Successful Marketing Plans Are by Design (Not Chance)
A successful marketing plan is carefully designed. It’s not good enough to throw money towards marketing and hope for the best. You need to CREATE success because, ultimately, the success or failure of your law firm lies on your shoulders. Fortunately, there’s not much guesswork involved in launching a marketing campaign. With each marketing campaign launched in your law firm, the next will be easier to create (and likely more effective because the more you learn from what elements performed well and which performed poorly). This 7-step template that I use for my law firm (www.BenGlassLaw.com) that I use for my law firm has proven to be an easy and profitable system, so keep reading to discover the details of how we quickly plan and implement successful marketing plans for the year.
Step 1: Identify Your Audience
The very first step to creating an effective marketing plan is to identify your target audience. The more tailored a marketing strategy is to a specific audience, the more effective it will be. Of course, by targeting a particular audience, your marketing will repel other viewers, and that’s okay. Marketing plans aren’t one size fit all (or even one size fit most).
A great marketing plan can be wasted on an audience that doesn’t need the service. For example, maybe you have a perfectly written Google Ad. You know the headline is great, and there is a strong offer connected to the ad. However, you practice elder law. Your target audience likely isn’t spending most of their time on the computer. A direct mail piece (with larger font) is probably the best method of advertising for them.
Your target audience will be the basis for all of your marketing decisions forward.
Step 2: Determine Your Message
What do you want to communicate to your target audience? Once you know who you are speaking to, it is much easier to figure out how to communicate your message. Speaking to different groups of people, whether it be age, gender, race, etc., entails different language and strategy.
Bonus: if you are trying to sell your audience something, whether it be a free offer or your services directly, here is a straightforward 3-step formula that you can follow.
1. Create pain. Tell them how their situation is terrible.
2. Aggravate pain. Twist the knife a little and scare them with how much worse the situation can be, if not solved correctly.
3. Solve pain. Explain to them how you can immediately alleviate the pain.
Step 3: Set a Specific Goal
Marketing plans that do not work towards specific goals and will ultimately fail. Without having direction, the “plan” will be aimless and lead nowhere. You must begin with the end in mind.
Take this time to create goals for your law firm. Do this without setting limitations on yourself. If you believe a goal is impossible to achieve, then that will become your reality. What business goals do you want to accomplish in the next year? My law firm’s current marketing plans are to launch a referral-specific newsletter, a new podcast series, and to improve conversions on our practice area pages.
Depending on where you are with your marketing, your law firm’s marketing goals may be similar to mine. However, I have been working to continually improve and strengthen marketing in my law firm for over a decade now. If you are just starting, your goals should focus on lead generation, like creating a referral system or writing a free report.
Step 4: Define Success
To know whether or not you are on track to meet your goals, you need to define what success looks like for the marketing campaign. Let’s say your goal is to increase the number of signed clients for dog bite-related injuries by 40% by the end of this calendar year.
Success, of course, is reaching that goal. But it’s unwise to wait until the end of this calendar year to see if you made the goal, which is why you need objective measures along the way to ensure you are on track. So, how many new cases do you need each month?
Step 5: Create an Action Plan
Once you have a goal, create a plan on how to achieve it. No matter how far-fetched a goal may seem, if you design a plan with the sole purpose of achieving the goal, it can be done.
How much money will you need to spend on advertising? How many leads will you need per month to read the goal? How many of those leads will you need to convert? I know it’s dull for some people (me included) to focus on the numbers, but doing the quick math to establish success measurements is vital for the success of a marketing plan.
Beyond the numbers, what platforms does your marketing perform best? Do you want to focus on direct mail or digital marketing? How can you acquire a list to market toward?
Take one business goal you have, and then create a plan of action to achieve the goal within a year.
Step 6: Implement Your Idea
Not much to add about this step. You have a well-thought-out and well-planned marketing campaign. Now it’s time to follow through on your plans. Once the campaign has been implemented, you or a staff member needs to check the progress regularly to measure if you on track towards meeting your goals. You may be surprised to find that what you considered a weak marketing campaign is converting exceptionally well, while a “homerun” campaign is providing lackluster results.
Step 7: Refine Your Plan
When you are checking on the performance of your marketing campaign, you should be continually looking for ways to improve. A marketing strategy that was successful in the beginning may slowly bring fewer positive results because the same people are shown the same message over and over again. Sometimes, switching up the headline, copy, or offer can be a quick fix.
Refining a failing strategy may involve more time, energy, and money. If a marketing campaign is performing poorly, regroup, re-strategize, and implement a new plan to reach the same goal. Either way, no marketing plan is perfect from the start and will need a few changes here and there along the way.
Most attorneys start their firms assuming that being a really, really good attorney should, in and of itself, be a marketing advantage. Those attorneys believe that joining a whole bunch of committees and putting their name in lawyer directories is “marketing,” and they never bother to ask if there is a better way.
Attorneys are catching on, however, and those who succeed learn to leverage their current resources to create effective (and ethical) marketing. What they discover isn’t a magic pill or silver bullet but a different approach to marketing that your competitors haven’t considered.
by Ben Glass
Ben is a nationally recognized expert in attorney marketing and the owner of Great Legal Marketing.