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Posts Tagged ‘client’

Set Up Your RMs: CRM, MRM, PRM, IRM, HRM, ERM

February 25, 2017 Leave a comment

As I have mentioned before, your contact database is your gold.  And it needs to be organized and prioritized.  It needs to be maintained and added to.  But it is not only customers or prospects that you need to keep track of.  You need to have Relationship Management (RMs) systems for anyone that you need to be in contact with.

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Here are just a few off the top of my head:

  1. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – it has been proven that your customers (or clients) are your best repeat business.  Stay in contact with them, normally with an email newsletter.  To do this you need to keep track of their information.  An issue to consider is if the information is also in your financial system (Quickbooks, MS Dynamics, etc.) then who is the information owner and how do you keep them in sync.
  2. Marketing Relationship Management (MRM) – this is for your marketing prospects that you can do nurture marketing campaigns and inbound marketing campaigns to.  Sometimes these contacts are in your Marketing Automation solution like Hubspot or Marketo.  An issue to resolve is the connection between the MRM system and the CRM system when a contact turns into a sales opportunity and usually moves over to the CRM system.
  3. Partner Relationship Management (PRM) – you have all types of partners – resellers that sell your products/services, companies that you sell their products/services, associations you are a member of and maybe even vendors that you depend on.  You might consider having a regular email newsletter to partners (especially their sales team) so you can easily keep them up to date.
  4. Influencer Relationship Management (IRM) – there are many that influence your marketplace that you sell into.  Keep track of the individuals that influence your potential buyers. For example, if you are a law firm, influencers could be other lawyers in your area that could recommend others to use your firm’s services.    These could also include bloggers, consultants in your industry who might recommend your organization and members of the media.  Additional information to keep on influencers are Twitter id, blog URL and Instagram id.
  5. Hiring Relationship Management (HRM) – if you hire a lot of individuals you might want to keep track of individuals that you could hire someday.  This might be in your HR system of the people that you have collected resumes from.  In some cases you might hold networking events to attract talent to your organization.  Then you will be glad you had a database of their email addresses.  LinkedIn profile id information would also be helpful for these individuals.
  6. Employee Relationship Management (ERM) – if you are a big firm you might want to maintain a database of your employees (more than just in Outlook) so that you can provide information to your employees.  Make sure your employees get the same message you send to partners, customers, influencers and prospects.

Sometimes all of these contacts can be maintained in a single database with the same software.  If so, then separation of types can be done in reporting and measurement efforts by a type field.  Sometimes they are in specialized solutions just for that type of individual.  There are advantages and disadvantages to having all the information in one solution.  Depends on who using and how communicating.

No matter what software solution you use, make sure your staff is well trained on its use.  Especially best practices, terminology and naming standards.  As in any database, garbage in is garbage out.  Constantly remind your staff of the importance of an accurate relationship management system.

All of these databases should include at the minimum the following on each contact: first name, last name, job title, email address, organization, phone and location (usually state and country).  If you do mailing campaigns then the physical address would also be necessary.

Your database is a big asset.  Keep the necessary information you need on the people you should be contacting.  Let me know how you maintain your relationships.  Feel free to leave me a comment.

Photo credit: stocksnap.io (133)

Marketing Series for Legal Professionals

December 28, 2016 Leave a comment

This is my 11th blog post for lawyers and law firms this year and I thought I would have one post that combined the previous 10 posts into one post for easy access.  The series of posts covered a variety of topics including nurture marketing, social media, blogging, digital presence and planning.

You need to market your law firm to survive and grow.  There is a lot of competition out there.  Selling legal services requires it be a trust sale.  Marketing is different for all law firms depending on your size, your specialty and your geographic area.  Tailor your marketing to fit you.  Hope that these ten marketing related posts for law firms helps.  Enjoy.

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Nurture Marketing for Gaining Legal Clients

Client Retention for Law Firms

How Should Law Firms Measure Social Media

Gain Clients with Email and Social Media Marketing

Why a Law Firm Should Have a Blog

Law Firm’s should Review their Social Media Efforts

LinkedIn – A Few Suggestions for Lawyers on Its Use

Lawyers, Please Firm Up Your Digital Presence Now!

10 Ways to Successfully Market Your Law Firm

Time for Law Firm Marketing Planning

Hope that these posts were beneficial to your law firm.  Let me know if I can assist you in any way.

