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Marketing Game Plan for 2017
It can be difficult to set your course in marketing when you don’t know where your firm has been. In this episode of The Un-Billable Hour, host Christopher Anderson talks with Marketing Vice President Chelsey Lambert from How To Manage a Small Law Firm about building successful marketing campaigns. Together, they discuss the money-saving attributes of planning in advance and the components needed to drive business to your firm including key performance indicators, ideal times to attract clients, and much more. Tune in to hear about a blueprint that you can implement into your very own marketing plan.
Chelsey Lambert is the marketing vice president for How To Manage a Small Law Firm. Her mission is to help attorneys and legal professionals understand the technology that is available to them, how to use it, and the positive impacts it can have on their business, client relationships, and bottom line.
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The Un-Billable Hour
Marketing Game Plan for 2017
Intro: Managing your law practice can be challenging. Marketing, time management, attracting clients, and all the things besides the cases that you need to do that aren’t billable. Welcome to this edition of ‘The Un-Billable Hour’, the Law Practice Advisory Podcast. This is where you will get the information you need from expert guests and host Christopher Anderson here on Legal Talk Network.
Christopher Anderson: Welcome to ‘The Un-Billable Hour’, the Law Practice Advisory Podcast helping attorneys achieve more success. We are glad you can listen today on the Legal Talk Network.
I am your host, Christopher Anderson and I am an attorney with a singular passion for helping other lawyers be more successful with their law firm businesses. My team at How to Manage a Small Law Firm and I work directly with lawyers across the country to help them achieve success as they define it.
In ‘The Un-Billable Hour’ each month we explore an area important to growing revenues, giving you back more of your time and/or improving your professional satisfaction in one of the key areas of your business.
As an attorney who has built and managed my own law firms in Georgia and New York City, I now get to work with hundreds of law firm owners to help them grow professionally and personally. I start with the fundamental premise that a law firm business exists primarily to provide for the financial, personal and professional needs of you, its owner.
In this program I have a chance to speak to you, as I do in presentations across the country, about what it takes to build and operate your law firm like the business that it is. I have a chance to introduce you to a new guest each month to talk about how to make that business work for you instead of the other way around.
Now before we get started today I do want to say a thank you to our sponsor Answer 1. Answer 1 is a leading virtual receptionist in answering services provider for lawyers. You can find out more by giving them a call at 800-answer1, or online at HYPERLINK “http://www.answer1.com” www.answer1.com.
Today’s episode of ‘The Un-Billable Hour’ is, “Marketing Game Plan for 2017”. Being near the beginning of the New Year it is good to discuss the beginning of your business and it all starts with marketing. Every day you don’t earn new business, is a day in which your business dies just a little bit. Unfortunately many law firm owners approach marketing fairly haphazardly. The marketing vendors and providers that they talk to don’t make it any easier; they ask us about what our budget is, but they really ask us about our goals; they don’t ask why, and then we’re surprised when we don’t get the results that we hoped for. This is of course because hope is not a plan and my guest today is Chelsey Lambert.
Chelsey has worked with law firms and other businesses on understanding, building, and executing marketing plans that work, and Chelsey is going to share with us today some really important strategies to use marketing to drive your business forward.
Chelsey, welcome to the ‘The Un-Billable Hour’.
Chelsey Lambert: Thank you so much for having me, Christopher.
Christopher Anderson: My pleasure. Now, first of all, I know my introduction of you was really, really brief, so if you wouldn’t mind just to kind of give some context, help our listeners understand how you came to work with law firms and with other businesses on marketing, what a little bit of your background is.
Chelsey Lambert: Absolutely. So I have been in the small law firms space for over a decade now, spending seven years with a legal technology and marketing startup, creating products for law firms, such as marketing services, case management software, payment processing, and a variety of other tools.
I’ve been speaking and writing on these topics since that time as well. I had a consulting practice following that engagement where I match made technology and marketing with the small firms and their goals, and then also helped them recruit people to run those systems.
