solve it? What tools did you use?’ Three attorneys may provide three different answers, but we will pick one and implement it.” 

My comments

Periodically meeting either in-person or virtually with improvement-oriented owners of small law firms can accelerate your growth.  As Diego says, a group can be especially helpful in moving you past an issue that is slowing your progress.  

You will also learn what is working for others, whether in management, marketing, or technology, which can save you much experimentation.  And perhaps most valuable, you are no longer alone.  Now you have colleagues you can confide in, sharing your concerns and learning that you are not the only one struggling with growth challenges.

Conclusion

Improving your marketing results

  1. Brand yourself
  2. Locate in a growing area
  3. Monitor your intake
  4. Improve your customer service
  5. Check up on your agency
  6. Track your numbers
  7. Solicit reviews
  8. Stay in touch
  9. Tighten your focus
  10. Get help from peers

That wraps up my interview excerpts.  I hope you found them helpful. 

Another way to obtain more clients is expanding your referral network.  We have introduced 170 lawyers to over 900 prospective new referral partners, and can do similar work for you.

Click here to learn more about our 90% done-for-you service.

How I Get Clients with Attorney Nima Etemadian: Maximizing Past Client Referrals

How I Get Clients with Attorney Nima Etemadian: Maximizing Past Client Referrals

Personal injury attorney Nima Etemadian has rapidly grown his firm’s revenue 3x over the past two years. He credits referrals from satisfied past clients as a major contributor, alongside attorney and medical referrals.

Nima shared his effective techniques for keeping past clients engaged to drive ongoing referrals with James Amplifier President Kara Prior during an interview on the Grow With Kara show.

Remaining Top-of-Mind Through Regular Check-Ins

A cornerstone of Nima’s referral strategy is consistent communication with current clients every two weeks, regardless of case updates. This strengthens those relationships in the long-term.

Additionally, post-resolution his team nurtures past clients with mailed thank you notes, birthday cards, e-newsletters and diligent database management. This keeps the firm visible as clients’ needs evolve.

Positioning as the Go-To Resource for All Legal Issues

When speaking with injury clients, Nima emphasizes, “I want to be the first person you call for anything legal.” This positions his firm as a broad resource beyond personal injury.

Consequently, past clients now regularly contact Nima regarding issues like wills, divorce, and other practice areas that he then ethically refers out.

Maximizing Referral Value

By sending non-injury referrals to attorneys who reciprocate with PI referrals, Nima has created a mutually beneficial loop. So past clients drive new cases both directly and indirectly.

As Nima notes, responsively maintaining past client relationships enables achieving the full lifetime referral value lawyers often leave on the table.

In summary, through regular check-ins, post-resolution nurturing, and positioning as a trusted legal advisor, Nima builds enduring goodwill and visibility with past clients. This loyalty directly converts into new referrals while keeping his practice top-of-mind.

Webinar: Low-Cost, Rapid-Start Legal Marketing
Attorney Nima Etemadian: Website | Instagram | Facebook
In just 4 years Nima Etemadian and his partner have built an exceptionally fast-growing injury firm in the competitive SoCal market. They doubled revenue their second year, tripled it their third year, and are on track to triple again this year.
Attorney Marketing Tips from Interviews

Attorney Marketing Tips from Interviews

One-click access
Click the interview title for instant, single-click access to the video replay and its takeaways.

No-Cost Social Media Marketing for Lawyers
Clay Payne on 11/16/22 (23:53 long).  Speaking directly and concisely on everyday law topics, Clay has accumulated over 181,000 Instagram and 158,000 TikTok followers.  No comedy or costumes.  Amazingly, he posted his first Instagram video only 6 months prior to this interview – in April 2022.  Having been licensed only four years ago, he didn’t want to spend a lot on getting clients, so turned to affordable social media.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sharpening the Focus of Your Law Firm’s Social Marketing
Miriah Soliz on 9/28/22 (32:05 long).  In only 2 years Miriah has grown her Houston injury firm to a team of 8 handling 100 open case files.  She obtains all her cases directly – no attorney referrals – with 99% of her cases coming from Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook.

Getting Out of the Way of Your Law Firm’s Growth
Mike Morse on 6/22/22 (26:55 long).  After losing a referral source providing 60% of his cases, Mike Morse figured out how to replace those cases and in 5 short years grew his firm from 30 employees to 130.  His team now numbers 170, is growing 20% annually, and does $150 million annually in settlements.  

