There are a variety of articles/webinars/podcasts out there at the moment stating that now (during the Covid crisis) is not the time to be slashing marketing budgets and, if anything, spend should be increasing. A number of them use historical quotes and references to previous recessions.
Funnily enough these articles are mainly coming from marketing agencies. They (we) are hardly going to be saying anything else right now.
From my point of view (as the owner of a Marketing agency) it's not really about budget – it's about putting in more effort, using effective technology (and using it effectively), being rigorous on lead follow-up & conversion and being efficient with your spend. We believe we are doing this pretty well currently by focussing on these key areas:
- Work out what your target market needs
- Get your database in shape
- Lead with thinking, not selling
- Market your Law Firm
- Follow Up
- Analyse the data, improve and repeat
I hope you find our approach to this, with a view to protecting and developing our own business, useful in relation to your own strategy.
By way of background Moore Legal Technology would, traditionally, be regarded as a digital marketing agency. We see ourselves differently – we see ourselves as specialists in helping our law firm customers become more successful by maximising the opportunities the Internet has to offer.
This help (website build, search engine optimisation, content writing, paid advertising, client intake software and marketing automation) is offered under the banner of ‘Your Law Firm Success’. Typically we work with law firms at the smaller end of the market.
Digital Marketing for Lawyers and COVID-19: How we adapted our strategy & the results
During the first two weeks of lockdown, I was definitely a bit worried. There was nothing really concrete to base these fears on as work for lawyers during the coronavirus, (with the exception of residential conveyancing) wasn’t simply going to stop. However, we were moving into unchartered waters that I, like everyone else, had never experienced before. We started to talk about worst case scenarios and our approach to furloughing, CBIL etc.
Then we decided that attack was the best form of defence and agreed the following:
‘Let’s attack this situation and if we come out of this with our turnover intact, we will have done really well. If we can grow turnover, then that will be truly brilliant. If we can do either our business will be much stronger than when we started’
I’m pleased to report things have been going pretty well. Everyone is at work (albeit at home) and has plenty to do. At the outset 4 customers paused. Nobody cancelled. Some other customers increased their spend to focus on growth areas and, delightfully, we have taken on 4 new customers in 4 weeks.
Here is how we are doing it:
We agreed that our target market needed to be able to get their online marketing up & running and generating business for them quickly with a great looking website, conversion orientated design, good content and a plan to drive traffic to growth areas. With our existing customers we needed, where appropriate, to help them realign their service offering, their messaging and the content.
The result was the creation of our 2020 toolkit. Our hope was that it was exactly what our market needed.
The 2020 toolkit comprises:
- Fully mobile-friendly, optimised, contemporary website designed to convert visitors into new business enquiries
- Boilerplate content for most core areas of practice (simply needs to be amended slightly)
- Livechat, appointment setting and video conferencing
- Online and over-the-phone payment set-up
- Email marketing and support
- Set up assistance and sales training
While each of these technologies has existed and been available to our clients for some time, we hadn’t really packaged them up as such and felt that now was a good time to do it.
There are two principle types of online marketing: outbound and inbound. Inbound marketing is when people demonstrate their intent to buy a service, or product, through their search terms and arrive at your site as a result. Outbound marketing is the proactive sending of marketing communications to prospects.
We are specialists in Law Firm Success and not that many law firm partners (if any) search for that online, despite thinking about it every day, so we rely on a mix of inbound and outbound marketing to help our business grow.
Outbound marketing involves marketing to a database of contacts that meet your predefined criteria. For us, the criteria typically are as follows:
- Law firm decision makers in;
- General practice law firms (High street/SME), throughout;
- Scotland, England and Wales and Ireland.
You can read more about who we work with by clicking here.
We’ve already put the hard yards into creating our online presence. It is conversion-focused, it has the psychological triggers in place to build trust and it backs up any of our marketing messages so what we now need to do is work on driving traffic to the relevant sections (in this case the toolkit) in a way that doesn’t turn our target market off.
