There’s an Elephant in the Room that many law firm marketing “experts” don’t want to talk about. It’s this:
ALL Marketing is a gamble.
Every campaign, no matter how well planned, has a risk of not generating its intended result. Of costing you money with nothing to show for it.ALL Marketing is a gamble. Click To Tweet
Top-notch consultants mitigate this risk through market research, audience targeting, copywriting, optimization, and any number of other skills and techniques. But the risk never drops to zero, and even the best marketers fall on their face from time to time. There’s no way to predict with certainty whether anything will work until it’s out in the world.
This shouldn’t be surprising. You know it instinctively. If there was no risk in marketing, money would be no object. You’d happily pay any consultant fee, because the campaign would bring you guaranteed clients and profits. And the “experts” wouldn’t have to make wild claims to overcome your natural distrust.
This is the great dilemma for solos and small-firms. You NEED to market your business, but you also NEED it to work.
Here are three ideas to keep in mind when planning your law firm marketing…
1. TEST with an Affordably Small Budget
You must be willing to sacrifice initial profits to gather feedback from your marketing.
It’s great if your campaign immediately starts bringing you high-value clients. But most need some period of “dial-in” before they become profitable. Until you have the data to know where you could make changes, you need to be prepared to lose money.
Actually, this isn’t losing money at all. It’s research. It’s buying the information that tells you what works and what doesn’t, what you can improve through optimization, and when you should cut your losses and try something else.
Of course, you should never spend more on this testing and research than you can afford to lose.
For clients who are new to online marketing, I always recommend a small, modest campaign to start. You pay less in setup fees so you can maximize your ad budget and gather valuable data more quickly. We then use the data to optimize the campaign to improve results and reduce costs. Or scrap it before you throw good money after bad.Never spend more on testing your marketing than you can afford to lose. Click To Tweet
2. TRACK Everything
Of course, if you’re running a test campaign to collect data, you need to know what data to collect.
Online Marketing is perfect for this. With the appropriate tools in place, you can track responses against your advertising costs, in most cases down to the penny. It’s very easy to calculate your return on investment (ROI).
One thing to be careful of is the metrics you decide to use in calculating ROI. Inexperienced marketers get obsessed with “vanity metrics” like click-through-rates and website hits.
What you should track is Cost-per-Lead and Cost-per-Client. As long as these are lower than the lifetime value of a client to your business, your marketing is doing its job!
3. EDUCATE YOURSELF in Law Firm Marketing
Lawyers seem to especially vulnerable to being burned by so-called marketing “professionals”. Buried in client work and lacking confidence, they hand their marketing off to anyone who seems like they know what they’re doing.
Look, this is YOUR practice, and YOUR money. Even when testing a new marketing campaign, YOU need some confidence that the ads will succeed. The only way to get this confidence is to understand what techniques are being used, and why they work.
You also need to learn how to follow-up with your prospects. Depending on your campaign, leads can have very different paths to becoming clients. Many consultants will tell you it’s their job to get you leads, and what you do with them is your business. A consultant who really cares about growing your business will help you with the whole client acquisition process.
So, demand more from your marketing professionals! They MUST be able to explain to you HOW a method works and WHY they set up your campaigns in a certain way. In plain English too, not “marketing speak”. And DON’T rely only on case studies, no matter how incredible the reported results. The success of one campaign doesn’t automatically transfer to all others.A consultant who really cares about growing your business will help you with the whole client acquisition process. Click To Tweet
You don’t need to become an expert copywriter, or a Google AdWords wizard. But you should learn enough to make intelligent decisions about your campaigns. If your consultant doesn’t help you learn, or even hides their methods from you, then you need to reconsider that relationship.
Marketing sometimes doesn’t work. Real experts apply themselves to understanding why, and explaining it to you. They don’t shrug their shoulders, blame the audience and move on to the next contract.
Protect yourself by learning some law firm marketing basics!