When it comes to business development, the options are endless. You can hire an outside source for all your development and marketing needs or you can do everything yourself—or find the balance that fits your budget.
Below, we delve into opportunities for gathering helpful data to better inform your marketing emails, networking, and more. The best part? They’re free.
On a large-scale level, there’s a lot of free information out there that can allow you to accurately take the pulse of key trends, figures, and companies in your practice area—or related practice areas. After all, building connections with other lawyers in related areas can be a great opportunity to grow a referral relationship.
In addition to keeping up with local and national legal news in your practice area, it can help to better know your competitors. Monitor litigation to see who else is attracting the same leads and matters that you are seeking to convert. In some situations, our competitors provide great opportunities to learn—what are they doing that people respond to?
Simultaneously, LinkedIn is an excellent source for identifying relationships. If there’s a company you’re interested in working with, you can look to see if they send all their work to one firm or if they work with multiple firms—meaning that it may be worth your time to build a connection. Even if there isn’t an opening, it’s helpful to know so that you don’t spend your time and energy wondering and researching.
Additionally, social media channels can present excellent chances to research companies and other sources that can yield consistent leads.
Learn from data you already have
In addition to macro opportunities, your law firm already has a lot of valuable data in your practice management system and mailing system.
There are several ways you can engage with this information. For one, you can look at your top-producing accounts and identify points in common. What are their interests and how did they come to work with your firm?
The opposite approach can work, too. If your firm sends out marketing emails, where do people stop reading? Can you change or adjust content? What results does that produce?
Likewise, which emails get forwarded? And to whom? If certain emails are seeing a lot of activity, that could be a good indication that the topics may be worth developing into a webinar or round-table discussion. If you participate in virtual conferences, can you give a talk on one of these topics?
Harnessing information from your practice management system’s metrics can also give you a more in-depth understanding of client life-cycles.
Build a system
The wider sphere of other law firms, related industries, legal trends, and social media research all provide opportunities to better understand the macro environment your firm is operating in. Simultaneously, leveraging your practice management system’s data and metrics affords helpful insights, too.
The key is to not let yourself get overwhelmed by trying to tackle all these approaches at once. Start with one thing at a time, see if it works for you, and then either incorporate it into your business development routine (perhaps with individualized tweaks) or let it go.
And yes, these processes take time to develop. But if they can create new leads and help you hone your marketing strategy, the time may be well worth it. And creativity’s the limit! If one approach works well for you, it may spark ideas for other ways you can learn more about, research, and create relationships with future clients.
By building one step at a time, you can grow your business development process organically.