Solos/Small Firms

From Snow Cones to Law Practice: Solo Makes the Best of Bad Marketing Ideas

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According to solo practitioner David Koller, even a bad marketing idea may help his fledgling legal practice. The intent, he says, is to generate referrals.

Before starting his legal practice last year, Koller writes in the Legal Intelligencer, his only prior business experience was making snow cones from his Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine on the sidewalk of his parents’ house in elementary school.

Now Koller is figuring out how to live without a steady paycheck, trying to find time to manage his money, and tracking all-important leads and referrals.

Koller keeps a list of every lead and referral he gets, along with the referring source and contact information for the referral. “Among other things, this helps me know when I owe a phone call to a referral source to say hello or see what I can do to help him or her,” he writes. The list also helps him understand which leads are quality ones and which in-person meetings lead to representation.

He has tried two marketing efforts that, at first glance, encountered some setbacks. But the point, he said, was referrals.

He recalled one idea he had to advertise a monthly special in his newsletter. He offered to help companies with an employment handbook at a fixed price. No one responded. But the ad had a broader purpose. “If someone remembers what I practice because he or she did not like my monthly special idea but refers me a client, a referral is a referral is a referral,” he writes.

He also started a blog and invited guest bloggers to participate, including a licensed clinical psychologist who was also a friend. The psychologist gave up blogging after a few posts because of the time involved. But that didn’t matter. A few weeks after her last blog post, she referred a client to Koller.

“What I learned from this is that if you have an idea that you think might not be sustainable at least initially, try it anyway for as long as you can and see where it leads,” he says. “For me, it worked.”

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