I transitioned into marketing legal technology to small firms and then finally found my today home at How to Manage a Small Law Firm where I serve as Vice President of Marketing. Travel across the country, avidly speaking and writing on the topic and my passion is really seeing small law firms adopt marketing practices and technology and systems and processes that help them run their businesses more efficiently and more profitably, which is the key word in that sentence is, the profitable piece. My personal belief is that marketing should serve the business, it should protect the business and we’re going to get into the why and how behind that today.
Christopher Anderson: Fantastic, thank you Chelsey and I will just also mention to the listeners that I’ve known Chelsey for years, I have encountered Chelsey on the speaking circuit in the marketplace, speaking to and teaching to law firms as well as other businesses, some of the things that we will be talking about today, and I’ve watched lawyers take what she has taught, take the principles that she is going to be talking about today and put them to great use. So I’m really excited for our listeners and for myself to get underway.
Chelsey, what I’d like to do is, start with just a very basic premise, because I think lawyers, and honestly lots of small business folks, think about marketing in a very narrow way, in a very monolithic way and are surprised to learn that marketing has two main jobs. The one that everybody is familiar with and then another one that lawyers are a little bit more reluctant to engage in, and I was wondering if you might just share with us, what you see is like the two main jobs of marketing?
Chelsey Lambert: Yeah, absolutely. So marketing is commonly confused for a service or a method to make lead brain from the sky and bringing in tons and tons of traffic, tons and tons of people and a successful marketing campaign is often misunderstood as one that creates like a massive vine out your door. Well, it doesn’t help if the massive vine out your door is 90% people that have no interest in your services, don’t understand what you do or have an expectation that you’re never going to be able to meet. So the job of marketing is actually, one, to bring the right quantity of the right quality of the right prospects to your door.
So it is actually not just to attract the attention and to bring awareness about your law firm, but it’s to filter out and make sure that the right message is being communicated to them so that if you let’s say do family law, you don’t have a hundred people standing outside or calling your office that are looking for a bankruptcy attorney because you won’t be able to help them.
And then the second part is, to actually protect the staff, your other clients who are happy, who are paying you, who are loyal to you and your services who are good referral sources or potential referral sources that’s actually to protect the business because by filtering out all of the people who are not going to be a good fit, for example, just within our organization I try, my goal is to never have sales get on the phone with someone who isn’t potentially a good fit as a client. And really focusing on what that ideal is and protecting shielding business from anyone who doesn’t fit those criteria, because what it does is it seals away from the time that you’re able to spend with clients, from the time that you’re able to spend doing quality business development activities that create distractions and a laundry list of other issues.
So one, to bring the right quantity of the right quality, of the right people at the right time and it should be something that you can dial up and dial down, so turning up the marketing when you need more and turning it down when your staff needs time to actually deliver and then to protect the business from as many of the bad eggs that you possibly can.
Christopher Anderson: Right, and then by “to protect the business”, you mentioned one key part which is to protect sales so that sales isn’t having a conversation with someone who won’t end up being a great client on there by not paying attention, not being available to someone who might be. It’s also of course to protect the whole rest of the business, to protect the production line, the view of the production of the work that people who get quality work done for your great clients from having to work with a crappy client who is going to turn them and waste their time as to protect the people who work in the factory from being burned out by bad client is to protect everything about the business from the bad effects of working with a wrong client.
Eventually, even marketing which will be damaged by having worked with a client you shouldn’t have and thereby having a bad referral out there. So I think that’s just a really great point, and then I think one thing that’s also overlooked sometimes in keeping the wrong people away from your door as you called it, you’re also not wasting their time, right? Marketing should prevent the business from talking to and wasting the time of someone who the business doesn’t really need to be helping.
