The Business of Legal: Sales is Not a Dirty Word, Part II

My co-contributor for this month is Allen Rodriguez, Chief of Product at ONE400. Prior to co-founding ONE400, Allen served as the Director of Attorney Services at LegalZoom and lead the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service operations. Boasting a 17-year legal career, Allen provides mentorship at legal hackathons, speaks on the future of law, and presents on marketing strategies for lawyers.

Salespeople coined the phrase “ABC—always be closing.” While it might seem silly or cutesy, it’s the truth, and it’s essential. Contrary to popular belief, law firms are not above sales and marketing. Unless you are the recipient of unlimited, pre-qualified referrals that line up at your door, you need to attain leads and convert them into sales. After all, sales are the key to growth in any business, including law firms.

I’ve spent almost thirty years in and around professional services firms, but besides what I’ve picked up as a CEO of my own company, I have never been directly responsible for sales or marketing. Therefore, I asked Allen Rodriguez, the Chief of Product at ONE400, to contribute some tips around both sales and marketing. Last month we addressed sales principles and practices. This month, Allen shares his best practices around online marketing strategies.

Basic Marketing Principles

Every marketing campaign should have a clear goal. For most law firms, the goal of their marketing is to generate leads. Marketing online is typically easier than offline marketing because:

  1. You can track your efforts, and
  2. You can complete most of the work without leaving your office.

For these reasons, we’re focusing on online marketing.

Generating Leads: Content is King

There are several strategies for acquiring new business, but one of the most effective long-term ways is to invest time in generating and distributing content. Content marketing involves such initiatives as blogging, using social media, and guest authoring. Successful content marketing improves search engine rank, shows your subject matter expertise, and helps your firm stay top of mind with a relevant audience.

Once you’ve developed a habit of generating content related to practice on a regular schedule, you can increase your content’s exposure through paid distribution. Paid distribution of content can be as simple as targeting general counsels on Linkedin or by promoting your blog through social media ads. However, you choose to share and promote your content; the content itself is the easiest, most sustainable way to generate interest in your firm and drive traffic to your site.

Of course, there are several other ways that law firms can market such as paid directories, direct mail, seminars, and public relations campaigns, to name a few. Choose a strategy and stick with it. Most importantly, make sure you are measuring the results!

In addition to sharing his own insight, Allen reached out to others in the law business and asked for their tips. Here’s what he gathered:

Dan Jaffe of LawLytics thinks that dedicating time to marketing is an important step: “We have studied the question of what is the single most important thing a law firm can do to improve their marketing efforts extensively. Lawyers who learn how online marketing works and actively participate in their own marketing experience, on average, see 10x greater ROI on their marketing dollars and efforts (adjusted for the billable value of their time) compared to those who delegate everything.”

Michael Chasin of Lexicata thinks that good marketing is simply smarter marketing: “Rather than spending more on marketing, law firms should focus more on what they can do to increase the conversion rates of their existing leads.” To do this, he recommends “keeping track of leads and analyzing the data on their sales and client development process… I encourage most lawyers to explore a lead-tracking mechanism (e.g., a customer relationship management system) before deciding if they need to increase their marketing spend.” Doing this can generate more value than spending more money on marketing.

One final pointer: Make sure you’re optimizing your marketing process. This will make you a better marketer and help you retain more cases from the leads you already receive. The increase in business will help you increase profits, reduce cash flow issues, and bring about the confidence you need to expand your team and grow your firm.

Read Mary’s previous installments here

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