How This Attorney Built a $100M Law Firm – with Zero Digital Marketing
Bob Simon on 4/6/22 (33:55 long).  With his social posts Robert targets referring lawyers rather than consumers.  He has been hugely successful with his approach, building his firm in 12 years to 75 people and $100 million in revenues.  He is an impressively-creative entrepreneur who also founded a rapidly-expanding co-working space and membership program for plaintiff attorneys.

 

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Generating Clients from TikTok
Andrea Sager on 1/11/23 (39:40 long).  Andrea connects attorneys to small business clients through The Legalpreneur.  She first began landing clients for her small-business oriented practice through Facebook Groups, and then Instagram.  Her current marketing focus is using TikTok to find and educate new prospects, where she currently has 67,000 followers.

Growing with Social Media & Professional Referrals
Jessica Ornsby on 1/4/23 (25:35 long).  Jessica left BigLaw in 2017 to start her own solo family practice, and then merged practices with a colleague serving Maryland and DC.  After redirecting her personal Instagram to professional topics and acquiring 11,000+ followers, social media has become a substantial lead source for her.  That and professional referrals are growing her practice 30%/year.

Expanding Your Attorney Referral Network with Social Media
Shaheen Wallace on 12/21/22 (28:50 long).  Shaheen launched his firm immediately after graduation, and serves GA, NY, and PA.  He focuses on trying cases, keeping his open cases below 100.  His primary source of clients is attorney referrals.  He is expanding his referral network through (1) connecting on social media and (2) attending and speaking at in-person conferences.

Attracting High-Value Cases
Joe Wilson on 12/14/22 (27:57 long).  Joe founded his Atlanta injury firm 5 years ago, and recently partnered with Nick Rowley’s Trial Lawyers for Justice.  Joe focuses on higher-value cases, referring out the smaller ones.  He and his local team of 5 maintain 40-50 open files, allowing him to devote more time to each case.  He also works with Nick on cases around the country.

Building a Law Firm & Brand Using Social Media
Neama Rahmani on 12/7/22 (33:25 long).  Neama and his partners have in 8 years built a large and fast-growing firm of 25 attorneys and 100 support staff.  Social media, paid ads, TV appearances, and a podcast are driving the growth.  The firm has 3 in-house marketing teams – social, paid, and organic – and 3 public spokespeople, including Neama.  

Growing Your Law Firm with Low-Cost Marketing
Chris Earley on 11/9/22 (32:10 long).  With a couple months to go in the year, Chris has already doubled his 11-person Boston injury firm’s revenue.  He attributes that success to focusing on customer service, list-building, and referrals.  Referrals from attorneys and clients now comprise more than half of his firm’s caseload of 300-350 open case files.

Increasing the Leads Generated by Your Firm’s Website
Matt Dolman on 11/2/22 (42:29 long).  Matt’s firm, which employs a team of 40+, has collected more than $500 million on behalf of its injury clients.  Its growth has been generated primarily using SEO, with its site receiving over 160,000 visitors/month. Matt is highly focused on content creation – both written and video – and uses an agency to generate backlinks.

Triple-Threat Legal Marketer Details What Works Best
Seth Price on 10/26/22 (35:47 long).  Over the last decade Seth and his partner scaled their multi-specialty East Coast law firm from a couple attorneys to more than 40.  And his legal marketing agency, BluShark, handles digital marketing for 250 law firms.  He has broad and deep knowledge of how to effectively market a variety of legal specialties.

Growing 20-25% Annually on a 10% Legal Marketing Budget
Reza Torkzadeh on 10/19/22 (41:23 long).  In 10 years Reza has built a 62-person injury firm in the competitive SoCal market.  The firm has consistently grown 20-25% annually, and is on track for 30% this year.  That growth has been driven by a heavy focus on customer service and a broad-based marketing effort.  However, the firm is spending only 10% or so of its revenue on marketing, unlike many injury firms this size.

Streaking to Greater Law Firm Heights
John Fisher on 10/12/22 (41:27 long).  John’s 12-year old upstate New York firm handles catastrophic medmal and injury cases, typically having only 30 open files at a time.  It is referral based, with over 500 referring attorney-partners.  John provides some great lessons for increasing the high-quality cases that come from attorney referrals.

Generating Consistent Law Firm Growth
Jennifer Gore-Cuthbert on 10/5/22 (39:23 long).  Jennifer’s Atlanta personal injury firm, launched in 2013 immediately upon obtaining her license, has collected over $100 million in settlements for over 5,000 clients.  Her firm’s revenue has doubled most years, now employs 30, and is on the Inc 5000 list of fast-growing businesses.

