Build Your Own Law Firm #9: Opening Announcements

Whenever you launch a new business, you’re building a new brand.  No matter what you’re doing now, you did something else before.  And, you’ll remain associated with that something else until you begin to inform, and then to remind, people of what you’re doing now.  Even if you’re launching a law firm right out of law school, prior to doing that, maybe you were the hostess at Olive Garden.  That’s still an association you have to break, to create your new brand.

As alluded to above, the first step is to inform, and the second step is to remind.  And, the usual method lawyers use to inform old and new clients about new endeavors is the opening announcement.  Traditionally, this was effectively an advertisement, appearing in a local newspaper and potentially a local trade publication.  But, those broad announcements have diminished in effectiveness as the circulation of traditional newspapers have diminished.  That’s not to say that you ignore or eschew that option; but, you should supplement it, by sending out an announcement to your own list.

Now, what your list is, is an open question.  In the first instance, you’ll likely have an email contact list of friends, families, colleagues, past clients, existing clients, etc.  If that list is not robust, or not well-manicured — then, build it up as much as you can before you send to it.  If t makes sense to construct tailored messages for, say, colleagues versus past clients, then segregate those sublists and build the separate messages.  When you’re ready to send something out, use an email marketing tool, like ConstantContact or MailChimp, to create a better template, allow your list to utilize unsubscribe options and access analytics.  Remember, though, that your opening announcement via email should be just the start of your email marketing campaign.  You should next develop a publication schedule for an enewsletter or regular client alerts.  But, remember that your contact points no longer exist solely in email — so, whatever you post to your personal email network, create a version of that opening announcement that gets blasted to your social media profiles, as well.

Building a new brand is a long process, that takes years.  But, it starts with a first step.

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