Do you have a marketing plan for your law firm? Do you have a budget set aside that is accurate and segmented by each section of that plan? What about goals and milestones you want your firm to reach? How are you currently reviewing your progress to diagnose your successes and failures? If you’re unsure of the answers to any of these questions, you should consider creating a marketing plan with the help of an agency.
The good news is that even if you haven’t yet created a marketing plan, you can still seize the day and overtake your competition! Many firms and organizations have no clear marketing plan or strategy, leaving their success up to chance or luck. Currently, roughly 75% of marketers don’t have a concrete marketing plan, and of those that do, 26% have no clear marketing strategy. As a result, 70% do not make revenue targets. This lack of action on the part of your competitors has created a golden opportunity for you and your firm.
In order to lay a foundation that establishes a clear direction for your firm, you must a have marketing plan that includes goals, strategies, and evaluation. Regardless of your budget, it’s important to have a marketing plan to ascertain what is working and what isn’t and make adjustments as necessary. Otherwise, you might keep repeating the same mistakes with the same poor results.
If you decide to seek out the help of a marketing agency to create a feasible and effective plan, be sure to ask a lot of questions up front. This will allow you to manage expectations for yourself, your team, and your firm’s leadership. Here are a few things to communicate:
- Your firm’s goals and values
- Your community’s values
- Your firm’s ideal clients
- Anticipated revenue vs. preferred revenue
- Evaluation metrics you will find helpful
- Your idea of a successful marketing plan
Your marketing dollars are valuable, and it’s imperative that you spend them wisely in the pursuit of acquiring qualified leads, promoting your firm, and benefiting your community. The marketing plan should reflect and encompass all these objectives. The more the marketing agency knows about you, your needs, and your expectations, the better off you’ll be.
Ask the Right Questions
Once you have a proposal in your hands, your initial response will probably be one of excitement, and it will likely seem that the marketing agency has hit the mark perfectly and that the plan aligns with your goals; however, be sure to carefully examine every aspect of the plan to make sure it is achievable, actionable, and appropriate.
As a lawyer, you are careful about the language you use in legally-binding documents and contracts. You check for loopholes, mistakes, drawbacks, and advantages. The same attention to detail should be applied when reviewing your marketing plan. Each item should be clear, actionable, measurable, strategic, tactical, and realistic.
After receiving a proposal, ask yourself the following questions:
Does this plan reflect my firm and community?
Your marketing plan must reflect your firm, your community, and how your firm is positioned within your community. Does it express how you pursue justice in the courtroom? How you always treat clients with respect and compassion? How you participate in the betterment of your community through volunteerism and financial support? If not, the plan may send mixed or incomplete branding messages, negatively affecting your business.
Will this plan meet my firm’s goals?
There are many unique elements within marketing and advertising, making it sometimes difficult to focus on tactics that are more applicable to your firm. Common marketing plan shortcomings include ill-defined goals that are either too narrow or too broad, inaccurate competitive analyses, and a lack of flexibility in the event of necessary contingencies. If the marketing plan does not aim to achieve your firm’s goals, it is likely to fall flat.
Is this plan within my budget?
Marketing plans should include a specific and detailed budget that also provides a flexible cushion in the event that new opportunities arise throughout the year. Unfortunately, proposals are often assembled haphazardly and without serious consideration as to how much time, money, and effort the various strategies within will require to execute successfully. And if your budget is compromised before the completion of the plan, your marketing initiatives could grind to a sudden halt.
Does the plan take your website into account?
Your website is arguably the most important part of your marketing efforts. If you receive a referral, befriend a new professional colleague, or an individual is having legal issues, the first place they are likely to look for more information about you and your firm is your website. Therefore, along with myriad other best practices, your site should prominently display your phone number, practice areas, and reviews from past clients. Any plan that fails to account for website optimization should raise some serious red flags.
What can you expect as a return on investment?
The strategies and tactics included in your marketing plan can vary substantially in cost ― from thousands of dollars per year to thousands of dollars per month. Be sure to compare these costs with industry averages to ensure that the deliverables and assets you will be receiving are worth your investment. However, bear in mind that not every strategy or tactic will yield an immediate result; for example, SEO optimization and social media marketing can take some time to deliver tangible results.
