With smaller law firms often lacking a dedicated marketing team, deciding who does what and ensuring that the overall marketing plan moves ahead smoothly can be a challenge. Whether you work with an outsourced marketing partner, handle it all in the firm or combine efforts between internal staff and external professionals, having a solid plan and clearly delineated duties will help you get the most return on your investment in marketing.
Marketing is a broad profession, so creating and implementing an effective marketing strategy requires an equally broad assortment of skills:
- Writing and content development
- Graphic design and layout
- Website management
- Web analytics
- Social media
- Event planning
- Budgeting and prioritizing
- Demographic analysis
The above list is far from inclusive, but it’s enough to illustrate the fact that no one person is likely to possess all the necessary abilities to do a bang-up job of marketing your firm. That being the case, your best approach is involving several team members. Keeping plans on track and balancing the load can be tricky, though. Establishing defined responsibilities, due dates and work flow will not only save time and money, but ensure the comprehensive approach to marketing your law firm deserves. Here are some strategies to help you bring it all together without burying anyone:
- Designate a single person as marketing coordinator. Whether this person is solely responsible or serves as the contact point for an outsourced marketing partner, your plans will flow more smoothly from concept to execution with one person who knows what’s happening and acts as the hub of all marketing activity. Your coordinator must have full access to firm leadership, and for the best results, should participate in most or all high-level meetings for a complete understanding of the firm’s evolving needs and challenges.
- Achieve firm-wide buy-in. In too many law firms, older partners still consider marketing as unnecessary, unseemly or unimportant. When this attitude prevails, marketing fails. Lack of support by a few derails carefully laid plans and ends up wasting the efforts of others. If there are partners or staff who simply will not contribute, accept this and get it out in the open. That way you won’t make plans that depend on their efforts, only to be disappointed when it doesn’t happen.
- Make it easy for everyone to contribute. Since there are so many skills involved in marketing, there are lots of ways to help. The most knowledgeable experts at your firm may have very little time available, but they can probably spare a few minutes to be interviewed for a blog written by someone with a lighter load. Lawyers often pride themselves on their writing, but assign anyone who truly enjoys it and has time to write articles – and have someone else edit the work no matter who writes it. There’s a role for everyone, from creative thinkers to natural networkers to public speakers to techies. Let people contribute in the ways that match their abilities, interests and availability and you’ll see a higher level of enthusiasm as well as better performance.
- Know when to ask for professional help. Some needs will exceed the capabilities of any small law firm, no matter how bright and committed your team. Recognize the plans and projects that would be best completed with outside assistance. Many marketing firms will be happy to work with you on a limited basis to help with creating your initial marketing plan, coaching and managing your marketing staff, acting as temporary CMO, giving project- or issue-specific assistance and whatever else you need. Don’t flail pointlessly when you can save money and avoid stress by hiring an expert to get the job done right – after all, isn’t that what you tell your clients?
Nobody said marketing was easy, but following these guidelines will make it easier. Get organized, get everyone on board in the right areas, and then get serious about your marketing. You can do it!