Marketing is necessary for the longevity of a legal practice. A structured marketing plan will steer lawyers in the right direction of targeted clients and will make sure any time and money invested in marketing is well spent.
In developing the actual plan, lawyers must consider the impact of various factors such as: the firm’s priorities regarding workload increases, client types and billing arrangements; funding and marketing support availability; and the timeframe for the implementation of the marketing plan.
Based on these considerations, we suggest a planning workflow consisting of five steps:
- Goal definition,
- Status analysis,
- Market segmentation & target client definition,
- Activity planning and
Having marketing goals that are specific and measurable is key to developing a worthwhile marketing plan. Not only does precise goal definition give lawyers a better understanding of the level of engagement needed, but it also helps them to analyze and improve the actual performance of their marketing plan.
A status analysis in the form of a SWOT analysis creates a clear picture of a lawyer’s strengths and weaknesses concerning their current marketability. Additionally, it allows for the identification of marketing and business opportunities, as well as threats to business growth. The next step, segmentation and target client definition, serves as the foundation of the activity plan. In defining their core practice services and characterizing their ideal clients based on demographic, geographic, psychographic and behavioral traits, lawyers can create a more effective platform for selecting the best marketing tactics for a target audience.
The objective of the activity planning and implementation stages is to develop an activity portfolio that delivers the most effective marketing message to the target audience defined in the previous step. For the purpose of this exercise, we divide legal marketing activities into three categories:
- Relationship building activities (organizational involvement/memberships, client and referral source entertainment)
- Content development and delivery activities (content marketing (blogging, social media, newsletter), speaking engagements, publishing)
- Contact database management (app- or software-based contact management system)
After a weekly or monthly split of the marketing hours between these categories is determined, the implementation can be guided by a marketing & budget calendar to manage the frequency, cost and required support for the activities.