The Lawyer Marketing Plan - 5 Key Components
A marketing plan should be one of the first items a new lawyer develops to support his or her career. But what makes up such a plan? What components need to be in place to ensure success? In this article, we will examine the five key components of cost, immediacy, audience, mix and testing.
1. The Cost Factor
The first thing you need to establish is your marketing budget. I repeat, before you consider any other element of your lawyer marketing plan, you need to establish your budget.
It can be tempting to "reverse engineer" your budget by shopping around for marketing services, and then setting your budget around those services. But this is financially backward. Before moving on to the other items on this list, be sure you have a general number on paper, how much you can afford to spend on marketing over a year's time.
2. The Immediacy Factor
How quickly do you need your marketing program to generate business in order to stay afloat? Or in other words, how heavily will you depend on your marketing program from day one?
This is an important consideration for a lawyer marketing plan. Veteran lawyer, for example, get business from non-marketing sources such as referrals. But new lawyers, who don't yet have any referrals coming in, usually have to rely more heavily on proactive marketing techniques.
Where you fall on this spectrum will often dictate the types of marketing you should use. SEO versus PPC is a good example of this, from an online marketing perspective. Natural search engine optimization (SEO) will slowly but steadily increase your website traffic over time. So a new lawyer should only "earmark" a portion of the marketing budget on SEO. On the other hand, a pay-per-click (PPC), or sponsored search, campaign can start driving web traffic within a day's time, literally as soon as the campaign starts running.
So a lawyer just starting out (with not referrals coming in yet) might want to pursue SEO and PPC simultaneously, SEO for the long-term, lasting benefits, and PPC for the short-term benefits.
This is a prime example of how immediacy can influence your lawyer marketing plan.
3. The Audience Factor
Up to this point, we have talked about the budget and immediacy factors (how much you can spend on marketing, and how quickly you need results). Now it's time to talk about another key component of the lawyer marketing plan: your audience.
Who you are trying to reach should influence how you try to reach them. Take television ads, for example. If you were a real estate attorney, it would make sense to air your ads during a local real estate show, if at all possible. That's your target audience.
The same holds true for other forms of marketing. With direct mail, you would obviously want to target financial and geographical demographics that match your ideal audience. With search engine marketing, you would want to target the kinds of phrases being searched by your ideal audience.
The more research you do about your audience, the better prepared you'll be to create a lawyer marketing plan that delivers good results.
4. The Marketing Mix
We have touched on this concept already, so I won't belabor the point too much. Suffice it to say that marketing is like financial investing in one regard, the more diversified, the better.
By spreading your marketing efforts over multiple channels, you will avoid placing too much burden on any one channel. In other words, don't put all your eggs into one basket when creating your lawyer marketing plan.
We preach this elsewhere on the website, as well. We offer a variety of services to help lawyers and law firms expand their web presence, there by broadening their marketing mix online. We provide services for blogging, web marketing, search engine optimization, pay-per-click marketing, online PR and more. This is a prime example of a good marketing mix.
Which marketing channels should you use? Well, this will call for some experimentation on your part. You have to try different marketing techniques to see what works best for you. And that brings us to the final component of the lawyer marketing plan...
5. Testing and Tracking
If you don't keep track of your marketing results, you won't know what's working and what's not. When this is the case, you could be spending too much money on techniques generating a low ROI (return on investment), and not enough on techniques producing a higher ROI.
In fact, without a testing and tracking process, you won't even know your ROI to begin with.
It's beyond the scope of this article to explain tracking and analysis for every type of lawyer marketing. But if you keep the following two principles in mind, you can't go far wrong.
* Common sense is the first principle of a testing and tracking program. Even the most basic testing program will provide insight into your marketing effectiveness, and common sense will guide you in creating such a program.
* Proper expectations are another important principle of testing and tracking. If you expect a particular marketing medium to do more than it's capable of, you will be disappointed with the results -- even if the results are reasonable and realistic for that particular medium.
For instance, many people pursue search engine optimization (SEO) as a way to generate website leads. But this is an unrealistic expectation for SEO. Search engine optimization is a traffic generator, not a lead generator. SEO can drive traffic to your website, but you still need to capitalize on that traffic in some way. So the proper measurement or testing SEO success would be search engine ranking and website traffic, not web leads.
This is not an all-inclusive examination of the lawyer marketing plan. Obviously, there are more factors at work, and more decisions to be made, than what we have covered here. But the five factors listed above form the framework of a good marketing plan. So if you start with these things when creating your marketing plan -cost, immediacy, audience, mix and testing- then you'll be off to a great start.
By Web Smart LawyerABOUT THE AUTHOR: Brandon Cornett
Lawyer Marketing Advice
Lawyer Marketing Advice
Brandon is the author of "Web Smart Lawyer," a marketing guide for lawyers and law firms that you can download for free.
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.