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How effective marketing sets you free

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Getting marketing ‘fit’ is key to business growth. But it doesn’t come easily to many law firms. We’ve invited Rachael Wheatley, Watertight Marketing Accredited Consultant, to write about the foundations you need to enable you to feel calm and confident about your business future.

Juggling legal work with marketing responsibilities is, without doubt, one of the hardest circles to square for law firms. And for marketers in those firms, I know from experience that it is challenging for you too. You need the lawyers’ knowledge or contribution to support the marketing, but that involves their time and that’s when it becomes tricky.

So how do you square the circle?

The critical starting point is to set up a systematic approach to marketing. Once you’ve done the research, thinking and planning behind this, then you can focus on building from the foundations up, knowing that you’re building on rock, not sand.

It’s like getting fit. The starting point is having in mind a motivating end point. For law firms, this might be successfully launching a new service, growing a particular practice area or becoming an authority in your niche or sector.

Then you make a plan:

  • What fitness activities will you do to address the particular areas you want to improve, how often do you need to do them and what time will you spend each week?
  • Given your resource (time, knowledge, people, budget), what are the few things you should focus on that will make the most difference and be most relevant to building that future?

Just to be clear, what I mean by “effective marketing” is: equipping your firm with the knowledge, strategy and set-up that will both improve you relationships with clients and increase the number of warm contacts you have that will lead to happy clients.  

Effective marketing gives you stability

If your marketing happens in peaks and troughs at the moment, you’ll know that what this results in is a similar rollercoaster of income, with the attendant stress and frustration.

There are three things which will give you stability:

  1. A process or framework that you know works
  2. Marketing activities that are linked directly to supporting each step of your client’s buying journey (rather that being ad-hoc and little more than a to-do list)
  3. Committing to a consistent level of activity will help you get to that end destination. That consistency will also even out those ups and downs; the less you have of these, the more steady (and sustainable) your growth will be.

Effective marketing gives you sustainability

We all know that your fitness regime needs to be sustainable to work long-term. There’s no point in having a spurt of activity for three months then imagining that the odd trip to the gym will keep you fit.

It’s equally true of marketing. Once you have in place a baseline activity plan that you feel is realistic and achievable, once you’ve invested in your firm’s knowledge of marketing, you will feel more able to take calm, confident decisions about what to prioritise, what works and what to focus on, making it all more manageable and sustainable.

It also recognises two other things:

  1. that you’ll have limited time, money and people to make the marketing plan happen
  2. it builds your marketing muscles over time, stepping up your effort when you can

Effective marketing gives you choices

Be honest. How many of you reading this are working with clients you’d rather not, who don’t motivate you to do your best work? In over 20 years I’ve never come across a professional who hasn’t been in this position!

The smart firms have in mind, to begin with, who they would like to work with and make sure their marketing is geared around them. They say ‘no’ to work or clients that aren’t right for them, who won’t motivate them or provide the profit they’re looking for.

Making sure you have the right kind of work is better for your business health and for you own sanity!

Effective marketing gives you focus

Putting in place a systematic approach to marketing that’s understood throughout the firm will help you step things up in the business, at a pace that’s manageable.

We work with clients who put in place a marketing plan for one area of the business, refine it and make it work, then implement it in another area of the business. Or we work with them to put in place a marketing plan across the business that focuses on the absolute priorities for the next few months, delays other things until later in the year and identifies what can wait until next year.

One sweet now or two sweets later?*

Putting in place a plan that that will ease your stress and help you keep your marketing moving forward is the only thing that will ensure revenue in the long-term. Whilst quick sales are enticing, setting income targets focus on only on short-term success (next month or quarter). Effective marketing connects the need to start building relationships now with the need to deliver long term sustainable sales.

If you’d like to know more how to put in place the foundations of marketing fitness, join us in one of four locations for a half-day workshop.

London  - 04-Oct 2017

Bristol - 05-Oct 2017                         

Manchester - 10-Oct 2017                         

Birmingham - 11-Oct 2017

You will learn:

  • why marketing can waste your money and sap your energy
  • how to take calm, confident decisions about your business growth
  • where to find the quick wins and what to prioritise

* If you come to a workshop, you’ll also find out what the link to sweets refers to…..