Blending Catastrophic & Volume Injury Case Models
Darl Champion on 9/21/22 (47:21 long).  In 8 years Darl has grown his Atlanta-area injury firm to 13 people handling about 200 open files.  Initially he pursued attorney referrals, but has now broadened his marketing channels to include SEO, PPC, social media, and client referrals.  His highest-value cases are coming from attorney referrals.

How I Keep My Firm Healthy and Growing
Bert Parnall on 9/14/22 (37:12 long).  Bert’s New Mexico firm has represented over 5,000 clients and collected over $100 million in settlements and verdicts.  Since launching in 2009, his firm has grown to 12 attorneys and 69 people.  Half of the firm’s cases come from client and professional referrals, with the other half coming from “a symphony of media” as detailed below.

The Marketing Tech & Techniques Working for Me
Mitch Jackson on 8/31/22 (56:29 long).  Mitch has for decades been a technology pioneer, first with websites, then social media, and now the metaverse and Web3.  He hosts weekly meetups for digital entrepreneurs in his virtual penthouse, and publishes a LinkedIn newsletter called Metaverse, Web 3, Law and Tech.  Mitch’s SoCal firm focuses on injury and business litigation.

The Marketing I Use at My 30-Person Firm
Mauro Fiore on 8/17/22 (48:25 long).  Mauro has personally tried over 50 cases before a jury, and his firm has recovered over $250 million for its clients.  Referrals from personal connections are a major source of business for Mauro’s 5-lawyer, 30-person firm.  He also joint ventures with a major local advertiser, and successfully uses non-branded advertising. 

Rapid Growth, Low Spend, High Conversions
Alex Northover on 8/10/22 (35:12 long).  Alex started his firm only 18 months ago, in January 2021, but already has 400 open case files.  Part of that rapid growth has come from accepting … and generating solid settlements … from cases that other firms turned down.  A second source of growth is social media, which Alex has targeted at referral sources. 

How to Build a Network of Referral Partners Online
Joe Volta on 8/3/22 (26:27 long).  Joe is a young lawyer successfully growing his book of injury business.  Amazingly, he is spending zero dollars while doing so.  He reaches out to national marketers online, offering to handle their cases in the Carolinas and then focusing on making the referring attorneys look good.  Recently Joe has started attending select conferences to meet his current and prospective referral partners in person.

Breaking Marketing Rules & Getting Clients
Marc Wasserman on 7/20/22 (45:23 long).  Marc and his brother have built a huge brand in their firm Pot Brothers at Law and its trademark saying, ‘Shut the Fuck Up.’  Their startup story is an interesting one, and driven entirely by free networking and organic social media.

Free & Paid Marketing That Works
Matt Dubin on 7/6/22 (45:18 long).  Matt started the Dubin Law Group, a greater Seattle injury firm, after being told by his financially-strapped employer to polish his resume.  Lunches with referral sources and writing for SEO were his early marketing go-to’s.  Now growing rapidly with 4 offices, 10 attorneys, and 50 people total,  Matt uses a full marketing mix that includes Google Ads, digital display ads, community events, TV, radio, and busboards.

Low-Cost, Niche Marketing
Tina Odjaghian on 6/15/22 (30:34 long).  10 years ago Tina started her own firm, which specializes in traumatic brain injuries and other catastrophic cases, and now numbers 15 people.  Social media is a key contributor, with Tina’s fashion, family, and law-focused personal Instagram page having 558k followers.  Nurturing referral relationships is Tina’s other marketing focus.

‘Owning the Phone’ Marketing
Justin Lovely on 6/8/22 (35:55 long).  In 2009 Justin founded The Lovely Law Firm, a personal injury and criminal defense firm headquartered in Myrtle Beach, SC, when he couldn’t land a job as real estate lawyer.  Together with his wife Amy, Justin has grown the firm to 5 attorneys and 15 staff using a variety of marketing channels and an approachable, community-focused style.

Low-Cost, Rapid-Start Marketing
Nima Etemadian on 6/1/22 (32:35 long).  Nima and his partner have built an exceptionally fast-growing young personal injury firm based in highly competitive Southern California.  Networking, attorney referrals, and social media provided the initial rocket fuel, and the growth of client referrals have the firm tripling its revenue last year and this year.  Good mentorship early on provided the guidance.

Focusing on Strengths & Marketing Them Effectively
Brett Sachs on 5/11/22 (41:47 long).  He and wife Chelsee handle injury cases in California and Texas under the name MVP Accident Attorneys.  In 4-½ years they have grown their firm from launch to a team of 50 using a multi-channel marketing approach – SEO, PPC, radio, and social media.

Getting the Most Out of the Best Legal Marketing Channels
Jason Melton on 5/4/22 (44:25 long).  He launched his multi-specialty practice in an under-served part of Florida, promoting with organic SEO.  Now he promotes his practice with outdoor events, PPC, and Instagram.  In less than one year Jason has acquired more than 14,000 Instagram followers.  

