We invite you to read our weekly Public Reputation tips which integrate various marketing disciplines including media relations, marketing strategy, creative focus and web/technology/2.0. Please send us your comments or questions and join our conversation.
Public Reputation Tip of the Week
The law firm marketing landscape is changing rapidly, and the Legal Marketing Association is doing a good job of keeping up with the new tools and best practices when it comes to measuring the best of the best in our industry. In fact, the LMA has a terrific program called the Your Honor Awards to showcase your law firm’s marketing and PR successes.
The awards program happens annually at both national/international levels and at certain regional levels and covers several categories, such as advertising, recruiting, websites, community relations, branding and collateral materials. It also separates big-budget marketing campaigns from those with shoestring budgets. And, yes, you can enter the same campaigns in both regional and national levels.
Not only does the program recognize creative and strategic legal marketing and PR initiatives, but it also allows us to learn from peers and showcase work challenges and successes. And winning gives you some ROI and accolades to share with management, which should lead to more marketing support, both financially and with management and executive committee buy-in.
I have been lucky enough to win several times, and here at Jaffe we have won back-to-back years (2013 and 2014) for our law firm client work. I also recently moderated an LMA best practices panel discussion in Chicago, where we discussed what judges are looking for and how to better understand the submission process. The following are some of the lessons my experience has taught me about winning a Your Honor Award.
How to Win a Your Honor Award
Get your hands on a good writer: The biggest takeaway from the Chicago panel discussion was to work with your writer or have your legal vendor’s writing team craft your entry into a compelling story. The judges do not have the extensive knowledge of your marketing that you and your team have, and the word count for submissions is limited, so using good storytelling to sell your entry is very important.
Don’t let a small budget deter you: Small budgets with big goals aren’t a bad thing. They can be challenging, but I find the challenge sometimes results in a strategy that is more creative and more impactful than big-budget projects.
Don’t feel limited by the usual marketing tools: We used an Etch-a-Sketch and a View-Master last year to bring attention to an office move, and not only was the creative and strategy planning effective, but the campaign also won in its category.
Give thought to format: With so much more online marketing, LMA did a great job of showcasing the winners on iPads and monitors, including our submission of a series of videos, so attendees could experience them in their native electronic formats. But print is not dead. I was impressed with several printed entries, from annual reports to brochures.
Bring in a vendor to manage the process: At Jaffe we work with our clients to position them for a Your Honor Award win. We share the cost of entry and, in most cases, write the submissions. If specific visual files are required, we will create those, too. We are just as interested in winning as our clients are, as it gives great credibility to the work we create together. And, of course, it also is a great business development tool.
Advice for Next Year
- Set your goal to create marketing initiatives that use industry best practices, hit the goal and show results.
- Be strategic and creative! Planning and brainstorming are so important to a winning marketing campaign.
- Don’t get caught up on budgets. Once you set the goal, you can then find effective, efficient and unique ways to reach it.
- Partner with your vendors and include them in the strategy, creative and budgeting process.
- Put a method of measurement in place. This is very important in the YHA submission process.
- Finally, be prepared to tell your story in a limited, short-form manner so that the judges can truly understand and experience all that you and your team put into the project.
Ah, spring! It’s a time for new beginnings, along with overdue cleaning and removal of clutter around the home or office. I’ll leave the cleaning tips to someone else – perhaps your mom can help. But what better way to get energized and rejuvenated than by springboarding your law firm public reputation efforts into the 21st century, particularly if you or your law firm are among the late adopters.
Spring also is a time for reflection, so I thought it might be useful to take a look at five predominant trends in legal marketing as they relate to media and public relations. Many or all of these overlap and involve multiple tactics, so I’m offering just one or two takeaways from each for your spring renewal. Even if you step up your game in only a few key areas, you’ll be on your way to making measurable strides toward enhancing your attorneys’ and law firm’s public reputations.
