6 ways lawyers can use downtime to build for the future

May 21, 2020

6 ways lawyers can use downtime to build for the future

While much has been written about how to network and build business during the coronavirus pandemic, a lot of the advice has focused on short-term activities and gains. And while the recommendations are solid (as marketing and biz dev are critical during a downturn), a basic principle of marketing cannot be ignored: Marketing and business development are long-term endeavors. In professional services like the law, those who succeed are consistent over the long term with their marketing and business development.

However, marketing is time-intensive and requires the involvement of the attorneys themselves. This becomes a Catch-22 — marketers and publicists need access to lawyers’ knowledge and expertise (I call our role in the process “knowledge extraction”), while lawyers’ time is stretched thin as they meet aggressive billable targets.

That’s why, as COVID-19 disrupts every aspect of our society, I see an opportunity. While some lawyers are busier than ever in areas such as bankruptcy, healthcare, insurance, employment and cybersecurity, others aren’t faring so well, as M&A deals and court proceedings are put on hold. For those attorneys, now is the time to focus on the labor-intensive marketing activities that form the foundation of any successful practice.

Here are six ways lawyers with coronavirus-induced free time can build for the future:

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Law firm communications and COVID-19: What’s next?

May 1, 2020

Law firm communications and COVID-19: What’s next?

I was honored to be part of a panel discussion last week, hosted by three Florida Legal Marketing Association (LMA) groups: Orlando, Jacksonville and South Florida. If you couldn’t attend the virtual event, you missed hearing from the following law firm public relations professionals:

The panel discussion was moderated by Laura Kaminsky of BakerHostetler. While we covered a range of topics, I’ve highlighted key takeaways below (the full webinar recording is available here).

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How lawyers should network during the coronavirus crisis

April 23, 2020

How lawyers should network during the coronavirus crisis

Wendy Merrill is the Founder & Chief Rainmaker of StrategyHorse Consulting Group, providing leadership, professional and business development training and support to lawyers. We talked to Wendy about how lawyers can continue to nurture and develop their networks during the coronavirus crisis.

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How much should you spend on marketing during a recession? Here’s what the research says

April 13, 2020

Image source: Vaile, Roland S., “The Use of Advertising During Depression,” Harvard Business Review, 5 April, 1927. 

As COVID-19 sweeps the world, our economy is quickly going down the toilet (along with stockpiles of toilet paper). Unfortunately, we are likely already in a recession. For marketers, recessions have historically been scary times. Often, marketing seems like the easiest thing to cut. But is that wise? 

As a marketer, if I wrote a blog post telling you to increase marketing during a recession, I’d look a little self-serving (to say the least). So instead, I decided to look at what the research tells us about marketing during recessions.

What I found is overwhelming evidence that it pays to maintain — and in some cases increase — marketing expenditures during an economic downturn. As Peter Fader of the Wharton School said, “As companies slash advertising in a downturn, they leave empty space in consumers’ minds for aggressive marketers to make strong inroads.”

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Legal marketing ethics: How specific can a law firm get with targeted social media advertising?

February 10, 2020

Legal marketing ethics: How specific can a law firm get with targeted social media advertising?

Law firm advertising and social media. These two subjects are complicated enough on their own, not to mention when you put them together.

Unlike radio ads and the Yellow Pages of yesteryear, today’s social media platforms allow marketers to appeal to users in a more targeted and personal way than ever before.

But how much is too much? And where does that leave law firms?

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Spread the cheer! How to do holiday marketing the right way for B2B and professional services

November 20, 2019

Spread the cheer! How to do holiday marketing the right way for B2B and professional services

Ah, the holidays. A time when we’re surrounded by warm wishes, those we love — and a never-ending sales pitch to get us to spend, spend, spend. The holiday fervor seems to start earlier every year, too (I swear I saw toy Santas alongside the American flags in one store this past July 4th). 

This is the noisiest time of year in consumer marketing, with brands of all kinds clamoring for attention. So why would B2B companies and professional services firms — which have much different sales cycles — choose to enter that fray? Wouldn’t it be best to just lie low and go big in January?

Unfortunately, that would mean disappearing from view for weeks, maybe even a couple of months. In today’s connected environment, that can be a death blow when you’re trying to maintain a consistent brand. 

Done tactfully and in line with the spirit of the season, holiday marketing for B2B companies and professional services firms can help you maintain awareness while leaving a warm feeling behind that clients and prospects will remember all year long. 

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Boo! Five scary pitfalls to avoid during law firm marketing budget season

October 24, 2019

Boo! Five Scary Pitfalls to Avoid During Law Firm Marketing Budget Season

*Foreboding, creepy music plays*

Our law firm marketer hero is alone in the office, at her desk. Everyone else went home hours ago. It’s deathly silent, aside from the echoing sound of her keystrokes as she sets up tomorrow’s social media posts on Buffer. She’s just about done. She can go home after a long day of helping build the financial future of her firm.

*Ping*

An email? At this hour? Annoyed, she switches windows to look at the offending message. Annoyance morphs slowly into creeping dread and then abject horror as she reads the name of the sender and the subject line. 

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From blah to ah-ha! How to write law firm case studies that win new business

September 24, 2019

From Blah to Ah-Ha! How to Write Law Firm Case Studies That Win New Business

This post was first published on Law Journal Newsletters.

Visit any law firm’s website and you’ll find bulleted lists of representative matters and deals that look like this:

  • Represented leading international retailer and several of its officers and directors in securities class action and shareholder derivative suits.
  • Represented an investment fund in connection with a $500 million secured credit facility.

This might be the most wasted opportunity in the land of wasted opportunities called Law Firm Marketing. While laundry lists of every single matter an attorney has ever touched may be helpful on a resume, it’s much less effective for law firm marketing goals. 

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The hidden costs of cutting your legal marketing budget

June 19, 2019

The Hidden Costs of Cutting your Legal Marketing Budget

Note: This post was first published on the Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute blog

It’s the classic chicken-and-egg problem: You don’t have money to invest in marketing, but you need marketing to grow. And while there are plenty of studies clearly demonstrating a direct link between law firms’ marketing investment and financial growth, many firms still choose to cut back on marketing when money gets tight.

This was one of the findings from a recent study by the Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute. In the 2018 Dynamic Law Firms Survey, law firms categorized as “static” (no growth or contraction) reduced their marketing spend by 1.7% in 2017. That’s a 5% point difference from “dynamic” (high-growth) firms, which grew their marketing spend by 3.4%.

So why do many law firms still axe the marketing budget first when looking to save money? My guess is that there’s a lack of understanding surrounding the many hidden costs of cutting marketing. Below are seven of these tangible, day-to-day losses and how they impact a law firm long after the financial crunch is over.

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How law firms can use marketing automation to enhance their client experience

September 25, 2018

How law firms can use marketing automation to enhance their client experience

Acquiring new clients is expensive. Depending on the study, research shows that the cost to acquire a new client is anywhere from five to 25 times the cost to retain an existing client.

Yet many law firms focus the majority of their marketing efforts on client acquisition — not client retention.

Here’s more research if you’re not convinced of the value of client retention: Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company (the inventor of the net promoter score) found that increasing customer retention rates by 5 percent increases profits by 25 to 95 percent.

From client alerts to blog posts, webinars, educational events and more, law firms are investing heavily to demonstrate their attorneys’ expertise and attract the right clients. How can these efforts be leveraged to enhance the client experience?

Enter marketing automation.

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