If your practice slows down a little bit during the holiday season, don’t let that extra time go to waste! The last few months of the year are a perfect opportunity to reassess your law firm’s marketing approach, analyze spend and ROI, and set new goals for the upcoming year. With this end-of-the-year marketing assessment, you can quickly find out where to make changes to benefit your law firm’s budget and book of business in the new year.
Dissect Your Actual Spend
If asked for your marketing budget, you could probably pull up a spreadsheet outlining your big-ticket items. But does that outline reflect your actual spend on a daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis? And is it comprehensive or are you letting smaller expenses slip through your fingers and eat away at your spending power?
At James Publishing and Attorney Marketing, we commonly find that we can save our clients approximately $500 to $1,200 per month (while materially increasing their lead flow!) after dissecting their marketing and business processes. In fact, through our comprehensive cost-saving audit, we uncovered more than $14,000 per month in unnecessary spending by Orange County probate attorney Phil Lemmons. Now, he’s saving thousands of dollars every month!
One step of this audit involves dissecting actual spend. Don’t wait—sit down and track where each of your law firm’s marketing dollars have been going. You can start with the most recent quarter or, if you have the data available, you can analyze the entire year. Notate expenses such as:
- Advertising: online, print, radio, television, etc.
- Email campaigns: writing copy, creating landing pages, setting them up
- Direct marketing pieces: creating mailed flyers or holiday cards, postage
- Time spent creating and managing client files
- Computer software such as Photoshop or Illustrator
- Paid images for online content
- Graphic design and website design services
- Paid SEO strategies such as PPC marketing
As you can see, there are a million different costs that could be eating away at your marketing budget. If you’re not carefully tracking every expense, you may be throwing money away on less than effective strategies without even knowing it.
Analyze the ROI of Each Expense
Go through your list of expenses and determine whether each one is warranted. Does it further your law firm’s marketing goals? Does it result in a positive ROI? Weigh the cost of every item versus the payoff.
For instance, let’s say that a personal injury attorney specializing in workers’ compensation claims wants to create a lead magnet such as an e-book, in order to appeal to people injured while on the job. The e-book would answer common questions such as whether the injured person might have a case, why it is important to consult an attorney, and the next steps to take after being injured.
The attorney wants to advertise the e-book on his website to gather email addresses of potential clients and then send out an automated email campaign urging the people who downloaded to utilize his legal services. He creates a cost analysis of the following items (note: these are just sample figures for the sake of the example):
- Hiring a freelancer to write the e-book, email copy, and subject line: $600
- Paying a graphic designer to design the e-book: $150
- Creating a landing page with a call to action prompting visitors to enter their email address and download the e-book: $100
- Setting up an automated email campaign using a legal CRM to communicate with people who downloaded the e-book: $0
- Time spent communicating with respondents to sort through potential cases: $125
Total cost: $975
After running the campaign, the attorney lands three new clients that bring in a total of $40,000 of profit for his firm. The cost of the campaign—$975—pays for itself multifold, meaning the campaign results in a significant ROI for the firm.
On the other hand, let’s say that after running the campaign, the attorney fails to land any new accounts. With the campaign eating nearly $1,000 of the law firm’s marketing budget with nothing to show for it, the firm now knows that they should not run this type of campaign again—at least not without some radical improvements.
Completing a cost analysis like this can help to determine which strategies are worth your time and money in the future, which aren’t, and where your break-even point is, so you can cut out the fat and can focus on only the most effective approaches in the future.
Reach Out to Clients
Assessing your marketing should start with the people who determine its success: your clients. If you are not gathering feedback from this source, your marketing and client management may be missing the mark. The end of the year presents a perfect time to ask:
- How can we serve you better next year?
- What kinds of resources are you looking for (e.g., white papers, e-books, webinars, podcasts)?
- Is your contact information correct? (If your email list is experiencing quite a few undeliverables, it’s time to reach out and gather updated email addresses.)
- Did you know that we offer free information on our blog?
- What topics are you interested in hearing more about in the upcoming year?
- What’s the #1 thing we can do to make our relationship better?
A brief email survey or phone call can get you the information you need to assess whether your law firm’s marketing approach is meeting the needs and desires of your clients, so you can continue to improve for next year.
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