I often get told that marketing is too difficult and time consuming for attorneys. An array of reasons is offered, spanning from an attorney’s seniority level to legal work overload, and I reluctantly have to admit this is often very true. It is really “hard” to both do legal work, which is typically time-sensitive, and also do marketing, which is never as imminent a rush but we all know is critical to building a successful career. Often the hardest part is forcing yourself to do one of the three key things one must do for marketing success; namely, Getting Out and About. See my prior article on The Threebies, which details the three most important things you must do for marketing success.
I am a little nervous about suggesting this article — it was someone else’s idea — since I don’t want to give in to the cop-out that lawyers can never leave their desks, but there are times when you really only have time to market from your office chair.
So here are some ways to market from the comfort of your desk:
- Gain Industry Knowledge — Ideally in Your Power Niche. It is no secret that in order to market successfully you need to have something to talk about. Indeed another one of the Threebies is that “knowledge is power.” The essence of a Power Niche is picking a segment of the industry that you are in and learning everything possible about it. This can be done at your desk with books, articles, publications, and other reading material. And it is surprising just how easy it is to become an expert in a Power Niche, since a Power Niche is in an area you create so there is, by definition, no other expert in that Niche.
- Mine Your Network. Take the time to learn about the people you already know. Get to work early one day and go through your contact list and learn about where these people work and what they and their organizations are trying to accomplish. Once you have done that, think about how you can help them with building their businesses and building their careers. Reach out to family and friends with similar goals. Send “catch up” emails to find out what people in your network are doing. Maybe there are big changes in their organizations — maybe they have left for a new job. Send out articles you have been reading that people in your network may find of interest. One way or another, make sure you stay on the radar of the people in your network because you never know where they could end up in the business world. And perhaps it goes without saying that all of the foregoing is enhanced if it centers on your Power Niche.
- Speak Up About Your Power Niche. Even if you read every industry article and mine your contacts, it won’t go that far unless you tell people about your Power Niche. Tell your coworkers, your family, your friends, and the rest of your network (and anyone who will listen) about your Power Niche. You simply cannot overdo this, no matter how hard you try. Yes, you could even buy a T-shirt that mentions your Power Niche in bold letters. This way, when your friends and contacts overlap with your Power Niche, they will have no choice but to think of you.
- Form a Networking Group. Consider reaching out to form a networking group where everyone in the group has an implied overlap. Perhaps everyone went to the same school, has the same hobby or interest, supports the same non-profit, reads the same books, has the same goals, etc. Try making the group one that honestly and openly combines enjoying common interests and, at the same time, networking and supporting each other. Notably, you could do this within a single industry, which has obvious benefits. Less obviously, you could network with people in different industries, thereby making, and receiving, contacts and introductions that you never would have otherwise. I note how far-ranging these groups could be. In the real estate industry, where I practice, it could range from as sophisticated as Japanese Women in New York Real Estate or as simple as Real Estate People Who Like to Knit.
- Referrals. Using your industry knowledge, your contact list, and your network, ask for — and give — referrals. This always goes better if it is specific, i.e., “Hey Toby, I see that you know this person at ABC & Co., would you mind making an introduction for me?” I haven’t personally done this but I am told that LinkedIn can be a great place to look for these types of potential referrals. By the way, I advocate making more referrals than you ask for. And, of course, I can’t resist mentioning how important it is to weave your Power Niche into these referrals.
So, these are five things you can do from your desk. Good luck!