Chelsey Lambert: No, and help them by allowing them to go find the attorneys that is right for them. So you’re denying them by pulling in people who are not a good fit for your services and forcing them through a sales cycle that isn’t necessarily the right fit for either of you. You’re denying them the opportunity for quality representation from an attorney who is prosecuted for their situation.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah. So understanding Chelsey, thanks so much for the two jobs of marketing what the two jobs of marketing are and how it is equally important really to keep the wrong types of clients away from the rest of the business for their sake as well as for the business’ sake. But I would like to turn our attention now is to your marketing again, now we talk about marketing as if it’s a sort of monolithic entity, this one big thing that a firm should do, but in talking to preparing for the show you helped me to understand that there’s really three main areas of marketing, you talk to me about PR and media about inbound and about digital and I was wondering if you could explain to our listeners what each of those three are.
Chelsey Lambert: Absolutely. So you use different areas of marketing as your business grows and evolve. You also use different areas of marketing our different components based on what your goals are. For example; and just to kind of give you a quick summary of these three areas. So media and PR would be referring to articles published in nationally or locally recognized publications, such as magazines or newspapers or TV spots where you’re not placing an advertisement or you are actually being interviewed on a television show or a podcast or an article printed in, in a magazine that someone might buy at a newsstand or a nationally-recognized newspaper, that falls into the media and PR area.
Christopher Anderson: Okay.
Chelsey Lambert: Of which you can often hire a public relations, and PR stands for Public Relations, you can hire a PR agency, this is when you would do a press release, and so that is one segment of marketing, and that area is typically used when you are launching a brand, when you have accomplished something such as making the Inc. 5000 list or making the Law Firm 500 list or have had a huge achievement that happens within the firm, anything that is essentially news falls into that category.
Christopher Anderson: A big settlement or a win or something like that.
Chelsey Lambert: Absolutely, anything that is deemed newsworthy would fall into that category, and you can do that yourself by using DIY PR tools or you can hire an agency that puts an entire public relations strategy that depends again on what the goals of your firm are.
Now the other two areas are inbound marketing where it very much ties to the name, you want to draw people in by offering them a piece of content, such as a eBook or a PDF that they can download or the ability to click on something in an email and drive them into your list or into your website to capture their information, inbound marketing is often done at the beginning of a practice to build cash flow and to generate clients through marketing activities because inbound activities are the least costly out of any of the three areas because what you’re doing is you’re producing the content yourself, most often, you’re relying on your existing network to generate those contacts and referrals as you’re just getting started, so I will then refer to inbound marketing as grassroots marketing, you’re doing social media, you’re doing email campaigns all of those activities are going to fall into the inbound strategy.
And then the third component or third area is digital marketing, which is SEO (Search Engine Optimization), which happens on your website where you are purposefully architecting the content on page, which is what people actually see, but then also the metadata behind what they see in the backend of your website which we could do an entire hour show on just how that breaks down.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and then PPC which stands for Pay-Per-Click where you are actually buying AdWords, you are buying placement, you are doing retargeting and display, so that is actually digital advertising or digital marketing.
So you have the three areas, you have public relations media, inbound marketing, and then digital, which is the umbrella that encompasses SEO, PPC, and actual, the purchase of traffic, and digital is really the purchase of traffic which the hardest part about digital marketing is that it is essentially like stand running through an hourglass only its money.
And so, you have to make sure that whatever you’re doing in your digital strategy is closely monitored, oftentimes this is managed by an agency, I do recommend that you have an agency that this is all that they do, managing it, because you’d be bidding on keywords and changing things out throughout the course of the day and you can set up a campaign and walk out of the room and come back and $5000 have gone out the door. So it will evaporate your budget right in front of you, if it’s not watched and monitored properly. So that’s one to be careful with, but can be very-very successful.
Christopher Anderson: Cool, and that helps a lot and what’s interesting is like the inbound is one that I think, like you said, it can be done very efficiently, very inexpensively, but I think a lot of people stumble over it because the name of it suggests that it just magically creates people calling in, but it’s really putting your message out there in a variety of ways by speaking, by blogging, by tweeting, by doing whatever you need to do to get people to come in and consume your content.
