A Guide to Developing Your Legal Marketing Plan
Legal marketing is the lifeblood of a law practice yet we lawyers are not taught how to market. And, as a consequence, attorneys spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about how they can develop legal business. Often the effort is scatter-shot; trying one thing for a while, then trying another. And often one marketing idea sounds so intriguing that the lawyer runs with it without consideration of a strategy, an overall plan, to develop legal business. Wasted time and lost revenues are the result.
I am often asked for a legal marketing plan form. I have seen quite a few and I feel that while they may be helpful, most forms miss the main point: it is the process of making the plan and the thought and effort that is invested that forms the foundation for successful business development. What you actually “do”, the specific actions you take to market your law practice, should be the end result of working through a logical step-by-step process.
In preparing for participation in a panel presentation at the 2013 American Bar Association Annual Meeting I created a Legal Marketing Mindmap. It shows the steps that need to taken to arrive at the point of knowing what to “do” to develop legal business. I encourage you to take a look and evaluate your own marketing efforts with an eye to rethinking how you are marketing currently. With the time constraints attorneys face together with increased competition from fellow lawyers and the new legal/paralegal services websites, you must be strategic in planning your business development efforts.
Once you have become clear on the long term vision for your law practice and determined the gap between your current practice and the law practice you want you are ready to create the legal marketing plan. As you can see from the Mindmap, it has a number of components. First, determine who will be the ideal client for you. Remember, different practice areas may have different ideal clients. Consider the marketing tools that will work the best for attracting your ideal client and which ones will fit well with your personality. Set your marketing time and money budget. Then, and only then, set the specific marketing goals. The goals may be different for different practice areas. List the specific actions you will take to reach each legal marketing goal and the start date and due date for each. Finally, use a written goal tracking system to coordinate your marketing activities and keep you on track.
The best investment you can make in your law practice is to put in the necessary time and effort to develop a comprehensive, clear, and focused legal marketing plan.
HOW WE CAN HELP
First, we can help you step through the development of your marketing plan. It is often hard by yourself to objectively evaluate your law practice, what you want your law practice to be and become clear on the gap between the two. Outside objectivity can be helpful.
Second, in making the decisions about your ideal client, the tools you will use, your marketing budget and a goal tracking system, someone who has done this before, many times, makes this easier. Critical are the action steps and the timing of what to do when. Coordination between your marketing budget with your action steps is especially important.
Third, through regular coaching sessions that help you overcome obstacles, give you encouragement and support and hold you accountable, we will help you stay on track with your marketing plan and achieve your legal marketing goals.