The best way to drive traffic to your site
By giving them content that they actually want to read. Content that is useful and helpful.
We avoid selling and try to get our prospects into a position where they ask to buy.
I felt the best way of doing this in the current situation was by leading from the front. I thought of my own experiences as a business leader and simply thought ‘what have I learned that would be useful for our existing customers or prospective customers to know’. It’s really as simple as that. What I’m attempting to do is create a version of myself, or Moore Legal Technology, in the market’s mind that is seen as being helpful, useful and knowledgeable. I believe and hope this is true in reality.
This content writing is not a one-off exercise, but an ongoing commitment to build and develop trust with your target market so that over time they become more receptive to you and feel, to an extent, that they are getting to know you. The objective is to become the person that they think of first when they need help in your chosen area of expertise.
We use a marketing automation platform to help us market our new created, helpful, valuable, content to our database. A marketing automation platform essentially turns trawling into spearfishing and is not expensive.
Our view is that there is no point (passively) selling to somebody who is either not in a position to buy, or doesn’t want to. Marketing automation allows us to work out who is in the market for our services, and who isn’t by building up an online profile of their activity on our site in response to our marketing.
How to turn leads into sales
As they become more engaged in our content or services as evidenced by their movement through the various areas of our website, their score goes up. As their score goes up, the type of content they receive from us begins to change until they cross the threshold from being a ‘lead’ to a ‘hot lead’.
We don’t ignore the cold leads. We still market to them but we don’t work on trying to convert them as we can see they aren’t ready. We build trust through our content on an ongoing basis and continually work on moving prospects from cold to hot.
Once a prospect is in the hot category, we have a set of predefined procedures to follow with a view to turning that hot lead into a new customer. Without this, our effort to date would be pointless.
What we have found to be the ‘secret sauce’ in this process is following up - religiously. The most common reasons for someone losing out a lead are in two classes - price and failure to follow up.
Price is what you pay, value is what you get. We work hard on demonstrating value through our sales process and we focus more on the desired outcome for our customer. If we can demonstrate 10x return on investment then we are the best value option more often than not. In this way we negate losing out on price.
Follow up on your sales leads
Most businesses follow up once, twice or maybe three times. However, in our experience (and backed up by statistics), as many as 80% of sales happen after the fifth follow-up or contact.
Our follow ups are not pushy. Our objective is to build trust and to get the prospect to the stage where they want to buy. We don't want them to feel that they are being sold to.
The right amount of check-ins, reminders and delivery of more helpful insight during the sales process is transformational to prospects of success. We have worked hard to understand this over the years and have mapped out a follow up procedure, with templated emails, that we know work. We know how many stages there are and how many follow-ups it takes to move a lead from one stage to the next. The beauty of this is that if we start a new campaign, we simply replicate it. Like the website, the hard work is done at the outset and then it is a matter of tweaking.
The major benefit of the marketing automation, data driven approach is that very quickly you ascertain what works and what doesn’t. You repeat what works and avoid what doesn’t, and, as a result, your marketing efforts get better and more efficient.
The above takes time and effort but it doesn’t involve a huge amount of expense. In fact, given recent experience with online video consultations etc it could end up both making and saving you money. A win-win.
In the future, you won’t waste money attending networking events where people are just there to get CPD, you won’t invite ‘prospects’ who have no intention of ever using you to random ‘social’ events and you won’t just be flinging your net out to see what comes in.
You can be targeted, measured and carry out almost all of your business development activity from the comfort of your own home with a view to protecting and growing your business.
The above is the process that works for us, and our customers. I would go so far as to say it is guaranteed to bring you results. The proviso is that each stage must be carried out thoroughly and correctly.
Get in touch
Following recent requests from a number of law firms who are keen to keep things moving forward for their firms at this time, and based on the advice above, we have developed our quick set up Your Law Firm Success™ Toolkit. This has been created to deliver business continuity and growth and to help you make your firm more efficient and more robust now and for the future.
We will also be running an online visibility training webinar for lawyers soon – more details to follow.