4 Steps to Establishing Attainable Attorney Marketing Goals
If you struggle with law firm business development, you understand how frustrating it can be to set aside time, envisioning where you’d like to be, only to find yourself floundering a short time later. The trick to arriving at your ideal marketing destination is to establish achievable marketing goals that provide a pathway to success.
Explore the following four steps in order to establish truly attainable attorney marketing goals, and stop the cycle of frustration and failure.
1. Know Where You Are
Author Terry Pratchett wisely wrote: “If you do not know where you come from, then you don’t know where you are, and if you don’t know where you are, then you don’t know where you’re going. And if you don’t know where you’re going, then you’re probably going wrong.”
Take a long, hard look at your attorney marketing goals and analytics within the past year/six months/quarter. Check out your firm’s ROI on online and direct marketing, your social media presence and engagement, and your overall direction. Do you see any progress? Is the direction you’re headed driving law firm business development and furthering your brand? If you aren’t seeing results with the current trajectory that you’ve been on for a while, it’s time to think about changing paths.
2. Choose the Right Things to Focus on
It’s impossible to focus on everything at one time. Choose a handful of attorney marketing elements that are most likely the greatest drivers of law firm business development, and concentrate on them alone. For instance, does your DUI defense firm connect with most of its clients due to social media marketing? Analyze which social media platform(s) is/are the most impactful and then concentrate on growing that audience and promoting engagement.
Similarly, a criminal defense practice that experiences the most traction from referrals could put “revamp referral program” at the top of its list, and craft some informative emails, flyers, and social media posts centered on spreading the word.
3. Employ the Goldilocks Standard
When setting attorney marketing goals, you don’t want them to be too easy or too challenging… your attorney marketing goals should be just right. After sifting through your analytics and choosing which elements to focus on in the steps above, estimate where to set your sights.
If your email open rate hovered around 3% within the past six months, you could realistically grow it to an average 5% within the next six months, for example. Don’t hesitate to stretch and challenge yourself or your team, but keep in mind that setting goals that are too lofty merely damages morale.
4. Set a Realistic Timeline
Additionally, be sure to set a realistic timeline for any attorney marketing goals you set. Expecting to grow your social media following from 100 followers to 1,000 in one month is obviously improbable. Achieving that within 1 year using several social media campaigns is a more realistic, yet still challenging, goal.
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The End-of-the-Year Marketing Assessment Every Law Firm Should Do
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 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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3 Must-Have Lawyer Marketing Goals for the New Year
Goals are the compass for our marketing actions—they ensure that we stay focused on the right tasks and are hopefully headed toward improvement. There’s no better time to set new goals than in a new year! Here are the three lawyer marketing goals you should be setting for the upcoming year, and the tools to best measure your progress along the way.
- The right resources toward the right avenues
Efficiently managing your marketing budget means maintaining a delicate balance: dedicating just the right amount of funds and time to each of the most profitable avenues for your firm. If your firm hasn’t already determined which avenues are the most cost-effective marketing strategy, this upcoming year is the time to do it.
Take a look at this year’s marketing spend and pinpoint where you received the highest response. Did your website result in the greatest traction, or did mailing print pieces result in an upswing of business?
Once you pore over this year’s figures to determine your most (and least) profitable lawyer marketing pathways of this year, take that knowledge into next year. Focus more resources on those effective marketing strategies while minimizing the resources funneled to poor performers.
Tools to Use:
- Google Analytics is an extremely helpful tool for online analysis. The free and Premium versions both provide access to campaign analysis and other valuable data.
- Additionally, timely surveys like questionnaires polling clients about how they heard of your firm could be invaluable in determining which avenues are getting business through the door.
- Engage the right followers
Don’t be one of those firms that has 1,000 Facebook followers but zero engagement. Rather, in the upcoming year, focus on engaging a smaller number of the right followers by employing campaigns targeted at your core audience, and observing engagement levels. Analyze:
- Who participates?
- Among which groups do you see the highest engagement?
- Which campaigns perform best?
Tools to Use:
- When analyzing campaign performance, social media dashboards can tell you a lot. For instance, check out your Facebook for Business dashboard and observe when you see the greatest spikes in engagement.
- Additionally, your email marketing service probably provides analytics regarding open rates and click rates.
- Transform followers into revenue
Your goal list for the new year should include weekly, monthly, and quarterly performance assessments. These appointments on your calendar will be constant reminders to ask: is this resulting in business for our firm, and a steady stream of revenue?
