With almost a million different advertising platforms, apps, search engines, and digital marketing vendors/coaches/consultants entering the ring each day, marketing a law firm online can seem like a knock-out, losing battle before the first bell.
But the lawyer who is armed with the right knowledge and strategic insight on marketing can begin to fight on equal footing with competitors and make progress.
Here are seven tips for marketing success you can take back to your law firm:
Accept the fact that no one cares about you
I’m sorry. No one wants to hear this, but it’s true.
Legal marketers spend so much of their professional lives looking at their own slogans, logos, colors, and taglines, that they fail to realize the challenge their marketing is up against.
Being overly familiar with your marketing material can create the false impression that everyone knows you, people see your logos all the time.
This seems like a simple mental barrier to overcome, but the impact on marketing is huge.
Accepting that no one knows your tagline, no one thinks about your color schemes, no one recognizes or cares about your brand or your logo – this is the only way to create distinct, memorable, effective, and properly distributed marketing campaigns.
Underestimate the prominence and familiarity of your marketing, and you’ll create more prominent, and more effective, campaigns.
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Understand that everyone is distracted. No one notices anything.
Your marketing’s number one goal is to be noticeable.
Marketing and advertising are not a competition against your competitors. You are competing against life itself.
Why do people paying for marketing only focus on sales?
I get that if you don’t make money, then it’s over. But if your marketing strategy doesn’t account for the full spectrum of awareness that leads up to the purchase, then you’ll never get the sale.
Walk backward from the close …
People won’t buy your brand unless they’re convinced. They aren’t convinced because they have no brand preference. They don’t know if they like you or not because they don’t know about you and aren’t even aware you exist. So the first and most essential goal of marketing is awareness.
Creating affinity, preference, and mental salience, and then generating enough of this to finally get the sale.
Without building a proper runway for your marketing, nothing will ever take off.
Know the two main marketing functions.
As outlined by the Legal Marketing Nutrition Guide, law firm marketing works in two ways:
- Brand Growth
- Sales Activation
Brand growth works its marketing magic over longer time periods.
Sales activation is focused on shorter timeframes.
One of the key aspects of the brilliant research underlying this graph and the studies in marketing effectiveness by Binet & Field is that while brand campaigns help to create sales opportunities, no amount of short-term results can ever amount to the lasting effects of long-term brand growth.
Without a strong brand foundation, the more a law firm employs short-term marketing campaigns, the less they are effective.
Understanding the two marketing functions of growth and sales is an essential component to creating marketing strategies that facilitate foundational, and lasting, changes in the business development efforts of your law firm.
Establish and define your brand.
I bet you think you have your brand established for your law firm, or you have a pretty good idea of what makes you unique and differentiated in the marketplace, right?
Most lawyers either think their work product alone is what defines them, and they don’t need to market, or that they already are marketing in a definitive way.
Well then do this simple exercise:
- Look at your content.
- Take your logo off of it.
- Compare it to a competitor.
- What’s the difference? Is there one?
With a weak, indistinct brand, what’s to market?
Strongly branded and differentiated products manifest perceived value. Check out this brand awareness study from the excellent marketing book “Eat Your Greens”:
You say that’s marketing trickery?
You say your law firm is small and doesn’t need a brand?
With no brand to differentiate you from competitors, where would the perceived value of your business come from?
Discover and define your brand before you build a marketing strategy for your law firm. Once you have a distinct brand onboard, engineering effective marketing campaigns becomes more likely.
Build your strategy.
Marketing is typically, and wrongly, used synonymously with promotion. Strategy and tactics are also confused and misused.
Marketing is not just about promotions or communications – it is the complete diagnosis, research, proposed execution, and solution for a business problem.
Part of solving the marketing problem is deciding on strategy, which is a set of tactics employed to achieve business goals.
This free Marketing Strategy Worksheet provides you a chance to answer a few questions to verbalize, understand, organize, and develop a law firm marketing plan that helps you achieve your business goals.
By defining goals, timelines, resources, and expectations, this worksheet is a great way to find the starting line for your law firm’s marketing marathon. Questions include:
- What is your brand? How do you differentiate within your practice area?
- Do you have strong, memorable, distinct brand assets?
- What is the desired outcome you expect from marketing? Case/leads/calls/clicks increase by 20%?
- How are you currently measuring your marketing efforts?
- What are you currently paying for marketing and advertising?
- Do you know your cost per lead/case?
- What is your target cost per case from an ad campaign?
- Are you using call tracking?
- Are you prepared to hire more people to pick up the phones once the leads come in?
Once you gather the intelligence from across your law firm necessary to answer these questions, you’ll begin to formulate strategic thinking around marketing and begin to see how it can impact your business, as well as how to measure these effects.
Select your tactics.
You have a strategy. You have strong brand assets. You know you are shooting for awareness. Now it’s time to select the tactics you will use to achieve your strategic goals.
Strategy is most important in guiding what you won’t do. Choosing what to ignore is an important aspect to focusing your marketing.
Remember to balance brand growth and sales activation initiatives. You will need both to achieve results in the short and long term. That’s why it pays to be selective with marketing tactics.
You don’t have to be everywhere and do everything. You have to be where it matters, delivering what matters to your intended audience.
So ask yourself some questions …
- Are your potential clients on Facebook or LinkedIn or social media at all?
- Do your clients watch TV and listen to the radio?
- Are potential clients accessing your site on desktop or mobile?
- Are there patterns in the signed cases coming from a specific zip code?
- Is there a type of case that brings in more revenue than others?
Once you understand a bit more about your caseload and how your clients engage with media and content, you can select tactical channels and ad campaigns designed to engender the same types of responses and results with potential clients.
Establish your measurements.
Some lawyers do a poor job of tracking marketing performance metrics, like cost per case, at their law firms.
Most, however, don’t track anything at all. According to our informal survey, 80% of lawyers were not tracking how much money they spend to get a case in their door.
If you knew what campaigns gave you the best return on your marketing investments, wouldn’t that make some marketing decisions a little easier?
Luckily, our “Measuring Marketing ROI in Your Law Firm” webinar walks you through how to effectively track, measure, and optimize your law firm’s marketing return on investment (ROI).
Among the topics covered in this webinar are:
- How to track leads in your law firm
- How to calculate cost per lead
- How to boost your marketing ROI
Setting up marketing metrics like cost per case, cost per lead, and ROI is essential to telling the proper story of your marketing journey.
Only when the measurement of marketing tactics is in place does the strategy of the campaign (balanced between short-term results and long-term growth, cognizant of the indifferent marketplace, and based on a strong brand) begin to take shape and define itself in the analysis of the metrics.
Said another way: You don’t know how far you’ve come until you look back on the road you’ve traveled.