It doesn’t make sense to throw down with your legal partner over whether or not to make your law firm more money.
At multi-partner law firms, we often see some common “triggers” for partners when they’re developing a common marketing plan. They lead to expressing different opinions, then arguing, then taking a collaborative law firm marketing plan off the table altogether. Since businesses that actually see continued profit growth are the ones who invest about 9.1% of those profits on marketing*, stalling your law firm marketing plan can halt your progress toward the true goal— making more money for your firm. Three of those triggers are:
- Use of budget
- Messaging and tone
- Client distribution
In this article, we’ll lay out some tips for heading into negotiations, addressing these concerns, and ultimately moving ahead with law firm marketing efforts.
How Law Firm Partners Can Settle on a Common Legal Marketing Strategy
Choosing the Right Budget
Leaving a question mark around the number of dollars you’re willing to spend on marketing is enough to make any business partner nervous, let alone your legal colleagues. If you’ve got a good idea of which legal marketing channels are going to best pay off for your firm, start there. You should present a couple of benchmark expectations for performance, like an expected client generation rate and the expected revenue value for each client. Working backward from a goal revenue number can help you understand what your firm will need to put into it. From there, you can open a conversation and settle on some acceptable numbers for dollars and hours invested in marketing.
If you haven’t quite figured out which channels are going to produce the biggest bang for your buck, make sure it’s clear that you will need to set aside two budget numbers. Initially, you’ll need to conservatively test a few marketing methods to identify where clients are most likely to respond.
For more details on setting the right budget for your law firm, check out this article.
Agreeing on Your Law Firm’s Message
Regardless of your practice area(s), your law firm’s goal is to deliver the best possible results for your clients. But where a lot of attorneys differ, even within the same practice, is the delivery of that promise. Some attorneys present themselves as tougher, some more sympathetic. It’s part of their individual brand and reputation, one that’s earned them clients for years. What partners need to realize, however, is that the sum of the practice is greater than its parts. Developing a concrete brand for the law firm, as opposed to the lawyers, holds value for clients seeking services. Regardless of who their case gets assigned to, under that practice’s roof, they can expect the same level of attention and results.
Considering this, hold a conversation with your legal partner(s) and identify what’s worked in the past. Highlight the characteristics that have really stood out to your past clients. Even go back to your best clients and ask them directly what led them to trust your counsel over the other guy. When you have your list of strengths, find the commonalities and roll them into your practice’s marketing messages. That’s your identity from here on out - no more lone wolf rolodex jockeys.
If there’s resistance during this process, remind your team that your law firm marketing efforts will best serve the practice if they best serve your clients. The messaging is for them - not for any individual players.
Who Gets the Clients?
This challenge can have a complicated solution, but it’s actually not too difficult to overcome. Just lean back on the principle that you’re trying to best serve your clients. When a new legal client comes through the door from a marketing campaign, evaluate what they need. If the case is particularly interesting to one partner, or aligns well with past experience, they can pick it up. If their caseload is too heavy, pass it to the next attorney.
Your team can settle on a solution as you go along, but the real benefit of addressing this challenge is that it demonstrates the law firm is succeeding. The need to delegate work effectively is a great illustration that law firm marketing actually works; use it to reinforce that notion and remind everyone that the investments in marketing efforts are worth it.
Draw Up the Specifics for Your Law Firm Marketing Plan
Before heading into your multi-partner meeting, it will help if you have some semblance of what an effective law firm marketing plan looks like. To get started with laying the groundwork for your law firm’s marketing strategy, get your free guide to building a marketing strategy at your law firm. It’ll help you answer the questions about how your law firm can quickly realize a strong ROI and generate clients from your marketing campaigns. Click here to get your copy now!