Chelsey Lambert: Yes, that is a great way and wouldn’t it be wonderful if it just came in from turning it on and that is its consistency, you have the ability, the Internet love content, Google love content. And what they want is they want to see consistently fresh ideas, fresh offers, fresh articles, fresh events, and that timeline, keeping up that timeline is one of the keys to a successful inbound strategy. So if I write a blog today and maybe spread it out on all of my social media profiles, it will decrease in the amount of traffic that it’s bringing in over time, just by nature.
So oftentimes people will write a blog, they’ll put something out to the world, their website will get a ton of traffic, they’ll get a ton of attention, but then a couple of days later, that attention has fallen off. And the key is to consistently be putting out material and sharing with your audience which is constantly changing, constantly growing, so that the world knows that there is a consistent stream of information coming from this source which establishes you as an expert, it establishes the specialty or the niche that your practice may focus on and draws people who are looking for that particular service to you, which is why it’s so important to focus the area of law that you want to bring in clients for focus your content on that area, focus the thought leadership and development and content that you’re writing on that area, because if you’re writing about six different practice areas you’re really not making progress in any one of those, you’re just kind of spinning your wheels.
So the more focused that content can be and then the more consistent of a schedule you can deliver on and if you can’t deliver on it yourself, then later on in today’s session I think we’re going to get into some options on how to maintain that, the more successful your inbound campaigns will be; so focused content being number one, and then number two that keeping up that consistency.
Christopher Anderson: Right. And it would also seem to me just like listening to how you have explained it that I’ve seen I think people make this mistake in that. They’ll do the digital because it’s money, they feel like they don’t have to create content, they just go out and do pay-per-click, just go out and do things to get their message out there without balancing it with the inbound, but from the way you have explained it would seem like the best approach here would be to have a balance of good content, good inbound marketing than supported by digital marketing that is measured and carefully managed by an agency.
Chelsey Lambert: Absolutely, they go hand-in-hand and you can drive traffic you can buy website visitors and force them to go to your site, but what they see when they arrive, if it doesn’t speak to the problem that they have, and I always kind of use this generic example like nobody knows what Smith & Smith does; Smith & Smith could be any type of business, it could be any area of law. And so, when you are paying all of this money to drive traffic to their site, the message that they see when they get there and how they interact with what you have the ability to tell them to educate them on is going to determine whether or not you can nurture them into a prospect or into a potential appointment or into a potential sales call, because when they come to a site that is very general, if it doesn’t speak to the situation that they’re in at the moment that they decide to search out for an attorney and I always advise those firms that I work with to put themselves in their clients’ shoes and to think about what was happening the day that they decided to pick up the phone and make that call, because reaching out to a lawyer is a very scary thing for a lot of people, and so when they arrive on your site and will just use family law as an example or bankruptcy as an example, when they arrive on your site and they see images of a family or images of a child between two parents or images of a potential custody situation or whatever the case maybe, they are going to be more inclined to stay there than if they arrive and they see courthouse steps —
Christopher Anderson: Sure.
Chelsey Lambert: — which I so often see on so many websites or a gavel or the scales of justice that doesn’t speak to the potential client that you’re trying to attract, which comes back to the filtering. We want that message and we want the images that they see to resonate and the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text. So that first impression, I cannot stress enough how important that is when they arrive because otherwise you have paid potentially 60, 70, 50, 40, it doesn’t matter how much you have spent to get that visitor there, they’re going to leave right away and you have to start all over again.
Christopher Anderson: Right. Okay, so what we’re going to do here is, take a break to have a word from our sponsor, and when we come back, we’re going to talk about using the concepts that we’ve just talked about, the three areas of marketing, the two jobs of marketing, and how to put that together to build a marketing plan. We’re going to talk about like how lawyers aren’t doing that right, how vendors aren’t doing that right for lawyers, and then what’s really in a marketing plan, and then we will go on to talk about measuring it, and like you said, some strategies around how to get the content done, but for right now, we’ll take a break and we’ll be back in just a moment.
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Christopher Anderson: Welcome back, we are with ‘The Un-Billable Hour’ and talking to our guest, Chelsey Lambert, about your marketing game plan for 2017.
