I came across this really interesting video called "The Thank You Economy: How Business Must Adapt To Social Media". (Advisory, some explicit language in video)
The talk brought up some really fascinating points about the way we market our services and the changes that are happening as we speak.
The basis of the talk is that we are living through the biggest shift in media and business/client interaction in our history. This has a significant impact on our businesses, an impact than many of us may be underestimating.
What is happening is the humanization of your law firm. Potential clients can have relationships and interact with your firm in ways that never existed before. It's important to ask yourself, do you actually care and try to interact with your clients or are you trying to sell them something? The winners that emerge will be the firms that care and take the time to interact. People want to interact with other people, not anonymous, faceless firms.
For starters, it means that the old rules of marketing (generic messages meant for the masses) aren't going to be as effective as they once were. Effective marketing is becoming more of a one on one proposition. It's taking the time to listen, offer advice, show your expertise through blogging and participation on services such as LinkedIn and Twitter. Answer questions, be generally helpful.
Don't just throw self promotional garbage out there. People's radar for filtering out the "noise" has gotten more sophisticated. These tactics aren't going to work and could wind up hurting you in the long run.
As Stephen Martin says in this thoughtful piece:
Today, a person’s professional identity is more important than ever. Individual skills, expertise, reputation and authority have become the personal currencies of our economy. And they are the currencies that will lead us into the future.