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Your marketing plan is a crucial part of developing effective strategies for both sustaining and growing your practice. Check out this post to learn five reasons why your law firm should have a marketing plan now.
Every business, regardless of industry, needs a marketing plan from the smallest mom and pop stores to the largest corporations. A law firm needs this plan to sustain the business into the future.
While it is easy to overlook the importance of your marketing plan when you are focused on managing a busy law practice, the reality is law firms are businesses that require new leads and new clients coming through the door to ensure that work remains consistent. If you are looking to grow your firm, the importance of a marketing plan increases even further.
In short, your legal marketing plan will define your law firm’s well-thought-out marketing strategy and offer concrete direction to ensure you reach the potential clients that will ultimately become your current clients.
While the reasons a marketing plan matters for your law firm’s future success are countless, we’ve put together five of the top reasons your firm needs to have a marketing plan now.
1. Targeted Marketing to Your Ideal Clients
Creating a marketing plan helps you better identify and, in turn, target the ideal clients for your law firm. This helps you market smarter, not harder, by maximizing the return on your investment in marketing with more leads and conversions.
The first step in targeting the ideal clients for your firm is understanding who your clients are. This means surveying important demographic data and determining the clients that present the most value for your firm.
For instance, if you are an immigration attorney, you likely do not want to spend a significant portion of your resources targeting people who are already U.S. citizens. Instead, you want your ads to reach immigrants in your area. This may include marketing in the languages your clients typically speak, advertising on websites that cater to immigrants, or even acquiring traditional ad space in areas of your city with a large immigrant population.
Likewise, if you are an estate planning attorney, marketing to young twenty-somethings is probably not an optimal use of your time, energy, and money (regardless of the reasons everyone should have a will). Instead, your marketing efforts are likely better served by connecting with older clients who are often more interested in your services.
Once you know who your target audience is, you can better identify the best channels for reaching these potential clients. You can tailor your messaging accordingly and create customized campaigns that ultimately increase the number of high-value leads you receive. More strong leads often translate to a higher conversion rate (more clients for your law firm).
2. Clearly Defined Goals & Benchmarks
Creating a marketing plan helps you identify measurable, achievable goals designed to push you closer to your overall vision for your firm one step at a time.
You may dream of opening a second office, increasing business enough to hire an associate, or even becoming the most well-known criminal law attorney in the legal community. These lofty goals are great. However, you need measurable, attainable steps to achieve them. Additionally, you will likely need the help and support of your team along the way, which means you need milestones your group can collectively work toward.
SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. While you may see some variations on what the letters of the “SMART” acronym stand for, the basic principles remain the same. Your goals need to be detailed, capable of being measured by data, reasonably achievable, designed for action, pertinent to the project/purpose of your firm, and limited by a specific time period for review and evaluation. Set goals at periodic intervals over a year and set new goals as you attain the old ones to help you continue your forward momentum.
These SMART goals are the foundation of your legal marketing plan and the building blocks that help you inch closer to achieving your overall vision. You can adjust accordingly along the way if you find that something is not working. Additionally, these goals also help your team better understand the path and direction of your law firm.
3. Set Specific Roles & Responsibilities for Your Team
Speaking of your team, having defined roles and responsibilities is important for executing your marketing strategies. Having a marketing plan helps to clearly define these roles so that all team members better understand your expectations and their responsibilities in the legal marketing process. These responsibilities help you ensure you are both consistently and continuously marketing your practice.
For example, if you know you want to leverage social media as part of your marketing efforts, then you need someone to manage this effort. Otherwise, you will likely fall into the trap of sporadic social media use, which may ultimately do your law firm more harm than good. Assigning social media management responsibilities to a specific staff member will ensure that your social profiles have a consistent voice and are continuously updated according to your marketing plan.
4. Effective Management of Your Valuable Resources
A marketing plan helps you effectively allocate and manage resources: financial resources and time resources.
By creating a marketing plan, you can better understand the big-picture costs associated with your marketing strategies. You can identify the costs associated with various channels and any consultants you may need to work with to bring your vision to reality. This means you can better create a marketing budget that is accurate and sufficient for your anticipated expenses.
Similarly, if you already have a marketing budget in place, having a defined marketing plan can help you assess the sufficiency of this budget. You can also ensure this money is allocated to the marketing campaigns best suited for your specific law firm goals.
As all attorneys know, time is one of the most valuable assets in the legal field. With a marketing plan, you will have a clear plan of action with concrete tasks and milestones. This helps minimize procrastination and avoid unnecessary time losses incurred by focusing on ineffective strategies or simply getting sidetracked in the course of your marketing efforts.
5. Better Evaluation & Adjustment to Promote Results
Obviously, you want to reach your law firm’s marketing goals. All of the moving parts of your marketing plan work together to propel you towards your vision. Think of this like an engine. If one of the gears is broken, then it needs to be fixed or replaced.
With marketing, you must consistently evaluate your performance and adjust accordingly. Otherwise, you are not maximizing your resources and may not be effectively working towards your goals. By creating a marketing plan, you can set benchmarks for evaluating your campaign performance by reviewing analytics data and tracking the sources of leads and conversions.
Once you better understand your firm’s performance, you can reevaluate and adjust your marketing strategies, prioritizing the most effective methods for achieving your goals and pushing your law firm closer to your desired results.
Final Thoughts: Why Do You Care?
Creating a marketing plan is an important part of business planning for all law firms, from solo practitioners up to firms with hundreds of attorneys. In order to be most efficient in your path to success, you need guideposts to help you along the way. Like a roadmap, your law firm marketing plan does just that.
Ready to start on your legal marketing plan? Check out our post 6 Tips for Creating Your Law Firm’s Marketing Plan.