Automation Strategies to Make Your Legal Marketing More Productive

Automation has become a buzzword in just about every business and industry.  Nowhere is that more true than in legal marketing.  With nearly every aspect transitioning to a digital format, automating everything possible seems to be the next natural step in the process.  But should it be? 

The assumption underlying the drive to automate is that faster is better.  The headlines on a thousand different SaaS company websites proudly scream out “Get More Done!”.  But that assumes you know what needs to be done, done in which order, and that you know what done actually looks like.

In this article, we’ll explore effective automation strategies for legal marketing, while also considering when automation might not be the best solution

A Starting Point

Before automating anything, it’s better to stop and reflect:

  • Do you have a reliable process or steps in a process that are worth automating?
  • Do you know how that process contributes value to your law firm?
  • Does that process even need to be done? If so, why?

Automation is often sold as a tool for productivity, and it can be, but only if the circumstances are right.  We first need to realize that automation is just that – a tool.  The value automation creates is derived from how it is employed within the processes you rely on to run your law firm.

Slow Down to Speed Up

The reality is that automation adds complexity if it is not properly implemented with a specific set of goals in mind.  The more complex operations are, the more they require to maintain when something breaks.

Automation requires software and a set of instructions to operate correctly.  Without those, you just have an unnecessary expense.

Let’s take the example of when a new prospective client fills out the contact form on your website.  This is a digital interaction that could be fully automated given the proper workflow:

  1. A prospective new client fills out your contact form with their contact information and a few details about their case.
  2. The form is submitted, processed by your CRM and saved in a database.
  3. This kicks off a subprocess that attempts to measure if there is a viable case. The message is scanned for certain keywords that increase the likelihood of this.
  4. A mixture of the right keywords having been found, the lead is assigned a positive score and assigned for follow up.  If the right keywords are not found, then the lead is archived.
  5. Assuming the lead score is positive, another subprocess is triggered that adds this prospective new client to an email and text message series introducing your law firm.
  6. The system then looks for a positive reply from the new client saying they want to move forward and their case is automatically assigned to an attorney for follow up.

Imagine all the time your team would save in following up with new clients by doing this.  You could probably even reduce your staff given enough scale.

In reality, we have never met a law firm that has taken automation to this extreme.  They understand that just because a prospect says the right things upfront doesn’t necessarily mean there is a viable case.  They also understand that not all prospective clients are going to provide details about their case without a human to human conversation.

The point is that when taken too far, our drive to automate often results in more things breaking, lost cases, and lost revenue.  We first need to understand the what, why and how before rushing to automate.

When to Automate

Automation should only be brought into the equation once you have a working process that has been refined, simplified and proven.  It’s much easier and less costly to run new processes manually or with very limited automation at first.

Here are some general steps that can be followed for building a new process, along with when to consider automation:

    1. Start with the deliverables or work product to be delivered upon completion of the process. Be as specific as possible in your expectations about the end result. 
    2. Document the process you envision. Type up the individual steps you think should be followed, in what order and with specific timelines.
    3. Consider the prerequisites for the process to be successfully completed. Think about data, information, training, or tools that everyone involved in completing the process must have access to for everything to ultimately be wrapped up successfully. 
  • Draft a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) that will provide training for all team members involved in completing the process. 
      1. Purpose
      2. Summary
      3. Prerequisites
      4. Procedures
      5. Materials & Resources
  • Train the team using your SOP and run the process. Collect feedback on what needs to be edited, removed or added. Make adjustments and updates accordingly.
  • Run the process again until it has been refined and everything that is unnecessary has been removed. Make sure you are getting the quality of work in the deliverable or work product you expect and in a timely manner.
  • Finalize the SOP once you are satisfied with the end results.
  • Identify steps for automation and implement them accordingly.

For simple processes, all of these steps may or may not be required.  For complex processes, it’s worth investing some additional time upfront to get it right before spending money on automation.

What to Implement Automation Strategies

Some areas of law firms will lend themselves more naturally to automation than others. At Consultwebs, our expertise is in legal marketing.  Here are some areas you might want to consider when thinking about automation in your marketing efforts.

