By Harlan Schillinger.
What you don’t know, you don’t know. You’ve probably heard that phrase before. But for lawyers, it’s especially apropos. Because along with big attorney egos come big misses, even at some of the top law firms in the country.
When business is good, lawyers ignore marketing strategy, right?
Lawyers deal with what is only in front of them.
They’re getting leads, booking clients and winning cases. That can lead to three dangerous thoughts:
- I’ve got everything else figured out.
- I’ve got so much business coming in that I don’t need to invest in putting anything out there.
- How can I take on more clients, I am so busy now?
That’s a mistake. And it could come back to bite your whole practice. Inevitably a dry spell will come. You may start attracting the wrong kinds of clients. And cases won’t convert the way they used to.
If you continue to ignore modern legal marketing, you will become a dinosaur. Eventually, your practice may be perceived as extinct. Want to stay alive — and thrive? You must stay current on these key marketing strategies.
1| Competitive analysis
How does your firm stack up against other attorneys in your practice areas? You have to know what other law firms are doing so you can outplay them in the existing market. Can you market differently in 2019? Can you test an advertising avenue that others haven’t?
How to improve: Ask your advertising firm to gather as much competitive media and market data as possible. Constantly monitor other lawyers’ TV commercials. By knowing competitors’ marketing and advertising strategies, you can plan smarter and make your approach proactive rather than reactive. Find out what they are NOT doing.
2| Intake & conversion
Few law firms have formalized front desks, intake systems, and software to adequately track, monitor and follow up on the leads they are generating. Additionally, if your firm is investing in popular PPC campaigns or broadcast advertising to obtain valuable leads, it’s a total waste not to track how those leads actually convert. You must have CRM Tracking software such as LeadDocket.com in place to find out what you don’t know.
How to improve: “Secret shop” your firm or record your incoming new calls. Dial your intake or front desk people to get a sense of tone, process, and follow-up procedures. See what’s effective and what you need to change. Likewise, follow up on “no-shows.” A lot of lawyers use the excuse that if a lead was booked but the person never showed up for an appointment, it wasn’t a case the firm wanted anyway. But is that really true? You paid for that lead. At least learn why they didn’t show. Actually, they probably went somewhere else.
3| Metrics & measurability
Ever heard of the 2% difference? Lead-generation research shows that a margin as small as 2% can make a big difference in the competitive legal industry. So what are top firms doing slightly better than you? How you can leverage your brand’s advantages or attributes to gain even a small edge?
How to improve: Put a tracking system in place. Leverage free web-based programs or engage your legal marketing agency to read and report on the metrics that tie directly to ROI. Your best option is to install great CRM tracking software. Again, it will tell you what you don’t know. Are there major gaps in your conversion rates? Real ROI insight comes from measuring. Metrics can provide a clear understanding of how your marketing dollars are paying you back.
The truth is; What You Don’t Know You Don’t Know. Software is your best option. Anything else, you’re kidding yourself, Sorry.
Sure, friends’ feedback, regular referrals, and big case wins can prove that you’re pretty good at what you do. But money, greed, egos and other external vices can blind us to reality. Do you truly understand how the public perceives your law firm? Do you know how the community identifies with the messages you are sending?
How to improve: Start investigating whether you have the right reputation—and how you can shift marketing to get the one you want. For example, use positive things people are saying about your firm right now—through referrals from past clients, online reviews, social media chatter—to fuel and shape public perception. Google Reviews is a Must!
To avoid extinction, you have to be proactive in marketing. Having strategic vision requires studying the competition; looking at key performance indicators; drilling down on digital analytics; having the resources at hand to try something different when whatever was working isn’t working anymore; and always, always, executing with under the right intelligence.
Make sure you are working with an agency or advertising guru that tracks, works hard and is willing to try new things. Ask the tough questions about your agency. Loyalty is great. Just make sure you are working with the right people.
You, and only you, are responsible for the marketing you put out—and the cases you take in. You get what you ask for and remember, The Value of the case is everything.
Harlan has worked with more than 120 law firms in over 98 markets throughout North America. Currently, he is consulting privately only with lawyers who share his vision of increasing business, being accountable and obtaining high-value cases. He takes, perhaps, the most unique and accountable approach to Intake and conversion.
Currently, Harlan is working with and in charge of business development Glen Lerner Injury Attorneys. With offices nationally, Glen has one of the largest and most successful plaintiff’s practices in America. The firm already takes on well over 1,500 cases a month, and Harlan is positioning the firm for even more growth.