Client Retention for Law Firms

October 31, 2016 Leave a comment

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Law firms should understand that client retention usually has more profound impacts on the firm’s revenue than marketing efforts to gain new clients.  Client retention should not be neglected.  You need consistent efforts and new creative ways to keep the clients you have because they are a large source of the firm’s revenue.  Small changes intended to delight your clients can increase revenue as a result of greater loyalty toward your firm.

There are reasons that you could lose clients outside of your control such as a client business relocating or going out of business.  But feel free to contact clients you lose, as they have nothing to lose in telling you the truth about your service offerings.

Reason Why Clients Stay With You

1. Provide Great Legal Services
Poor service is probably the top reason why clients do not use a firm in the future.  Many client will not let you know that they are dissatisfied.  Failures in service can happen at any point with a client, from the initial meeting to the final bill.
What to Do:

  • Find a resolution for every client issue that favors the client.  Handle any complaint quickly and efficiently.
  • Provide staff training on how to handle client issues.
  • Perform an after engagement survey of clients (at least a phone call) to find out if there were any issues that affected them not to their satisfaction so that they could be improved for the next time.

2.Excellent Client Experience
It is not always about legal services.  If they have a billing issue, the law firm office is messy or if appointments keep getting switched then that could make the client very unhappy  Make sure that they have a great experience with your firm in all areas.
What to Do:

  • Have an outsider go thru the client experience and write up any issues that can be corrected or improved.
  • Review client surveys and feedback for areas of improvement.
  • Talk to your close clients, who won’t be afraid to tell you the truth, and ask them what can be improved.

3.Setting the Right Expectations
Assist the client by letting them know right from the beginning on what to expect.  If the start of the engagement process is confusing or nonexistent, then the client might get frustrated and leave, immediately or after the 1st engagement is complete.
What to Do:

  • Provide client with a dedicated person at the firm or lawyer to guide them through their legal services journey.
  • Use client feedback or surveys to uncover common friction points and change provided information to eliminate those friction points.
  • Have a welcome new client packet (paper or online) that will explain the process, especially billing, who to contact and what is expected of them.

4.Constant Communication
You need to stay top of mind and regularly check in with clients to keep them informed on your firm, its service offerings and developments that could affect them.  If communication drops off and there is no development in the relationship, the client might wonder if your firm should be used in the future.
What to Do:

  • Show engagement by attending events that clients might attend, visiting clients at their place of business or inviting them to events (golf, sporting events, concerts, etc.) that might interest them.
  • Host live events on specific topics or online events (webinars) that might interest your clients and make sure they get invited to these events.
  • Send out a monthly client newsletter and have a blog.  Create high-value content that targets existing clients and helps them be successful.

5.Pushing Too Hard
Your clients are going to use your firm for a specific reason: they have a problem and they are looking for a solution.  Once they have a solution, they won’t need another one until they have identified another problem.  That means you can not just motivate them with aggressive marketing tactics.  When the majority of you interactions with a client involve attempts at upselling them you can expect to lose some clients.  It won’t take them long to find a competing law firm.
What to Do:

  • Make sure your content outreach is no more than 20% promotional with the rest being content that has educational and informational value to the clients.
  • Track the open and click-through rates of newsletters; if those numbers are falling, then that indicates you’re pushing too hard and losing engagement as a result or your content is not valuable.
  • Train staff on providing value to clients and how to build relationships.

Conclusion

All law firms lose clients.  But make sure you don’t lose any clients over anything you have control over.  Know why you lost every client.  Always be improving your services and client experience.  Segment your at-risk clients and develop strategies for fixing the causes.  In many cases, you’ll make small, incremental adjustments that are easy to deploy and will go a long way toward delighting clients.

What are some of your firm’s approaches to client retention?  How do you keep your current clients coming back for more?  Share your ideas with me in the comments.

Gain Clients with Email and Social Media Marketing

October 29, 2016 Leave a comment

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Many law firms and other professional services organizations seek to find the right marketing strategies and tactics to gain clients.  This post will cover the elements necessary for successful campaigns using email and social media marketing.  Marketing is more effective when the content elements are integrated.

A campaign (single activity or multiple activities) is intended to drive an action that benefits your law firm such as getting a prospective client to click on a website for more information, attend a webinar or requesting a meeting to discuss possible legal services.

