Marketing is an important business activity that many business owners push to the back burner.  When clients are calling and questions need answered, it’s easy to say “I’ll do that tomorrow.”

As the firm’s managing partner, you’ve got a lot on your plate.  You’re responsible for keeping the business running, watching the firm’s financial performance and maintaining the overall image of the company.

As a result, marketing is often dealt with sporadically and decisions are made quickly in order to get to the next task.  But this type of strategic planning is one of the biggest factors in the overall success of the firm.

You’re responsible for obtaining new clients and keeping everyone busy.  If you want to avoid cycles of feast or famine, then having a marketing plan that you implement consistently will help ensure a steady stream of leads and clients for everyone.

Your law firm marketing plan: improve your visibility

The days of traditional law firm advertising are dwindling.  Consumers ignore outbound marketing advertisements in favor of conducting their own internet research.  This places a big emphasis on improving your visibility and credibility with internet users.  Case studies and research show that you can obtain a more engaged client through digital marketing campaigns that use an inbound approach.

Before you work through the details of your own marketing plan, you need to have an understanding of the path your potential clients will take.  An inbound marketing strategy involves four steps: Attract, Convert, Close and Delight.

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Attract: An optimized website with blogs and targeted keywords will attract potential clients.

Convert: A website with landing pages will convert website visitors into leads.

Close: Leads are moved through the buying process with additional content offers.

Delight: Clients are delighted with great service and personalized content.

In this article, we’ll focus on the plan you need to create and implement to convert strangers in to visitors and then into leads.

What to include in your marketing plan

Marketing plans can range from simple, to incredibly detailed and complex.  If this is your first attempt at a marketing plan for your law practice, follow these steps so you at least have the basics of a plan.  The five steps are listed below, along with more detail.

  1. Define measureable goals
  2. Determine your differentiator (a.k.a. – your value proposition)
  3. Identify your target market
  4. Select marketing activities
  5. Determine your timeline

Define Measurable Goals – What exactly do you want to achieve?  Create two or three specific and measurable goals that you can track.  This could be a yearly revenue goal that you can break down into smaller monthly targets.

Determine Your Differentiator – Do you know how many attorneys (in your geographic region) do what you do?  I’m willing to bet there are quite a few.  You must get clear on how you’re different from competitors and communicate this message constantly.  This ties into branding your firm, and you should answer these six questions to determine your differentiator.

Identify Your Target Market – You can’t be all things to everyone, and as your firm grows you don’t want to be.  You want to work with the best clients.  That’s why you need to create what we call buyer personas.

These are written descriptions of your ideal clients – the ones you want to work with all day every day.  Every campaign you implement should be targeted to these individuals.  Remember, scattershot marketing doesn’t work.  You need to be targeted in your approach.  Check out this blog article for more information about identifying your best clients.

Select Marketing Activities and Tools – There are countless ways to promote your legal services.  But we have limited resources and budgets, so you have to be strategic about what you choose.  Commit to a few campaigns that will give you the best results – i.e. blogging, video marketing, etc.  Make sure you use the platforms that will appeal to your target market.

Determine Your Timeline – Your timeline and budget go hand in hand.  If your goal is to double your business, will that take three months or nine months?  I’m a fan of creating aggressive goals, but do keep in mind the current state of your business and how realistic it will be to achieve your goals.  Keep your big picture goals in mind and track progress with small wins that will get you to success.

The outcome of this exercise is to have a plan you can implement consistently that will ensure a steady stream of leads and clients for your law practice.  Remember, success with any marketing campaign doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time for a message to resonate with your target market.  We recommend that you commit to a campaign for at least six months in order to evaluate its effectiveness.

Have more questions about creating a law firm marketing plan? Leave a comment below and we’ll answer your questions!

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