Practical Guide to Marketing for Lawyers

Out now: 'A practical guide to marketing for lawyers' book

The result of several months of hard work, our just-published book titled 'A practical guide to marketing for lawyers' is now available to buy. Our hot-off-the-press publication contains nine chapters ranging from branding and budget setting to social media and strategy, with a series of essential checklists at the end to help you through your various marketing tasks.

Those lawyers and barristers' clerks lacking marketing expertise and operating with more modest funds can find the guidance they need in our practical book which provides a comprehensive overview of each element of marketing communications. Written in layman’s terms, it’s ideal for newcomers and seasoned marketers alike.

Read more, download a free sample chapter and order your copy from Amazon.

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5 top tips for marketing metrics

5 top tips for marketing metrics

Q: So, you’ve set your marketing budget for the coming year but how do you know with any certainty how much each pound spent on marketing brings back in new instructions?

A: Marketing metrics. Conquer the data with key analytics and turn data into information into insights into outcomes. Chambers growth through marketing can only truly be understood via effective analytics.

But, where to begin? Here are five top tips to get you started…

1. Maintaining consistency and alignment
Be sure that your measurement decisions are consistent with your chambers’ established business plan. Align the two (metrics and strategy) for best success.

2. Starting small
Select one marketing tactic to measure, apply the metric and see how it works for you. Then refine the metric based on what you learn. Meanwhile, select an additional tactic to measure. And so on. You can keep building your measurement programme reasonably and gradually, until eventually you’re productively measuring every tactic.

3. Selecting your first tactic to measure
If you’re unsure which tactic to select as your first, either choose an easy or important tactic to measure. Some tactics are easy, some are impossible or nearly impossible, and most are somewhere in between. You can gain experience and confidence more quickly if you start with an easier challenge, hence why to choose the former.

The latter option may relate to the most expensive tactic in your marketing plan. Whatever the reasons, if it’s important, get to grips with it.

4. Utilising software where possible
Lots of commercial tools exist for the purposes of monitoring your marketing, ranging from Google Analytics (website analysis) and Klout (social media scoring) to MailChimp (email marketing statistics) and Moat (online brand advertising reviews). Some are free to use too. If you have the cash, paid-for versions and chargeable software (such as DataXu) can be utilised for more in-depth studies.

5. Mastering the full range of metrics
Customer acquisition cost, percentage of customers generated by marketing, brand awareness, organic search ranking, net promoter score / customer satisfaction, conversion ratio, marketing mix modelling, social media mentions, communications share of voice, customer lifetime value… the list is endless. Select your metrics wisely or you’ll have too statistics than you know what to do with!

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Three steps to setting your chambers’ marketing budget

Three steps to setting your chambers’ marketing budget

To set the scene, a marketing budget is effectively your marketing plan written in terms of costs based on your estimates as to the spend required to promote your chambers’ services to achieve your defined objectives.

Without a solid budget, you can easily accidentally overspend on marketing costs so it’s a control mechanism. Similarly, you can underspend which may have a disastrous impact on your revenues and could backfire on you this time next year when you’re fighting for your share in your set’s budgeting allocation.

But, budgeting’s not an easy task. With such an important role to play in your success, you can’t afford to get it wrong. We’ve got three steps to help you organise current finances, determine where to spend marketing pounds and make strategic adjustments throughout the year.

Step #1: Organise your financial information
Get organised about your current financial situation. When you’re working around estimates, it’s impossible to create a realistic marketing budget.

Understanding your finances starts with your revenue information. You need to know how much money your chambers makes on a monthly basis and the variations that might exist. Although income can vary significantly month-by-month, you must use reliable revenue. This is the minimum amount your chambers earns each month. Anything over this monthly minimum is extra revenue that cannot be added to the budget because it’s changeable.

Next, subtract your business expenses. This includes everything from office space rental to clerks’ room salaries. Monthly expenses should be subtracted from revenue before defining your marketing budget. A realistic budget plan will always focus on income that exceeds expenses, not just total revenue.

When you’ve determined disposable income available for your chambers, decide where this money will be spent. Marketing is only one business area so divide the money based on your strategic goals, of which marketing should form a key part.

