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Time for Law Firm Marketing Planning

At least once a year and preferably 4 times a year, a law firm needs to plan their marketing efforts for the future, in order to perform efficient and effective marketing activities, that will allow them to attract and retain clients.  And the plan should include an estimated budget, necessary resources and calendar of activities.

Make sure you adapt your plan as additional information comes in that affects your clients, your legal specialty, your internal resources or your law firm.  The firm needs to quickly respond to change so that it has a competitive advantage over other law firms. Welcome change.  Don’t be reactionary, be proactive.   This post contains my thoughts on the marketing planning for law firms.

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” – Benjamin Franklin

A photo by JOHN TOWNER. unsplash.com/photos/bZXQ6zUmqkw

Communication – As always stated, communication is key.  Make sure while creating your marketing plan that you have gotten feedback from others in the firm.  And make sure you gather feedback from those individuals after you announce the plan as they might have additional information that you didn’t have when creating the plan.  You want to establish trust with others in your firm.  Living up to your plan goes a long way with others.  Also don’t forget to create a marketing plan for your marketing plan.  Do internal  communication so that others in your organization know what the plan is.  Also put the plan in a public place, like an intranet, so that others in the firm can see it at any time.

Internal – During your planning determine what tools you need to be more efficient and effective in your marketing activities.  Maybe you need to implement a marketing automation solution like Hubspot, an email tool like Constant Contact or maybe a new social media tool like Hootsuite.

Calendar – Establish a calendar and make sure that events, webinars and campaigns are listed on an estimated calendar or timeline. Don’t overload activities in a certain month.  Make sure activities are spread out over the year

Alignment – You can’t do a plan without knowing the firm’s objectives.  Have them in place as they affect budget and the activities that need to be done.  Don’t want to waste time or money on activities that won’t happen.  Make sure that plan is aligned with the plans of the firm.  Mention in the plan how the firm wants to be positioned and known in the market

Resources – Have a discussion on if you need additional resources to accomplish your plan.  Do you need a marketing coordinator or do you need to establish a relationship with an outside writer for blog posts?

Budget – As you determine the activities that are on the plan, determine an estimated cost for these activities so that an estimated budget can be determined.

Competition – It is OK to review your competition and tailor your marketing plan to beat the competition.  Who are the 3 law firms that you consider to be your 3 largest competitors.  Check out their website.  Determine what they doing for social media and blogging.

Activities – Your plan should contain brief thoughts on many items including listing the possible activities that the firm will be doing such as:

  • Events – Decide what events (trade shows and conferences) that the firm will attend, exhibit at and present at.  When finalized put these events on your marketing calendar.  Check out my post on what to do for events and my post on how to promote your event.
  • Social Media – Firm up your goals for social media activities such as how often to post and what are the objectives for each of the social media channels. Social media needs to be integrated with other marketing activities and your marketing plan should keep this in mind.  Check out my post on social media for law firms.
  • Webinars – Determine your expertise, select presenters, select when webinars should occur and get them on your marketing calendar.
  • Website – Decide on what major changes you need to make your site.  Maybe you need a new page describing a specialty.
  • Associations and Directories – Review which ones to continue to be apart of or which new ones to join.  Make a public list of renewal dates, costs and objectives of each of the associations and directories that your firm partakes in so that it can be referenced by others in the firm.  Make sure the costs for these are in the budget.
  • Collateral – Determine the major collateral pieces that should be created.  Review current collateral and see if any of them need a refresh.  Maybe this is the year to do a law firm brochure, or an eBook on your legal specialty or an infographic.
  • Blog – Finalize the frequency of posts and the types of posts.  Also determine the next few blog post topics and the writers for these posts.  Check out my blog post on why law firms should be blogging.
  • Emails – Figure out the email sends (either target or newsletter) that will done for finding new clients or informing existing clients.  Check out my blog post on emails.
  • Campaigns – Campaigns contain various marketing activities such as webinars and email blasts that are connected around a specific theme.  These campaigns need to be integrated for effectiveness and done at the proper time.  Firm up the activities for the campaigns and the appropriate call to actions.  Check out my blog post on nurture campaigns.

Additional Thoughts:

  1. An item that should be included in the plan is community involvement and cause marketing.  Have a honest discussion with others in your firm on how your firm can help others and hooking up with an organization that you can work with.
  2. Make sure that you review the past year on what worked and what didn’t work.  Make sure in the marketing plan that you increase what worked and fix what didn’t work.
  3. It is important that in the plan you have included marketing to existing clients.  Maybe it is time for a client newsletter or a client survey.  Client retention is important to a law firm and feel free to check out my blog post regarding the subject.
  4. Consider having something new from the previous year in your marketing planning.  Maybe it is time to start a blog or create a firm overview video or join the local chamber of commerce.  You need consistency in marketing but you need to be changing as well.  Keep it fresh.
  5. Make sure you have a solid foundation as continuous attention to marketing fundamentals enhances agility and efficiency.  Check out my blog post on a marketing foundation.
  6. Don’t spend so much time on the plan that you don’t execute.  I love the Herb Kelleher of Southwest Airlines quote, “We have a strategic plan, it’s called ‘doing things’.”

Good luck in your planning.  Let me know if I can help in any way.

Photo Credit: StockSnap.io (125)

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