Have you ever looked for external marketing support only to be overwhelmed by the available choices? Figuring out what you need and where to start is generally what creates the dilemma.
Law firms understand the importance of marketing and business development, but often do not know much about how the various elements of the marketing and business development process should be put into place to best meet their goals.
Most often, they make the error of embarking on tactical marketing before creating a foundation by determining their market positioning, communication points and the other aspects of this process. Although blogs, social media and advertising play their own roles in an overall marketing strategy, merely employing these vehicles does not amount to rolling out a comprehensive strategic plan.
Marketing professionals and firms cover a spectrum of expertise, but each entity has its own sweet spot. It is important to research each option, look at why each is beneficial, what each does and when you should seek a particular kind of firm.
Here is a break down some of marketing options out there for law firms.
A marketing consultant is an outside advisor who most often focuses on a firm’s objectives, strategies and tactics and may or may not do hands-on implementation.
When you should seek a marketing consultant: Are you looking to focus on a particular industry or expand a certain practice area? A marketing consultant or firm can come in and interview partners at your firm to get their perspective, conduct market research to pinpoint opportunities and identify the most profitable areas. They can work with you to develop a marketing plan: what you want to achieve, what strategies you will use and what marketing tactics you will employ to accomplish your goals. A marketing consultant might implement the plan itself or engage a consultant to determine how to get it done.
Branding is about communication. A branding consultant analyzes your brand to ensure you are consistently conveying your message to your target markets verbally, in writing and graphically (the latter being what most professionals associate with branding).
When you should seek a branding consultant: Is your firm thinking of updating its look and messaging? A branding professional would focus on honing your communication points. The end product of this process can be a new logo and look for all your external marketing materials. This may include a tag line or the wording your attorneys use to describe their work or that of the firm. This type of work tends to be project.
A business development coach can help train lawyers how to market, how to focus on their strengths, refine their business goals and objectives, where to network, how to build business relationships, and how and when to ask for business.
When you should see a business development coach: Do your lawyers need help improving their individual business development skills? A business development coach can teach lawyers skills that were never taught in law school, namely how to sell in a professional and effective manner.
A public relations firm aims to create top-of-mind awareness for your firm and its expertise through traditional media channels including social media.
When you should seek a PR firm: Does your firm want to increase its name recognition and become top-of-mind in its target markets? A PR firm positions your lawyers as experts with journalists, so you are quoted in news stories and looks for opportunities for your lawyers to publish bylined articles and obtain speaking engagements.
A social media specialist is responsible for creating and administering content on all social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter, to build your online presence and ensure customer engagement.
When you should seek a social media specialist: Does your firm want to start or strengthen their online presence? A social media specialist can create a strategic plan to help your firm and lawyers get the most out of each platform. They focus on the logistics of delivering content on each channel, monitor metrics to ensure goals are being met, are responsible for managing a content calendar, writing copy, scheduling posts, etc.
There are numerous firms that specialize in a particular tactic, such as website development or search engine optimization. These each bring different benefits depending on the firm and where you are in your marketing lifecycle. The main point is that you want to have your foundation in place before embarking on individual tactics. Your marketing advisor can counsel you as to when it is best to bring such professionals on board and can manage the process for you.
An outside marketing consultant or firm can help reinvigorate or focus your firm’s marketing. While the choice can seem overwhelming, having more insight into the professional expertise available can narrow your search and help you find the professional or firm right for your organization so you can quickly get your marketing underway.