2015 WSSFC Practice Management Track Session 5 Creating a Firm Marketing Plan and Sticking to it

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1 ` 2015 WSSFC Practice Management Track Session 5 Creating a Firm Marketing Plan and Sticking to it Jeffrey S. Krause. Solfecta, Waterford

2 About the Presenter... Jeffrey S. Krause is an attorney and co-owner of Solfecta, LLC, a technology consulting firm, providing technology advice and service to law firms of all sizes. Mr. Krause is a certified consultant for more than a dozen legal technology products including case management, billing, document management, digital dictation and scanning solutions. He can be reached at

3 Creating a Marketing Plan for Your Law Firm (and Sticking to It) What is a Marketing Plan? A marketing plan is similar to a business plan except that it is specific to marketing your business. Like a business plan, you will address what you are currently doing, how successful those efforts are and what you will do to make them more successful. Also, like a business plan, a marketing plan forces you to consider exactly what it is that you are trying to accomplish, set goals and lay out a plan to reach those goals. Finally, just a like a business plan, it is a roadmap for the future. Ethical Considerations (Disclaimer) This presentation is not about the ethics of legal marketing. It may provide examples of how a marketing strategy can be integrated into a marketing plan but that should not be considered a recommendation of any particular strategy. You should be aware of the ethical rules in your jurisdiction with regard to marketing. Like most state bar associations, the State Bar of Wisconsin has resources to assist with ethics questions. What Are You Trying to Accomplish? Before you can create a marketing plan, you need to understand what you are trying to accomplish with your marketing. Are you trying to attract more first time clients or new business from your existing clients? Are you trying to attract clients in a practice area that is new to you? Are you trying to attract individuals or businesses? Ask yourself a lot of questions. If you don t, your plan will be unfocused and you probably won t like the results. See Appendix A for a list of questions to ask yourself as you create your marketing plan. Setting a Marketing Budget How much should you spend on marketing? Most businesses allocate some percentage of revenues. The percentage can vary greatly depending on a number of factors including the industry, size of the business and whether it is new or established. Generally speaking, new businesses spend a higher percentage of their revenue on marketing, something between 3 and 5 percent. More established businesses might spend something in the range of 2 to 3 percent. Smaller businesses usually spend more, perhaps even double these percentages. The reason for this is simple. Marketing dollars, whether spent by a large company or a small company, buy the same amount of marketing. If two businesses spend the same percentage of revenue on marketing, the business that is twice the size will buy twice the marketing. A word of caution. When times are tough, many business look to marketing as a place to cut expenses. This is probably the worst thing to do. First, marketing is what generates new business for your firm. Second, if your competitors cut their marketing in tough times, your marketing has an even bigger impact.

4 Breaking Down Your Business Before we begin our discussion of marketing plans, it might be valuable to consider how marketing effects your business. I have found that the simplest way to break down any business is the Five Ways or Business Chassis used by ActionCoach. Basically, using the Business Chassis, the profitability of any business is the result of Leads times the Conversion Rate times the Average Sale times the Number of Transactions per Customer times your Margin. Simplified, the Business Chassis (with some sample numbers) is: Leads x 100 Conversion % 25% Customers x 25 Average Sale x $ Transactions per Customer 2 Revenue x $50, Margin 50% Profit $25, Look at the business chassis and you will see how integral marketing is to your entire business. The primary function of marketing is to generate leads. It also has a major impact on whether a prospective client is willing to engage you (Conversion Rate) as well as whether they trust your judgment and recommendations (Average Sale) and come back for subsequent matters (Transactions per Customer). If your marketing plan does not address all of these areas, you are not maximizing your business. What Types of Marketing? Traditional Marketing There have always been many ways to market a law firm. These included everything from seeking referrals, to networking, to yellow pages, television and radio advertising. While they might need to be updated for the times, many of these traditional methods are still valuable todays. Others no longer seem relevant. The Internet Has Changed Everything The other day, I heard someone say The Internet has changed everything. They were not specifically referring to marketing. They were simply stating that the Internet has radically changed so many things in our daily lives. For our purposes, consider how much the Internet has changed how we sell, learn about and buy things. The impact has been dramatic. Think about it. How often do you first learn about a product or service via the Internet? Have you used the Internet to educate yourself about a product or service? Even if you plan to purchase a product in a store, do you research it on the Internet? When was the last time you purchased something without researching it on the Internet? Finally, ask yourself one last question. Are your clients and prospective clients any different?

