There are a wide variety of marketing tools and marketing professionals out there to help you “do marketing.” But there is one thing that you must do first and foremost, and no one can effectively do it for you – formulate a strategy.
Marketing professionals can help you with creating a marketing strategy, but its ingredients can only come from you.
Only you know:
What you do best
What you’d like to do
What you can do most effectively and efficiently
How you do what you do
Who you know and what contacts you have
What distinguishes you from everyone else
How much you’d like to invest in marketing
Your appetite for risk
Your short and long-term goals
Your core values
With whom you like to work
How you like to work
Your ability to handle new technology
And so on...
ALL of these factor into your marketing strategy – what you will communicate through your marketing plan and to whom you will communicate it. You must define your goals. A legal marketing professional should be able to help you meet them.
You are wasting your time and money “buying” marketing elements (websites, social media management, direct email campaigns, digital advertising, etc.) if you don’t have a strategic marketing plan. And all strategic marketing plans do not look alike.
In fact, they are all very different – as different as the individuals for whom they are created. While many will share the same elements (and should), how they are implemented and the specifics of each will vary by individual. A good legal marketing professional can help you identify the elements of a strategic marketing plan. The problem with most general marketing professionals is that they are not lawyers and have no idea what we do. So, some translation and explanation (time) will be necessary.
Creating a strategic marketing plan will necessarily mean creating some goals by which you can measure its success.
Marketing for the sake of marketing is like shooting skeet in the dark. You must measure the success of your efforts and modify or alter your plan as necessary. But remember, many elements of marketing take time and require patience. You cannot launch a new website and expect it to land on the first page of a Google search and generate new clients beating down your door during its first week. It takes time. Let it happen but monitor its progress.
While the critical elements of a strategic marketing plan come from you, an experienced legal marketing professional should be able to help you implement a plan which gives you the most bang for your budgeted buck.
For example, having a stellar social media presence won’t do much good if your website is lacking. And having a great website is not very effective if no one ever visits it. One email sent to a potential referral source with no follow-up isn’t going to have much impact six months later. The elements of your marketing plan must work together strategically and intentionally if you are to wring the most benefits from them.