As a lawyer in a solo or small firm, you wear many hats. You’re an entrepreneur through and through – often creating a business from the ground up, soliciting work, marketing your services, managing accounting… oh, and actually doing the legal work, too.
Marketing is one area that can overwhelm people who aren’t trained in it, especially as it’s continued to increase in complexity over the past decade. Gone are the days of newspaper ads and billboards being the primary advertising tools for most local businesses like yours. And, even though there are a lot of people using marketing channels like Facebook to connect with friends and family across the world, using these tools for marketing is an entirely different ballgame.
SO HOW AND WHERE SHOULD YOU START?
First things first – you need a marketing plan. A marketing plan will provide you with a roadmap for all things marketing, and should include the following elements:
1. SITUATION ANALYSIS – A situation analysis requires research and, well, analysis. It identifies the capabilities of your business, its strengths and weaknesses, as well as internal and external factors that pose opportunities or threats to the firm (usually a SWOT). It should also contain information about your competitors (advantages you have over them and vice versa) and your target audiences (who they are, what they like, what media they consume).
2. OBJECTIVES – Put simply, your objectives should answer the question, “What are you hoping to get from your marketing efforts?” The best marketing objectives are S.M.A.R.T., which stands for Specific – Measurable – Achievable – Relevant – Time-Bound. Basic objectives could include: increase revenue, target new clients, improve your digital presence, etc. Each of these would need to be expanded upon to make them S.M.A.R.T.
3. STRATEGIES– Now that you’ve done your research and identified objectives, it’s time for strategies. Your strategies are the various approaches you’re going to take in order to achieve your objectives. So, if your objective is to target new clients, a strategy might be “create content potential clients will identify with, in order to position our firm as the expert in our area of practice.”
4. TACTICS – Tactics are the actual actions you’re going to take. Continuing the example above, tactics could include: writing blogs about FAQs from clients, submitting articles to publications that your target audience reads, develop client testimonials for social media, etc.
Your plan should be linear, meaning you need the information in step one to inform step two, and so on. There is no set page length for a marketing plan, and it can cover time periods as short as one month or as long as one year.
After you have a plan, it’s important to not only follow it, but also to refer back to it often. It shouldn’t sit on a proverbial shelf collecting dust. It should be living and breathing – edited when something doesn’t work, with objectives being tracked monthly, if not more.
Having a written plan is a requirement for successful marketing. Without it, it can be hard to know how to measure the effectiveness of your efforts, or even if your tactics are right for your target audience.
At OAMIC, we are here to be a resource. Please reach out to us if you have any questions. Oh, and happy planning!