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1: What is a strategic marketing plan?

This training session is focused on the strategic marketing plan you need in your law practice.

Marketing plans are crucial for the growth and profitability of all businesses. Let’s not forget that first and foremost your law firm is a business. It’s hard for any of us to know where we are going and what we want to achieve without a plan in place. It’s even harder to evaluate where your efforts are paying off with increased clients and revenue, and where you should redirect your valuable time, energy and money, if you haven’t established a baseline first.

We know you’re a busy attorney and the truth is you don’t have time and money to waste. It’s important we learn what marketing formula works for you so we can direct your efforts where they will make the biggest impact. In this training session, we are going to walk you through how to create a strategic marketing plan for your law practice and how to use it throughout the year to get results.

2: Do I really need to plan?

After the business plan, the strategic marketing plan is usually one of the first law practice management components that is ignored.  While initially you might not know how to create one (and we’re going to address that in this training session), we find even lawyers who create great marketing campaigns don’t follow through with them when things get busy in their firms. This logic, however, is counterintuitive as the influx of clients and the luxury of steady growth is usually the direct result of the efforts put in on implementing the strategic marketing plan.

Warning, warning, warning… ignore the marketing plan and marketing itself, at your peril.

We often see firms enthusiastically jump into the strategic planning process and actively interacting in their community with a commitment to steady growth, only to pull back from their continuous (and anticipated) efforts in the upcoming months when things get busy.  As a result, with no continued marketing impact, they lose the TOMA they so carefully generated and business decreases. One of the first questions we ask when they are concerned about the lack of business is  – when was the last time they looked at the marketing plan or spent the implementation time it needed on a monthly basis? The honest answer is the strategic planning was pushed aside when things became busy and there was the luxury of steady growth.

We understand busy.  Your law firm will always be a busy place. Even in “slow” months, you will have work to do and that work will create great excuses for not getting things done. Your strategic marketing plan is your commitment, your lifeline to a thriving practice. It is your chance to hold your feet to the fire and it is there to keep you accountable for putting work in – even in your best and busiest months.

3: Let’s Get Training!
In this section, you will find our recent webinar on this topic. We have a clean recording for you right here to watch in case you missed the live session, available to you 24 / 7 / 365. Want to look at our calendar of live educational training sessions? Click this link to look at what training sessions  are coming up on the education calendar.

4: Highlights from the Practice Development Webinar!

We have the highlights from the webinar right here! This section has our favorite parts, attendee’s favorite sections, and the take-aways we think you should have on-hand. Check out these excerpts from the transcript:

“The strategic marketing plan, so often, is one of the law practice management tools that goes off your radar as a busy practicing lawyer. You forget about the fact that we need to have that plan in place to move you forward,  your goals reached, and to reach your productivity boost. With business plans, marketing plans and really any planning tools like handbooks, manuals, and policies, in law firms, they are the first things that go out the window when you get so very busy…but you need to adjust your mindset to make sure that you can have these foundational pieces in place. If we don’t have the foundation, the groundwork, the baseline, if we don’t know where we’re starting from, it’s hard to grow… we don’t think about having this plan in place and measuring those statistics and metrics and tactics we need to reach our goals….

….we want to make sure you have a plan in place to implement and follow and act on to make sure that you have that trajectory that you need for your firm to grow, to know what works, and sometimes what doesn’t, what we need to revisit or what needs to go back to the drawing board.Even for those of you who have very steady business coming into your firm, there’s always room to grow. We want to think about what your goals are, not just this year but well into the future… How do we improve on them? How do we solidify them? How do we strengthen them with objectives and tactics and implementation to make sure that you get where you’re going? Where do you need to put your time in because you do have a limited amount of time? Where do we put your marketing spend when you have a limited budget? Where do you put those things in in order to get the most ROI, the most return on investment? …

Part of this marketing plan is to really know when you drive business to your firm where is it going. I work with many attorneys who will say, “Well, it’s going to my firm, and I practice family law,” or “I practice elder law,” or “I practice criminal defense.” That’s a practice area. You need to dive down and get into the nitty-gritty of how you operate. What are your legal services? What do you charge? How do we get business to those specific legal services? What does the cost of acquisition look like for each legal service?

