The final quarter of the year is a few weeks away. And yes, that's what we're looking at this early. If you want to end this difficult year with flying colors, the next months are crucial: bring out the whip and begin the sprint towards the finish line.
Year-End Law Firm Business Planning
Business Objectives for the 4th Quarter
The fourth quarter is a time for two primary objectives. First, each quarter is a race towards the finish line. Too many business owners slack off WAY too early during the holiday months. In small businesses, we don’t have that luxury. Sure, we can end the year early. I certainly do by closing our office between Christmas and New Year’s Day (Yes, it’s paid time off for the staff), but we need to be running towards that finish line.
Start Planning for the Next Year
Second, we need to start planning for 2022. I know it sounds crazy, but my 2022 marketing plans are already in place. I have the “big rocks” I count on week-in and week-out, and then I leave room for experimentation, testing, and measuring. Now, if I put you on the spot and ask, “Are your 2022 marketing strategies in order?” what will be your response? Regardless of the answer, it is important to talk about what your marketing channels should look like, as “early” as now. We need to identify the major moving parts of the plan. According to Dan Kennedy’s marketing triangle, we should be focusing on three areas, Message, Market, and Media. Let’s unpack them.
Create Your Law Firm Messaging
Describe Your Marketing Message
This basically refers to what your advertising copy is saying. Regardless if you’re using a long-form sales letter or a simple Pay Per Click classified ad, your copy either attracts or repels your target market. The goal of your copy is to speak to potential customers and enter conversations they are already having about their legal situation. Additionally, good direct response marketing always comes with an offer and a deadline.
Typically, this is accomplished by someone with copywriting skills who can take your information, existing marketing material, and what is available from your competitor to create compelling copy, one that enters the conversation the prospect is already having either in their own head or to their spouse.
Determine Your Competitive Advantage
Often the copywriter will want to know what your Unique Competitive Advantage is. I mean by that is why a prospect should choose your law firm over your competitor's law firm? To be clear, stating the number of years you have in service, the fact that you care about your clients and you’ll “be there” for them, is no longer enough. This statement should separate you from your competition.
For example, if you were a bankruptcy attorney, you might say, “The law firm of Daniel Smith has served over eleven thousand families in the greater Scranton area, discharged over a trillion dollars of personal debt for its clients, and takes a holistic approach to bankruptcy. Not only will Attorney Smith eliminate your debt, but the firm will remain with you long after the bankruptcy has been completed to ensure that your financial health has been restored.”
Take Advantage of Holidays & Events
In addition to your UCA, a good copywriter will want to write specific pieces to take advantage of the macro events your potential clients will be paying attention to. Holidays and major sporting events are good examples, but the best example I’ve come across in the annual life-cycle of a law firm is tax season. Pound for pound, there is no better season for lead generation, lead conversion, and collections. The entire country is aware of its tax season, and if for some reason they’ve forgotten, H&R Block has done our job of reminding them. Why not leverage what they’ve done for us? There is no reason. Just do it!
Identify Your Law Firm Target Market
Why You Should Narrow Down Your Target Market
The market describes the “Who” you serve. The goal is to go fishing where your “who” hangs around. Where do they shop, what do they read, where do they go to eat, what radio or TV stations to listen to or watch, is there a way to purchase a list of these people so you can know where they live? Many of you residing in EA Nation (Entrepreneurial Attorney Nation) work with consumers, but some of you work with businesses. Either way, you must identify your perfect client avatar. And here are a couple of tricks.
Describe the Perfect Client for Your Firm
Write out a very clear picture of who your client is. Is it a man or a woman, and married or single? Where do they work, how much do they earn, do they have children, own their home, attend a specific church, and are they of a specific race or ethnic background? The point is to KNOW THY AVATAR! If you don’t know who your avatar is, you can easily figure it out. Block off some time, grab your old client files and start reviewing. If you have an assistant, ask them to help you create a database. (If you’re using a matter management program or a client relationship management tool or CRM, you should be able to run this report from there).
