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Welcome

February 11 , 2008

In this issue:

Upcoming Events

Featured Product

Feature Article: Marketing Plan Basics - The Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How of       Marketing

Reader Spotlight

What’s Happening on the Legal Ease Blog

 
 

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Nulla porta mi ac diam. Quisque dapibus feugiat quam. Duis lacinia, magna vel commodo sodales, magna lectus consectetuer justo, rhoncus fringilla lectus odio non elit. Etiam tristique. Etiam a nunc. Maecenas sit amet metus. Proin lacus velit, gravida vel, ultrices sit amet, placerat sit amet, dui. Maecenas sit amet urna.

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Marketing Plan Basics - The Who, What, When, Where, Why and How of Marketing

 

Recently, a reader asked, “Where do I start when trying to put a marketing plan together?” When seeking information about marketing, lawyers get a lot of good advice and suggestions about approaches and marketing tools. But what is often missing is the overall outlook. That makes it difficult to determine priorities for marketing, and even more difficult to take action.

Marketing plans can be simple or complex (and some lawyers fall into ‘analysis paralysis’ and plan too much). But if you want to get started on a basic overall plan, you’ll need to ask yourself the who, what, when, where, why and how of marketing (although not necessarily in that order).

 

Start with Why – What is the purpose of your marketing?
This is a step that I find that is most often skipped or glossed over. Attorneys assume that the best way to grow and sustain their business is by getting more clients, or by getting new clients. That isn’t always the case. More clients doesn’t always translate into more profits. Other objectives might include increasing your client base in a certain practice area, expanding into a new practice area, generating new business from existing clients, increasing the quality of your client base, increasing your exposure to a certain target audience, generating more leads, creating a better sales pipeline, allowing you more freedom, etc.

Think carefully about why you are embarking on a marketing plan. If you’re working in a firm, make sure all of the key players are on board with your purpose. Your marketing purpose must be closely tied to your main business goals for the same time period.

 

The three sides of Who – You, your competition and your target market
Once you know the Why (purpose) of your marketing, it’s time to move on to ‘Who.’ There are three aspects of who to be considered: who are you, who is your competition, and who is your target market.

In order to market effectively, you need to know yourself and your firm. What are the firm’s strengths and weaknesses? What are the individual players’ strengths and weaknesses? Are some people within the firm better suited to specific marketing goals? Are some people a better ‘fit’ for particular clients or types of clients? What kinds of people do you work best with? What kinds of matters are you most skilled at, and what do you like the best?

Next, look at the competition. What is it that the competition isn’t providing to the market? How can you differentiate yourself from the competition? What are their strengths and weaknesses? How do those strengths and weaknesses provide you with potential opportunities?

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you need to examine your target market. You may have multiple target markets if you have multiple lawyers within your firm, or multiple practice areas. Depending on your purpose, your target audience may include:


* Existing clients
* Referral sources
* Strategic alliances
* New Business/potential clients

 

Appropriately defining your target market and getting to know them is the most important step you can take in developing your marketing and business development plan. All of your marketing (and all of your services) need to revolve around your target market, their wants, needs, desires, and expectations. (For more information about how to define and service your target market, join my upcoming teleclass series, How to Grow Your Law Practice on a Shoestring Budget, beginning March 5. Early bird registration ends February 15)

 

What – (And so what?) Your core marketing message
Once you’re fully familiar with your target market (or markets) and you know what you want to accomplish, you need to define the client’s problems or challenges. Why is the client seeking legal advice? What is it that they hope to accomplish? What kind of services do they want to receive? What do your strategic alliances or referral sources need?

Second, consider what you offer – again, thinking from the client’s perspective. Instead of talking about the features or services that you provide by focusing on you and your firm, focus on the benefits that the client will receive.

 

What are the benefits to the client? Your core marketing message is built around your client’s problems and your solution to those problems – the benefits that they will receive as a result of working with you. Your core marketing message – and all of your marketing materials – have to answer the ‘so what?’ test. How will your services help your client solve their problem in a better or more effective way?

Keep the focus on the client and the benefits the client will receive from working with you, rather than focusing on you, your firm, or the features of your service. For every statement contained in your marketing message, put yourself in the shoes of your client and ask, “So what? How does this apply to me? How does this help me? Why should I care?”

 

How – Choosing marketing tools and activities
Now that you know your clients and your problems, you are aware of your competition and you know your own strengths and weaknesses and the benefits that you provide to your clients, you can choose your marketing tools and activities.

If you’re like the reader that asked the question that began this article, you probably already have some good ideas about what marketing tools and activities are available to you – websites, blogs, networking, writing articles, giving seminars, etc. Now it’s time to really evaluate which of those tools and activities will work best for you.

