Marketing is an essential part of building a successful bankruptcy practice, but many firms lack an understanding of what marketing measures result in increased business. On May 21, 2021, the MSBA’s Consumer Bankruptcy Law Section held a Virtual Mary Park McLean Brown Bag Lunch, on the topic Managing Firm Reviews and Social Media, in which techniques for increasing business were discussed. The program was hosted by Brian Tucci, Esq. of Chapter 12 MD, and Sari Kurland, Esq. of Kurland Law Group, and featured speaker Andy Stickel, founder of Social Firestarter LLC. 

Mr. Stickel stated there will be an increase in bankruptcy filings in the coming months, and noted that law firms must find ways to differentiate themselves to obtain clients. He advised that there is a three-step process people routinely use to make purchases, which he referred to as the law of buying: people become aware, develop desire, and purchase goods or services. While the process is relatively brief for small purchases, it can be lengthy when the purchase involves a costly item. 

Mr. Stickel explained that many lawyers violate the law of buying by skipping the desire phase. Instead of trying to sign clients immediately, firms should focus on providing value to clients outside of the formal attorney-client relationship, to help potential clients know, like, and trust them. In other words, if attorneys help people solve small problems, the same people are more likely to turn to them when they face significant issues.

Mr. Stickel advised one of the best methods of distributing content and increasing a firm’s internet presence is through video posts. Further, videos can be made in a short period of time and are typically useful to many people for a long duration, resulting in a high return on investment. 

When choosing video topics, Mr. Stickel recommends the attorneys use the “airplane test” to avoid selecting issues that are unsuitable. Specifically, an attorney marketing to potential bankruptcy clients should focus on the favorable outcomes bankruptcy may bring, rather than the bankruptcy process, similar to how a travel agent calls clients’ attention to the resorts they will enjoy on their vacations, instead of the airplane ride they will have to take to get there. In other words, attorneys should focus on: what clients want; how they get it; and what their lives will be like. 

Mr. Stickel further directed attorneys to try to choose video topics that will join conversations potential clients are already having in their heads, on matters such as misconceptions surrounding bankruptcy and client expectations, and that address frequently asked questions. Attorneys should also survey parties who do not hire them to find what objections parties had to hiring them and address those reservations via video. 

Videos should be short and concise and be posted in multiple locations, such as on a firm’s Facebook page, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube. They can be sent to clients via email as well and can be modified for use in podcasts. 

The presentation will be available on the MSBA consumer bankruptcy section page