A Clear Market Helps Your Marketing Campaign
By doing the above, two things will happen. You’ll have a decent picture of your “Who.” And, it will become painfully obvious which data you didn’t harvest about your clients that you wish you had. (Many fail to harvest the data about the industry they live in or their date of birth. Crazy, I know, but it’s true.) Once you know who your avatars are, you can rather easily determine where they live, what they watch and read, where they eat and shop, and what other vendors may already be serving them that you can partner with.
Choose the Media to Promote Your Law Firm
Explore Marketing Platforms
The media is the vehicle we use to promote our message to the market. For instance, if you can purchase a list of people who have just been foreclosed on, got arrested, were in an accident, had a death, birth, wedding, or divorce, you can craft a message for your target market and deliver it using the media of direct mail. If you want to use mass media like billboards (although I promise you this should likely be the last piece of the puzzle, not the first) or TV and radio, there are rating systems available to tell you which roads your market travels, shows your market watches, and channels your market listens to.
Don't Overlook Traditional Media.
By the way, don’t overlook email and webinars as a medium. Likely, your perfect market is already located in your house list. This makes using email as a message a much-targeted tool. All you have to do now is get the message right. This is an excellent way to increase referrals from your existing and past clients. We have what Dan Kennedy likes to call the perfect Message, Media, Market match when we get this right. And that’s where the magic happens.
Find the Best Law Firm Marketing Techniques
Develop a System to Increase Conversion Rate
While big and small businesses, including law firms, differ in many ways, they all need a good digital marketing strategy. This means that for your law firm to be profitable, you need to market online. But marketing – whether online or offline – requires extensive market research.
For instance, let's take a marketing website, which you spent time and money on to be good. More than likely, it will be at the forefront of your digital marketing plan. Just as it's important to have a good law firm website design, it's just as important to develop an effective process of converting your inbound traffic into new customers. After all, one main reason why you are engaging in complex attorney marketing activities is to get a measurable increase in paying clients.
Establish Law Firm Marketing Goals
But with so many marketing methods out there, how do you know which one will work? If you want to build your law firm, you first need to establish clear marketing objectives. What is it that you want to do? Look into the fastest growing marketing trends today and ask yourself: Will this work for me? Will this help my firm? Remember that no single marketing tool is most effective, and other marketing plans that work for one firm may not work for you. And this is where consulting and marketing professionals can help.
Build the Right Marketing Team for Your Law Firm
Lawyers who are first-time business owners are often unaware of how to market. For you to be able to grow your business online, you need a good legal marketing team. But where do you find people with effective marketing skills? Getting people who are not fit for the job could give little to no ROI from your marketing budget. This is where you need the consulting and marketing services of an expert like Richard James.
An experienced legal systems expert can help evaluate marketing campaigns vis-a-vis your business goals. Again, with all of these new marketing strategies and tactics, you must know which ones are appropriate given your business needs. Improve your credibility and online reputation for you to be able to connect with clients. If more and more of your target audience are messaging you and responding to your calls to action, your marketing efforts are paying off.
Invest in Law Firm Business Consulting
Keep Your Marketing Campaign Simple
When creating your annual marketing campaign, please keep it simple. Your market likely isn’t going to change year after year by practice area. Your message likely isn’t going to change. Your primary practice area has only so many pain points that need to be focused on. Working with an excellent copywriter will allow you to create great content revolving around each of those pain points and allow you to use that copy in different types of print and digital channels. All you need to do now is decide what media you’ll be using, add the messaging you’ll be promoting, and put it on a calendar.
Call Our Legal Systems Expert Now!
I’ve seen marketing calendars built in many ways. What matters most is that you inspect the calendar weekly with your marketer to ensure you’re executing the plan you created. This is how you optimize your marketing. Let’s run into 2021 with a solid plan on how we are going to acquire clients. Schedule a consultation with Richard James.