5 What Are You Good At? Understanding the different types of marketing methods that are available is a start. However, there are several considerations that must go into your marketing plan. First, you should consider what marketing methods you are comfortable with. If you are the type of person who is not comfortable working a room, perhaps a plan to attend more networking events is not for you. If you are not comfortable with public speaking, it will be difficult to work that method into your plan. Of course, this assumes that your marketing plan calls for you to play a role. It probably does. What Produces Results? The second consideration is the effectiveness of various methods. The idea of a marketing plan is to increase the profitability of your firm. Engaging in unsuccessful marketing methods, even ones you enjoy is not a recipe for success. Your plan needs to produce results. A successful marketing plan will probably require traditional marketing methods as well as new methods. Consider the previous discussion of the way people rely on the Internet today. Will your plan be successful if you complete ignore the Internet? If you don t know anything about the Internet, you either have to learn some new things or hire the right people who already know those things. Details of a Marketing Plan Define Your Target The first thing your marketing plan should do is define and analyze your target client and target market. Defining your target is critically important to your marketing plan. Without this information, you will waste time and money marketing to the wrong people and in the wrong places. You will also have trouble defining the message you are trying to communicate. What is Your Target Client? If you have absolutely no idea who your target client is, don t worry. Some firms can identify their target market instantly. They know who exactly which types of clients they want to work with, where to find them and how to attract them. Others have never really thought about it. Others have a target in mind that is too broad to give them any real insight or direction with regard to marketing. Now is the time to think about your target client. Assuming you have a client base that consists (at least partially) of the types of clients you want to work with, start by analyzing them. Analyze Your Current Customer Base Think about your current clients in terms of demographics. Analyze their income, where they live, marital status, age, etc. A demographic breakdown of your current clients tells you what type of clients you are attracting. It can also tell you where to look for similar people. Also consider how your clients became clients. How did they hear about you? How did you meet them? This tells you which past marketing methods have been successful in attracting clients within your target demographics. You can also use this knowledge in an exclusionary way. If you are not attracting the clients you want, analyzing your current client base will tell you what not to do so that you do not attract more of the same.

6 If your firm is new or you have determined that your current client base does not consist of the types of clients you want to work with, the process is similar. Start by describing the perfect client in the same demographic terms. Attracting Your Target Client Now that you know what the perfect client looks like, ask yourself where you can find that person. Then, ask yourself where you can find a concentration of people that look like the first one. Where do they spend their time? Where do they spend their money? Once you locate your target, create a message that will appeal to them. What are their hopes and dreams? What keeps them up at night? How do your services help them achieve their dreams and sleep soundly each night? Having Trouble Defining Your Target If you are having trouble identifying your target market, there are many books on the subject. One of my favorites is Selling to Zebras, Jeff Koser and Chad Koser, Greenleaf Book Group, The book is more about sales than marketing but provides excellent information on defining a target. It is about creating a Zebra Profile the client/customer with the exact attributes you are looking for. Zebras are instantly recognizable as the type of customer you want to attract, is most likely to work with you and lead to a long term profitable relationship. Analyze Past and Current Marketing Efforts Have you Been Targeting Your Target? Once you have defined a target, you will gain valuable insight into the success, or lack of success, of your current and past marketing. If you have been wondering why your current marketing is not attracting the types of clients you want, you probably have a much clearer picture now. As you analyze your past and current marketing, constantly ask yourself whether you are targeting your marketing to your target client. What Have You Been Doing? The first question to ask is what you have been doing in terms of marketing. Create a spreadsheet. List every marketing strategy you have ever tried or are currently trying. List the date or date range when you tried the strategy. List how much the strategy cost you. Be as detailed as necessary. For example, if public speaking is one of your marketing strategies, list each group you have spoken to and the topic of the presentation. Estimate how much time it too you to prepare for the event. List the number of attendees. Other marketing strategies don t break down in the same detail. If your list of strategies seems short or non-existent, think again. Almost every lawyer engages in marketing. However, sometimes they do not recognize what they do as marketing. How are Your Results? Your marketing spreadsheet will be complete when you fill in the two most important numbers the number of Leads and Clients each strategy attracted. Leads are people who express some interest in working with you or your firm. Some leads become clients and some do not. However, the fact that they raised their hand means that they heard and were at least somewhat interested in your message. Gather as much information as you possibly can about leads, even if they do not become clients. How did they hear about you? Do they fall within your