Step #2: Decide where to spend marketing monies
Once you know the total amount potentially available for marketing, decide how you intend to spend the money. If you have a limited budget, then you should consider lower-cost activities such as small print adverts, social media and email marketing. With a larger budget, you can afford some events, sponsorship, ambient advertising, printed newsletters and more.

Integral to this stage is reviewing which activities have worked in the past. If email newsletters do the trick, then you should continue, even if you have the funds for more expensive alternatives.

Also, consider which channels allow you to reach the right audience. This comes down to customer profiling and finding out where your clients and prospects hang out.

When considering a new marketing channel, you should set aside some funds for testing. Since you don’t know if it’ll work for your chambers, you should only use a small portion of your budget. Once it’s tried and tested, invest a little more.

Step #3: Assess data and make appropriate changes
The final step to build a solid marketing budget is analysing the plan and making adjustments which impact positively on revenue. Ultimately, marketing is designed to achieve more revenue. If any of your activities don’t do this, then it’s better to remove and try something else or invest in proven activities.

Evaluation’s the process of comparing performance and recording changes to revenue – has it increased, decreased or stayed the same and can you attribute to any particular marketing activities?

Always keep the budget in mind when you make decisions on marketing spending. That way, you can explore different ideas and find the best marketing mix for your chambers.

 

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10 killer web copywriting tips

10 killer web copywriting tips

Use these 10 copywriting tips for knock-out content that’ll tempt browsers onto your site, lower your bounce rate and encourage repeat visits in the future.

1. Learn to write powerful headlines
All your copy is worthless if your headlines don’t entice visitors to click through and read further from the outset.

2. Be concise
People have shorter attention spans than ever; particularly in an online capacity. Use short sentences and short paragraphs. Of course, there are occasionally exceptions to this rule.

3. Remember the important details
Who, what, when, where, why and how are critical for good copywriting.

4. Use short words
Simple words communicate better than big words and pompous language or corporate speak. It’s easier to read and makes it feel more like a conversation.

5. Make it skimmable
Online readers don’t read everything word for word. Instead, they scan to find what they’re looking for so make your content easy to skim. Use various formatting techniques that break up the text and draw the reader’s eye to important points, for example headings, subheadings, bulleted lists and images (or other media) with captions.

6. Craft a compelling call to action
What happens when your reader’s finished your page? Call them to action by requesting they visit another related web page, complete a contact form, download a white paper etc.

7. Use positive language
Write sentences with positive words ie. “Don’t get left behind” might become “Get ahead of the competition”. Sometimes negative language is necessary and adds variety to your copy, but don’t overdo it.

8. Back up your claims
Logic influences decision making. Use statistics, research data, case studies, testimonials and other sources to prove what you say is true.

9. Balance text with images
Not a copywriting tip as such but incorporating various media (like photos, videos, infographics, slides and more) in your website makes a huge difference.

10. Link to reputable sources
Nothing online exists in a vacuum. Linking out to high-quality websites is helpful for your visitors. And, associating yourself with other credible websites will do wonders for your own reputation.

Contact us for assistance with your website copywriting projects.

 

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How to schedule posts

How to schedule posts

Even the most reliable clerks in chambers have time off work occasionally. After all, everyone needs a holiday and it’s impossible to plan for sickness. Of course, there are many reasons for absences, unexpected or otherwise. The point is this: you can schedule LinkedIn posts in advance. So, if you’re due some time off work, your LinkedIn page doesn’t have to stop with you.

In our experience, Buffer’s a popular tool for scheduling posts. Its free-to-use ‘Individual Plan’ allows you to schedule up to 10 posts at any given time. This is only for one social media account though. To connect up to 10 social profiles and store up to 100 scheduled posts at a time, subscribe to the paid-for ‘Awesome Plan’. Head to buffer.com to make a start.

In terms of monitoring conversations people are having about your chambers on social media (and, ultimately, take part!), Hootsuite’s just the job. It’s purpoted to be the world’s most widely used social relationship platform. You can track your interaction history and analyse conversations around the globe (in various languages). Be exactly where your audience is and join in the discussions. Go to hootsuite.com to sign up.