Are you locked in a contract?
Sometimes firms become dissatisfied or things simply don’t work out the way they’d hoped, which can become problematic if and when you attempt to terminate your professional relationship. Be sure that the contract you sign with the agency that creates your marketing plan allows you to end your partnership within a reasonable timeframe to avoid getting locked into a detrimental investment.
Do the deliverables within the plan belong to the firm or the agency?
Depending on the contract you sign, the deliverables within the plan (blog and website content, ebooks, infographics, etc.) might not belong to your firm. If you decide to part ways with the marketing agency, they could be within their rights to withhold these deliverables, which they can use as leverage to hold you in your contract. Losing the rights to your website or domain name could significantly affect your digital presence, robbing you of control of your most important asset. Additionally, the removal of all your website content will have negative effects on your SEO efforts ― something that will take years to rebuild.
What does the plan promise?
If the marketing plan makes specific promises or guarantees, make sure they can be met, tracked, and recorded. For example, regardless of what they might say, a marketing agency cannot guarantee that they will be able to position your firm on the first page of a Google search engine results page for certain terms, nor can they guarantee a certain amount of visitors or conversions.
If you are unsatisfied with or unclear on any part of your marketing plan be sure to ask for clarification or improvements. Investing thousands of dollars into something you are not confident in will result in disappointment.
Getting a Second Opinion
If you are at all unhappy with the marketing plan created by your marketing agency, your concern warrants a second opinion. Your marketing dollars are important and should be used wisely and with care. Beyond asking a worker or fellow marketer for their thoughts, you can reach out to another agency to get a second proposal to compare with the current proposal.
If you choose to get a second opinion, do your best to explain to the second marketing agency what you liked or didn’t like about the original proposal, what was omitted or seemed superfluous, and how the budget was explained in relation to deliverables and timeframes. The second marketing agency will take this into consideration when evaluating a current proposal or building a new one.
After seeing a second proposal from a different agency or revised proposal from the original agency, you will be able to compare the two and hopefully ascertain the following from the newer version:
- How your firm would be positioned differently
- The differences in strategy and tactics each plan proposes
- If the plan is flexible enough to adapt to the ever-changing needs of current and potential clients, your community, and the law
- Which agency and plan you trust more or feel more comfortable with
A second opinion can prevent you from spending thousands of unnecessary dollars, feeling anxious about the efficacy of the strategy, engaging in extra work that isn’t actionable, and more. If you are at all unsatisfied with your marketing plan, do your firm and yourself a favor by getting a second opinion from a trusted, respected, and experienced marketing agency.
Contact LaFleur Legal Marketing
LaFleur Legal Marketing is a group of dedicated and enthusiastic marketers ready to help your law firm get better leads that then become great clients. If you have a marketing plan you are unhappy with and are seeking a second opinion, contact us today for a free consultation. We can provide objective, unbiased information about the strengths and weaknesses of your current proposal and how we might approach your firm’s business model and marketing strategy differently.
LaFleur Marketing is unique in the legal marketing sphere, as evidenced by the things we pride ourselves on, namely:
- Creating original content by a team of accessible, accomplished writers (you even get to keep all deliverables if we ever stop working together)
- Employing an expert in each pillar of digital marketing (SEO, paid search, marketing automation, etc.)
- Offering regional exclusivity to clients (we do not accept new clients within a predetermined radius of existing clients)
Call us today at (888) 222-1512 to speak with one of our marketing professionals or complete the form on this page. We would love to review your existing marketing plan to offer feedback or even create an entirely new plan from scratch!
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Kramer, S. (2016). Six reasons your marketing strategy is failing and how to fix it. Conversion Conference Blog. Retrieved from http://blog.conversionconference.com/six-reasons-your-marketing-strategy-is-failing-and-how-to-fix-it/
Morsello, J. (2016, June 9). Data: 34% of SMBS unsatisfied with performance of their websites. Local Search Association. Retrieved from https://www.localogy.com/data-34-of-smbs-unsatisfied-with-performance-of-their-websites/
Nanji, A. (2014, April 21). 34% of marketers did not have a documented plan last year. MarketingProfs. Retrieved from http://www.marketingprofs.com/charts/2014/24945/34-of-marketers-do-not-have-a-documented-plan