7 target? What specifically interested them in your firm? This information will help you refine your message and more accurately focus on your target. Clients, of course, are leads that you convert to customers. However, there is more to it than that. What percentage of leads are you converting (conversion rate)? Which leads are more likely to become clients? Why do clients decide to become clients rather than stay leads? Once again, this information is critical to targeting your future marketing. Think about it. Some of your marketing produces clients. Some of your marketing produces leads but not clients. Finally, some of your marketing produces neither. Where do you want to spend your time and money? State Your Goals Now that you know who to target and, hopefully, an idea of what marketing strategies will them, it is time to state some goals. Your goals should be SMART (Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Results Oriented and Time Oriented. Here are some examples from our Solfecta 2015 Marketing Plan. Note how all of these goals are Specific, are Measureable in terms of beginning and end numbers, are Achievable (realistic), state a specific Result and are to be accomplished within a specific Time frame (2015) Marketing Goals General 1. Increase total leads from x to x. (25%) 2. Increase the total leads we convert to opportunities from x to x. (32%) Social Media 3. Double the number of Twitter Followers from x to x. (100%) 4. Double the number of Facebook Likes from x to x. (100%) 5. Double the number of LinkedIn Company Followers from x to x. (100%) 6. Double the number of Google+ Followers from x to x. (100%) Tradeshows, Conferences, Public Speaking 7. Double the number of leads we generate at tradeshows from x to x. (100%) 8. Double the number of leads we generate from conferences and public speaking from x to x. (100%) 9. Exhibit at two new trade shows in (+2) 10. Speak at six new venues or events in (+6) Website, Blog, Webinars 11. Generate 24 substantive blog posts in (+19) (480%) 12. Add 24 items to the Zendesk knowledgebase. (+20) (500%) 13. Do 10 paid (training) webinars in (+10) (1000%) 14. Do 10 unpaid (promotional) webinars in (+9) (900%) 15. Complete website 100%. Newsletters, s, Follow-Ups 16. Send our monthly newsletter 12 times in (+9) (300%) 17. Send Up and Running s to 100% of completed projects in Attorney A to personally or call a client or prospect 250 times in Attorney B to personally or call a client or prospect 250 times in 2015.

8 Vendor Relations, Referrals and Word of Mouth 20. Maintain 100% compliance with (Vendor) Lead reporting process 21. Create a program to establish better relations with other vendors (need to define this better) 22. Reward 100% of referrals and word of mouth referrals with a small token of appreciation regardless of whether it results in a project 23. Reward 100% of referrals and word of mouth referrals that result in a project with a larger gift Detail of Each Marketing Activity The next part of your plan is a detailed plan of the actions required to achieve each of the goals. Your action plan for each item should include very specific action steps designed to help you achieve each goal. Example: Here is the action plan for goal number 3 above. Double the number of Twitter Followers from x to x. (100%) Action Items In every newsletter, remind our readers to follow one of our social media feeds. Rotate between Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. There should be three Twitter reminders each year in the following months: January May September Create a small (1/3 page) marketing insert promoting our Twitter feed Place the Twitter insert in our bills at least twice in 2015 Hand out the Twitter insert at all tradeshows Have a drawing for a small gift to a Twitter follower after every tradeshow Have a larger drawing for a larger gift for one social media follower after every tradeshow Acknowledge ALL new Twitter followers with the following post every Friday. Thanks for the Each action item is designed to do one or more of the following: Inform people that we are on Twitter Encourage people to follow us on Twitter Promote Twitter and our other social media efforts in a place with a high concentration of target customers (specifically tradeshows) Publicly acknowledge people who follow in the hopes that it will encourage others Schedule the Action Items The final part of your plan is not really part of the plan document. It is now time to take action on your action items. Put them on your calendar or to do list. Execute the plan.

9 Revisiting Your Plan If you have followed these guidelines, your marketing plan will be very detailed and you will have spent a lot of time on it. Don t make the mistake of not following up. Create a second spreadsheet similar to the one you used to analyze your current marketing. List the marketing strategies in your plan and the goals. Each time you engage in one of the strategies, update the spreadsheet. Each time you generate a lead or convert a lead to a client, update the spreadsheet. Positive results encourage you to do more of the same. Negative results will tell you where you need to make improvements or modifications. Either way, if you don t measure how you are doing, you won t do it. Buying Clients Bradley J. Sugars, Entrepreneur and founder of ActionCoach describes marketing as buying customers. Buying Customers, Bradley J. Sugars, The Truth, LLC, The idea is simple. 1. Know who your target is and where you can reach them 2. Know what message appeals to your target 3. Know how much it costs you to deliver the message 4. Know how many leads your message generates 5. Know how much each lead cost you 6. Know how many leads turn into customers 7. Know how much each customer cost you 8. Know how many customers you want 9. Know how much you have to invest to buy the number of customers you want A good marketing plan does all of these things. Treat Marketing as an Investment While buying clients may sound a bit over the top to you, the point is simple and applicable to every business. Bad marketing is a cost. You spend money and get nothing in return. Good marketing is an investment. How much are you investing? Are you investing in the right places? What is your return on investment?

10 Appendix A - Questions to Ask Ultimate Goal What am I trying to accomplish? More clients? More return business? How much additional work can I do? Target Customers/Market Who is my typical customer? Who is my preferred customer? Where can I find my target customers in the greatest concentration? Message What message am I communicating? What message do I want to communicate? What are the best methods for communicating my message? Methods and Styles What forms of marketing fit my personality/skills? What forms of marketing are not a good fit for my personality/skills? What have I traditionally done to market myself/my firm? What are others doing? Will what others are doing work for me? Expense How much money do I have to invest in marketing? How much time to do I have to invest in marketing?

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