July 2 marks the halfway point of the year, and for many law firms, that means it is time to reflect on their business growth strategies and plan ahead for end of the year client gifts. Successful attorneys know that marketing is a huge part of the effectiveness of these initiatives. It takes a careful evaluation of your marketing tools, campaigns, and overall law firm goals in order to make the second half of the year stretch the boundaries of what your firm is capable of.
Although marketing looks a little different for business to consumer practices and business to business practices, here are some tips that will work for everyone.
You can rely on these seven areas:
Growth Metrics and Reconfiguring
The very first item on your list is to sit down and dig deep into the numbers. Take a look at your analytics from all your marketing sources (both paid and unpaid). Review your web traffic and get a good handle on where you are getting the bulk of your online visitors from. Review your paid retargeting campaigns and see which web pages are scoring highest for returning visitors. Evaluate the leads you received from offline sources like conferences, networking events, and print advertising.
For each of your offline and online sources, create an estimate of how much the current and future business is worth. This exercise will ensure that you are being conscious of how your marketing dollars are being spent and will give you a data-driven course of action when it comes to what should be invested in more and what can be cut.
Content Marketing Evaluation
Halfway through the year is a good time to stop and reflect on your content marketing plan’s performance. This includes digital, print, image, and video content that you are developing in-house. Review the top pieces of content that you generated with all stakeholders discussing the following:
- Why did this piece of content work for our law firm?
- What kinds of interaction did it receive and from whom? (Shares, likes, comments, clicks to website)
- What targeted industries or demographic groups do we want to reach that we are not currently reaching?
- Is our current content producer (writer, video producer, editor, etc.) the appropriate fit for the content our law firm is producing?
- What is missing from our law firm’s content marketing campaigns?
- What are the steps for filling these gaps?
- What could we cut?
Answering these questions is a good start to ensuring that your content marketing dollars are getting the best return on investment. In addition, this is a good time to take a look at the upcoming months and plan out the types of content that your law firm will be producing before the end of the year.
Client Appreciation Strategy
The end of the year is just six months away, which means that you need to begin thinking about how you will honor the people who have helped you be successful this year. This might be something as simple as sending out holiday greeting cards, or something as elaborate as an honorary black-tie dinner. Whatever you choose to do, make sure that you include it in your half-year review so that you can appropriately budget the time and talent to make it happen for your clients and referral sources around the holidays.
Online Reputation Management
When things are busy, it is easy to let things like online biographies and photographs remain untouched and slide into antiquity. Unfortunately, most people looking for your services will look online first before they make a call. Outdated biographies may under-represent your skills or hold inaccurate contact information, making it hard for referrals to ever find you.
Old photographs can be even more detrimental. A great headshot is often the lynchpin deciding whether or not a potential client feels that you are trustworthy, dedicated, and approachable. People seeking legal representation often are looking for the person they see online to match what the person looks like in real life.
At the year’s halfway point, it is time to take an hour or so and ensure that you are accurately represented to the hundreds of people who will come into contact with your online profiles.
Award Calendar Updates
Awards and honors are continuing reminders of your law firm’s status as among the best in your field. As such, the mid-year mark is a good time to both reflect on the awards your team earned so far and make a strategy for how to continue the pattern of success.
To ensure the best chance of earning further accolades, I suggest creating or updating an editorial calendar spreadsheet designed to track: a) potential awards; b) due dates for those awards; c) submissions created; d) submissions approved; and, e) submissions sent.
Of course, you do not have to write every award submission or nomination yourself. But creating a plan to capture the “low-hanging fruit” of awards you easily fit the qualifications for is an important step to take at least twice per year.
Social Media Review
Similarly, it is wise to consider the social media channels that you will be planning on using for the next half of the year and develop a plan for those posts in advance. This plan should begin with the large-picture metrics and reconfiguring that I spoke of earlier. Then, once you can see which posts have been effective, it is time to devise additional content that builds on your knowledge of what is working.
Some key things to consider when you are reviewing and planning for the upcoming months’ social media campaigns:
- Stock photography. Will you need to have images purchased, or can you take pictures in-house to assist with the need for pictures?
- Special dates or celebrations. Can you create a specialized graphic for National Child Safety Awareness Month? What is your plan for honoring the Fourth of July? How about Thanksgiving? Take a minute to put these things on your content calendar so you have more than enough time to plan how you will address these special occasions.
- Writing/production schedules. Are there any large-scale videos or specialized pieces of content that will need to be produced (such as a white-paper or e‑book)? Give yourself at least a few months notice so that you can get all the involved parties moving together towards the same goals, vision, and deadline.
Website Updates and Audit
At least twice a year, it is a good idea to do a full audit of the functionality and safety of your website. Ensure that your links are in working order, your content management system (CMS) is up-to-date with the latest security protocols, and all of your online content (including attorney biographies) is up-to-date and in working order.
In order to make the second half of the year as good, or better, than the first, it is vital to take stock at this half-way mark. Through careful reflection, collaboration with your colleagues and marketing stakeholders, and foresight into what the future holds, this can be a great time to refresh and rejuvenate your marketing plan.