Think you know how to attract customers to a highly specialized business like process serving?
Let’s find out. See if you know which kind of business these five customer growth tips were created for:
- Tell your story
- Have a financial goal
- Commit to consistent operating hours.
- Identify your serviceable obtainable market (SOM)
- Keep gross margins as high as possible.
This checklist could be used for almost any business but it is, in fact, part of a meticulously crafted marketing plan for a lemonade stand.
Process serving businesses and lemonade stands are very different. Process servers operate in a distinct niche and their growth tactics can’t simply be lifted from some random template used by other businesses.
This article details customer acquisition tactics tailored to the niche that process serving businesses occupy, and explains how to use them.
To understand why these tactics work–and which ones to focus on–let’s first examine the specific challenges to a process serving business.
#1: I don’t have time for that
One of the greatest challenges to process servers is the demand on their time and attention. As a process server you may feel like you must be everything, everywhere, all at once. You spend so much time working in your business instead of working on your business that you have no time to grow your business.
For plenty of good reasons.
For example, on any given day you may have to be up before dawn to do research, travel across town, make multiple attempts to serve, or be pulled into a stakeout. That all happens before you can even think about sitting down to send invoices, cut checks, or make the latest round of calls to collect from past due clients.
Those demands keep you working in your business.
They leave you no time to network, promote, make sales calls, or participate in industry events.
To attract more customers to your process serving business, things must change.
A good first step is to hire help. A better response is to invest in a litigation support service platform that automates time-consuming office tasks and enables you to provide new fee-for-service products.
Bringing this technology aboard means you can offer nationwide process serving that you manage from your desktop instead of spending the day in the field. You can also manage vendors, work orders, and documents all from one place.
It gives you the capacity to provide electronic court document filing, physical court document filing, secretary of state filing, and more.
And, since the platform handles invoicing and electronic payments, you’ll not only have better cash flow you’ll finally have time for strategic planning and promotion. Now you’re working on your business.
#2: Customer acquisition has changed
Keeping up with current business practices is another problem for hyper-busy process servers. Ten years ago, you could connect with prospects by using direct mail, flyers, business cards, and face-to-face networking. Today that toolkit has mostly evaporated and been replaced by online methods.
That’s good and bad.
It’s good because online tools such as websites, social media, and email are far less expensive than their printed counterparts.
It’s also good because these online tools enable process serving businesses to send out their messages at lightning speed.
Unfortunately, some companies have no message to send.
And that’s bad, because if a process serving business doesn’t understand its own DNA it can’t possibly communicate its value proposition.
So how can you uncover the genetic code that makes your business unique?
Ask yourself a few important questions:
- Is there a particular community you can serve better than others?
- Do you have a serve success rate worth talking about?
- Can you respond to locations and situations that would be problematic for others?
- Is there something about your company that will appeal to a certain type of law firm? For example, is your business woman-owned, veteran-owned, or does it have a special language fluency?
The answers to these questions will help illuminate your competitive differentiators.
#3: Your Business is Not Like Most Businesses
Your job is a mix of indoor and outdoor work performed on a 24-hour schedule. The people you work with are sometimes friendly, sometimes not, sometimes hard to find.
Those factors can monopolize your time, so be deliberate about breaking their hold and focus on the non-negotiable practices that will help expand your clientele:
- The 60-second elevator pitch is your best friend. Create one and use it often.
- Any structure inhabited by law firms is an opportunity. Read building directories enthusiastically then go forth and make contact.
- Any day in a courthouse is a networking event. Courthouses are magnets for lawyers and legal staff so shake hands and mine leads each time you visit.
Always have contact information ready in the form of a business card, digital business card (such as Popl) or a QR code; anything that makes sharing your contact information frictionless.
Don’t forget, it’s also emotional
As you search for your unique value proposition don’t forget the one benefit you can provide that almost every legal professional appreciates: Peace of mind.
Think about it. If you’re a legal professional who has just placed a service of process order, you may feel a touch of anxiety as you await your proof of service. Every hour that passes without that document in hand is an hour in which fear of failure may set in.
Providing prompt and reliable service alleviates that anxiety and creates peace of mind for the legal professional who placed the order.
Creating peace of mind is not a prescribed function of process serving, but it’s an off label benefit whose value should never be underestimated.