If you haven’t had that deep dive into your operations, now is the time.  We want to do that because we want to make sure that you’re profitable on the law practice management side which will directly impact the marketing side. When you say, “People come to me for estate planning,” it’s not enough. We need to dive deeper into that service and say, “Well, what are you doing, charging, offering in estate planning?” Estate planning can mean many things… I really want you to dive into your operations as we’re thinking about this for your marketing plan. What are your legal services? What are your practice areas? Where have we seen that three part of that equation analysis? Where have we seen growth, success, and analysis this past year? …

… I want to walk you through our strategic marketing plan. You’re going to start with your goal. In the next couple of slides, I’m going to give you some marketing goal examples, so you can get comfortable with them and how you will write them yourself. You could just go from goals straight into your strategies (but you would be missing a key ingredient).  The key ingredient is the“why” in what you are doing in your practice. The “why” is extremely important!  You’re going to write your goals, but why do those goals for your law practice matter?  Why are you taking your valuable time to do this?

From your goals, you’re going to go to the why your goals matter to you. Then we’re going to support your goals with strategies.  From there, we support the strategies with tactics, tactics that we’re going to follow that will make the strategies happen. Next is implementation. So often, I see plans that have strategies and tactics but no implementation, no timeline, no action. We have to have that implementation. If you don’t, you will never get it done because, again, you’re too busy, you don’t have time to implement.  You move on to the next work crisis because implementation isn’t easy. ..

…Next add in that evaluation time monthly and then quarterly. We’re going to look at that as we go forward…”

5: Evaluation time: Where are you right now?
A marketing baseline in your firm is crucial to your overall success and profitability. You need to know where you are to see real results in your practice, otherwise, you won’t be able to measure where to spend your time and money effectively. If you don’t have years of historical data, however, do not be discouraged. Commit to gathering this information going forward in your law firm.

These are our six best practice questions to get you started in a meaningful evaluation of where you are in your law practice marketing.

  1. Did you follow a marketing plan this year? Include when you created it and gauge how closely you followed it throughout the year.
  2. Who worked on your strategic marketing plan with you? Identify where you implemented roles and tasks to complete specific tactics.
  3. How frequently did you assess your progress? Describe any successes or corrections you implemented as a result of your evaluation.
  4. Were your goals met? Exceeded? Not a good fit?
  5. What were your best sources of business? Describe the practice areas and legal services that generated the best return on investment. Where possible identify the cost of acquisition.
  6. How would you gauge your community saturation?
6: Practice42’s 4 Part Approach
We want you to use a strategic, practical marketing plan in your law firm that embraces all four sides of a robust marketing campaign. As you build your plan in the next section, remember to include each of the four sides in your strategies and tactics sections. The four sides we want all of our attorneys and their teams building momentum in are:

  1. Seminars and Events
  2. Local Community Network
  3. Client Family Development, and
  4. Integrated Digital Marketing
7: Putting the strategic marketing plan together in your firm
No matter where you are in your law practice, the marketing plan can feel like a daunting undertaking.  Many of the lawyers we work with feel it is something that is intangible, we’ve even had a few attorneys equate it with magic.  We’re here to tell you it is not magic.

Instead, it is a very tangible business tool. You simply need to know how to create the business plan and use it going forward in your law firm. This is not to say it will be completely without difficulty and uncertainty as you begin.  The marketing plan can be hard for us because we’re not marketers, we’re lawyers.  Most of us didn’t go to business school or communication school.  We went to law school, which makes us excellent lawyers, but we don’t necessarily know the tactics and strategies that come together to help us reach our goals.

Our goal is to give you a Strategic Marketing Plan you can use. As with all the things we do at practice42, we want to enable you to develop a practical approach to the marketing plan to run your law firm.  We want you to be able to use this practical marketing plan, thereby consistently raising your community visibility, which will get more potential clients in your door to meet with you and will generate more revenue over the course of the next year.

What are the elements of a practical, strategic marketing plan for your firm? Click here to download practice42’s Strategic Marketing Plan Template to use toward your success.

Need more? Download our 6 Step Strategic Marketing Process infographic.

8: Additional Resources that accompany this Practice Development section
Whenever we have a training session, we find it gives rise to numerous other topics and resources that can significantly help you in your law practice. Here is our list of additional materials you may want to consider that accompany Your Firm’s Strategic Marketing Plan: A 4-Part Approach to Reaching Your Law Practice Goals training section. These resources may have been mentioned during the training directly, plus a few we know can be of assistance based on questions from our clients.

The REAL Business Plan Your Law Firm Needs

Integrated Digital Marketing Strategy

7 Thank Yous This Holiday Season

Bar Meeting Survival Guide

In this specific training section, we also include external resources you may want to check out to assist you in your paperless journey:

Start with Why By: Simon Sinek (Available on Amazon)

It’s Not About You By: Bob Burg and John David Mann (Available on Amazon)