Evaluating Your Marketing Efforts
Your law firm’s website, social media accounts, newsletters, sponsorships, proposals and presentations are all marketing efforts, aimed ultimately at getting new clients or cementing relationships with existing ones.
But all too often, firms take a scattershot approach to marketing. Many firms don’t have a business development plan or strategy at all, making it impossible to evaluate whether marketing efforts are achieving their goals. Other firms split marketing expenses among a number of budget categories, making it hard to see what’s actually being spent to market the firm.
These practices can cause law firms to waste time and money on marketing initiatives that don’t help build business.
Making a Plan
To effectively assess your marketing efforts, you should have a marketing plan in place that identifies your business development goals as specifically as possible. Then you can break each goal into steps and consider which marketing channels and activities will help you accomplish each step. For example, if you want to expand your firm’s representation of wealthy estate planning clients, your goal might be to get more referrals from financial professionals. Your initial step toward that goal might be to connect with as many of these professionals as possible. You might speak at events they attend, become active in a trade organization, or publish articles of interest to them.
Because you have identified concrete goals, you’ll be able to measure whether you have met them. How many financial professionals did you connect with? How much have you followed up? Who is a potential referral source? Remember that marketing is largely about developing relationships, and not all marketing efforts will lead to a new client right away.
Because good marketing requires consistent effort, your firm’s marketing plan should identify specific steps that you plan to take. Creating this sort of roadmap makes it far easier to plan your activities and follow through with them. And your attorneys and staff can be held accountable for their roles in the overall marketing effort.
Tracking and Evaluating Your Efforts
To evaluate your marketing, you must first have a system for tracking them. CRM, or customer relations management, software, can help with this, as can website and social media analytics. These tools can help you accumulate hard data: how many new email subscribers did you get? How much was that article read and shared? How many pitches and presentations did your attorneys make? Track everything you can, including things like email open rates, website click through rates, new matters resulting from events and CLEs, and proposal award rates.
Your attorneys are also important sources of information, since they know what sorts of relationships they have developed, what meetings they have had, and how likely these are to lead to new or stronger client relationships.
Finally, it is important to quantify how much time is spent on each business development activity and compare it to the results received. A blog that takes four hours of attorney time each week but is seldom read or shared is a poor investment. Rethink activities that take a lot of time but don’t get results, and put more energy into the types of activities that are effective at bringing in business.