Shift to Mobile and Social
Lawyers, clients, business partners and the media are moving further away from their desktops and increasingly sharing information via their mobile devices. Therefore, it’s important that your law firm’s website be optimized for mobile viewing and interaction. Also, if you want to continue to get your messages directly and quickly to your stakeholders, your attorneys and law firm leaders should be fully using social media channels like Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. There are many tactics for using Twitter for public reputation management. To start, find your audience. Follow colleagues, clients, prospects and others on Twitter who are influencers in your industry. Many will follow you back, so you’ll be able to share and keep them engaged with your insights and other valuable information. Twitter also is an increasingly viable channel for reaching key reporters who cover your practice area. Connect with them to increase the odds they may seek you out as a source.
We’ve been talking about law firm content marketing for a long time now. If you haven’t heard us, it might be because the movement requires a paradigm shift, and that means significant new investment of time and resources. In keeping with the theme of taking baby steps this spring, think about how you can dip your toes into elevated content marketing to help generate brand visibility and get yourself or your firm noticed by prospective clients and influential media. Read our article on law firm content marketing in the February issue of ALM’s Marketing the Law Firm to get a sense of how you can leverage media articles, client alerts, white papers, webinar videos, practice area news and events that your firm can create and post to your website, as well as push out via social media. Why not start out by developing and maintaining a practice area blog? You’ll want to choose subject matter that ideally differentiates you and then commit to producing high-quality content that will keep readers coming back while making the case for your leadership in your field. A word of caution: Don’t start unless you can commit to blogging regularly (at least once a week, if not more frequently); otherwise, it’s better to stay offline until you can.
This speaks for itself. Again, with the trend toward social and mobile, audiences are more in tune with visual representation of the information they receive. Make a concerted effort to incorporate photos into news blasts about law events and people at your firm. Every announcement can benefit from the power and storytelling layer of a photo. Even amateur shots can translate well to social media. Also, think about this: Is there any news or information website today where you cannot instantly access video that adds visual interest? If your answer is yes, and it’s your law firm’s site, then consider these tips for developing a law firm video strategy.
Make It Personal
Don’t just report your happenings or insights like a New York Times news brief – draw your audience in by telling them what it means to you and your law firm beyond the mere facts. The informality and brevity of social media is well suited for this type of dialog. And it really is a dialog because you want your readers and followers to engage and respond back. The key is to always at least try to tell a story to help readers emotionally connect with whatever content you produce. Even in the span of a tweet, there’s room for teasing a story and inciting interaction. And, by all means, avoid using programs that automate tweets. Also, get in the habit of responding to anyone who engages directly with you, whether it’s through a tweet, blog post comment or direct email.
As dictated by the evolution in media, technology and communications, today’s news cycle is 24/7. We need to be able to react for our clients at any time of the day or night. If you’re not psychologically or hardware-equipped to be virtual (accessible away from your desk), you may be giving up ground to competitors. At Jaffe, we have been working as a virtual company for more than three decades, all of us spread around the country and working in home offices. Our past may also be the future of legal PR – at least to a greater extent than ever before.
For tips on managing a virtual team or for on-trend best practices in legal marketing and PR, contact me at email@example.com.
As a public relations professional and mother of two young children, I’ve learned that managing expectations is essential to building strong relationships. With my children, setting expectations is as easy as reviewing the day’s schedule in the morning or providing a five-minute warning before it is time to leave the playground. With my law firm clients, it involves letting them know when I won’t be available to respond to a media inquiry and whom to contact in my absence.
Setting and managing client expectations is a critical component of the service provider-client relationship, yet it is often difficult to achieve. The more time you invest on the front end in planning, the more effective you will be in the long run. If client expectations are not set appropriately from the get-go, the relationship will already be in jeopardy before the work even begins.
Here are five steps to incorporate into your law practice to help manage your clients’ expectations.
