Guest post by Noble McIntyre, senior partner and owner of McIntyre Law.
Word of mouth is the original mode of advertising, and it still works today. You may not believe it in this time of television, radio, and especially the Internet. But the success of my firm is a testament to the power of word of mouth.
The thing is, relying on word of mouth doesn’t mean you sit back, wait, and hope people talk about your business to send more clients your way. You can start the conversation. You have to. No one else has as vested an interest in the success of your firm as you do.
In order to forgo traditional advertising, the way I have, you need to get people talking about your business. One way to do that is by giving back to the community.
Let’s be clear. I’m not saying publicity for your firm is the only reason to get involved in your community. Publicity is never a good enough reason to take on a cause. In fact, just the opposite is true. But by getting involved, you can support causes close to your heart—and the hearts of your partners and staff—and gain exposure for your business at the same time. It’s a win-win.
Community involvement is an integral part of my firm, and my staff not only knows how important it is to me, but also shares my commitment. It’s through this commitment that we’ve created a couple of unique ways to give back to our community. Maybe our successes will give you some ideas about how to do the same, and get that conversation going.
November 2011 marked the second occasion of our Annual Day of Kindness, in which we partnered with other firms in our area to form the non-profit group Lawyers Against Hunger. We set a goal to raise $50,000 that we would use to provide Thanksgiving dinner for Oklahoma families in need. By mid-October, we had raised more than $60,000, demonstrating how much this cause resonated with our community.
On November 17, over a period of about two hours, my staff and I, along with local attorneys, firefighters, and Air Force service members, distributed Thanksgiving turkey dinners to more than 4,200 Oklahomans. This was about 1,200 more meals than we gave out in 2010. A local news crew came out to film the story and talk to us. Many of the people who came out that day told us they’d heard about it by word of mouth. It was extremely gratifying to be able to help so many people, and we hope to help many more this November.
Helping the community doesn’t always require your physical presence, or even a lot of time out of your day.
In early 2011, we had an infographic produced that presents distracted driving statistics and information in an easy-to-understand, engaging medium. It was created using information our firm gathered, as well as data compiled from state and national agencies like the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. We decided to produce this infographic because of the alarming number of cases we’re seeing that involve distracted drivers, and we wanted to help raise public awareness about the dangers.
The distracted driving infographic is now available on our firm’s Web site with coding that can be copied and pasted for people to share on their own sites. We included social media sharing tools to make it easy to distribute on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. This is pretty standard, but we decided to take it a step further.
We contacted several schools around Oklahoma and offered to provide posters of the infographic to them free of charge. Many of them took us up on it, and they now display the infographic in classrooms where it can reach one of the most important demographics affected by distracted driving—teenagers. If the information we provided saves even one teen’s life because they decide not to text and drive, then we’ve reached our goal.
In addition, we sent the infographic to the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety and to the state’s METRO Transit Office in order to reach an even wider audience.
We’ve already had requests from other organizations for their own copies of the poster, which we’re happy to provide.
Again, if just one person heeds the warnings on the infographic about how dangerous distracted driving is, we feel it’s more than worth the expense of having had the infographic produced, printed, and distributed.
And every time someone looks at the infographic or the poster, they see it was produced by McIntyre Law. It’s an unobtrusive way to market the firm, by letting the information be the focus of the project, and taking a back seat to the main goal, which is informing and helping the public.
That’s really the key.
When you focus on getting involved in your community, or embarking on a project to improve public welfare, the exposure for your firm naturally follows. The more you try to forcibly market your firm, the more people will see you as just another lawyer. Do something truly outstanding, and you’ll truly stand out.