How to find small firm marketing success – Part 1
10th, May 2015
Small firms may have fewer resources than larger firms, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be just as innovative, resourceful and successful in their marketing. At a recent Legal Marketing Association event, small firm marketers shared tips and advice on maximizing their marketing efforts. But you don’t need to be a small law firm to take advantage of these ideas. Here are some great takeaways for any professional services firm:
1. Define your unique value proposition. You don’t want to sound like everyone else so make sure you have a clear idea about what you offer clients that differentiates you from competitors. Think about where you have expertise, what are your niches, and where you provide the most value. If you need help, bring in an outside perspective to talk to you and your clients. And once you’ve done that, make sure your branding and content marketing strongly conveys and reinforces your difference.
2. Get internal staff involved. Engage staff and give them opportunities to contribute to your marketing. Of course, not everyone will be happy about the “opportunity.” Public praise is a great motivator as are small gifts. Also offer real benefits to them like learning new skills. Train administrative assistants to manage social media on behalf of members who don’t feel comfortable with it. Pay for classes for someone to learn design skills to help with small tasks.
3. Be smart about how you and others spend time. Prioritize, plan and organize. Create a written marketing plan. Establish an editorial calendar to make sure tasks are assigned and content deadlines are met. Set up procedures to help track and manage marketing activities and projects. But make sure you don’t have too many people involved or have staff with too many other responsibilities. Despite what I said above about leveraging internal staff, marketers should focus on marketing. Other staff should have their defined roles too. But when those last minute requests inevitably come in, you need to get help.
4. Constantly measure marketing results and share data about ROI. Too often firms will continue with specific marketing efforts long after they have ceased working. Sponsoring particular events, advertising in certain publications, and other tactics might have worked once and so the firm is comfortable with it and doesn’t want to stop. The way to combat this is to look at the results. If you sponsor a golf outing every year, but you haven’t gotten a client in years from it, ask yourself whether that money could be better spent elsewhere. If you’re a small firm marketer, present the ROI data to the firm members and then provide a list of alternative ways to spend that money. (Of course, if the firm hasn’t been tracking results at all, then you need to start.)
5. Think creatively about events. Large events aren’t always better. Offer to do events in client offices. Conduct smaller, more frequent, or highly targeted events at the firm. Also explore doing webinars. They are less costly and less time-consuming to produce. The turnaround time is also quicker to take advantage of new developments or hot topics. Virtual events can be a more interesting or engaging way to provide information to clients than the ubiquitous client update.
A small firm budget doesn’t have to mean small results. Plan carefully, try new things, and leverage your existing resources to improve your marketing. In my next blog post, I’ll cover more tips for small firm marketing success.