- Be honest – Ask yourself if your clients’ desired outcomes are obtainable. The truth may be a hard pill to swallow, but your clients will appreciate your honesty. For example, I am often forced to tell my clients if a topic isn’t newsworthy, even if they are expecting top-tier national media coverage of it.
- Communicate – Direct and transparent communication creates a foundation and builds trust with clients. At the onset of a project, provide an outline of how you and your client will work together. Identify how often you will meet and whether the client prefers to catch up via phone and/or email. By collaborating to develop a plan and identify measurements for success, clients know exactly what to expect from a relationship.
- Offer alternatives – Clients are more satisfied when they have some control over a process. Be creative and innovative in suggesting alternative ways to meet a goal. Take the example above: If a client’s topic isn’t going to work, offer alternatives that could lead to results.
- Report back – Delivering weekly or monthly reports provides a clear explanation of work completed and goals reached. These don’t need to be elaborate – a simple email detailing tasks completed shows your clients what they’re paying for. At the end of a project, provide a report showing how the results measured up to the original goals.
- Follow up – After a project is completed, follow up with clients and request feedback. Ask questions, such as, “Did we meet your expectations?,” “What did we do well?,” and “How could we have done better?” This information will help you better serve your client on future projects.
How do you manage your clients’ expectation? Leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Twitter and PR are an ideal combination, like peanut butter and jelly. If your law firm is looking to promote a media mention — such as placement of a bylined article or a quote in a news story — beyond your law firm website, Twitter can serve as your gateway to the rest of the world, even if you only have 140 characters or fewer to express yourself.
By using the social network strategically, you can increase awareness of your brand, encourage engagement among your firm's audience, and help solidify a relationship between the firm’s attorneys and reporters and media outlets.
4 Steps for Promoting Mentions on Twitter
I talked with Jaffe PR's Content Strategist Keith Ecker, and he shared some easy steps that can be employed to leverage the power of Twitter for PR:
- Once the media impression appears online, copy the Web page’s URL or, better yet, if the firm plans to host a version of the story on its own site, copy that URL. (By linking to your own site, you can increase your law firm’s website traffic.)
- Next, go to Twitter, and in the search field, begin trying to identify handles (i.e., screen names) that might have some relevancy to the impression. For instance, if your attorney was quoted in Law360, you would want to identify @Law360.
- Identify keywords that don’t have handles, but are trending. For example, the Supreme Court does not have a Twitter handle (though a lot of pros confuse the SCOTUSBlog as being the Court’s actual Twitter handle). However, the acronym “SCOTUS” is widely used in tweets that mention Supreme Court news. Make a list of these keywords.
- Draft several tweets that the firm can use that incorporate a mix of the handles, keywords and the URL. (Note: If you incorporate a URL into a tweet, your character count is limited to 117 as opposed to the usual 140.)
The Process in Action
Say you or one of your firm’s attorneys, e.g., Jane Doe, was quoted in an article regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to hear Amazon workers’ security check case. You have the URL to the article online, so the next step is to identify relevant Twitter handles. Amazon, the reporter who wrote the story, and the publication all have handles. “SCOTUS” is a trending term.
Here’s how you can take this information and turn it into a successful tweet.
Relevant handles to use to tweet: @Amazon; @carlynkolker; @Reuters.
Will @Amazon have to pay workers for time spent in security checks? Jane Monroe talks to @carlynkolker @Reuters [link].
#SCOTUS to hear @Amazon workers case. Jane Monroe weighs in with @carlynkolker @reuters [link].
Maintaining a Twitter presence can be a powerful part of your law firm’s marketing strategy. And used successfully, Twitter can help you develop and promote your firm, attorneys and practice areas while fostering interactions with your clients, prospects and colleagues.
Have questions about how to blend your Twitter and PR strategies? Contact me at email@example.com.
