Immigration Practice News

January 2013 (Vol. 4, No. 2)

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Resolve to Improve Follow Up With Your Potential Clients by Kimberley Schaefer W ith the New Year, I have decided that it's time to address an area of my firm's marketing that could be done better: following up with each potential client and convert them to actual clients. Like many immigration lawyers, I recognize the value of following up with potential clients. But the reality of a busy schedule means that I'm not always as good about following up as I would like to be. Sure, I typically do an initial response to everyone who contacts my firm. This can range from talking to the potential client on the phone to sending an email. In many cases that is the extent of my contact plan. After the initial contact, I simply end up waiting for the potential client to get back to me. This "single contact and then wait and see" approach means that as potential clients take time to think about how they want to move forward or call other law firms, they may lose track of my firm and my contact information. This is a marketing problem that I plan to solve this year. If you face this same problem, you can take three steps to solve it: STEP 1 Identify opportunities to collect email addresses. Potential clients likely contact your firm either by phone or through your website. Before you can email informational sequences to them, you need to collect email addresses. Modifying phone scripts to collect email addresses is relatively easy. You just need to add "Do you have an email address that you could give me so that I can send you some additional information?" to the script. Websites also offer a natural way to collect email addresses. In return for an email address, you can offer website visitors one or more of the following: • Contact form to send you an email • Consultation request form • Monthly newsletters • Free reports or guides • Registration for a group chat session or webinar STEP 2 Develop one or more informational contact sequences. An informational contact sequence is not an email that says little more than "thanks for contacting me." Instead, it is a series of 5-10 emails containing helpful information for the potential client. Depending on the potential client, topics can include: • Common mistakes people make (one mistake per email) • Information on current immigration news • Steps to getting a visa or green card The goal is to demonstrate your knowledge and communication style to the potential client. Demonstrate why you are a good choice for their case. By spacing the emails out over time, your contact information will be easy to find when the potential client is ready to move forward. STEP 3 Use the contact information to follow-up with an informational contact sequence Now that you have a list of contacts' emails and information to send them, the challenge is how to implement the follow-up sequence. Technology can simplify this for you by automating the follow-up sequence. You'll need to spend time setting up this type of automated system, but the reward is that you will have the ability to consistently follow-up with potential clients without creating a lot of extra work. There are complex systems that will allow you to easily segment your contact list so that you can send targeted followup sequences based on the interests of each potential client—OfficeAutopilot, SendPepper and Infusionsoft offer this capability. If you're looking for a less complex system, you may want to check out the entry level package by SendPepper. Aweber, MailChimp and Constant Contact are also other systems that can handle basic contact sequences. Kimberly Schaefer is an immigration lawyer practicing law in Washington D.C. at the Schaefer Law Firm. AILA'S PRACTICE AND PROFESSIONALISM CENTER offers 24/7 assistance to members. Find timely resources that offer insight, advice, and opinions on developing your practice, improving firm management, and addressing practical ethics issues such as When a Client Lies: Balancing Candor and Confidentiality. www.aila.org 3

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