 

Look at your strengths and weaknesses to determine which tools are right for you and for those in your firm. If you’re a horrible writer and don’t have the patience to write articles but you’re gregarious and are a good speaker, writing articles might not be the right fit for you, but giving seminars, presentations and networking might be more suitable.

 

Consider your budget when choosing marketing tools and activities as well. Be mindful that most clients need several contacts with you before they will make the decision to work with you, which means you’ll need to sustain marketing activities over time. And you’ll need to ensure that you have a follow up system in place to continue your contact with prospects, strategic alliances and existing clients.

Don’t forget that the client should be at the center of all of your efforts. Evaluate the tools you choose in terms of your clients. Are your clients more likely to look for a lawyer on the internet or in the yellow pages? This leads us to the ‘where’ of marketing.

 

Where – Gathering places
In order to be effective, your marketing message actually has to reach your target audience. You’ll need to know where your clients and potential clients gather – whether it’s on the web at certain websites or list serves or at industry meetings. What do they read? What common interests do they have? Where do they go for other advice?

Putting the ‘how’ and the ‘where’ together in a meaningful way makes you much more likely to reach the appropriate target audience. That’s why it’s often confusing when one lawyer says a particular method or a particular mode of marketing (like yellow pages, or blogging or giving seminars) worked for them and it doesn’t seem to work for others. The method might be appropriate for the target audience, but the venue may not. Or vice versa – or neither.

And there’s one more thing to consider – timing.

 

When – Timing your efforts
By now, you know your target audience well, particularly if you’ve been practicing for some time. You know who they are, what they need, and where they turn for help. Start looking for patterns in terms of timing as well.

 

Do most of your clients seek help at a certain time of the year? Is there a specific event that usually or often triggers them to seek help? Do existing clients re-evaluate their legal needs at the end of the fiscal or calendar year? These can be valuable clues about when you should time your marketing and business development efforts.

 

Think about your needs and the needs of your practice when you consider your timing as well. If you have a yearly vacation planned, make sure your marketing is timed so that you don’t miss new clients when you’re away – or plan for that possibility by making sure you leave good instructions for those that will be covering for you in your absence.

Timing your efforts also requires you to plan your business development and marketing so that you have consistent cash flow. Too many lawyers market feverishly when they have no work coming in and then ignore marketing entirely once the work starts coming in, creating a feast or famine cycle.

 

As mentioned above, follow up is crucially important to your marketing efforts. Keeping track of when you contact and follow up and creating a schedule of contacts will ensure that you stay ‘top of mind’ when a client or contact has a problem or a referral.

There are many ways that you can create a marketing plan and certainly more detail and more elements that could be discussed. But asking yourself the simple questions Who, What, When, Where, Why and How is a good start.

 

How I Got Started Preventing Lawyer Meltdown

 

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Maecenas semper pede ac diam. Donec ut libero id nulla vulputate facilisis. Nunc condimentum. Phasellus ac magna nec justo viverra accumsan. Donec sit amet est non est posuere hendrerit.

Nulla porta mi ac diam. Quisque dapibus feugiat quam. Duis lacinia, magna vel commodo sodales, magna lectus consectetuer justo, rhoncus fringilla lectus odio non elit. Etiam tristique. Etiam a nunc. Maecenas sit amet metus. Proin lacus velit, gravida vel, ultrices sit amet, placerat sit amet, dui. Maecenas sit amet urna.

Pellentesque ut ligula vel massa consequat adipiscing. Aliquam ultrices. Maecenas arcu risus, tincidunt a, varius eu, egestas sed, lacus. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae;

 

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Maecenas semper pede ac diam. Donec ut libero id nulla vulputate facilisis. Nunc condimentum. Phasellus ac magna nec justo viverra accumsan. Donec sit amet est non est posuere hendrerit.

Nulla porta mi ac diam. Quisque dapibus feugiat quam. Duis lacinia, magna vel commodo sodales, magna lectus consectetuer justo, rhoncus fringilla lectus odio non elit. Etiam tristique. Etiam a nunc. Maecenas sit amet metus. Proin lacus velit, gravida vel, ultrices sit amet, placerat sit amet, dui. Maecenas sit amet urna.

Pellentesque ut ligula vel massa consequat adipiscing. Aliquam ultrices. Maecenas arcu risus, tincidunt a, varius eu, egestas sed, lacus. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae;

 

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Thanks for reading -

 

All the best,

Allison

Legal Ease Consulting, Inc
Creating Productive, Profitable and Enjoyable Law Practices

P.S. Did you like this article? Want to use it for your own newsletter? Have suggestions for topics for future articles? Send me an email at Allison@LegalEaseConsulting.com.

 

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