I’m a do-it-yourself (DIY) kind of person with a specialty in plumbing, heating, painting and sealing. Despite some rather horrific fails, like the time we were without running water in the kitchen for 48 hours, I dive into projects because I love to explore the mechanics of how things work. Fortunately, I have a neighbor with a garage full of tools who is a do-it-yourself whiz. He rescues my disastrous DIY projects on a regular basis.
Just as it’s convenient to have some handy skills around the house, it’s also advantageous for law firm marketing professionals to have a general understanding of search engine optimization (SEO). After all, your website should be one of the focal points in your law firm marketing strategy, and by not implementing SEO best practices, you risk diminishing the effectiveness of your site.
SEO is complex, but acquiring basic SEO knowledge can make a difference in how you manage your law firm website. Even if your law firm uses an SEO professional, it’s still beneficial to have a few tools in your toolkit.
5 Cool Do-It-Yourself SEO Tips
Make sure your website is search engine friendly. Use a search engine simulator tool to get a glimpse of how search engines see your site.
Run a site search on Google and Bing to see which pages the search engines are indexing. Go to https://www.google.com/ and http://www.bing.com/, and type this into the search field, substituting your website for “my site”:
The results you see are the pages the search engines have discovered and added to their Internet index.
Conduct several Google searches for keywords that you think people would be using to find your law firm services. Does your firm show up on the first page, the second page, nowhere? (Keep in mind that your search results will have personalization factors, including browser history, location and social connections, so someone on the other side of the country, searching for the same keywords will more than likely yield different search results.)
Check your law firm website’s domain authority with Open Site Explorer; then compare against your competitors to see how you stack up. (Domain authority is measured on a scale of 1 to 100 – for example, Facebook, ESPN and Wikipedia all have domain authorities of 100.)
Google the name of your law firm. What shows up in the column to the right of your listing? Ideally, you want to see your Google+ business page information, with a map, address and contact information. Notice the calls to action embedded in the search results page: People can connect with you on Google+, find directions, write a review or click through to a variety of pages on your website. Handy, isn’t it?
As with any good do-it-yourself project, it’s always best to have a backup professional for the more complex and serious issues you might encounter. But start with these fundamentals, and feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Media relations continues to be one of the cornerstones of what we do to manage and enhance the public reputations of our law firm clients. Like any discipline, there are best practices and established rules for working with media professionals to secure positive media coverage – or temper reporting on negative news – both of which can enhance a law firm or its attorneys’ visibility, credibility and business development.
Misinformation, a lack of understanding and common misconceptions about working with the media are often at the root of missed opportunities and blunders. Consider the following misconceptions about law firm media relations, and let them inform how you approach and engage with reporters and editors for your next law firm news alert, feature story or media pitch.
You’ve written an article that your favorite trade magazine will beg to publish.
Not so fast. You may have penned a masterpiece and you may be a thought leader in your practice area, but there are a slew of reasons why your article might not be a good fit. An editor may not have available space or might not be able to publish on a schedule that you desire. Or, perhaps, your topic has already been covered or the tone of your piece is out of synch with the publication’s style. Generally speaking, a best practice is to pitch an article proposal to a publication first instead of writing and submitting on spec.
You can review your quotes or articles before they get published.
This one’s a mixed bag. It depends on the media outlet, the individual reporter or editor, and the type of piece. Most publications want guest authors to review proofs of their articles, especially if editors make substantive changes, but very few publications will allow a source to review an article in which he or she will be quoted. Many reporters will let a source review quotes from an interview, but most journalists consider that a privilege, not a right, so it’s best to come at it with a sense of humility. Politely request; don’t demand.
If a reporter interviews you, your comments will appear in the story.
This is inaccurate quite often, unfortunately. Sometimes a reporter just needs a knowledgeable attorney to explain a complex matter on background. Other times, a reporter interviews too many sources who say the same thing, so the best quote wins. Or maybe an attorney fails to offer substantive or eloquent comments. The best advice: Be well prepared, offer useful information and an interesting narrative, and try to be the first source to get interviewed.
