Mid-Missouri Marketing Resource Blog

How to Create a Marketing Plan That is as Good as Your Legal Advice

Posted by Carrie Lorenz on July 29, 2016 at 9:00 AM

how to create a marketing plan for your law firmYou know that you give great legal advice. That’s why your clients keep coming back. But have you ever wondered if there’s anything more you can do to attract new business?

Maybe you’ve tried some online or radio advertising and reeled in a new customer or two. But you figure, well, that’s about as good as it’s going to get. Nevermind creating an entire marketing strategy for digital, radio, print, and other channels.

Law firms can actually use various marketing channels effectively to grow their business. The key is to take the time to look at where you are now, where you want to go, and create a roadmap to get there. Here’s how to create a marketing plan for your law firm that’s just as good as your legal advice.

Start by Gathering Information

Often referred to as a “situation analysis”, you need to get a firm grasp on where your firm stands in the market. Before you begin creating your marketing plan, the first thing you want to do is create a “SWOT” analysis. This refers to strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats as it relates to your business. More specifically, strengths and weaknesses are internal factors, while opportunities and weaknesses are external.

In determining your company’s strengths, consider the unique ways that your firm’s services are superior to others. What is it you offer that gives you a competitive advantage? Weaknesses, on the other hand, can be anything from operating in a saturated marketplace to lacking experienced staff members. Just remember, these should be internal to your firm and not include any outside factors. Then, describe any external opportunities you might be able to capitalize on in the future. This could be expanding your services to a new market, or getting into a new practice area. Finally, don’t forget to include any external threats to your company’s ability to gain market share. You’ll then be able to create your marketing plan that addresses how you’ll be able to leap those barriers.

One thing that Zimmer can provide to help with your marketing plan is a Brand Marketing Workshop. These workshops are brainstorming sessions that aid in coming up with a solid marketing strategy and messaging based on that strategy. Zimmer will also formulate the right consistency and brand frequency to make sure your strategy works in the real world.

Determine Who Your Audience Is

After you’ve completed a SWOT analysis, the next thing you want to think about is your audience. Your marketing efforts won’t be nearly as effective as they could be if you don’t have a clearly determined target audience. But don’t just look at your audience in terms of demographics, take a more holistic approach. Think about your target market in terms of behaviors and motivations for needing your service. What has caused them to look for this type of solution? Specifically, your type of practice.

Outline Goals

When you’re setting goals, always make sure to use the “SMART” method to determine what you want to achieve with your marketing. By SMART, we mean specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. The best way to get a start on goal-setting is to utilize historical data from previous marketing efforts if they’re available.

Setting a specific goal means that you have outlined some kind of quantifiable result in mind.  “Grow the size of of our email database by 15% over the next year” would be one good example. Measurable means that you have a concrete way to tell if your efforts have been a success or not. If your goals are too vague or obscure, you won’t be able to measure the results and determine if you’re successful or not. An achievable goal would be one that is actually realistic for your firm. Again, this can be based on your historical success and reasonable projections for the upcoming year. Making goals realistic simply means that you aren’t setting wild expectations that you’re almost sure not to reach. There’s no point in saying that you want to grow your client base by 200% in the next thirty days, because no amount or marketing success can accomplish such a feat.

Finally, time-bound means that you’ve set a firm deadline and milestones to get where you need to be. You can obviously reach just about any goal given an infinite timeline, but that’s not going to do a whole lot for your business. You need to set a reasonable stopping point for your goals so you can measure the results and determine if you’ve achieved what you need to.

Determine the Tactics You’ll Use

At this point, you’ll actually determine how things will work in the trenches for your firm. Overall, you want to take an integrated approach, but focus your efforts on the channels that will serve you. You need to consider things like email marketing, social media, and listings on directory sites, like Yelp. Do you plan to market at live events? What about creating unique content on your blog?

The important thing to remember is that using every channel available to you simultaneously isn’t going to work. You need to utilize multiple methods in a strategic manner, with the right consistency and frequency to be successful. Creative consistency is especially crucial when it comes to your radio advertising.

You’ll also want to determine what exactly you need to create the kind of marketing you’ve decided to go with. Think about if you’ll need to hire a designer to produce print and digital ads, for example. Maybe you’re going to need to work with your media partner to produce a radio spot? If the answer is yes, Zimmer can definitely be of assistance in these areas. Just make sure to outline what methods you’re going to use and what you actually need to develop effective creative. Doing this will go a long way towards helping you...

Determine Your Budget

On a high level, you’ll need to devote a percentage of your projected gross sales to your annual marketing budget. Set your budget for where you want to be, and not where you are now. Think about it this way, doing what you’ve always done will only get you where you’ve been. You’ll also need to analyze and research some of the tactics in the previous step to determine how much each will cost in terms of reaching your SMART goals, and narrow down the options based upon your budget. How much you allocate will depend on several internal factors for your firm as well, such as practice area, size of your client base, and the rate at which you’re growing.

By now you realize that creating a marketing budget for you law firm doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult. And with the help of a media partner like Zimmer, you can develop a plan that suits your budget and get you headed in the right direction.

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Topics: Legal - Industry

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