Does your firm have a marketing strategy? If you do, it probably isn’t being carried out. If it is, you’re pretty rare. I am not sure what word or phrase I prefer when talking about marketing but whatever you call it, I have realized you need a strategy in place to help guide your success. It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive, but it does need to be targeted, measurable and consistent.
I first tested this strategic marketing approach as Director of Membership at the Cincinnati Bar Association. Managing the growth of membership is very similar to managing client relationships in a law firm. My theory was that if the process was targeted and measured, I could figure out the most successful methods for recruiting new members and retaining existing members. I developed and implemented strategic membership recruitment & retention campaigns which included a two-part process:
- Attraction Marketing: Campaigns to attract potential members;
- Retention Marketing: Ideas/strategies for retaining happy, satisfied members who renewed, stayed involved and became my best recruiters.
Now working in the law firm world, I can draw parallels between membership retention/recruitment and client/business development. It costs more to get new clients and you need to learn how to retain before you focus on getting new clients. If you don’t have the plan to retain in place, you’ll never gain the enormous financial benefit of new work from former clients or referrals from past clients.
Identifying the Steps:
Identify touch points which are ways to consistently be marketing. In Ann Guinn’s book – Minding Your Own Business – she identifies 4 steps with the majority of the time/money focused on retaining the clients you already have.
- Attraction Marketing, the pre-hire phase to increase firm visibility and get new clients;
- Retention Marketingto focus on your current clients who will come back for other legal services and refer you:
- Initial consultation – marketing to potential clients acquired from your attraction marketing strategies;
- During representation – marketing continually to demonstrate the value of your services to your client;
- After representation – identify and implement ideas that keep you in front of them for more work or for referring you to a friend, relative, co-worker.
So you are marketing to your clients before you meet them and continue to market to them during and after the engagement creating a full circle, a continuous flow.
Creating the Process to Track Success:
You need to be able to track the success of a recruitment campaign and measure your return on investment. The only way you will be able to effectively accomplish this is by capturing the data. In the end you should be able to answer:
- What was the most effective tactic implemented – which one yielded the most new clients;
- How much did it cost and how much revenue was generated from these new clients.
It’s essential to educate everyone in the firm on what you are implementing and why. Your receptionist will be a key piece to your success in collecting and tracking your marketing campaigns. Your ability to track and measure is only as good as the data you collect. Here is a simple Excel spreadsheet showing a coding/tracking method. These fields can be added to your client database system also.
Start small, identify one or two targets areas, write your plan and do something really crazy – put it to work.
Peggy Gruenke, Chief Operating Officer and Business Development, firstname.lastname@example.org More articles available on my blog LawBizCOO.