Here at Consortium we love working with Law Firms, helping them develop marketing strategies and generally making the most of their businesses. However, when we are working with either the Managing Partner or Marketing Partner we often hear the complaint that they find it hard to get the ‘buy-in’ from all the staff and in particular the rest of the Partners. So what are the common marketing obstacles that Law Firms face and how can they be overcome?
Bad PR & Historic Mindset
This is a bit of a hangover from the days when Law Firms were heavily regulated in terms of marketing. Marketing can be seen as a bit crass and egotistical. Sadly there is a view that if we just keep our clients happy they will just keep coming back. That may be true, but what about the new folks wanting legal services, they have no loyalty and they will just go with the firm who shouts the loudest.
So what can you do to win the whole team over. We would suggest that a good old fashioned research project comparing you with your competitors in terms of marketing activity. There is nothing like a digital audit to bring out the competitive side of a partner, prompting questions like ‘why isn’t our digital footprint like theirs?’ The other thing is communication. While it might not be practical to have the whole firm in the monthly marketing meeting, it would be feasible to invite them to an annual strategy day to make them feel part of the marketing process. Keep people informed, a monthly briefing sheet of what marketing activities are being carried out and can be a catalyst to a bit of healthy rivalry between departments.
The plaintive cry of ‘we don’t have the budget to do all of that’. Well we say ‘do all of what?’ There are so many low budget or free things you can do before spending any money. Create a strategy and list all the tactics available and assess each on its ROI potential and rank them in terms of importance. You don’t have to do it all, all at once. A strategic plan will help with budgeting and schedule marketing activities in a timely manner to make sure they work together using the resources you have.
Differentiating yourself in a competitive market
This is the obstacle that has us sighing and reaching for the chocolate. Unfortunately ‘great customer service’ is not the answer we are looking for, because great customer service is not a differentiator, it’s a must have. You have got to look deeper and really tease out what makes you different. It is a really tough thing to do in this market sector. It is probably simpler to work on your brand attributes, what makes you, you? and market around those and your best hope is that you have a set of brand attributes that is different from your competitors rather than finding that one definable difference. There are very few firms that can truly differentiate themselves in the industry, so perhaps differentiate yourself in a small geographical region unless you are a really specialist niche firm.
Marketing for a general practice
One thing we also hear is ‘We have so many services to promote, that any marketing budget we have will be spread too thin to make an impact’. Again this is where the strategic plan comes in. A marketing strategy involves an audit of your services, which ones are more profitable? Which marketing activities are working well? How your firm compares to competitors? And any environmental factors i.e. changing market place etc. In other words do a SWOT and a PEST analysis. From this you can determine which services deserve your best marketing attention, focus there before moving on to the next services on your priority list.
Too many options
And this is a problem?! We are very lucky to live in this age of technology, new marketing tactics are opening up to us all the time, and what’s more the tech provides us the measurement techniques to monitor success better than we have ever been able to in the past. Your strategy will have helped to suggest the best tactics for your objectives but if the range is still too wide, go small scale and try them out. This is particularly easy with digital tactics, as changes can be made swiftly and results are easily measured. However, every marketing technique can benefit from a trial small campaign to test potential. Repeat the marketing mantra TEST – REVIEW – REFLECT – REFINE.
If you would like help developing a marketing strategy or marketing plan for your law firm, please do get in touch. We can create a strategy to get maximum results fitting with the budget you have.