For any campaign, it is necessary to set the goal and objective.  The goal for a campaign could be something like “reach new clients” or “inform current clients of new legal specialty”.    The objective for a campaign could be something like “get 10 new client consultations and convert at least 50% of those into paid clients by the end of the calendar year”.  Setting the marketing goal and objective for a campaign should be done first before any actual work on the campaign is started.

After the goal and objective are finalized and the campaign is approved to start then the following needs to be done:

  1. Choose the campaign type (offer, event invitation, announcement, etc.)
  2. Determine offer, if applicable (discount, downloadable content, consultation, etc.)
  3. Decide on the content necessary (blog post, case study, video, Twitter posts, Facebook post, etc.) – a good rule of thumb is that 80% of campaign content (and social media posts) should be informational and only 20% should be promotional.  Turn your prospect questions into content.  Make sure all the campaign components have the same look and consistent offer
  4. Select what marketing channels to use (email, Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
  5. Schedule your social media posts mentioning your campaign contents
  6. If email used, finalize the following:
    • Subject line (or lines if testing on different subject lines being done)
    • Send out day (or days if list split into 2)
    • Send out time (or times if list split into 2)

When the above is determined and finalized then execute the campaign.

After the campaign is completed (or during the campaign if it is a multi-month campaign) review the measurable results such as email sends, email opens, email clicks, which subject line had better results, better date send out, better time send out and goal numbers (such as possible client visits or number of new clients gained).

You want to deliver the right content to the right people at the right time.  And thru the right channels.  To do this you need to determine the goals and objectives  for the campaigns.  And you need to determine how to use social media and email activities in the campaigns.

Hope this post helps in creating campaigns using content creation, email marketing and social media marketing.

 

 

Awareness – Consideration – Purchase – Retention – Advocacy

October 12, 2016 Leave a comment

 

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You have a lot of content and are doing a deal of marketing activities.  You need a mixture of marketing content and activities to attract and keep customers (clients) no matter if you are a B2B tech firm, a law firm or a non-profit organization.  Content is designed for different phases of the buyers or customer journey.  These phases are Awareness, Consideration, Purchase, Retention and Advocacy.

 

These phases need to be integrated and have the same look and message to them so they have the most benefit.  To drive results, the phases reinforce each other.

Let’s go into more detail on each phase.

Awareness

This phase is the top of the funnel (TOF).  This is where people learn about your organization.  Make sure you are interesting, talk in their language and understand their issues.

Included in this phase are such content and activities as:

  • LinkedIn Sponsored Updates
  • Booth at Trade Shows
  • Presenting at Conferences
  • Mailing of Post Cards or Flyers
  • Ads in Magazines
  • Radio Spot

Consideration

This phase is the middle of the funnel (MOF).  They are interested.  Now provide them more information so that they will consider to buy your product, use your legal services or donate money to your organization.

Included in this phase are such content and activities as:

  • Blog Posts
  • White Papers (Educational)
  • Ebooks
  • Direct Emails
  • Webinars

Purchase

This is the bottom of the funnel (BOF).  They are now a true opportunity for your organization.  They are down to the details.  They are looking for reasons not to purchase no matter how small.  Provide them with the information they need to overcome objections to become a customer (client).  What will it take for them to sign on the dotted line.

Included in this phase are such content and activities as:

  • White Papers (Technical or Specific to Product)
  • Contract Review
  • Website
  • Purchase Order Received
  • Evaluation Copy

Retention

Now they are a customer.  So besides great customer support and providing excellent services/product you need to engage with your customers.

Included in this phase are such content and activities as:

  • User Conferences
  • Account Management
  • Community Forum
  • Knowledge Base
  • Product Road Map

Advocacy

Now you want to turn that customer into an advocate.  Find out who your advocates are.  Sales people usually know who the advocates are.  Your 9 and 10s on a Net Promoter Score survey are probably advocates.  Reach out to them.  Publicize their love for your product or service.

Included in this phase are such content and activities as:

  • Co-Presenting at Webinars
  • Co-Presenting at Events
  • Case Study
  • Video Testimonial
  • Being a Reference

I know that this was very high level.  But make sure that your staff (especially your sales and marketing folks) understands the buyers or customers journey.  When creating content, determine what phase the content fits in.  Make sure that all the phases are integrated.  And make sure that the content looks and sounds the same.  This will make it more efficient in production but also be more effective.    Hope that this has been a help.

Let me know your thoughts on the journey you take your prospects and hopeful customers.

