Perhaps the most difficult aspect of implementing an effective marketing strategy is the availability of training protocols. Keeping your law firm competitive means understanding how to effectively market your services.
How can your firm do this and stay current with all of the evolving concepts and tools?
An immediate solution is to look online. While there a numerous sources of training available, these online courses are usually centered on tactical elements. One training course focuses on the best PPC approaches; another focuses on SEO, and still another on blogging. A course covering all important elements is very hard to find.
A better solution to quickly gear up a firm’s marketing function is to adopt a marketing platform that has much of the needed core competence built into it. After a year of trial and error on our own, PerformLaw have recently signed on with HubSpot. The training that come with the software and the availability of top-quality content in e-books, reports, tools, forms, and blogs is over the top.
Much of our decision to commit to Hubspot has to do with our timeline. We are a mature firm with tested services and were ready to grow at an accelerated pace. We believe that this solution will expedite our learning curve and allow us to apply our unique industry knowledge to these native tools.
Consultants, Coaches, and Courses
There are relatively few trainings offered to lawyers on the actual selling process when in front of a real client. While there are marketing consultants available and even marketing coaches who are about the "how to do it" , it is rare to find one actually "doing it" and attending a client meeting with a lawyer. Also available, are selling solutions such as Sandler who has adapted their programs to lawyers and professionals. I have worked with clients who have attended Dale Carnegie courses, and the reported results were good. All of these may be worth checking out.
There a number of really good books on professional selling and one that addresses the actual face time with the client is Let’s Get Real or Let’s Not Play by Mahan Khalsa and Randy Illig, which is available on Amazon. Another important read is The New Rules of Sales and Service by David Meerman Scott, which is also available on Amazon.
Finally, some of the best training an attorney can receive is from the other successful business developers in the firm. Admittedly, training takes more time than some of these potential marketing mentors are able to give, but it is worth the effort of seeking out. Often, these resources are not called upon because of ego considerations. This is a mistake, and those who are able to put down their ego are able to learn.
As mentioned earlier, a serious marketing program will need trained support. For firms large enough to warrant a marketing director, a potential staffing matrix for a 30 lawyer firm may look as follows:
Assuming a $45,000 salary (or comparable market salary) and a 20% benefit load, the cost of this support model, exclusive of the marketing director’s costs, would be about $650 per month per lawyer. Clearly, this approach would require a serious marketing effort to be cost-effective. Additionally, some attorneys may want to opt-out and policies covering that would also be needed, but the staffing would be modulated based on need. Finally, the secretarial and other staffing levels and budgets would likely be reworked to allow for marketing support.
An outsourced approach is also an option for smaller firms or firms preferring not to invest in these processes internally.
The job description for the typical support position would include:
- Blogging support
- Editorial support
- Graphics support
- CRM support
- Research support
- Social media management and promotion
- Referral source outreach
- Lead follow-up.
Our experience is that marketing support is much more effective after an investment period. A number of important things need to be achieved that include the development of a chemistry between the lawyer and the marketing support person, the need for the marketing support person to learn the lawyer’s practice and marketing goals, and the building of basic trust between the marketing support person and the lawyer. My experience is that generic marketing support, while better than no support, is only marginal.