You didn't go to law school to learn how to process payroll or to handle employee issues or to deal with difficult clients or run a small business. You went to law school to learn how to practice law and become a technically skilled attorney.
A similar parallel can be drawn to marketing-with some notable exceptions. Most of the time labor intensive parts of marketing can be outsourced, for example: designing and developing a new website, writing content for your blog, running your social media marketing campaigns, improving your Google rankings with search engine optimization (SEO), or sending out a monthly e-newsletter.
There are some things you cannot outsource or delegate, like going to lunch with a referral source to solidify the relationship or giving a presentation to a group of potential clients, but for every one marketing activity you cannot outsource there are three or four you can.
5 Steps for Outsourcing Your Marketing Efforts
When it comes to outsourcing your law firm's marketing and business development efforts, here's a five step process we recommend our clients follow:
1. Identify the marketing strategies and business development tools that will work best for your practice area.
2. Analyze your firm's realistic ability to effectively design and implement the plan using existing, internal team members.
3. Select which strategies your firm will handle internally and which ones you want to outsource.
4. Interview and select an outsourced legal marketing company who can assist you.
5. Set realistic goals and benchmarks.
Not all marketing strategies work for all practice areas. Once you have selected which marketing tools you want to use, the next step is to analyze your law firm's current ability to design, develop, implement and maintain the marketing plan. You must be realistic! The worst thing you can do is try to do it all by yourself or force your staff to do it. In the end either it will only be done half-heartedly and haphazardly or it will not get done at all!
If you believe all you need to do is get your two associates to land one new client per month by going to some networking events, then I wish you good luck with that. One of the ways I have seen work is when a law firm dedicates 25% to 50% of one person's time just to marketing and business development. Give them very specific tasks, be sure they have the proper skills and training, meet with them every week to review their progress, and set realistic, measurable goals they can achieve within a certain timeframe.
Many attorneys become frustrated when they try to "pull the team together" and get them to "do some marketing." Then there are the attorneys who falsely believe they are saving money by handling most or all of their marketing efforts by themselves. How much do you charge per hour? $200? $300? More? If you charge only $200 per hour for your expertise and it takes you only one hour to research, write and post a 300-400 word article on your blog, then that one blog post "cost" your business $200!
If you do that 20 or more times every month, which is the best practice according to the latest research, that means you are spending $6,000 per month or $72,000 per year just on blogging! Certainly you can find or hire a part-time writer for less than that.
It takes years of dedication, working with thousands of different attorneys, running test after test and trying dozens of different marketing techniques with different practice areas to truly become an expert attorney marketer! I would propose that it's not something you can truly achieve an expertise in by practicing a few hours a week.
How to Evaluate a Legal Marketing Provider
When working with any outsourced legal marketing company on your business development efforts, here are the questions I recommend you ask to evaluate their services:
1. Do they specialize in working with attorneys in small to medium-sized law firms?
2. How many attorneys have they worked with?
3. What is their experience working with attorneys in your specific practice area?
4. Do they understand the business of law (how the law works)?
5. What is their knowledge of legal ethics and how attorneys are restricted in how they market their services?
6. Have they researched how prospects "buy" legal services-both online and offline?
7. What is their knowledge of your competitors?
8. How many of your competitors are they currently working with providing the exact same service they are offering to you?
9. Is their service geo-exclusive, or are they offering the same services to all your direct competitors?
10. Do they have the assets to allow you to compete, or are they a one person show?
11. Is this a "done-for-you" service, or will you or your staff do the heavy lifting?
12. Are you "leasing" their marketing efforts or is it a "work-for-hire" service? Who owns the end product when you part ways?
13. Will they be around for the long term? Are they growing or declining?
14. Who will actually be implementing the service (it probably won't be the salesperson selling it to you)? What are their credentials? Can you speak with them?
15. What are the processes, procedures, protocols and systems they use when implementing the service?
16. How do they measure results? How will you know if they are successful? How long will it take before you start to see results?
17. What are the timeframes to develop and deploy the marketing service?
18. Can they give you the contact information for several references?
If you're ready to take your firm to the next level this year and would like some assistance in achieving your goals in creating a lifestyle law firm, I invite you to sign up for a complimentary strategy session
with one of our trained Rainmaker Law Marketing Consultants by calling 888-588-5891
or filling out this form.
If you'd like to learn more proven strategies for business development, I invite you to attend a Rainmaker Retreat, our two-day law firm marketing workshop. We have sessions every month around the country - go to RainmakerRetreat.com to check the schedule.
We have helped over 15,000 attorneys across the nation discover the secrets in building a financially successful and personally satisfying legal practice and we would love to have your law firm be our next success story!