I started fly fishing fifteen years ago when I moved to Montana after a rewarding career in marketing and sales. Soon upon my arrival in Big Sky Country, I purchased the traditional cheap fly rod and reel combo, a box of flies, a fishing license, then hit the river. How hard could it be? After multiple days of catching nothing, I decided to seek the help of an expert. I searched the Web and found every fly fishing outfitter online professing to be the best at every aspect of the sport, from guiding your float down the river, to serving a world-class lunch, to finding all the sweet spots along the water. One outfitter, however, stood out from the crowd. He claimed he did one thing – fly fish – and professed to do it very well. I started asking around town and those in the know said good things about him. Ultimately, I booked a trip with this fellow and, boy, did he deliver.

After a few trips with this guy I asked him his secret to success at catching trout. He said to stick to the fundamentals: Where, When, and What. These fundamentals, likewise, can be applied to the process of successfully marketing your law firm. Let me explain.

1. Where. You can float down a river and never catch a fish, and then a guy will come right behind you and have the day of his life. Same river, same time, different result. You can fish in the middle of the river, on the sides, or in the eddy pools. Your success, however, will depend on putting your fly in the right spot. The same is true with marketing. The client you want lives, works and breathes in a certain space, i.e. profession (doctors, real estate professionals, etc.) or particular personal need (estate planning, business documents, etc.). Finding where that space lies is critical to your success.

2. When. Trout feed at different times of the year and especially different times of day. Trout go crazy for insects that are hatching. If you are fishing in the heat of the afternoon in the summer, and nothing is hatching, guess what? No trout. However, if you get on the river early on that same summer day and the bugs are hatching everywhere, your chances of catching a trout just went through the roof. Your clients actually do the same thing. There are times when your services are greatly needed and there are times when they are not. Putting your finger on the pulse of the “feeding habits” of potential clients can be extremely rewarding.

3. What. Remember, I said that certain insects hatch on rivers at different times of the year and different times of day. Even if the fish are feeding aggressively, you may be fishing with the wrong fly. Sorry, buddy, no luck today. Find out what your potential clients are interested in, what media they follow … what is “hatching” for them, so to speak. Find what they want/need and you’ll possibly have more clients in your “net.”

Consider these three fly fishing fundamentals and try applying them to your law firm marketing efforts. Your results will hopefully be fruitful as you gently lay your cast on the water in the right space, at the right time, and with the right fly.

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