10 Ways to Successfully Market Your Law Firm

September 19, 2016 Leave a comment

legalMarketing your law firm can not be ignored if you want firm survival or growth due to increased competition.   Selling services like legal services requires it be a trust sale.  Many firms don’t have the expertise on staff or the time to market their services to acquire new clients.  The purpose of this blog is to suggest some ways for a law firm to market themselves to prospective clients.  One size does not fit all.  Marketing needs to be tailored to each firm.

Here are 10 ways for successful marketing:

  1. Create the necessary marketing infrastructure to make sure that the right quality marketing is done at the right time to the right people.  You need to make sure you have a staff person or an outside consultant assigned to marketing.  Marketing needs to be thought out and consistent.  Make sure that there is money budgeted to marketing so that it can be successful.  You want your marketing efforts to be efficient.  Make sure there are the right tools in place such as Hootsuite for social media management or HubSpot for Marketing Automation solution or Constant Contact Email system.
  2. Build a community that you stay in touch with including your clients and others who might need your legal services in the future.  Your community wants consistency and to be educated.  Get referrals from your community.  An excellent way to stay top of mind is to send out an email newsletter that is entertaining, educational and keeps them informed of your firm and services.  And make sure that they can forward the newsletters to others and that on your website there is an easy way to sign up for the newsletter.  A strong community retains clients and attracts perspective clients.
  3. Be a thought leader.  Show your expertise by writing articles, posting videos, doing blog posts and giving presentations. Make sure that this new content showing thought leadership is on your website so that the search engines will lead more folks to your site.  Make sure that you post the marketing pieces on your social media networks as well.   Every attorney at the firm should be writing a least 1 blog post a year.  If you are a 1 attorney firm then you will probably need to write at least 10 blog posts a year to support  your newsletter contents.  Your thought leadership will bring prospective clients to you.
  4. Get out of the office and network.  Go where perspective clients might be.  Go visit existing clients.  Remind them of your knowledge and services.  Building a stronger client relationship can increase your referral rate.  Do presentations at associations.  For example, if you are an employment attorney then present at the local HR group on a new law that went into affect.  If an attending HR person needs legal assistance then you might be their choice as your showed your expertise.  People want to do business with individuals they know and like.
  5. Firm up your identity and brand.  Make sure that your website, collateral, blog, business cards, letterhead, etc. are consistent and professional.   Make sure that every attorney and staff member at the firm understands that they need to be a sales person and a marketing person as well.  All attorneys and staff members should be trained on the importance of the firm’s brand and on marketing activities that they can be involved in such as social media.  Perspective clients want to deal with a firm that looks and acts professional.
  6. Have an accurate contact database.  Your contacts are gold. Make sure that you have your client’s contact information in a database, either a CRM system, a Marketing Automation system or an Email Blast system.  You need to stay in contact with your clients who might need future business and with prospects that have shown interest in your legal services.  Gather contact information at live events or from your website such as the newsletter sign up.  Make sure that your vendors and others that know your law firm in the contact database as well.  They might know individuals that could use your legal services.  These contacts will be used for your newsletter send outs and for any targeted emails you send out such as for a special event you are putting on or a charity that you are supporting.  The better your contact database is the more effective your prospecting will be.
  7. Strategize and finalize your target audience and messaging.  You need to know who your perspective clients (buyers) are and make sure that your marketing activities take them along the buyer’s journey so that the can become a satisfied client of your law firm.  You need to have consistent messaging in your marketing activities.  Everyone at the law firm needs to know the message to tell prospects.  Have a less than 2 minute elevator pitch that everyone at the firm can recite when someone asks them about your firm.  What is your differentiator?  Gather the members of the firm and get their feedback on what is the message for the firm.   Know who your prefect client is, what to tell them and have everyone in the firm be a part of the input and knowledge.
  8. Have a strong website.  A potential client is going to check out your website before their 1st call to set up an appointment to discuss legal services.  They will not make that call if that website does not talk to them and impress them with your services.  You need to make a good 1st impression with your website.  It must speak to their needs and displays your firm’s culture and expertise.  Make sure that the right messaging, branding and content is on the website.  Make sure that it is easy to use and easy for them to contact you.  Make sure that every page promotes your social media networks and has a clear call to action so that the perspective client knows what they need to do to continue on the buyer’s journey with your firm.  Make sure that you keep adding content to the site (blog posts and articles are good for this) so that your site can be found by the search engines.
  9. Be active on LinkedIn which is the largest social site for professionals.  Make sure that every attorney has their personal LinkedIn profile up to date.  Make sure that the law firm has a LinkedIn company page so that the firm can be found by others on LinkedIn.  Be involved in LinkedIn groups where prospective clients are members.  Educate your staff on how to use LinkedIn and how to be involved in LinkedIn groups.  Look at other social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. and see where they might fit in your firm’s marketing strategy.  LinkedIn assists in engaging with perspective clients and with them finding your firm.
  10. Make it happen now.  Don’t wait.  Don’t just talk about marketing.  Do marketing.  As Seth Godin, a thought leader in marketing, says, ship it.  Marketing is not easy.  Execute marketing yourself or bring in someone from outside to do it.  Digital marketing is ever changing and that is not your focus as a lawyer.  Just look at the newer social media networks of Instagram and Snapchat.  You don’t need to do it all at once.  Divide and conquer.  But you need consistent, professional marketing for your firm.