How ‘The Hammer’ Spends a $12M Marketing Budget
Darryl Isaacs on 4/27/22 (27:57 long).  Darryl is a recent entrant to the social media arena, but has been a heavy TV advertiser since 1996.  He also has a huge billboard presence in his market.  A creative thinker and contributor to the profession, Darryl manages several marketing mastermind groups in addition to his $40 million firm.

How This Attorney Became a Social Media Success
Narimon Pishnamaz on 4/13/22 (23:12 long).  In less than a year Narimon has acquired 137,000 TikTok followers, 37,000 Instagram followers, and more recently, 650 YouTube subscribers.  Unlike many social promoters, Narimon takes a mostly-serious, informational approach rather than trying to be entertaining.

Transforming His Instagram Into a Lead-Gen Machine
Kyle Newman on 3/30/22 (35:32 long).  Kyle has only been on social media since 2019.  Even though he works in a long-established firm receiving a steady flow of referrals, 25% of the firm’s new clients now come from Kyle’s social presence.  More importantly, some of the firm’s largest settlements and verdicts have come from socially-originated cases.

How This Attorney Built a $12M Family Law Group
David Crum on 3/10/22 (29:58 long).  David founded both a law firm and a legal marketing agency, so has especially detailed knowledge about what works in attorney marketing.  Below he provides specific information and numbers on what propelled his multi-location family law firm to prominence and financial success.

 

Attorney Marketing Tips in Booklets

Attorney Marketing Tips in Booklets

One-click access
Click the interview title for instant, single-click access to the video booklet.

Ali Awad’s Best Social Media Marketing Tips
27 pages, 12/1/22.  Ali Awad is considered by most to be the #1 social marketer in the legal world.  In less than 6 years he has built a 50-person, $20 million law firm using social media as his primary marketing channel.  We interviewed Ali 3 times in 2022 for nearly an hour each time.  He provided a wealth of practical information in every session.  Reading the transcripts of those interviews would be a lengthy endeavor, so I have condensed his most valuable teachings into this quick-reading booklet.  

26 Marketing Ideas for Injury Lawyers
44 pages, 10/24/22.  This quick-reading list contains 26 marketing techniques used by 20 owners of fast-growing injury firms, including:
– Signing 90+% of wanted leads can be done.
– 7 retained injury cases from one low-cost, do-good event.
– Getting a larger number of local leads from your social media.
– Using videos to obtain mass tort cases for free.
3 ways to increase your client referrals.
– Landing new referral partners without leaving your office.
– The networking group delivering $300,000 annually in attorney’s fees.
And 19 more

Takeaways from My Interviews of 20 Successful Attorney-Marketers
26 pages, 9/13/22.  Cumulatively, the knowledge and techniques described by my interviewees are a sizable reservoir of marketing ideas.  To help you tap that reservoir, I have listed what I consider the most valuable information provided under each of my first 20 interviews, along with a link to the interview recording.  

When you come across a growth tactic that you have not yet taken advantage of and may fit your firm, you can listen to the recording to hear the interviewee’s advice in his or her own words.

How I Get Clients
22 pages, 7/13/22.  The surest way to add another successful marketing channel to your law firm’s arsenal is to adapt what is working for other lawyers.  This quick-reading idea sourcebook for you to pull your next winning technique from includes details on:

  • Digitally creating referral relationships with heavy hitters
  • Making the phone ring through community support
  • Pulling quality leads from Instagram
  • Obtaining value from leads others reject
  • Finding mass tort clients with YouTube
  • Obtaining more referrals from past clients
  • Offering do-it-yourself packages
  • Data-driven content, optimization, and funnels
  • Sending team members to outdoor events


Instantly emailed link
Click the interview title, then complete the short form to be immediately emailed a link to the booklet.

The Best Tips from Successful Attorney-Marketers #3
51 pages, 10/6/22

What’s Working in Attorney Marketing #4
56 pages, 9/27/22

Social Media Recommendations from 11 Attorney-Marketers
26 pages, 9/19/22

Creating Great Legal Videos
81 pages, 6/24/22

What’s Working in Attorney Marketing #3
42 pages, 5/26/22

What’s Working in Attorney Marketing #2
31 pages, 4/3/22

Social Media Tips for Lawyers from Ali Awad
15 pages, 1/29/22

How to Fill Your Law Firm’s Marketing Gaps
196 pages, 1/27/22

Law Firm Newsletter Swipe File
412 pages, 9/26/21