Off the record is always off the record.
Most reporters will respect your need to comment off the record, but there are no guarantees. Plus, a reporter can make an honest mistake in reporting something you don’t want made public. The best rule of thumb is not to proclaim that anything is off the record and not say anything that can’t be reported. If you do, be sure you have a history and relationship with a reporter on which you can rely. Similarly, remember that anything you tell a reporter may be printed. An especially colorful or irreverent comment that you meant as a joke just might show up in print.
You or your law firm will be the only source for the story.
Don’t count on it. Any reporter wants more than a single source. And the more law firms represented, the more balanced the reporting. Even if you bring the story to the reporter, chances are you’ll be sharing the limelight.
You wrote the article, so you can do what you wish after it gets published.
Most publishers require authors to sign writer’s agreements that limit what an attorney or law firm can do with the piece after it appears in print. These agreements cover exclusivity (sometimes for a specified time period), reprints and repurposing, social media distribution, and other treatment of what publishers consider to be their property. Oftentimes, a fee for a license is required to repurpose a published article for marketing purposes. It’s best to know the rules up front and shop your article around if you feel a publisher’s requirements seem too restrictive or costly.
Purchasing an advertisement in a publication will buy you better coverage.
The answer is yes for those fringe industry-specific journals that don’t hide their “pay-to-play” business models. But most established, reputable media outlets have clear divisions between their editorial and advertising operations. Throwing money at the situation will do little to get you published in the magazines and stories that really matter.
There’s always tomorrow.
It makes a nice song lyric, but in the fast-paced world of publishing and timely reporting, if you miss a deadline – particularly as an interview source – the reporter likely has moved on.
Need more suggestions on best practices for working with reporters and achieving great media results? Contact me at email@example.com.
There is no doubt that social media networking turns connections into clients. It may not happen overnight, and it absolutely does take some real-world interfacing, but it happens.
Whether before the Legal Marketing Association’s national convention, coming up in April or in advance of any conference you may attend, LinkedIn can be an effective networking tool in your law firm’s business development arsenal. Here’s how.
Make sure your profile is up to date and inviting.
Your LinkedIn profile should reflect your personal brand and your personality. Use actionable language, and don’t just regurgitate your résumé. The more lively and specific you are, the easier it will be for potential clients to understand what you do and why you are the perfect fit for the job. People you meet at the conference not only will pocket your business card, but they also will go the next step and send you an invitation to connect on LinkedIn.
An engaging profile is an easy way to provide more personal and specific information about exactly what you do. Your profile is your front door to the world. Spruce it up and lay out the welcome mat. Revising your online profile is something that easily drops to the bottom of your “to do” list, so schedule it on your calendar as a task that must be completed before you head off to your conference.
Download the conference agenda and see who is speaking.
Learn more about a speaker’s background, and identify common connections you might have by reviewing their LinkedIn profile. Arrange to meet up with them at the conference by sending a simple note indicating that you look forward to hearing their presentation and hope to meet for coffee or a drink after the session.
Check out the conference’s LinkedIn page before you go.
Be sure to follow the conference LinkedIn page for up-to-the-minute information on the latest news and information. The LMA National Convention LinkedIn page is already aflutter with tips and insights to help you navigate the event and get the most out of the conference.
After the conference, share what you learned with your LinkedIn connections and groups.
Chances are not everyone you know attended the conference. If you were particularly impressed with a speaker or learned something new and valuable, summarize the information and share the details. That builds rapport with your followers and positions you as someone who is in the know.
The Apple Mac computer turned 30 years old last month. To recognize the milestone, Forbes published an article that noted how Steve Jobs not only introduce the Mac three decades ago but also, at the same time, revolutionized the art of corporate storytelling.
The introduction of the Macintosh is still considered by many to be one of the greatest product launches in business history. Jobs’ presentations continue to attract thousands of views on YouTube. There is no question, he profoundly impacted the way leaders communicate.
