As an attorney, it is important to stay focused on serving your clients, making decisions in cases, and keeping up with the ever-changing legal environment. But your law firm marketing plan is an equally crucial element in ensuring that you get the volume and quality of clients that you deserve. When you combine a reputation for great work quality with the right marketing strategy, your firm can realize astounding success.
The path to establishing a growing law firm requires an understanding of the factors that differentiate your firm. Then, you can leverage marketing strategies to maximize the visibility of your firm’s strengths in the eyes of targeted prospective clients who are willing and able to pay for your services. This guide will provide you with the information necessary to develop a marketing strategy for your practice.
Why Make a Law Firm Marketing Plan?
Many attorneys who are new to marketing their firm wonder why they need to make a marketing plan. After all, developing a plan requires a significant investment of time. In marketing, however, the strategy that you employ is the main factor that determines the success of your efforts.
You can spend thousands of hours executing a poorly researched marketing strategy, but you are unlikely to realize any significant success by doing so. By conducting a thorough analysis before getting started, you can learn what actions will get you the best results with a high degree of certainty. Therefore, you can essentially review thousands of possible roads that you could take and choose the best path for your firm.
Marketing plans also help your firm to budget effectively so that you can focus your marketing spend on the low-hanging fruit that will get your firm the highest return on investment. In the process, you can determine who will execute specific aspects of your marketing plan. You may also discover that you need to recruit a marketing specialist or agency to help with certain aspects of your project, and planning ahead will give you plenty of time to find the talent that you need.
Start by Analyzing Your Firm
The first step when developing a plan for marketing a law firm is to take inventory of what assets your firm possesses. No two law firms are the same, so there are always areas where your law firm is stronger than your competitors. Examples of key differentiators include:
- participation in high-profile cases,
- attorneys with specialized backgrounds,
- a truly unique client philosophy,
- membership in organizations,
- outstanding facilities, or
- other factors that make your firm stand out.
There is an unlimited range of differentiators that may apply in your case, so it is crucial to fully take inventory of what factors make your firm stand out.
Identifying differentiators takes time. You and your partners should conduct brainstorming sessions to develop a comprehensive list of what factors make your firm great. Former clients can also be a great source when trying to discover differentiators.
Identify Your Target Market
Once you understand what factors make your firm stand out, you can match your strengths with the people who most need what your firm does very well. Your target market should also be selected on the basis of your firm’s strengths. As long as you focus on serving clients who value your services, you will be able to enjoy several benefits, including:
- the ability to command a premium for your services,
- better odds of successfully resolving client issues, and
- higher client satisfaction that leads to more referrals.
Although your marketing strategy should ultimately center around business growth, it is important to keep in mind that focusing on serving clients who you can truly help also leads to a more rewarding career experience for you and your partners. Therefore, it will be easier for your firm to attract skilled professionals who are loyal, motivated, and aspirational.
Establish Specific Marketing Goals
Fully recognizing what clients you want to attract enables you to start establishing goals for your law firm marketing plan. Your goals should be specific, and they should cover a wide range of factors. When preparing to do digital marketing for law firms, it usually makes sense to create both strategic and tactical goals.
Strategic goals are long-term and wide-reaching marketing goals that your firm seeks. For example, your firm might seek to grow sales by 800 percent over the next five years, or you might want to organize a talented in-house marketing team by the end of the year.
Tactical goals involve the use of specific approaches to achieving your strategic goals. A complex law firm marketing plan will often have many pages of tactical goals that layout objectives for the use of specific mediums or stakeholders.
Recognize and Study Your Competitors
You should also conduct a thorough competitive analysis as part of your planning process. Blindly copying your competitors is never a good idea. However, you can determine what is working for other firms in your target market, and you can combine several of these proven factors together to improve your performance. Furthermore, observing what your competitors are doing gives you a chance to learn from their mistakes. In the process, you will also get to know where your competitors are weak, and this knowledge can be applied to give your firm a broad range of advantages.
Most importantly, studying your competitors reveals gaps in the marketplace that your firm can fill. For instance, attorneys are often surprised to discover that entire fields of law are often not offered by any competitors in certain geographic areas. In other cases, your competitors may be extremely weak in terms of SEO, paid ads, or media outreach in certain verticals or for specific keywords. In this way, your firm can focus on helping underserved clients to add tremendous value.
Choose a Strategy
Now that you have done your research, you can make rational decisions to formulate your law firm marketing plan. The strategies that you employ should be based on the opportunities that you discover in the course of completing your market research. When choosing a strategy, you should keep several factors in mind:
1. Match Mediums to Demographics
Demographic groups vary widely in terms of what mediums they use to find an attorney.
For instance, individuals who are high-income, younger, and more educated will often read many articles about a legal issue online before reaching out. Article marketing, therefore, is very effective for reaching these individuals.
As another example, individuals in various demographic groups vary widely in terms of their likelihood to click on ads. Consider the demographics of who you want to attract for specific services to get a premium return on investment from your ad spend.
2. Consider New Market Shifts
New technology, changes in the legal environment, and social factors can open up new markets that are in high demand but lack any providers. Keyword trends can be useful for identifying profitable market shifts, but make sure that you focus on issues that will remain relevant for at least two years.
3. Be Mindful of Your Firm’s Limitations
In the process of conducting research, you are sure to discover enormous opportunities, but these opportunities might not match the current strengths that your firm has. If you market your firm effectively in an area that you cannot adequately serve, you may experience difficulties in delivering results unless you find the right partner.
When a new partner or another major asset needs to pursue an opportunity, you should always acquire that asset first before putting money into marketing a service that you cannot provide.
Most of all, it is crucial to establish your firm as a specialist in a specific area of law. If your firm is pursuing opportunities that go outside the primary scope of your expertise, you may lose focus on your main practice area. Therefore, be selective when choosing opportunities.
4. Look to the Future
Inevitable future trends are often foreseeable by people who conduct serious analysis. Even industry leaders often lack this knowledge. Consequently, when marketing a law firm, there can be huge marketing opportunities in creating a base of marketing assets on a particular issue that will become important in the future.
Most law firms will only invest in creating content on a particular law once the law has actually passed. However, experts in the industry may have known that the legislation was inevitable for months or years. If you had already been building up your website as an authority on that law before the legislation passed, you would have enjoyed top search rankings during the initial surge period when potential clients are searching for an attorney who is knowledgeable on that law.
Regularly Review Your Law Firm Marketing Plan
Once you have created a strategy, you should draft a formal document detailing the concrete actions that you will take. As time goes on, you should review your plan on a regular basis to adapt to changes in the marketplace. By keeping your plan flexible, your firm will be able to adapt faster to gain maximum advantage from new opportunities.
We are here to help your law firm succeed, please contact us today and we can create a customized marketing plan.