When we left off, we had been talking about the two jobs of marketing and then also which were to attract people to your door, and then also to make sure that you’re not allowing people that the business should not be doing business with to get into the door to work with sales or to get into the factory, to protect the business for people you shouldn’t be working with.
We then talked about three main areas of marketing, how they play together, how important PR and media are, and then how inbound marketing, which is the marketing where your message is out there in the world attracting people to consume content that you’ve created, plays with digital marketing like pay-per-click or like social media where you’re paying for eyeballs and having those two things work together.
So what we wanted to talk about now, what I wanted to have Chelsey kind of walk us through, is what it is then to put these concepts together into an effective and manageable marketing plan?
Chelsey, from my experience, a lot of law firms consume marketing services, they hire agencies, they hire website designers and builders, they do social media, they pay for pay-per-click, but they don’t really have an overall marketing plan.
In your experience how is it that most lawyers out there that you’ve seen talk to et cetera conceive of their marketing plan?
Chelsey Lambert: I call it bladder pain marketing because it just means like there is a point where they’ve realized that they’re halfway through a case or it’s a group of cases and they say, oh, I need to go do some business development or I need to do some marketing because once the cases are done I’m going to have a lull or I am going to have a cash flow issue or something like that. And so, by not having a marketing plan, one, it goes much, much farther than just marketing.
I find that when a plan is not in place they actually make business decisions that hurt the law firm. So you find yourself in a more reactive mode so you might spend more on marketing than you should have for a certain type of campaign.
You also might take a client that you’re a little bit maybe in a desperate situation because of a cash flow or a business development issue and you feel like you need to just bring clients on so that you can make it through the next quarter. And so, you make more reactive decisions when you don’t have a plan, that’s number one. Number two, you cannot predict your marketing spend because opportunities will come along and either you don’t have the marketing budget to take advantage of them.
Like, for example, we are coming on the end of the year so now it’s a really good time to negotiate with your marketing providers, especially maybe if you have some extra budget leftover that you would want to get off the books. You can take advantage of the fact that they’re coming up on the end of the year, you can negotiate lower rates, and when you don’t have a plan, you can’t take advantage of opportunities in that way because you just have no hands-on on what your budget or what your needs are.
And then, number three, they don’t plan out over the course of a calendar year what’s the most opportunistic times are for their marketing, and this is different for different practice areas.
Christopher Anderson: Sure, yeah.
Chelsey Lambert: I am just going to share a couple of quick examples. So for bankruptcy, first quarter, huge marketing quarter for bankruptcy firms because there are so many people out there whose tax time is the only time where they might have 1500 or 2000 or however much it might cost to file a bankruptcy laying around, because they get their tax return. And so getting out in front of those people during the first quarter when they’re filing their taxes and using those as an opportunity for them to offer them this fresh start and to leverage the fact that, hey, you have this, let’s get this pain and this burden and this crippling force in your life out of the way during a time where you actually have the financial means to do that. That’s one practice area.
Another practice area would be criminal defense and DUI, where just statistically the number of offences increase between the months of November — actually October, and December, between Halloween and right after the New Year, so are you buying more PPC ads, are you going to do a billboard, things like that? So knowing when statistically filings are higher. Domestic violence, family law also have cyclical times that unfortunately tie to a lot of the major holidays, Valentine’s Day or family law and divorce.
So as unsettling as it might be to think about those times of the year, you have to put yourself in a position where you plan to spend more marketing dollars around those events because that’s where majority of the business or the highest quality potential clients are going to come to you during that timeframe and to plan to allocate your marketing budget, giving yourself enough leeway and time to get those campaigns ready or to have someone working on them, not on the night before or a couple of days before so that they are actually executed properly, again, going back to not being reactive and spending more money than you have to, and then also having a tax.
So this is something that I was so pleased to see when I came to How to Manage a Small Law Firm, not only do we teach our members to do this but we also need to practice what we preach and we do it internally. So for every new client that comes on a percentage of the fee that is collected from that client actually goes directly into the marketing budget, which allows you to, one, have marketing money without thinking about it, which is fantastic, but then, two, scale your marketing budget as the business grows, because the same amount of money they got to your first round of clients is not the same amount of money that you’re going to need, when you’re double, triple, quadruple decide.
