How to define — and achieve — your law firm’s marketing goals
Have you ever gone grocery shopping without a list and on an empty stomach? It’s a good way to spend a lot of money, most likely on a lot of unhealthy food.
A grocery list and a full stomach help you stay focused on getting only the items you need (and not blowing your food budget).
Just like shopping without a list, marketing your law firm without a goal is a surefire way to waste your hard-earned dollars. And for practice owners, there’s more at stake than just money: According to Thomson Reuters’ 2020 State of U.S. Small Law Firms, too much time spent on administrative tasks (like marketing and business development) is the second-biggest challenge small firms cite behind acquiring new client business.
Identifying your goals is the vital first step to successfully marketing your law firm. Here are three tactical ways to get started.
Turn your business goals into marketing goals
In order to ascertain what you want your marketing to achieve, you have to first identify what you want your practice to achieve. To do that, you need to look at your business goals. Goals are what guide your efforts and enable you to determine whether or not they’re working. In fact, marketers who set goals are 376% more likely to report success than those who don’t.
Your ultimate marketing goal is to bring in more clients and revenue, of course. But how will you do that? By taking your big-picture business goal and breaking it down into more manageable goals. Setting smaller, more specific marketing objectives will help you make progress toward your bigger goal. Some guessing will be involved — especially at first — but with experience (and tracking and analytics), you’ll get better.
Say your main business goal is to increase revenue by 30% in the next year, and you earned $600,000 this year. So next year, your aim is to earn $780,000, which is an increase of $180,000. To turn that number into an actionable marketing goal, you need to dig into the details by answering a series of questions:
1. How many new clients do you need in order to bring in $180,000? Take a look at your average client in terms of dollars, and divide $180,000 by that number. For this example, let’s say your average client pays you $5,000, so you need your marketing to generate 36 new clients ($180,000 divided by $5,000).
2. How many new callers do you need to generate in order to create 36 new clients? Now take a look at how many people call your law firm who eventually turn into clients, and divide the number of new clients needed by that rate. We’ll use 50% for this example. You’ll need to generate twice the number of calls as the number of clients you’re trying to gain, which is 72 (36 divided by 0.5).
3. How many website visitors do you need in order to generate 72 calls? Finally, look at your conversion rate, or the number of people who visit your site who call into your practice, and divide the number of leads by that rate. If your law firm’s website has a 5% conversion rate, you need to gain 1,440 new website visitors (72 divided by 0.05).
That right there — 1,440 new website visitors — is a marketing goal!
Set SMART marketing goals
When talking about goals and goal setting, you’ll often hear people talk about SMART goals. SMART is an acronym that stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Using this framework will give purpose, clarity, and accountability to your marketing efforts.
What makes a SMART goal?
It’s specific: Your goal should be explicit. When your goals are too broad or vague, it’s easy to veer off track. A clear, specific goal helps you stay focused. “Increase traffic to my website” is a perfectly reasonable goal, but it’s not specific; “Get 1,440 new visitors to my website” is.
It’s measurable: A goal that’s measurable not only has a number attached, but it’s trackable: You have the tools necessary to quantify it. Otherwise, how would you know whether or not you’ve succeeded? If your goal is 72 new callers, you can use call tracking software to see if you’ve met it.
It’s attainable: Your goal needs to be realistic and attainable. While 10 million unique visitors to your website would be nice, it may not be achievable. If your site generally gets about 1,000 new visitors per month, 1,440 is not outside the scope of reason.
It’s relevant: You have a law firm to run, so you don’t have time to spend on marketing activities that don’t help you make progress toward your goals. If your clients are generally over 50 years old, marketing on TikTok — where more than 89% of users are 49 or younger — is not relevant. It would make more sense to focus on Facebook, a platform used by 73% of 50- to 64-year-olds.
It’s time-bound: A deadline helps keep you focused on your goal and prevents it from slipping down your list of priorities. If you don’t attach a date to your goal, you’re more likely to put off the activities that will help you reach it in favor of other business-related tasks.
An example of a SMART goal: “Generate 72 new callers during the month of November.”
Monitor your performance
Whatever your law firm marketing goals are, it’s important that you can identify the tools and techniques that will help you measure your success. Otherwise, you won’t know which marketing tactics are actually working for your practice.
As a small practice owner, you need to make sure you’re getting the best possible return on your investment (ROI). The first step to calculating ROI when you’re kicking off any new marketing effort is setting benchmarks that you can use as a baseline against which you can measure your results. For instance, say you start marketing with Google Ads, and after a month you see that you’ve received 1,200 new visitors to your website. If you don’t know how many visitors you had the previous month, you won’t know if you’ve actually made any progress.
But if you benchmark your website traffic and see that you typically get 1,000 new visitors per month, you’ll know that your marketing generated 200 more. (And with tracking and analytics, you’ll know exactly which marketing efforts brought you those visitors.)
Once you’ve set your benchmarks, you can start analyzing your marketing tactics. Do this with tools like call tracking, form tracking, and analytics software, which help you identify the marketing efforts that are actually bringing in new clients.
For example, call tracking software attaches a unique, dedicated phone number to each of your online or offline marketing tactics (e.g., Google Search ads, billboards) that all ring into your main business line while tracing the source of each call. That way, you can pinpoint the source of your incoming calls to determine which tactics are working best and invest more of your marketing budget there. Similarly, form tracking shows you which ads and keywords inspired people to fill out a form on your website.
Make sure your law firm marketing is working
Successful marketing is all about continually refining your strategy. Lean into the tactics that work, and fix (or cut) the ones that don’t.