There are many storytelling techniques that Jobs used that attorneys can adopt to ensure their presentations, speeches and bylined articles grab the attention of their audience. Here are some key tactics that legal marketers can learn from Jobs that will help improve your storytelling abilities.
Jobs was famous for his passion for new products. He recognized that if you’re not excited about your idea, your audience won’t be either. If you’re speaking publicly or making a presentation, show your enthusiasm for the topic. This way you’re more likely to create a memorable experience for your audience.
State Message. Repeat:
Jobs was a master at crafting a one-sentence summary of a product that perfectly captured the main message he wished to deliver and then repeating this often during his presentation. Craft a brief and concise message or sound bite of the idea or ideas you are trying to convey, whether it be for inclusion in a presentation or to prepare for a media interview. If necessary work with your law firm’s business development manager to craft and/or practice your message. It’s okay to have more than one point to your message, but limit it to no more than three to avoid overwhelming you audience. Once you got your message or messages down, work to incorporate them several times into your presentation or interview to drive home your point.
Hero v. Villain
Jobs understood that every good story needs a villain (problem) and a hero (solution or benefit). This is the basics of good storytelling. Make sure you easily identify the villain for your audience. Perhaps it’s a new piece of legislation or court ruling that is burdensome on your clients or a particular industry. Of course, your firm, its professionals and, perhaps, your client will be the heroes, so it’s important to clearly convey how you can provide a strategy or solution to deal with the villain.
Most importantly, Jobs knew the importance of telling stories and always provided brand stories, customer stories and personal ones during his presentations that allowed him to better connect and engage with his audience. I can’t stress how important this tactic is for storytelling. Think about how much better you pay attention when someone is speaking if they’re sharing an interesting story, especially one that you can relate to. Try and incorporate a professional story, or even personal one, that has relatable components and helps get your message across, such as talking about a relevant case. When possible, try to add some humor. Your audience will appreciate it!
Steve Jobs educated, entertained, informed and inspired his audiences in every presentation, and we can all learn from him. It takes work, planning, and creativity, but if someone is willing to listen to your ideas, it’s worth the effort to make it great.
What did you learn from Steve Jobs? Leave a comment below, or email me your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submitted for your approval, a Twilight Zone version of Super Bowl XLVIII: It’s the second quarter. Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith picks off Broncos QB Peyton Manning’s pass on the 31-yard line. Sprinting to the end zone, Smith’s 69-yard distance suddenly becomes 89 yards, then 113 yards, then 146 yards.
Someone, or some thing, is moving the goalposts, creating a test of endurance and stamina of Sisyphean proportions. What originally required a reasonable sprint now requires a completely new strategy.
As it turns out, truth is just about as strange as fiction, when, last week, Google moved the SEO goalposts – again. Now, guest blogging will no longer have any value as a link building initiative.
As a law firm marketing professional or an attorney who takes an interest in SEO, you’re most likely aware of the importance of search engine optimization for increasing your law firm’s visibility in search results. You may have engaged an SEO agency or educated yourself on best practices over the years. Many readers are probably a bit confused over the mixed messages that spew from the SEO world over time.
Well, the goalposts have been moved once again. In a January 20 blog post, Matt Cutts, head of Google’s webspam team, states that “if you’re using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop.” In case that isn’t clear enough, Cutts clarified Google’s announcement with this statement: “Stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy.” (See his video announcement below.)
Guest blogging refers to the common link-building practice where someone posts an article to a blog written by an author who is not a regular blog contributor. In the article, the guest author includes links pointing back to his domain. Those links can add value to the domain on the receiving end, thus improving the guest author’s website.
This was once a very respectable SEO practice tied to a solid content marketing strategy, but guest blogging spammers have sprung up like noxious weeds. Low-quality bloggers and blogging sites offer little value to the user; therefore, Google is stepping in to take action on guest blogging activity altogether. From now on, guest blogging on all blogs will produce no SEO benefit – that is, links in guest blog posts will have no algorithmic value.