Christopher Anderson: Right.
Chelsey Lambert: So having that plan is something that you really as a business can’t live without.
Christopher Anderson: Right. And so I think that’s been called in some of the literature Eric Ries in ‘The Lean Startup’ calls that like a client-funded marketing, which is basically client-funded growth, your programming growth into your business by a funding marketing immediately out of revenues, which is really brilliant.
So you’ve explained how like most lawyers kind of just do marketing as an emergency thing almost where they hopefully see a shortfall coming and then drum up some marketing to get it done rather than having a year-long plan that takes advantage of timing. And also, I think — I don’t think you explicitly said it with this, but it’s implicit from what you said earlier, take advantage of consistency, your marketing is going to be much more effective if you’re consistent, consistent, consistent. And one of the conundrums that I see out there though is that, well, what you say — I mean, I have seen it, it’s absolutely true.
A lot of the people who sell marketing services, a lot of the vendors out there who sell pay-per-click, who sell social media management, who sell being a marketing manager for your business, who sell law firm marketing services, who sell websites, while they do a great job at the things that they sell, they don’t often do a whole lot to help their clients form a plan.
So what I was hoping you might do is explain a little bit to the listeners about what a marketing plan looks like, like what are the elements of a marketing plan, how do you figure out what your marketing spend should be.
Chelsey Lambert: Yes, absolutely. So I’d like to start with a calendar. The 12-month calendar, we are coming into 2017 and laying out that calendar over a 12-month period and then identifying the areas, maybe it’s holidays, maybe it’s seasonal, maybe it’s just peak times of the year that you have noticed as you have been practicing or seeing in your particular practice area where you know that it is most advantageous to market.
Now, that tax is going to be happening the entire way, so you know that you are going to have the budget to spend on the things that you need. After you have identified the key times of the year that you are going to need to push marketing around certain events, or there are certain goals that you have, like the number of clients that you would like to acquire every single month, and this should be a set of KPIs that you have in your business. You should know if you generate, let’s say, 50 leads, that 10 of them are going to actually get on the phone with you, 5 of them are actually going to show up for appointments, and maybe two or three are actually going to become clients.
So knowing what that conversion ratio looks like, and the better your marketing is and the more on target your messages to their particular pain point or situation, the better those numbers will be. And also referral sources, very high quality referral sources will impact those conversion rates as well.
So understanding what your lead to appointment to client numbers are is key in this process. And once you have identified those two things, what your typical conversion rates are and the times of the year that you need to bring in business or it’s most likely that you will bring in business, then you create what we call campaign. And a campaign can be something like a monthly newsletter, where —
Christopher Anderson: All right, so Chelsey, let me just interrupt you a second. You are talking about going into a campaign, and you outlined like some of the things in a marketing plan to make sure that you know your conversion rates from people that see your message, to how many people call or take an action, to how many people actually schedule an appointment.
And what I wanted to do is just sort of take one step back, because what’s implicit in what you said is that lawyers actually need to start with the question of how many new cases do they want to get, how many appointments do they want to get, and that question actually comes from how much revenue do you want.
So if you know how much revenue you need to have this year, this quarter, this month, and you know what your average case value is, that’s how you know how a lawyer would start their marketing plan to know how many leads, how many appointments they need to get. Does that make sense for what you were saying?
Chelsey Lambert: That is completely accurate, and that goes hand in hand, the marketing plan goes hand in hand with the business plan, because marketing drives the front end of the business. It drives the revenue that you are going to generate, the amount of money you are going to have to spend on marketing to hit those revenue numbers, and also where you are going to spend those marketing dollars if you are relying more heavily on referral sources and you need to spend your personal time or lunches or coffee meetings or what have you to foster those referral relationships, or if you are going to be able to drive them through a digital strategy to hit the number of appointments that you are going to need every month in order to convert those appointments into cases, which should be tied to a case value and tied back to your overall revenue numbers.
