Got a law firm marketing plan? Your law firm should not only have a marketing plan it also needs to establish a marketing budget. Unfortunately though, far too many law firms are reactive and ad hoc when it comes to marketing. The old saying rings true: failing to plan is planning to fail. If you want to see success with your law firm marketing, you need to plan for it. Here’s how.
Why it pays to write it down
The first thing you need to do is work out what you want to achieve, your firm goal – then write it down. Once you’ve written that down, then you need to devise a marketing plan and set a budget. And write that down, too. You might think you have a marketing plan and budget. You might even have talked about it at partners’ meetings. But unless you have actually written it down, it doesn’t exist.
You need a document that you can go to, refer back to and track progress against. Not only will it help to keep your marketing efforts on target, a marketing plan can also provide a useful measure of your marketing success. Additionally, having a plan and budget written down is a great way to share your vision with the firm’s staff. A well-written plan will help everyone know where you’re going together as a firm and how to be part of that success.
Writing a law firm marketing plan and budgeting
To start with, identify the overall direction of what you are trying to do for the firm as a whole. Write it down and make it specific. Something like, ‘open more files’ is too vague; put a figure on it. Work out what you want to achieve. Be bold. State your ambition clearly. Once you’ve done that, repeat the exercise for each area of practice. Most likely different areas will have different marketing goals or may need different marketing tasks that feed into your firm’s overall direction.
Executing your law firm marketing plan is the key
Having clearly set out your firm’s direction and what you want to achieve in every area of practice, it’s time to get into the detail. How will you achieve your goals? At this point, you want to establish 30, 60 and 90 day action plans. It becomes easier if you break the marketing plan down into bite sized tasks of specific work to be done over a small period of time. These tasks should set out what needs to be done, who will be doing it and when it needs to be done by; there’s no point finding out you are delivering a seminar the night before. You should also include anticipated expenses. What will your marketing tasks cost? Do some research and set your budget. The aim is that everyone in the office knows what they need to do, the budget and the deadline.
Just like your overall marketing plan, your action plans also need to be specific. Each action plan should identify the work you want to get as well as how you plan to get it. And to get the most out of your planning, you should set targets in terms of file numbers and estimated fees. Then measure work against these targets monthly and track your progress.
Building your law firm marketing team
Your law firm marketing plan needs to set a vision and target that the whole firm can get on board with. Everyone in the office should be able to see how they contribute to the firm’s success. Of course, that doesn’t mean that marketing is for everyone. If that’s the case in your firm, some firms have enjoyed success by having a nucleus of people interested in marketing.
Whether or not you enjoy marketing activities, marketing your firm is about building a better future. And surely a better future is something worth making time to plan for properly.
You should meet with your team at least monthly, to monitor the work allocated to ensure it has been done. Some lawyers however may find that despite the best of intentions and for a variety of reasons, they cannot get the marketing done. If you find yourself in this position then you might want to consider outsourcing your law firm marketing to ensure it is not only done but done properly, by people you can trust and in a timely fashion.
Review your progress and celebrate success
Once your firm’s marketing plan and budget are in place, schedule regular reviews to make sure things are on track. Create new 30, 60 and 90 day action plans as things are achieved, or perhaps need to be rearranged. Look at your spending. Are you meeting your marketing budget? Find out what’s working and what’s not. And then take what you’ve learned and plan some more.
It can also be useful to measure new ideas against your established marketing plan. Should you really be considering having your firm name stamped on the back of some RSL beer coasters just because they called you this morning? And just because the local newspaper has distress space doesn’t mean it’s smart to pay for it. Go back to the marketing plan and budget you’ve written down. Does this idea help achieve your marketing goals? Do you have the budget for it? Make sure that all of your marketing efforts really are working towards your firm’s success.
Don’t risk being reactive and ad hoc with your firm’s marketing. Write a budget and marketing plan. Let’s not plan to fail, so if you think you need a hand developing, or executing, your law firm marketing plan then call us, doing nothing is not a plan.