The future of your firm could depend on the quality and effectiveness of your marketing efforts.  Marketing is different at every firm depending on their size, specialty, geography, marketing expertise, marketing budget and marketing resources.

Work with someone who can determine the right marketing activities and messaging for your firm.  As Jack Welch, former CEO of GE stated, “Your back room is somebody’s elses front room.  Back rooms by definition will never be able to attract your best.”  Convert your back room activities such as marketing to someone elses front room and insist on getting their best. Marketing is one area of your firm that you can outsource.

Marketing is an art.  You need to determine the mix of marketing activities that will reap the greatest benefit to your firm.  Marketing is a process.  Remember that marketing is not a single activity so you should  never stop marketing.  Hope that the above was helpful.  Let me know your thoughts on ways for successful marketing for law firms.

Your Contact Database is Gold

January 15, 2012 Leave a comment

You collect contact information such as names, company, email address, phone number, etc.  all day long.  If not you should be.  You get business cards.  You get emails.  You read business journals.  You get phone calls.  You go to networking events.  You attend trade shows and conferences.  Put this information to good use.

Get it into your database whatever that is – either a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, Marketing Automation Solution (like HubSpot), Outlook, Constant Contact contacts, Quickbooks accounting system, spreadsheets (least preferred) or whatever.  These are the people you are going to market to.  The cleaner it goes in (no missing info) the better it will be in the long run.

Collecting is great, but use what you collect.  Email marketing is still important.  You need to communicate to your customers (clients) and prospects.  And don’t forget the media, your partners, your vendors and your employees.  You can’t communicate if you don’t have their information.  Again your contact database is gold.

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Your Email Database

In most cases, your email database contacts are different than your CRM database contacts or your customers in your accounting system.  You need to periodically (preferably after every email blast or email newsletter that you send out) clean up the database.  Most email systems such as Constant Contact have reports that will show you the bounced email addresses.  Make sure that you clean up the email database and the database that this information came from.  You need someone at your organization that is responsible for cleaning up and adding to the database.

Your Customer Database

Don’t forget to look at your database of customers (clients) periodically.  You need to retain your current customers.   Analyze your customers by size, market, location (such as state), money spent with you, product/service lines, etc.  Guaranteed you will discover something that will help your organization.  Update your customer entry immediately if you receive a change of address form or hear that someone has left their employment.

Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn)

Your social media networks are databases.  You need to clean these databases as well.  Search for new people to follow or connect with.  Remove followers or connections that do not add any value to you such as someone on Twitter that does not follow you and has not Tweeted in over 30 days. If possible get the people that are following you in your social networks into your email database so that you can communicate with them in ways other than social media.

I Know It is Not Fun

Cleaning up your database is like weeding the garden.  Not enjoyable, but absolutely needs to be done periodically.

Develop a system for tracking all incoming leads

Once a lead comes in (over the phone, at an event or on your website), someone has to be tasked with keeping track of the lead status so leads do not fall through the cracks.  Get the lead into your CRM system or Marketing Automation system (like HubSpot) quickly.  Lost leads are lost opportunities.  Lost opportunities are lost money.  Quick response is often necessary or that lead will go somewhere else.  So often great marketing campaigns have no or little sales follow up.  That’s wasted money and effort.

Converting leads into customers is how you grow your organization.  And for you to followup on leads you need a good contact database that is accurate.  Your contact database is gold so take care of it.

Check out my other blog post on divide and conquering your contacts.

Let me your thoughts on controlling your contact database.