And for any practice area, the funnel that you really need to be watching like a hawk, I mean just — and if you are not watching this, then having an agency partner or having a support person or a staff person run these reports for you on a weekly basis is something that’s fairly easy to do.
It’s the number of leads, the sources where they are coming from, the number of appointments that are generated from those leads and the sources, and then the number of clients, and if you don’t know what these numbers are, like let’s say you are just getting started or you have changed practice areas or you are really trying to focus on one particular area of law, then guess or ask around so that you at least have a baseline or a goal.
And then as you collect your data, because a lot of firms don’t track these things, and especially when they are getting started, and the sooner that you can collect the data, the sooner you are going to be able to make more intelligent decisions about where you are spending your money, where to move it when it’s not working.
I always say a lot of marketing is moving money, because when something doesn’t work, we take that money and we move it right over here into something that does, so that you are constantly improving and you are constantly trying to increase that number of appointments and increase that number of appointments that turn into actually paying clients and quality clients that you are not going to see discrepancies with, because they are being presented the right message, because they are being sold the appropriate service, and that all ties back in the end to your revenue numbers.
So once you know where your leads are coming from, so the sources that are most successful for you, the lead sources that are converting most often into appointments that actually show up, so even if you want to take it a step further, you can track show and no-show rates, because one lead source might give you a ton of appointments, but the people never show up. So what is the actual lead quality there, that’s a question that you have to ask yourself? And then out of those appointments the ones that turn into quality clients who pay.
So that is the overall funnel, and once you have those numbers, those metrics in place, which in an ideal world you would be reporting on, on a weekly basis, at an absolute minimum you need to be reporting on them each month, because the longer that you go without reporting, the more money that you have being spent without knowing whether or not it’s working. So that is absolutely critical.
Once you have an idea of those numbers, then you can actually start to build campaigns and to increase the number of leads, increase the number of appointments, and increase the number of clients that you are going to be able to convert by adding campaigns or adding marketing activities.
Marketing activities and campaigns are kind of interchangeable terms. It just depends on what you are most comfortable with. Like campaign could be anything from a speaking engagement, to an email newsletter or a downloadable e-book or an article that was published in a local publication or a national publication or a blog article on your website that is tied to a forum, any one of those examples can be called a campaign or a marketing activity. And you add more and more campaigns to increase the number of leads, to increase the number of appointments to hit those revenue calls.
Christopher Anderson: To hit your numbers, cool. And it sounds like very much what you are saying is, basically whether you have a track record and you make your estimates, your hypotheses for how the marketing funnel is going to work from your track record or whether you just make educated guesses, it sounds like you are saying you really shouldn’t do anything unless you are able to measure and compare it to what you thought was going to happen.
Chelsey Lambert: Absolutely. If you are not measuring what you are doing from a financial and time impact, to be completely honest, because what happens if you light up a marketing campaign and all of a sudden you are booked solid with appointments and you also have to deliver too. So it’s beyond just a financial spend but there is a time component that impacts you and your entire staff, entire firm as well. So you have to at least put a guess in place, and then as you grow, as you do more marketing, your own data and real data will replace that guess and it’s interesting to see how close or how far off you are.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah. So we have only got a couple of minutes left and I wanted to be sure we hit one last thing that I think the listeners would really find value in, and that’s when you and I were talking in preparation for the show, you emphasized to me the importance of whether you are doing blogging or speaking or other activities that create content, that you find a way to reuse the content, reuse the content in a variety of different means. Can you explain what that means to the listeners and how they can put that strategy to use for them in their marketing?
Chelsey Lambert: Oh, absolutely. I have had so many conversations. This is something I am really, really adamant about. I have had so, so many conversations with small firms who have gotten disheartened, especially solo practitioners who have gotten disheartened doing their own marketing, because they pour themselves into a speaking engagement or into a blog post or into an article that gets published and they spend all of this time and energy putting it together. And it goes out into the world and it’s shared all over social media and they ride this marketing high for a week or two weeks, and then it dissipates, the attention goes away, and they get so caught up in this initial feeling of how awesome it was when it first went out that they feel like it’s over, and they get disheartened.