Solutions for attracting new customers
Remember that lemonade stand marketing plan? It wasn’t bad advice so much as it was incomplete advice. Let’s fill in the gaps with solutions a real-world process serving business can use to identify prospects and sell to a larger share of the market.
#1: Hire a Freelance Digital Marketer
What if you could attract more business and create time for yourself in one move? Checkmate! Hiring a freelance digital marketer achieves both objectives quickly and doesn’t saddle you with heavy payroll .
But notice the emphasis on digital.
That’s because online marketing creates impressions for you almost instantly through social media, newsletters, and blog posts using platforms that are free or very low cost. That means you can focus your marketing budget narrowly on the talent you hire without diluting it through the cost of benefits, payroll taxes, or additional office space.
And digital marketing mediums are the best way to shorten the distance between your business and the new leads you want to attract. They provide the reach, scalability, and speed to get out your message affordably while maintaining flexibility.
Never worked with a digital marketer? If you’re not sure how to manage your freelancer these are three focus areas where this person can make the greatest impact on your process serving business:
- Create a nicely branded website that is easy to use.
- Ensure the website can be found when someone searches online to look for, and hire, a process server.
- Create and drive initiatives for your website’s search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click (PPC) advertising, and content marketing, as well as organic (i.e., free) and paid social media campaigns.
If you’re not sure where to find your freelancer, Upwork.com and Fiverr.com are two online sources where you may begin. Use the search term “digital marketer” and zero in on the individual who has the skills and experience you need.
#2: Be a great communicator
Perhaps the most powerful thing technology does to lift your process serving business is help you communicate with your audience.
That communication can now occur faster, clearer, and more frequently through electronic newsletters, alerts, social media, and more. And it’s all measurable.
Use your business’ communication technology to inform your customers about that critical deliverable you provide: a proof of service. Ideally, your technology should communicate via an automated email alert that confirms the job has been done and was done in a timely manner.
#3: Business partnerships
Seek partners—technology partners especially–that give you the horsepower to run your business in a better or more efficient way. Here are a few examples:
- Ease your workload. The systems a technology partner provides should help you save time. For example, a litigation support service platform that allows you to enter your client’s address information once and auto-populates multiple fields for location data–billing, deliverables, and proofs of service–saves considerable time over the long haul.
- Provide visibility. Your technology should offer an instant 360-degree view of all the orders you have. That technology should provide report data you can analyze for your own purposes or share with your customer to help evaluate their service of process expenditures.
- Get paid. Process servers have little time to spend issuing invoices and chasing down payment. A business partner that can automate those tasks with technology gives you more time to devote to finding new customers so you spend less time worrying about getting paid.
Time for a jump start
Remember that 60-second elevator pitch, or the DNA deep dive we mentioned earlier in this article? If you’re stumped about how to begin those two very important tasks, here are some ideas you can use to launch them into action:
Be clear about your expectations and the customer’s expectations. After that, it’s your job to live up to the promises you make to your customers.
Don’t set yourself up to fail
Customer expectations may not always be reasonable. Don’t continually bend yourself to expectations you can’t reasonably fulfill.
Time is currency
Success rises and falls on deadlines. Deliver when you say you’ll deliver and your reputation will take care of itself.
Make transparency your standard operating procedure. Hidden fees and cryptic billing create distrust. If you don’t feel like you’re getting enough money for the work you perform, simply adjust your prices.
Know your ABCs
It’s a timeless maxim for building a business: Always be closing (ABC). Every day you’re out there doing your job look for opportunities to sell yourself and your services.
If you’re in an office building serving papers on suite 302, your instinct should be for one eye to scout for law offices while you’re on the third floor. If you find one stop in, drop off a one-pager, make a quick introduction, and explain why you’re a cut above before you head out.
The One Right Tool for the Job
LegalConnect is the platform that leading litigation support service providers use to maintain and grow their business in the face of challenges from increasing court eFiling regulations, fierce competition, and technological change.
If you’re not already using LegalConnect, set up an appointment to find out what this versatile platform can do to help you attract more customers. Contact email@example.com or call (800) 909-6859 to speak with a LegalConnect expert.
You can also set up a demo now to learn more about the platform and see LegalConnect in action.
If you’re already a LegalConnect partner, visit our YouTube channel to learn about the recent integrations we’ve made with NetDocuments, iManage, Address Validation by Google. And, beginning in April 2023, watch for news about the upcoming launch of our exciting LegalConnect Payments electronic payment processing system.