Dust Off Your Marketing Plan: 6 Steps to Accomplish Your Goals by Year-End
The second half of the year seems to fly by faster than the first, and January will be here before you know it. With six months left in 2018, it’s an ideal time to revisit your marketing wish list from the beginning of the year. Are you on track to accomplish everything by December 31, or did you get sidetracked and never got going on particular goals? If you want to build more momentum for your firm for the remainder of the year, now is the time for a marketing reset. Here’s why:
- You can see six months ahead more clearly than looking ahead 12 months, and create a more detailed plan.
- Knowing you only have six months left to accomplish this year’s goals can prompt action. You need to get moving.
- You have six months of history. Ideally, information you’ve tracked, e.g., where your leads are coming from, what’s in the pipeline, etc. However, even if it’s “all in your head,” you have a sense of the past six months and what still needs to be put into motion.
The marketing questions you want to ask yourself now are no different than the ones you might have asked yourself at the end of last year. However, you have the benefit of seeing what’s working (so you can do more of it during the second half of the year), and you can tweak what’s not working and bring in better results for the remaining six months.
The following checklist examines some of the key marketing tactics to implement in the coming months to meet your 2018 objectives, or at least make significant inroads.
- Data Assessment: Tracking Leads & Conversions
Do you know where your best new business leads come from – not, where does your new business come from, but the genesis of prospective clients who turn into new business? If you say that relationships are the best source of new business, back up a step. Where does the opportunity for those new relationships come from?
Often, firms think tracking requires a complicated, expensive integration system that involves all your email, website and other programs working together. While many terrific software programs are available, selecting and implementing one can seem overwhelming. Don’t let lack of a complex program keep you from tracking, and avoid using it as an excuse. The truth is you don’t need anything more sophisticated than an Excel spreadsheet to get started.
- Identifying Opportunities: Speaking, Networking, Conferences and Articles
Now that you’ve taken a closer look at where your prospective client leads are coming from, and which are actually turning into revenue, you can focus your attention on the marketing activities that will continue to support new business generation. Identifying opportunities to network, speak and write in the coming months will allow you to calendar the planning that needs to be done to get as much marketing mileage for each activity as you can.
Marketing activities should not be done on the fly. In doing so, you run the risk of making investments that won’t provide an ROI and you will almost certainly end up being inconsistent or overlooking important opportunities.
- Holiday Marketing: Game Plan and Database Clean Up
In December, a common theme among many firms is swearing that next year, they won’t be scrambling to get their holiday card and gift lists cleaned up. Next year has arrived! Take steps now to determine your game plan, and start implementing it. It’s never too early to start setting the wheels in motion, especially if you’d like to do something different this year.
This time of year is perfect for focusing on getting your database in shape but don’t make the mistake of limiting your clean-up efforts to the subset of holiday card recipients. It’s much more efficient to use this opportunity to scrub the entire database. Wouldn’t it be great to start a new year with a database you can actually use to make a difference in your business?
- 2019 Marketing Plan: Strategy, Tactics and Budget
Is your 2018 marketing plan collecting dust or simply never got finished because work or family obligations got in the way? Getting a jump start on your marketing plan well before the end of the year will give you time to write down what you want to accomplish, and how you’re going to get there. This forces you to think through your ideas and provides the stimulus to make them happen.
Take some time to think about what has been working or not, and then analyze results. If the paid advertising you did last year was a flop, it’s time to cut it (or at least rethink it). But if you’re seeing results from your social media campaign, maybe it’s time to put a little more money behind it. Don’t do anything simply because it’s easy or because you’ve always done it. Take an honest look at your law firm’s marketing activities, and don’t shy away from pulling the plug when something’s not working, no matter how much you want it to.
- State of Your Online Marketing: Website and Social Media
Was 2018 the year you were going to launch a new website or upgrade your firm’s social media presence, but it got put on the backburner? Your website is vital to the credibility of your business, and provides another opportunity to tell your story and share your expertise with prospective clients and referral sources. The same is true for social media. If both remain static into the new year, you’re missing out on a chance to leverage your firm’s capabilities and successes, and potentially losing business.
Yes, redoing a website or undertaking a social media campaign can be a Herculean task, but getting a new website up (or updating the current one) or leveraging the power of social media are critical. Your website and social media may be the first point of contact prospective clients have with your offerings, so it’s important to make a good impression. And once both are up and running, it’s mandatory to continue the process of enhancing each so they reflect your firm in the best way possible.
- State of Your Visuals: Marketing Materials
Similar to your website, your marketing materials allow you to paint a larger picture of who your firm is and what sets it apart from competitors. Because developing or redesigning materials can be time consuming and potentially costly, it’s often easier to continue handing out the same firm brochure or one-sheet year after year. Websites, newsletters and other marketing materials are evolutionary. Developing one template or look that will work for the life of the firm is not realistic.
If it’s been a while since you created your marketing materials, it’s time to assess whether they are the best representation of your current firm. Are the most recent successes from ten years ago? Have you added a practice area not reflected in the materials? Is the design consistent with your website and other marketing materials? In a world with so many ways to market your firm, it’s important to take a step back and think about your marketing collateral and ensure that it reflects how you want the firm to be represented.
It’s never too early or too late to plan and undertake marketing. Successful business professionals know that marketing to reach business development goals can generate results no matter when you start. And if you want a better second half of the year, start now!
Watch our webinar “Marketing Reset: 5 Steps to Repower Your Mid-Year Marketing” for additional tips to ramp-up on your marketing and your motivation to get it done. View webinar.
Sharon Berman is the founder and Managing Principal of Berbay Marketing & Public Relations, a Los Angeles-based firm specializing in creating the visibility and credibility that fuel revenue growth for law firms. She may be contacted at (310) 405-7345 or firstname.lastname@example.org.