Content Management Automation

Your content is your voice online. But managing it doesn’t have to be a full-time job. With automated tools like Hootsuite or Buffer, plan and publish across all platforms seamlessly. For example, imagine scheduling a week’s worth of blog posts and social media updates in one sitting. These tools also provide data-based insights, such as the best times to post based on when your audience is more active, maximizing engagement and reach. 76% of companies use marketing automation, underlining its essential role in modern marketing strategies. 

CRM Systems for Client Relationship Management

CRM systems, like Salesforce or Hubspot, transform how you manage client relationships. These aren’t just databases; they are intelligent systems that track every interaction. For instance, a CRM could automatically send a reminder to your team when it’s time to follow up with a client who had a consultation but hasn’t retained your services yet. It could also prompt you to send a personalized greeting on a client’s birthday, helping nurture relationships and build loyalty without manual tracking.

SEO Automation Tools

Being visible online is crucial, and SEO automation tools like SEMrush or Moz can be lifesavers. These tools help streamline the complex process of search engine optimization. For example, they can suggest the most effective keywords to target based on current trends, and track your rankings over time. This allows you to optimize your website’s content continuously and improve your visibility on search engines without needing deep technical expertise. 

Social Media Automation

Social media strategies require consistent and engaging content, and tools like Sprout Social or SoCi help manage this efficiently. These platforms allow you to schedule posts, analyze engagement, and manage all your social media accounts from one dashboard. Imagine planning a month’s content in advance and using built-in analytics to adjust your strategy based on which posts get the most engagement. This ensures your law firm maintains an active online presence without the daily grind of manual posting. Studies show that marketers who use automation are 46% more likely to report having an effective marketing strategy

Email Marketing Automation

Email marketing can significantly enhance client engagement when personalized effectively. Tools like Mailchimp or Constant Contact use automation to segment your audience based on their behavior or demographics. For instance, you could set up an automated email campaign that sends a customized welcome email to new subscribers and different follow-up emails to those who have clicked on specific links within your emails. This targeted approach ensures messages are relevant to each recipient, increasing open rates and engagement without manual oversight. And did you know? Businesses using email automation see an up to 451% increase in qualified leads! 

Implementing Automation: Step-by-Step

Before diving into a sea of automation tools, take a step back. What does your law firm actually need? Maybe it’s streamlining client communications or perhaps automating your billing processes. Identifying your pain points is the first step to finding your perfect tech match.

 

  1. What specific issues are you trying to solve with automation? Make sure to focus on areas that will have the most significant impact on efficiency and/or client satisfaction. 
  2. The world of legal tech is vast and varied. Don’t just go for the shiniest new tool on the market. Consider what integrates smoothly with your existing systems. Need help deciding? That’s what we’re here for at Consultwebs. We’ll help you pick tools that not only fit your current needs but also grow with your firm. 
  3. Integrating new tools into your existing setup can feel like fitting a square peg in a round hole. But with the right approach, it’s more like completing a puzzle. Start small, ensure your team is on board, and gradually increase complexity as everyone gets more comfortable. 
  4. Even the best tools can falter without proper training. Invest time in educating your team about the new technologies. Make training sessions engaging and relevant–show your team not just how to use the tools but also why they’re beneficial. This investment in knowledge pays dividends in smoother operations and a happier workplace. 

Measuring the Impact of Automation on Marketing

What’s the point of investing in automation if you don’t see the results? Set clear Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure what matters most–be it client acquisition rates, engagement levels, or time saved on tasks. This data isn’t just numbers; it’s the pulse of your campaign’s success.

Think of automation tools as your marketing crystal ball. These tools provide analytics that offer a glimpse into future trends based on current data. Discover which blog posts pull the most traffic or what email subject lines get the most opens. These insights allow you to replicate your successes and avoid past mistakes, continuously refining your strategies to ensure they remain effective. 

Conclusion

Embracing automation in legal marketing isn’t just about keeping pace with current trends–it’s about being a trendsetter. With the right strategies, tools, and support from Consultwebs, your firm is not merely surviving the digital age but thriving in it. Are you ready to revolutionize your marketing and free up your time to focus on what truly matters–serving your clients?

Excited about the possibilities? Book a free consultation with our team at Consultwebs today. We’re ready to help you navigate the complexities of digital marketing with bespoke strategies tailored to your firm’s unique needs.