Low-quality blogging sites that publish guest blogs, for the sole benefit of SEO, will potentially be penalized. In theory, this will make for a better search experience, as Google will sift through the content pollution and deliver better-quality content in search results.
How will this affect your law firm SEO strategy?
Scratch guest blogging from your SEO list of tactics. But don’t abandon guest blogging altogether. It’s still a valuable tactic in a law firm’s digital marketing strategy. Refocus your law firm’s SEO strategy without relying on guest blogging, and, instead, concentrate on the following tactics.
- Create an amazing user experience on your website, i.e., understand what your visitors want and how they behave. Then deliver that experience creatively, intelligently and in the fastest time possible. Consider developing a responsive website to further enhance the user experience.
- Provide thoughtful, relevant, user-driven content on your website – regularly. Make sure to optimize for achievable keywords.
- Develop a presence on social media that fosters content sharing and allows you to engage with your target audience.
Where does that leave guest blogging for lawyers?
Even though guest blogging may not provide direct SEO value, there are still plenty of reasons to include guest blogging in your law firm’s marketing strategy.
- Guest blogging can increase relevant traffic to your website and expand your online exposure.
- Authoring guest blogs establishes attorneys as authorities in relevant industries.
- Publishing content on high-quality sites magnifies your law firm’s presence in multiple online communities, not just in your own domain.
- Guest blogging can improve brand awareness for your law firm in targeted industries.
- Guest blogging creates online content that can be shared on social media, thus sending positive social signals to search engines.
To reach these goalposts, make sure to source out relevant and high-quality blogging sites; then provide relevant and high-quality content in your guest blog. If you have questions or concerns about your law firm’s guest blogging strategy, shoot me a line at email@example.com or look for me on Google+.
The beginning of a new year is an ideal time to take control of your career by developing a practical, step-by-step law firm marketing plan to guide your business development and marketing activities throughout the year. Commit to making 2014 a more strategic, deliberate year for your marketing efforts.
Here are five reasons why lawyers should create a marketing plan and budget for 2014.
1. To “map” and drive business development direction. It's tough, if not impossible, to track progress in your marketing efforts without a written, well-conceived plan that concisely states your objectives, who you are (or should be) trying to reach, and what you are realistically trying to achieve within a given time frame.
2. To avoid spending foolishly. In these challenging economic times, lawyers cannot afford to spend marketing dollars unwisely on an ad hoc basis. Each expenditure should be a part of a cohesive plan. Make every dollar work hard and be measurable toward your stated goals.
3. To bring focus to your marketing efforts. A thoughtful marketing plan and budget will help you be more effective in your marketing activities on a day-to-day basis if there are benchmarks of what you are trying to achieve and for whom.
Lawyers should spend most marketing dollars and, more importantly, time on initiatives that will result in actually achieving measurable goals such as:
- Developing a strong network of business contacts;
- Increasing name recognition among prospects and prospective referral sources;
- Targeting new clients.
4. A marketing plan and budget create measurable objectives to evaluate success. How will you evaluate if it has been a successful year? Will it depend upon management's subjective memories, or can you devise measurable objectives to compare results against? How will you determine where to focus future marketing efforts and dollars if you don’t know if a given initiative worked as designed?
5. A marketing plan and budget demonstrate your commitment to your business. Realistically, if you can't (or won't) dedicate focused thought and energy to develop a solid marketing plan and budget to develop business, how can you expect your business results to improve?
As lawyers confront fierce competitive forces day after day, is there really anything more important to the success of your practice than to plan for its success?
Still stuck on where to begin? We help lawyers develop strategic marketing plans and budgets to identify their “ideal” clients and target markets, create actionable steps to reach those markets and assign budgets to economically support those efforts. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how we may help you map marketing success in 2014.
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