Tools to Use:
- Whichever goal-tracking or project management system you employ, alongside your financial statements outlining marketing spend and revenue.
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Law Firm Time Wasters to Vanquish in the New Year
Looking back at this past year, what is your biggest regret? If you are like many attorneys, failing to utilize your time to its greatest potential may be at the top of your list. Many law firms, despite their best efforts, still waste hours of time every week, month, and year on inefficient legal marketing and collaboration processes.
Don’t make the same mistakes over and over again. Use technology to streamline your business and vanquish the following common time wasters in the new year.
Hunting Down Data
Developing and managing the best campaigns, ensuring that enough leads are coming into your law firm, keeping an eye on your online reputation… all of this requires data. The data to know how you are performing at any given time, which avenues are producing the best results, and where to improve. So many law firms waste time hunting down this data and compiling it from various sources, wasting countless hours.
Gain that time back in the upcoming year by utilizing an intuitive dashboard that gathers essential figures and enables you to visualize important data with the click of a mouse. For example, with the James Legal CRM (client relationship management) system, you automatically receive access to a data-heavy central dashboard that lets you:
- Monitor prospective clients coursing through your sales funnel
- Track the results of your marketing efforts
- Solicit, screen, and post reviews to aid your online reputation and gather leads
- And much, much more
With one central dashboard at your fingertips, you don’t have to worry about accessing a dozen different websites and programs in order to stay up-to-date on your law firm’s marketing and client management progress—simply log in and see your must-know items immediately.
Churning Out Content
Creating content in and of itself is not a time waster; content marketing can be an incredibly powerful legal marketing strategy, particularly when combined with social media and email marketing. However, for some law firms—especially those small practices without a dedicated content developer—building a content library simply takes too much time.
For instance, if a criminal defense firm wants to produce a new five-message email campaign every month, that involves:
- Brainstorming a new campaign
- Writing content and subject lines for all five emails
- Designing all email messages
- Testing and editing
- Developing any necessary landing pages for the campaign, including content and design
If that takes 20 hours a month to create, that is five hours every week devoted just to developing one email campaign. With other attorney marketing collateral to create, leads to follow up on in order to convert prospects into clients, and cases to manage, five fewer hours on a weekly basis is simply unsustainable for many practices.
Working with James Attorney Marketing and its James Legal CRM gives you immediate access to a massive content library of pre-designed, expertly crafted…
- Substantive letters
- FAQ sheets
- And more
That means more time for you to focus on treating your clients right and developing your business in the new year.
Operating on Different Systems
One attorney is using Outlook to manage email. Another swears by Google for calendaring. A third stores files on Dropbox and Evernote. With everyone on different systems (or even one person trying to mesh multiple applications and programs to manage their day-to-day duties), how in the world are you supposed to ensure efficient collaboration?
You may be surprised by how many law firms encounter this problem. Think of this upcoming year as your opportunity to overcome this issue with one easy solution: utilizing Google Suite for all of your legal marketing and communication needs.
It’s a cloud-based solution that is chock-full of programs to communicate (Google Hangouts, Calendar, and Google+), store documents (Drive), and collaborate (Docs, Sheets, Forms, Slides, and Sites). Simply pay one monthly fee, migrate everyone over, and you’re gaining back the time you previously wasted on juggling multiple programs and systems.
Read more about migrating to Google Suite in this informative article.
Begging For Reviews
According to BrightLocal, more than 80% of online searchers reported reading online reviews, and nearly 70% of internet users said they would look at no more than 6 reviews before forming an opinion about the business in question. Positive reviews can be the difference between someone choosing your law firm or moving on to your competition.
Because reviews are so essential, many law practices spend a huge chunk of time chasing after their clients, begging them for reviews. There’s a better way—one that can add free hours back into your calendar: simply automate your review-gathering process.
The online reputation management (ORM) system included in the James Legal CRM automates the review-gathering process in order to generate a slew of positive reviews. And those pesky negative reviews that are submitted by unreasonable reviewers? Screen them out or respond to unhappy clients.
That leaves just the positive reviews, which you can submit for the world to see. This system has a 65% success rate and can free up hours that you usually spend tracking down clients and begging for reviews.
Don’t let the same old marketing and communication time wasters eat up your valuable hours in the upcoming year. Make a few small changes now so your law firm can experience its greatest year yet.
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