Law firms rely heavily on digital marketing to fuel their growth. That doesn’t mean that their plans are always successful, though. Sometimes, despite the most thoughtful planning and diligent execution, your law firm marketing strategy won’t produce the results you want. There are plenty of reasons for this, and it’s essential to understand where things are getting derailed. By understanding the common areas where things go wrong, you can sidestep the pitfalls and create a digital marketing strategy that boosts awareness for your law firm and positions you properly in your sector.
15 Things That Can Go Wrong With Your Law Firm’s Digital Marketing Strategy
Your website, CRM, and marketing automation systems can all contribute to your digital marketing success. The proper use of all of these tools will enhance your marketing strategy and enable you to accomplish your goals. However, aside from making adjustments within these specific areas, it’s important to consider these 15 things that commonly go wrong when it comes to marketing strategy.
If you don’t have a strategy in place, or are unable to articulate it, then your firm is relying on luck. Many law firms are willing to invest in tactics, but do so without an overarching strategy to guide those tactics.
Law firms need an overarching strategy such as a structured document that provides a clear framework for reaching their target audience, including details on planned activities and the relevant methods of communication. This document should also include your business goals and a plan to measure success. Start by defining your SMART goals, then figure out what tactics you will use to achieve these goals, and define key performance indicators that you will use to measure if you’ve reached these goals.
2. Focusing on tactics instead of strategies.
As we just mentioned, many firms choose to implement tactics rather than an integrated marketing strategy. Well-executed tactics can produce positive results, but relying on such tactics is not smart for the long-term. For example, if you decide to invest in social media, you may put a plan together or outsource those activities. But without a thoughtful approach to developing content tied to business goals, your efforts are not likely to lead to increased traffic or brand awareness. A systemized approach will help marketers create repeatable programs and measure outcomes.
3. Executing the same strategy that your competition is.
There are certainly things about your law firm that set you apart. It’s important to make sure these unique selling propositions are at the center of your strategy. Doing the same things as your competition will not help set you apart, no matter how well executed. Rather, look for gaps and opportunities where your competition is not.
Firms need to take the approach of strengthening their relationships with clients, not just marketing to them. It’s important to focus on the experience of your clients and position marketing from there. Always look to provide value to your clients and prospective clients. Start by defining who your target audience is. Then, build out client personas, which are personified characters that represent the different segments of your target audience. All of your strategies should be created with these client personas and your target audience in mind. You should have a deep understanding of your audience, their needs, thoughts, desires, and challenges.
5. Marketing strategy isn’t aligned with corporate objectives.
Research shows that firms who align marketing with business development experience better results. Marketing and business development should collaborate across several areas and both departments should work with firm leadership to understand larger objectives.
6. Poor targeting.
Is your marketing getting to the right people? Even if you have great messaging, if you’re not reaching the people who are most receptive, you’re unlikely to be happy with your results. It’s often a good strategy to narrow targeting rather than broaden it.
We understand that many law firms have multiple target audiences, which is why developing unique client personas is extremely important. Personas will guide your targeting strategies and help you to determine what kind of content you should be creating for your target audience. As you’re building out these personas, you should pay special attention to their demographics and interests. This will help you understand what channels are best for reaching them and will allow you to better target the right people with the right messaging.
7. You assume social media is the same across the board.
Law firms should not be posting identical messages to each social media network. Different channels have different audiences, peak times, and character limits. And each one is built for a different style of writing. See: A Legal Marketer’s Guide to Writing for Social Media.
When it comes to digital marketing, it’s easy to get caught up in simply creating social media videos or blog content without a thought as to how it will help you drive leads and new business. The same thing happens on websites. It’s amazing how many law firms we see without clear, obvious calls-to-action. Remember, if you want people to perform an action, you have to ask them.
9. You expect immediate results.
Successful marketing requires both time and money. It also takes time to understand what’s working and what’s not.
We often tell clients that it takes 6-12 months for marketing to generate results. Yes, you will see some leading indicators of success along the way, but it takes time to really get the momentum you’re after in marketing.
10. Failing to test, adjust and optimize.
Having a strategy in place is important, but it needs to be flexible. Adapting your strategy and tactics based on testing and results will improve your results over time. This is why measurement is so important. Think of your strategy as a guide, but then use data along the way to optimize programs.
You need to keep track of what’s working and what’s not so you can decide what to tweak throughout the year.
76% of consumers say they’re more likely to purchase from `123brands that personalize. Personalization is more than just a nice to have. It’s a necessity.
As we mentioned, it’s essential that you have a deep understanding of your target audience/ client personas. Not only should you attune tactics to different client personas, but you should also adjust tactics based on the different stages of the buyer’s journey. Different audience segments should be receiving different messaging and content offerings based upon how close they are to making a decision. You can also easily personalize your messaging by adding personalization tokens in emails or on your website.
12. Your creatives are lackluster.
Your creatives and visuals have a big impact on how prospects see your firm and whether or not they’re inspired by what you have to say enough to take action. Leveraging stale creatives that have been used over and over will leave your audience bored. And lacking any sense of creativity and always sticking with the ‘safe’ option won’t help you stand out. Get creative and implement a strong sense of brand identity in all your visuals.
13. You neglect to audit.
Audits should be done at least once a year so that you can have a deep understanding of what’s working and what’s not. At the end of every year you should audit all your channels and look at their performance month to month and year to year. Pay attention to what performed poorly versus well and what strategies and tactics were in place. Take note of what needs to be done next year to improve the poor performing channels.
You can’t go from posting on social media every day and sending emails once a week to no communication for weeks at a time. Your audience will be confused and you’ll no longer be at the forefront of their mind. While it’s important to focus on quality over quantity, it’s also equally as important to commit to a consistent schedule. Digital marketing is like anything else, you must practice consistency if you want it to work.
15. You rely too heavily on your team.
No team is perfect, and in fact, it’s rare that law firms have an in-house team that can handle every aspect of digital marketing. There’s so much expertise that goes into building a successful strategy, from SEO to website design to social media management. If your firm has been trying to do it all, then that may be why you’re not getting the ROI you need. Consider outsourcing some strategies to a legal marketing agency. Their expertise will prove invaluable.
Digital marketing in today’s world is increasingly complex, and without a proactive and thoughtful strategy to guide your efforts, your tactics are less likely to be successful. Hopefully this blog post has given your law firm an idea of digital marketing strategy problems to look out for, but it’s by no means comprehensive. If you don’t currently have a comprehensive strategy, you may want to work with an experienced partner to get started. A new year is the perfect time to develop a strategy that builds credibility and generates leads.