And then they are like, well, it only lasts for a couple of weeks so why should I spend the time to do it again. I have heard this story a hundred times. And it’s because what is the disconnect there is that every single time that you create something, that you deliver something, that is an asset. You are creating a library of marketing assets. So have someone or even on your phone record the speech that you give or the talk and then transcribe it into an article, or take that blog post and post it on social media and then schedule it again to go out another 90 days later.
Because what also happens is that the audience that you have today is not the audience that you are going to have 60 days from now, a 120 days from now, a year from now, that audience is going to change, it’s going to evolve, it’s going to grow.
Also, I would remind everybody that the sheer volume of content and news that’s coming at us on a daily basis, what you may have pushed out into the world the first time could have got lost in the mix of the Facebook holiday feeds or like it seems like baby and engagement season or whatever was going on during that time in their life or in their world. So you have to consistently reuse that content, which is great, because it means you don’t have to create new stuff all the time, you can take a blog post and then repurpose it in an email newsletter or repurpose it in an email campaign.
You can record a speaking engagement or get video permission to video a speaking engagement and then put it on a YouTube channel or on your website or even link to that video in an email that you send out to your list. So every time you produce something, you are creating an asset that has a value.
And just to kind of tie a dollar amount to some of these things, the average value of acquiring an email address is $75. So if you have a blog post of video, because of the amount of time and effort that goes into it, and that could be different based on your practice area or your specialty, but if you actually think about the time that it takes to acquire that email address and write that article or take a half a day out of the office to do that speaking engagement, you owe it to yourself to reuse that piece of content over and over again.
And the good news is, is that if you repurpose it correctly or if you write it in such a way that it is what we call evergreen, it can be used in almost any version of media, so written or watched audio or any of the vehicles that people might come across, but then it can live on for two, three years sometimes, where you are using it over and over again.
Not to mention the fact that now you have a library, so if an opportunity for a speaking engagement or an opportunity for a talk or an event or a publication wants you to write something for them, you have saved that article, and it’s not just some link out on the Internet that you can’t find again, you have saved that article and now you can quickly turn around and show how prompt and professional you are by saying, absolutely, I actually have a Dropbox folder full of articles that I have written over the last few years. Here is a sample of my work, what can I help you with. And they are going to be much more inclined to publish something about your firm when you have this library, and it shows the expertise and thought leadership that you have built.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah, that makes such total sense. I think it’s going to be really valuable. So that wraps up this edition of ‘The Un-Billable Hour’, the Law Practice Advisory Podcast. Chelsey, thank you so very much for sharing some of these insights on marketing, really appreciate it.
Would it be okay if I offered or if asked you whether you could perhaps have available for our listeners a sample marketing plan and maybe some sample things that they can do, like talk about blog post, or just some sample marketing activities that they could do, have that available for them.
Chelsey Lambert: Yeah, absolutely. I would be happy to help. And thank you so much for having me.
Christopher Anderson: It’s my pleasure. So our guest today has been Chelsey Lambert and you can learn more about her by emailing her at HYPERLINK “mailto:email@example.com” firstname.lastname@example.org and you can look for some of the materials that Chelsey was talking about by going to HYPERLINK “http://www.HowToMANAGEaSmallLawFirm.com/UBH” www.howtomanageasmalllawfirm.com/UBH for Un-Billable Hour, HYPERLINK “http://www.HowToMANAGEaSmallLawFirm.com/UBH” www.howtomanageasmalllawfirm.com/UBH.
Chelsey is also available on Twitter at @ChelseyLambert and LinkedIn at Chelsey Lambert.
My name of course is Christopher Anderson and I look forward to seeing you next month with another great guest, as we learn more about topics that help us build the law firm business that works for you.
And remember, you can subscribe to all the editions of this podcast at HYPERLINK “http://www.legaltalknetwork.com” legaltalknetwork.com or on iTunes.
Thanks for joining us and we will see you again soon.
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