Before You Do Your Law Firm Marketing Plan, Do This
Your goals drive your law firm marketing plan.
Marketing needs to be goal driven. Being clear on what you want to achieve for the year will help you determine how much marketing you need each month and what activities you should be doing during the year.
Let's say you want to make a revenue of 1 million dollars. You know that the average dollar spends in your firm is $10,000; therefore, you will need to retain 132 clients or matters for the year. You then know that you need to retain 11 clients per month to reach your revenue goal.
Next, you will need to determine what activities you will do each month throughout the year to make this happen.
Law Firm Marketing Calendar and Schedule
In December each year, I work out the marketing activities we will do for the entire year ahead. But, of course, you don’t have to wait until December. You can get started and get into a regular cycle year after year.
You will avoid panicking about your workflow and throwing money away, trying random marketing tactics. All because you are being ad-hoc and reactive.
When you plan out your annual marketing calendar, you can get a bird's eye view of the tasks you will be implementing and the marketing budget you will be spending.
The best way to do this is on a spreadsheet of Google sheet. Then you can keep the spreadsheet as a working document to tick the activities off to ensure that you stay on track.
Do not waste your time on your law firm marketing plan if you don’t have this right first.
Getting the basics right.
Before starting to worry about getting your law firm's marketing plan done or what marketing activities you will focus on in 2023, you must ensure that your law firm has all the basics.
There is no point in spending time and money on law firm marketing if your prospects are going to hit a brick wall when it comes to engaging your law firm.
Getting the basics right is so important. Otherwise, your law firm's marketing efforts may be wasted.
Have you got these basics in your firm sorted:
- How long does it take for your website to load? If your website takes too long to load, more than 2.5 seconds, you will lose potential clients. These days we are all very impatient, and in general, people don’t wait for slow websites; they just move on to the next. Imagine spending so much time and money on your website or ads just to have people bounce off.
- Are the phone numbers and calls to action buttons clear on your website and social media? Ensure that when potential clients visit your website, it is evident what you want them to do next. For example, book an appointment here, phone your office to make an appointment or fill out a contact form. Do not hide your law firm's phone number in the footer or create your website so pretty that there are no call-to-action buttons. Also, ensure your firm's phone number on your website is clickable. You can see the example of my law firm's website, where there is a call to action and a precise phone number above the fold.
- Are your website contact forms adequately connected to the correct email? Websites are alive and ever-evolving. There are many moving parts to ensure everything is linking and working correctly, and it can be easy not to notice or find that a form or link isn’t currently working. Ensure everything is connected correctly so that when a potential client submits a request on the contact form, the request comes through to the correct email.
- Do the phones get answered promptly? Again, just like the website speed, potential clients may hang up and move on to the next law firm if your phones are not answered promptly. Run some tests by phoning your office, and ensure that your team is doing what you need. If they are not, train them and put a process and policy in place about answering the phone in X amount of rings.
- Do you have the right person in reception, so clients feel looked after when they call? Being in reception and answering your law firm's phone is critical. This person is often the first impression potential clients will get of your firm. Therefore, the person answering your law firm phone needs to be confident, friendly and efficient, or you may lose potential clients.
- Are email enquiries getting responded to quickly? If potential clients send an email or submit a form, they want to hear back from your firm asap. How long is it taking for your team to respond to queries? Do you have a system in place to ensure that it is prompt? Do you have an email template so that your team responds how you want them to? Again, it is a sure way to lose a potential client if they are not being attended to promptly.
- Can prospective clients get in for an appointment quickly? These days people want to get advice right now. They don’t want to wait for a week or even a few days. We live in a world of impatient people, and no one wants to wait anymore. So ensure you have availability in your calendar for those enquiries otherwise, they may go to one of your competitors.
- When a client logs on to your calendar scheduling app, are there appointments available? In my law firm, this was a real problem. When a client would click to make an appointment online, and in particular from our paid ads, it would appear that we didn’t have any availability because lawyers in my firm blocked their diaries to do other work. So we had to ensure that there was always a clear calendar. Otherwise, prospective clients would click your ad and bounce off because they can’t be seen in a timely fashion.
- Do you send out reminders to prospective clients before an appointment? This is a crucial step to reduce no-shows. People book appointments, and then they forget when, where and with who. So, send out a reminder to reduce no-shows.
- Do clients leave their initial meeting confident that you can assist them with their legal issues? Clients need to leave the meeting they have with you knowing and feeling confident you can help them. Don’t confuse them even more. Ensure that they feel supported by you and that you are the answer to their problems.
- Do you do follow-up calls after a client comes for an initial appointment? After a client has had advice, don’t leave it at that. Have a system in place so the client receives a follow-up call from you or your team. This ensures that you keep the conversation going with your prospective clients and allows them to ask a few more questions so that they are ready to retain your legal service.
- Do prospective know how they can clients retain your firm? This may seem obvious to you as a lawyer, but it is only sometimes apparent to prospective clients. They need it spelt out often a few times as to how they can retain you. For example, being clear that they need to sign a costs agreement, return that to you, pay a retainer and sign a trust account authority. Or whatever it may be in your firm. Make it clear, so they know how to engage your legal services.
It is essential that all of these basics are humming along and that there are no hitches in the system before you start putting time and effort into your marketing.
For example, imagine if a referrer sends a client your way. Still, the client reports back that they went elsewhere because you couldn’t see them until the next week, they didn’t know how to retain you, the receptionist was rude, or they didn’t feel confident that you understood their problems. That would be and is embarrassing.
Or imagine paying thousands of dollars for ads only to have hundreds of people click on your website, bounce off, and go to your competitor instead because the website isn’t loading fast enough. Oh boy!
Go through the list above and ensure there are no glitches in your system. If there are, iron them out so that your marketing efforts won’t go to waste.