Shifting the Law Firm Marketing Strategy
Enterprise businesses have gotten to where they are – and stayed there – for a reason: a constant flow of customers. Retaining these customers is a great and inexpensive strategy, but it’s the combination of acquisition and retention that puts small businesses into the mid-size range, and from mid to enterprise. Sales can close all day, and customer support can keep everyone happy, but the one department that’s going to have new people coming in the door is marketing.
“Okay, but enterprises have massive budgets and are selling products. What’s that got to do with my law firm?” you ask.
True, legal practice is pretty different than operating a SaaS or ecommerce giant, but at their core, you’re still running a business. And the modern consumer – or your legal client – expects to be acquainted with businesses in a certain way. Here are some of the marketing best practices employed by the most powerful enterprises worldwide:
1) Produce a Strategic Document
It starts with a plan. Knowing what you want to say, who you want to say it to, and how you want to get your message out there makes actually executing that plan much easier. A strategic marketing document can be a binding, central reference point which all personnel in your law firm can use to make sure they’re on task. How the exact mission will look at your law firm may be very different from others, but the underlying goal will almost always be to master your field of practice and grow your firm in order to best serve clients.
To get some perspective on how enterprises develop their marketing strategy, check out this article from Entrepreneur.
2) Develop a Client Persona
Marketing giant HubSpot has revolutionized businesses’ approach to marketing by switching the focus away from reaching out blindly to leads and instead offering up the content they desire most. This allows the lead to voluntarily make themselves known, indicating that they’re more ready to move forward with a sale. A critical part of HubSpot’s strategy is the use of buyer personas – character models that represent a customer’s wants, needs, and motivations.
Law firms can create client personas of their own. By looking at a portion of your current client portfolio made up of your best clients, you can combine the common traits into a single persona. HubSpot has a wealth of helpful marketing material available to anyone, including this article on developing buyer personas.
3) Set Deadlines
Without setting goals for actually getting your marketing material out the door, your practice can quickly end up dead in the water. Have you ever heard of an enterprise business that’s completely freeform and void of accountability? I didn’t think so.
Enterprise cloud solutions provider Oracle drafted up a whitepaper that’s specifically focused on why goals are so important to business operations. They also include a guide to writing SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely) goals, which provide the highest level of clarity to the ones tasked with accomplishing them.
4) Create Relevant & Useful Content
Above, we mentioned how clients are most attracted to the content they care about. That means you need to deliver helpful, meaningful material that makes sense and relates to their problems – not just your services. Manufacturers producing multi-thousand-dollar equipment may write a blog post focused on financing strategies not because they’re trying to get inquiries with it, but because it mitigates an obstacle for their potential customers. If you're an estate planning practice, write about the life stage people are in right before they need your help (new baby, new business succession planning, etc.). If you're a litigator, write about ways to avoid litigation that other advisors would find interesting so they refer you more business.
5) Borrow from Others (and Have Them Borrow from You)
Even enterprise powerhouses that have internal marketing teams can’t deliver self-generated content to their leads 100% of the time. For these businesses, the problem isn’t resource availability – it’s that their customers need to know you have them in mind. AdWeek published this article about leveraging other people’s content to enhance your reputation and build trust. The best part is that this really does present smaller firms with limited resource capacity a means to keep the content flowing. Similarly, sharing your content with others can help set your firm up as the “go-to” on certain subjects. Search for groups in which your content will fit comfortably and offer it to participants.
6) Stick to Brand Guidelines
Don’t try to be someone you’re not. When you get on the phone with a client, you want them to know exactly what to expect. The best example of staying on brand? Restaurant franchise chains. Every customer going into a McDonald’s knows what’s going to be on the menu. Keeping offerings consistent and staying on brand builds trust, and it also helps ensure the business or law firm is attracting qualified leads that will be satisfied with the end service they receive.
7) Delegate and/or Outsource
If enterprise businesses can’t handle everything on their own, it’d be pretty ambitious to assume one, or even two, attorneys could. Unless a company is so large that they can accommodate their own internal agency, outsourced marketing is frequently included in enterprise marketing strategies. Boston-based marketing and sales outsourcing & advisory firm FullFunnel provides some great insight on deciding between internal and outsourced marketing work in this article, but if you’re looking for some practical application of delegating & outsourcing work in a law practice environment, you can find some answers in our own video post.
8) Frequently Analyze Results
With the exception of some brilliant startups who ride the waves of their flagship product’s success, the vast majority of enterprises get to where they are through constant improvement and analysis. The most successful initiatives are repeated, reinvented, or improved, while the unsuccessful and costly ones are dropped. Take a look at chapter four of TechTarget’s “High Performance Marketing” eBook, which reviews some of the metrics to look for when measuring the success of different marketing efforts (skip to page 69 for the good details). If you don’t have time to read through it, here’s a takeaway for measuring your practice’s metrics: high viewership indicates that your assets are good at grabbing potential clients’ attention, while high interaction rates (clicks or other conversions) indicate that you’re delivering the right material at the right time to the right people.
Now that you know some of the marketing tricks used by enterprises, incorporate them into your own law firm's marketing strategy. Build yours from the ground up by analyzing each step in the marketing process and asking the right questions along the way. You can find those questions in your free downloadable practice marketing guide - click here to get it now.