Successful marketing tactics that do not require investing a significant amount of time or money… Heck yeah, I want some of that!
This is the first of a four-part series on enhancing your marketing results without breaking the bank, and as important, without a massive investment of your billable resources time.
This post highlights what we consider to be the foundation for delivering marketing results with a limited budget. The next three posts will examine each pillar in more detail.
Pillar One: We have discussed in prior posts the importance of understanding your financial results from three angles: Firmwide, by Practice Area and by Individual Attorney.
No matter what the size of your firm is, these benchmarks allow the ability to track your results and progress.
Key metrics to understand are:
- Revenues per Lawyer: This is a pretty simple calculation (Total Revenue / Number of attorneys.) Depending upon your practice mix, this can be an important comparison point. At a minimum, it is an important metric from which you can analyze your progress;
- Profits per Partner: Again simple to calculate and a barometer of your progress to grow firm profitability (Total Profit before partner compensation / Number of partners.); and
- Costs per attorney: Depending upon your financial system, this piece of the analysis can be tricky and may take some help to create the model. Essentially, you need to review your costs and split them into two buckets: Fixed Costs and Variable Costs. This grouping will help you build out a formal financial analysis, and is the foundation for calculating profitability.
- Fixed costs should be grouped as costs that “keep the doors open.”; and
- Variable costs are just that. Variable in that they can be attributed to specific attorneys, or areas of practice.
Cost of doing this? The answer is dependent upon the level of expertise you have in-house. Once the model is created, it is very simple to reproduce the analysis.
More on what to do with these critical analysis points later…
Pillar Two: Implement a system for easily communicating with those individuals important to your practice: Clients, Prospects and Referral Sources.
The thought of doing newsletter, articles, blogs, etc. can be daunting for most firms. Erase those thoughts for the moment and review how easy and cost effective it can be to develop a regular process for communicating with your contacts.
- Gather your contacts: You have them all over the place and you just need to take the time to:
- Export your email contacts: Just export them all and then smash them together in a spreadsheet. Microsoft excel has a simple way to remove the duplicates. Then review them and remove the funky contacts and personal contacts. THIS IS NOT HARD TO DO;
- Look at your other systems: They are there you just need to look. Holiday card lists, financial system, case management system, intake docs, word documents, et al. You just need to find them.
- Set up a system that allows you to manage the contacts and create emails. Again, this can be daunting for some, but it is quite easy. There are many to choose from and are inexpensive and in some cases FREE. If you need help doing this, just ask;
- Create a calendar of when you will communicate. Start off committing to once a month, as you “get into the process” you can increase the frequency if you chose to; then
- Communicate: One of the hardest things to convey to our clients is you do not need to create a treatise every month. You simply need to share your thoughts on relevant subjects concisely. Unless the topic is earth shattering, your readers do not want to get a novelette from you each month. Some examples:
- Recent results: This one is easy;
- Curated articles: Reference a piece written by others, or important changes in the law and provide your unique insight:
- A taste of your expertise: Depending upon your practice mix, highlight best practice to mitigate future or current issues.
Cost of doing this? There will be an initial investment in gathering your contacts and setting up the system, but that cost is negligible. The monthly subscription cost is also very inexpensive.
HOWEVER, don’t focus on these costs. Everything you read says the ROI from effective and consistent communication is incredible. Your results will speak for themselves.
Assume on the high-side these costs are $5,000 per year (you won’t spend that much), how many new matters will it take for you to break-even on this investment?
One? In actuality, it is probably less than one…
This is what we do, so if you need help with this important aspect of sharing your expertise, just ask.
Pillar Three: Is your expertise visible?
What the fork does that even mean?
Well, it means you need to review and determine if the capabilities of your firm are 1) visible; 2) accurate; and 3) compelling to people outside your firm, in either electronic or print formats.
Time to check and verify that directories, your website and other collateral material to ensure they are in order.
- Electronic Directories: There are so many out there (Martindale, FindLaw, Nola, Avvo, Best, etc.) depending upon your practice some are more important than others. I have yet to find a client where the information is complete and accurate. CHECK THEM, the results will surprise you.
Cost of doing this? $0! Have a staff person do it. If you are a solo shop and need help, just ask.
Website: Review your website and look for these key elements:
- Is it current?
- Does it highlight your capabilities?
- Is it visibly appealing?
- Does it convey the proper image of your firm?
- It is readable from a mobile device?
If based upon your review you find your firm’s website is lacking in any of these items, you need to invest in an update.
Cost of doing this? A rough guesstimate depending upon the state of your website is hard to provide without an analysis, but you can assume $1,000 – $5,000 depending upon the size of your firm (# of attorneys and practice areas to be profiled.) Call us for a no-cost evaluation.
Marketing Collateral: Again, when most of you think about Marketing Collateral, you immediately conjure up the image of a big glossy brochure that costs big bucks and is out of date before it is printed.
This is not what we are talking about. Answer these questions:
- Do you have easily accessible information on your practice areas and individual attorneys that can be consolidated at a moment’s notice to respond to a client or prospect inquiry?
- Do you have a “leave behind or takeaway” which is concise and attractive? Not talking about a firm brochure here, but a set of single or double-sided attractive materials.
- Do you have a one-page CV of all your attorneys?
If you not, you consider creating these materials, or having someone do it for you. The simple process of putting together a set of materials in document form that can be printed or sent via email, that includes: a description of what you do, who does it, and the results you have achieved in the past (with appropriate disclaimers of course) can be very powerful.
Cost of doing this? The cost is negligible, but for those that are concerned about this investment, yu should assume no more than $100 per page. You can do the math yourself (# of practice areas + # of attorneys + Firm Overview + Results, multiplied by $100)
Hopefully, this post has peaked your interest, has your brain churning around some of these important fundamental tactics/ideas, and provided some insight into the costs of enhancing your firm’s profitability and marketing success.
Stay tuned over the course of the next two weeks as we delve deeper into the details of each of these areas.
If it is abundantly clear that you need to take action today, well, then do it!
If you need assistance to get started, call us at (510) 912-0929, click the link below or send an email to request a no-cost consultation.