In legal marketing departments across the country, endless tactics and campaign-based chaos reign supreme.
Most law firm owners dealing with Restless Marketing Syndrome (RMS) find themselves constantly questioning the efficacy of marketing, and it isn’t because they lack good ideas, good intentions, or a good brand. It’s because they lack a good strategy.
That’s probably because there isn’t a good definition for strategy.
Strategy is either mischaracterized as just a collection of tactics or is thoughtfully developed and then ignored in deference to short-term campaigns that match the increasingly frenetic pace of a growing business.
There are a million books on how to run a successful business, a billion software solutions to streamline your services, and thousands of marketing agency-types, all promising you the world with results!
Call it analysis paralysis or content shock, either way, with all the options on the table, how could anyone possibly decide on a marketing plan that they felt 100% sure would grow their law firm?
Without a strong brand and strategic thinking, lawyers hop from marketing vendor to software solution, trying to make opportunity happen by knocking on every door they see, but never sticking around to see if any of them open.
With no strategy, you don’t run your legal marketing – Restless Marketing Syndrome runs your legal marketing.
More than guiding what you will do to grow your business, strategy is most important in guiding what you won’t do. That’s why creating a marketing strategy for your law firm is the number one way to defeat RMS.
Let’s dispel some common myths and explore the definition of strategy, discover why it’s important to growing your book of business, and then learn how you can create a marketing strategy for your law firm.
WHAT STRATEGY IS – WHAT STRATEGY ISN’T
First, let’s just set the record straight – “strategy” and “tactics” are not synonyms.
Tactics and strategy are so often incorrectly interchanged in marketing literature that once you notice it, it can be hard to un-notice, like the cowbell in the chorus of Guns N’ Roses “Welcome to the Jungle,” which really should be called “Welcome To The Cowbell.”
(skip to 1:05 to hear when the cowbell begins to dominate)
Strategy is the overarching theme to the diagnosis, market research, tactical activities, communication channels, campaigns, and measurements of a lawyer’s business development plan.
Without a strategy, every option and every tactic to develop your book of business, good or bad, is on the table.
A law firm with a strong marketing strategy will be able to identify and close the gaps between dreams and reality in its business development plans, gaps that the competition struggling with RMS are perennially trying, and failing, to bridge.
CLOSING THE STRATEGY GAP – MEASUREMENTS, INVESTMENTS, CONFIDENCE
There is typically a gap between the dreams a law firm has about its own marketing effectiveness and reality.
This prevents the law firm from creating a realistic marketing strategy.
Since they look at their own logos and marketing materials day in and day out, most law firm owners overestimate the prominence and impact of their brand and/or their advertising. The unfortunate side effect of this is that since lawyers believe people already know or think about their brand, three strategic gaps in their marketing efforts remain forever unclosed: Measurement, Investments, and Confidence.
Closing the Measurement Gap
While every law firm owner is interested in learning how marketing can expand their book of business, most are failing to capture even the most rudimentary metrics when it comes to measuring their marketing effectiveness.
With a firm grasp on how to measure marketing ROI in their law firm, lawyers will be able to close a critical gap in their legal marketing strategy and create measurable campaigns that they can confidently invest in.
Closing the Investments Gap
A fair number of law firm owners know they have to spend money to make it. However, with no clear strategy guiding their investments and no way to measure marketing effectiveness, most marketing campaigns that law firms choose to participate in are safe, tepid, and cautiously underinvested.
Sure you created a strong ad….but where did you pay to place it?
With a goal of creating law firms that last past their most recent campaign, our Legal Marketing Nutrition Guide is a perfect way for legal marketers to visualize and close the gap in their marketing strategy and investments.
Formulating a marketing strategy that healthfully balances investments between the two goals of Legal Marketing Nutrition – Brand Growth and Sales Activation – is the only way for lawyers to close this strategic gap and begin experiencing the benefits of marketing that goes beyond the campaign.
Closing the Confidence Gap
Lawyers, in general, have little faith in advertising. According to this 2017 Florida Bar opinion survey, a mere 26% of lawyers advertise their law firms.
This could be because there’s a fear that marketing and advertising will cheapen a law firm, or the belief that ads or marketing is ineffective, or the fact that more than 80% of lawyers believe the public perception of the legal profession is negatively impacted by lawyer advertising.
Yes, that’s right: 81% of lawyers who are actively advertising their law firms feel that lawyer advertising is undermining public trust in the profession. Further, if only 9% of advertising law firms believe that marketing has a positive impact on the profession, and a whole 11% think that ads don’t leave any impression at all, what could be the resultant ad campaigns we are subjected to from these law firms?
You would think it’s all hammers and strong arms, but the results are overwhelmingly safe, standard, and tepid.
Let’s be clear here: In advertising and marketing, as it is in performing arts, confidence doesn’t happen first. It’s commonly accepted in psychology that attitudes and behaviors are linked, but there is confusion on which comes first. We believe that if we have a confident attitude, then we will act confidently. But research shows that actions are what catalyze our attitudes, not the other way around.
You don’t just decide to “be brave.”
Bravery, which includes the associated adrenaline rushes and heroic actions, is really a subconscious response to our environments, presented stimulus, and the result of our psychological conditioning.
Many times in situations where someone exhibits great bravery and courage, they do so without thinking rationally or logically.
Successful law firms that advertise didn’t wait for their confidence to shore up before they hit the marketing button. The confidence that we perceive in our competitor is typically the result of a well-invested and measurable marketing strategy. Confidence truly shows up only after the strategy is engaged – calls pick up, the cases get signed, and the uncertainty that marketing can drive revenue for a law firm subsides into the real work of continually optimizing the strategy.
MARKETING STRATEGY WORKSHEET
OK, so we all agree what strategy is, what it isn’t, why it’s essential to marketing and expanding your business, but we still don’t know how to get started creating our own. Not anymore.
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 CPC 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.
Once a strategy is in place, and the gaps in Measurement, Investments, and Confidence are addressed, the way your law firm runs the marketing marathon will be closer to parity with the way you run your business, and that’s when you hit your stride.