Most law firms engage in marketing to gain business and make money as a result. With a limited grasp of what marketing involves, and pocketbooks that often can dole out large sums of money, the law firm partner may wind up spending hundreds of thousands of dollars without being able to quantify results.
From digital press releases to lawyer training courses to paid search advertising to the ever-elusive SEO, lawyers often can’t even have unrealistic expectations because they have no idea what to expect. Agencies and vendors throw around numbers of “impressions” and “ads served up” and “users retargeted” that sound large, but none of that matters if your law firm cannot tie those metrics to anticipated cash flow – the intersection where accounting and marketing make friends.
What you should expect from an effective legal marketing campaign:
- Name recognition – Your law firm and its lawyers should become increasingly known within your practice areas, to other lawyers not within your practice areas, to professional associations, and to the general public for what you do, who you are, and why are you the best firm to work with. Potential clients should retain the campaign’s message and remember your law firm when they need your services.
- Educate the public about your work, new ideas, and professional perspectives – Share information about what makes your law firm unique, including diversity, community involvement, your speaking engagements, and your published works.
- Better understand the needs and behavior of your target market – A marketing campaign will result in data concerning consumer behavior. Use that data to determine if your expenditures are reaching the correct type of consumer and if the consumers you seek are responding well to your efforts; often you will find an area of market interest you never knew existed.
- Spread knowledge about your law firm and its capabilities – If no one knows what you do, who works for you, where your offices are, or what results you get for your clients, the phones might grow a little quiet. Spread the info and keep it fresh.
- The market will view your law firm and its attorneys favorably – Not all news is good news. Diligent marketing will keep any negativity at bay (as much as is humanly possible) and promote the positive, leading the legal community and your potential target market to view your entity and its leaders favorably. The pool of potential clients will believe that your firm has the capability to understand and solve its problems.
- Level the competitive landscape – One goal of marketing should always be to evaluate and research what your top competitors are doing, and to rise to their level and/or beat them at their own game. First you have to play the game, and then you have to learn how to beat everyone to win.
- Action is taken – An action or engagement will occur, including a website form submission, an email to a lawyer, a click-to-call from a mobile device, an e-mail newsletter subscription, a social media share, and more.
Steps Toward Measuring Professional Services Marketing Success
If your law firm is spending time and money on marketing to become an industry thought leader and to acquire new business, you must quantify the success of your expenditures and continue to adjust and optimize them.
With a research-based understanding of your firm and its place in the market, your law firm can draft a comprehensive marketing strategy to drive new business. I start off trying to strategize across an entire calendar year, leaving room for acute events and the unknown. I review my strategy every quarter, looking at metrics associated with how much time was invested or money spent on each particular form of advertising, and make adjustments accordingly to target market, practice areas, and financial investment.
The strategy becomes your law firm’s plan for lead generation. Your office should have an internal system set up to nurture existing prospects until they become clients. Without measuring marketing, intake, acquisition, and results accurately, one cannot view progress comprehensively and see the big picture. Track lead generation, nurturing, rate of hiring, case pendency, and resolution, and optimize each phase. If your law firm is not tracking results, you are likely running unproductive programs and discontinuing efforts that are working.
Contact Stacey Burke
Over the course of my career, I gradually transitioned from handling cases to working within the business side of law firms. I became nationally known for my work in establishing effective digital marketing strategies and solutions, social media marketing and community management, strategic event planning and marketing, new case acquisition and intake departments, and referral attorney management. If your law firm would like my help in planning its comprehensive marketing strategy, auditing its existing expenditures and marketing efforts, or quantifying its success, contact me today.