No, I am not talking about the character in Star Trek Deep Space who ran the bar.
Quarks are the smallest known building blocks of matter. Protons and neutrons are each made of 3 quarks. Quarks are never found alone, and are only found in groups of two or more. They are so powerful together that separating two quarks generates enough energy to create two more.
Marketing a solo law practice or small law firm operates in much the same way. Marketing should be the smallest building blocks of any practice. And, you should not rely on one marketing tool, and you should always be consistently working several to achieve the energy necessary to fuel your practice.
The reason that the quark representation is necessary is for the size of the effort itself. It does not have to be large. It should be small. It should not be your only emphasis. Solos who see their main job as marketing get disbarred all of the time. Why? They spend all of their effort bringing business in the front door and, as a result, they have no ability to manage the cases they have acquired.
I would like to suggest to you some of the marketing tools or marketing quarks you can use to constantly and consistently fuel your practice. Used together these small building blocks work well.
1. Telephone. In this day and age it is the most unrecognized marketing tool. It is something you already have. You are paying for it anyway. You are on the phone all of the time, so remember to call referral sources during down moments. Even if you do not get through to them, you can leave a voice mail message letting them know you are still available.
2. Email. Again, you already have this and you are using it regularly. Importantly, it is quick. Remember to send private and personal emails to your referrals sources now and then just to let them know you are still around. If they do not or cannot take your call, follow up with an email. Just a line or two to let them know they are appreciated by you.
3. Practice blog. This should be the hub of your practice. These are dirt cheap, and it gives you a center point to keep in touch with your referral sources. When you are talking with people on the phone or in person, on every letter and business card, you refer them to this site for information, including contact information and referral information. Your URL can almost become a virtual business card your referral sources can pass on to someone else.
4. Social media. This is basically new to me as well, but there are sites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube and any number of free or nearly free sites that are easy to set up and to which people refer. Use these as a means of promoting your blog and contact information.
5. Paper. Paper is dying, but online paper (like PDF documents) is not. If you file a pleading make sure there is a banner at the top that promotes you in the way you need to be promoted. Then, of course, there are business cards. They still work, so use them.
6. Old push technologies. These are things like broadcast email and faxes. The idea is always to stay top of the mind with your likely referral sources. Send out short newsletters that promote your -- what else -- blog, yourself and what you do.
Each of these work if used together like a group of quarks. Together they generate energy. Energy will bring clients to you. They represent some of the building blocks for any practice. They do not consume all of your time, leaving time for the real work at hand. Most importantly, even as a group, these marketing quarks are cheap, cheap, cheap. (Meaning, of course, that they are not low in quality, but that they are extremely cost effective).
Now, in saying all of this, notice I did not suggest that these things along will work. After all, these marketing quarks are the building blocks of a good practice. They need one other special ingrediant to bind them together. That would be you. You are going to have to get out and meet and greet and collect information, and build your web presence through word of mouth. Remember, marketing quarks are only the foundation, but they do put you on a solid footing to achieve what you need to achieve -- reputation, attention, cases and cash flow.