Start the year right with a law firm marketing plan
Year-end can become a whirlwind of both personal and professional obligations, and it’s easy to let some business functions slide during this season. However, to start the new year on a strong footing, it pays to update your law firm marketing plan.
For an independent or small law firm, you must continually prioritize marketing and business development. Even if you have built a strong client base, you should always work on keeping new prospects in your pipeline. You never know when a big client will end a contract, and it will give you peace of mind to know you have other opportunities in the works.
That said, creating a marketing plan for your growing law firm shouldn’t take an inordinate amount of time. If you approach it as a living document that changes throughout the year, you don’t need to devote long hours to creating it in December or January.
Start with the basics
Even if you only have a few free hours this week or next, take time to develop some basics for your marketing plan. Keep this initial plan to a page or two, and don’t overthink it. These basics should include:
- A situational analysis. Ideally, you completed a year-end review earlier this month to uncover what’s working and what isn’t. Write a paragraph or two outlining those details. Also include a general overview of your firm’s current position.
- Target client profile(s). Write down the attributes of your ideal clients. If you plan to target a new client market in the new year, get clear about that new client profile.
- Goals. Set SMART goals you want to achieve in 2019 through your marketing efforts: revenue increases, landing new clients in a particular practice area, expanding your practice to include other attorneys, etc.
- Budget. How much do you have to spend on marketing for the year? Do you need to increase last year’s budget to achieve better results?
Law firm marketing tactics
Once you have the basics in place, you can dive into the details of how you plan to achieve them.
Your tactics should include:
- Website optimization. If it has been a few years since you updated your site, it’s time to revisit design, functionality, ease-of-use and content. If you have a relatively new and modern website, focus on optimizing it with strong, informative content that boosts your SEO. Also ensure that it flows well to help users find the information they need quickly.
- Content marketing. You need to produce fresh, informative content on a regular basis. Blogs, cornerstone content on your website (e.g. landing pages that describe your services in more detail), feature articles and more can all create better engagement with your audience.
- Social media. Create a strong social presence on a small number of platforms that make the most sense for your practice area. For B2B firms, LinkedIn is probably your best bet. For B2C practices, Facebook and Instagram might yield better results. Increase your reach on these platforms using boosted content and paid ads.
- Testimonials and awards. Highlight any third-party endorsements on your website, in email newsletters and on your blog, as appropriate.
- Legal directories. Review the major legal directories in your practice area and region to ensure that you have a listing. Refresh your practice description and update your bio as needed.
When you have created a strong foundation with the marketing basics above, consider taking your strategy to the next level for even greater impact. Try the following tactics:
- Case studies. Talk about your big wins and show what you can do for clients with stories about past cases. Change details as necessary for client confidentiality.
- Speaking engagements. Boost both your personal brand and your firm brand by speaking at legal industry events and training seminars, as well as client-facing events.
- Guest articles. Think beyond your blog and place informative articles about your practice area in local business publications, trade magazines and on others’ blogs.
- Video. Many clients like to get a feel for a professional prior to meeting, and video can help some clients make a final decision to call and book a consult.
- Gated content. To capture leads who are not yet ready to buy, offer quality content in exchange for their contact information. E-books, white papers and research are a great place to start.
- Newsletters. Depending on your practice area, a print newsletter might be the best way to reach your audience. E-newsletters allow you to keep in regular contact with your client base as well.
While word-of-mouth referrals are an excellent way to build a law business, you should add some additional marketing strategies to your toolbox. Proactive marketing can help you round out your audience of prospective clients and increase your reach in the marketplace. In addition, each piece of quality content you produce increases awareness of your brand and improves your reputation among peers and prospects alike.
To learn more about growing a law practice in Denver, contact us. We offer coworking for lawyers as well as private offices and suites at three central locations.