Articles | 12/21/2016

4 Keys to Small Firm Marketing Success

Take marketing seriously

It’s an irony of life that we think the work others do is simple while our own work requires careful thought and judgment. Lawyers deal with this all the time when clients try to commoditize what they do (e.g., it’s just a form). Yet, lawyers tend to do exactly the same thing to marketers.  

Not every marketing campaign is the same. It takes time, money, testing and measurement to learn what works for you. Even if you are marketing in the same practice area and in the same city as other lawyers, it’s never a good idea to just blindly copy another’s campaign. It’s not “simple.”

To stand out, you need to try something different. Remember, if you look and sound like everyone else, you get lost in the crowd.

What makes you unique from a client’s point of view? How can you uniquely address their concerns or solve their problem in a way other lawyers can’t?

Spend more on marketing

Law firms only spend between 2.4% to 2.8% of their budget on marketing when most companies spend between 9 to 10%. This likely does not mean law firms spend less on marketing because they are getting extraordinary results with the money they do spend.

To put that in real terms, if you have a small law firm that brings in $250,000 per year, you’re probably spending between $6000 to $7000 on your marketing budget whereas a similarly-sized private company would be spending approximately $25,000. That sounds like a lot, right?

By comparison, Google spends 12% of its revenue on sales and marketing, while Microsoft spends 18% and Apple 7%.

Lawyers may spend less for a variety of reasons. Being generally risk averse, lawyers may perceive marketing costs as inherently risky and therefore tend to avoid the expense. But, just increasing your budget is not enough. Investing the time to identify credible and proven marketing consultants is definitely worth the effort.

Measure what you spend

“You can’t manage what you can’t measure,” according to acclaimed business management thinker Peter Drucker. Yet, how many lawyers among us measure how we spend our marketing dollars and whether we’re getting anything valuable for our money?

It may come as no surprise that many lawyers chose to go to law school precisely because they didn’t like number crunching. And, there is a strong temptation to delegate this duty to measure to your marketing consultant or intern: Don’t!

There’s something to be said for the process of figuring it out yourself. Akin to balancing your checkbook and signing your own checks, it helps you to have a gut feel for where your money is going and whether or not it’s being spent on anything worthwhile.

Key marketing metrics

Cost per lead = Divide campaign budget by amount of leads generated by campaign. This will tell you how many dollars it cost to generate each lead.

Lead conversion rate = Divide amount of leads generated by total number of people exposed to your ad. This will tell you how effective your ad copy is. Try split testing different versions to improve your conversion rate.

Client acquisition cost = Divide campaign budget by amount of clients generated by campaign. This is how much it costs to get a client using this particular marketing campaign.

Client conversion rate = Divide amount of clients acquired by total number of leads. This will tell you how effective you are at converting leads into clients.

If you are converting leads into clients through initial phone consultations, how quickly are you following up? Did you know calling a new lead within a minute of their inquiry boosts conversion rates by 400%? Did you know it can take up to 6 call attempts to contact a lead?

Return on investment = Divide total revenue generated by campaign by amount spent on campaign. This should give you a number greater than 1; otherwise you’re losing more money than you’re spending on your marketing campaign.

The ROI on all marketing campaigns should equal or exceed 10 (assuming you spend 10% of your revenue on marketing) because your marketing creates all revenue.

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