Many law firms began this year with a bang, ready to tackle new objectives and goals. Others complacently turned the corner from December to January while maintaining a very comfortable status quo. No matter which camp you were in, all law firms dealt with unprecedented and unimaginable changes this year – many of which likely led to a massive reworking or abandonment of prior marketing plans. Now that we, as an industry, have made our way through three-fourths of an historical year, what should we do with the three months we have left in the fourth quarter?
While I’ve written about marketing in the fourth quarter before, this year merits a new conversation that starts with asking, “What should my law firm do between now and the end of the year?”
Gaining a clear vision is the most important thing you can do to make progress. You should first reevaluate what your law firm’s position is with regard to what value it has to offer and to whom in the current and expected future legal landscape. The big picture is all about perspective and mindset – drill down internally into why you do what you do and what you should focus on overall moving forward.
Strategize For The Fourth Quarter and Next Year
The fourth quarter is typically when businesses do their planning for the coming year. While it is always a stressful time, it’s a bit daunting to approach planning for the upcoming year given the upheaval and chaos we are still experiencing this calendar year. Despite all of the unknowns, we still have to construct a plan for the final months of this year as well as the coming year.
In order to accomplish this goal, ask yourself a series of questions to evaluate where you are and where you need or want to go. For instance, if you are a commercial litigator, how has your practice shifted this year? What are your clients’ needs and are you adapting to meet them? What questions are you getting asked on a regular basis? What verticals are you serving and how have the needs of those industries changed? Asking questions like this will help your firm get to the crux of its value proposition for clients right now and moving forward. They may also uncover areas for growth at your law firm to meet additional client needs.
As we enter the final quarter of the year, also look back at the year’s marketing activities to evaluate results and use that data to adjust plans for the year to come. It is important to look ahead, but doing so armed with quantifiable data will ensure your marketing dollars are used wisely to achieve your goals. And don’t lose focus on the present and miss out on fourth quarter opportunities – this can often be one of the best times to market for law firms.
Five Real Actionable Steps To Take Right Now
Q4 is filled with holidays, an influx of personal and professional obligations, time off, and more, making it hard to squeeze everything in if you don’t have a plan. Even if you are working around the clock and have little spare time to engage in a big picture analysis, here are a few real world examples of what your law firm can and should do between now and the end of the year:
- Holiday Communications: Rather than compete with the Christmas and New Years onslaught, pick a unique holiday to reach out to your database, such as sending a Veteran’s Day or Thanksgiving message in November. Rethink sending holiday gifts that might come off as tone deaf this year. In early December, your firm can raise money for a charity or volunteer together on “International Volunteer Day,” held every year on December 5. Do something interesting instead of just sending a typical holiday card this year, especially incorporating charitable giving and/or raising the profile of groups doing good things and encourage people to get involved.
- Database Mining: Mine your database and send segmented email marketing communications to each of your audiences with a designated follow-up sequence in place for each. For example, pull all local counsel you’ve worked with out of your contacts, database, spreadsheets, or wherever you keep contact information. Send this select group an email thanking them for their expert assistance on a local basis in the cases you’ve worked on together and reminding them you can serve as their local counsel in certain locations as well.
- Bio Updates: While it should be done at least quarterly, this year has been atypical and attorney website biographies may not have had the attention and care they deserve. Plan to review each bio, collect updated relevant information, and revise all lawyer website biographies before the end of the year. The firm can then use the current and complete biographies as links in “Attorney Spotlight” posts on social media or in pitching its lawyers to publications as authors and/or sources.
- Audit Your Website Content: Perform a website content audit to ascertain which pages on your website are performing well and which are not. By utilizing various data sets in Google Analytics, you can determine which pages to keep as is, which to combine, and which to get rid of (but don’t forget to redirect them to another page first to avoid “404 Page Not Found” errors).
- Leverage LinkedIn: On the professional social network LinkedIn, lawyers can have Individual Profiles and law firms can have Pages. Make sure each lawyer Profile is fully built out and connected to the proper firm Page. Design a standardized, branded “Background Photo” for your lawyers so their firm, contact information, and practice focus are easily visible within seconds of viewing their profiles. Be sure to enter “Services Provided” that match your primary practice areas and complete as many sections and fields as you can. I always say that each fact you reveal about yourself provides an additional potential point of connection with others.
Legal Marketing Consultants
If your law firm and attorneys have legal marketing questions or needs, contact us today – the Fourth Quarter is upon us! From law firm social media and content marketing to crafting attorney bios, the legal marketing experts of Stacey E. Burke, P.C. are here to help.