 

 

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The Ultimate LinkedIn Guide

Content: recycle and reuse

To set the scene, LinkedIn is used by both individuals and businesses to market ourselves and our companies. It’s always in professional mode because people hang out on LinkedIn to meet and learn from other professionals. Therefore, while it’s important to be friendly, act accordingly. Keep the more informal, chatty posts for other platforms.

You can create personal LinkedIn profiles and company pages. We’ll tackle each area in turn…

Personal LinkedIn profiles

It’s highly likely that plenty of your firm's partners and staff already have a LinkedIn presence. All of these play an important role in defining your firm’s online reputation. If they’re strong, consistent profiles, you’re on to a winner as you’re presenting yourselves as an expert, unified team. If this isn’t the case – whether it’s that very few of your staff are on LinkedIn or that the profiles which do exist are of varying quality – some gentle encouragement and guidelines distributed around your organisation wouldn’t go amiss.

Here’s what personal profiles should include:-

1. Photograph
Even on a professional level, people like dealing with people. Getting a good photo of yourself isn’t difficult with the plethora of Smartphones and other devices we use, all of which have high-tech camera technology embedded within them. Believe us, a photo makes all the difference.

2. Summary
The second most important part of your profile is your summary. Be authentic (false claims stand out a mile) and, as well as describing your sector experience and personality, also outline the benefits you offer clients and prospective clients of your firm.

3. Other profile areas
Populate the ‘Experience’, ‘Volunteer & causes’, ‘Skills’, ‘Education’, ‘Additional info’, ‘Organisations’ (membership bodies etc) and ‘Contact info’ sections. But be selective about the information you upload about yourself. If you’ve had lots of jobs, don’t list them all, especially not the more junior roles, and think about bundling some together under one heading. Make it easy for people to scan your profile and instantly understand your career history, qualifications and how to get in touch.

4. Connections
The more people you connect with, the better it is for business. Personalise your connection invitation message to encourage positive response. Don’t connect with anyone and everyone though. Select connections in your industry only. Once connected, treat your connections with respect. Don’t spam your database with marketing messages. They won’t thank you for it.

5. Recommendations
It’s readily acknowledged that recommendations are the best form of marketing there is, so this area’s pretty important too. The way to gather recommendations is to recommend others and hope that they’ll reciprocate. You’ll find that the majority will do so. It’s bad practice to request recommendations from all and sundry. Give something first and they’re likely to give something back in return.

6. Groups
This category falls under ‘Interests’. Find out which groups your peers are part of and ask to join. Thereafter, take part in the conversations. Again, don’t blast group members with marketing. You’ll annoy everyone and risk getting banned from the group for such poor etiquette. Instead, offer advice, comment on others’ posts and generally show your subject area knowledge. And, when confident enough, why not devise your own groups?

Company pages

Next, create a company page. You need a personal LinkedIn profile to do this. Go to ‘Interests’ and ‘Companies’ from the top toolbar then click ‘Create’ under the ‘Create a Company Page’ heading on the right hand side. Your company page should be a mini version of your website so that those interested in discovering more about your firm can from within LinkedIn. Here’s what to do:-

1. Tell the story of your firm
Choose the ‘Home’ tab from the top toolbar and ‘Edit’ to the right of the screen. Only designated administrators can perform this function. You want your followers to be able to read a high-level overview of your firm, its mission and areas of expertise.

Use your website’s ‘Home’ or ‘About us’ pages as a starting point. Bear in mind your keywords to boost search engine optimisation (SEO) performance. Don’t set up your page then let it lie stagnant. Keep it up to date.

Once you’re done editing your page, click on the ‘Publish’ button in the right hand corner (or ‘Cancel’ if you make a mistake).

2. Use images
With your overall firm’s branding your foremost consideration, select images to bring your company page to life. Your firm's logo will appear next to your name at the top of the page. Dimension requirements are 300 x 300 pixels. Your main image reflects your business. This should be 646 x 220 pixels and make it eye catching!

3. Add specialties
You’re allowed up to 20 of these but it doesn’t mean you must fill all 20 available spaces with generic terms. Again, for SEO reasons, list a handful of keyword-specific specialties. You’ll rank higher on Google and people will find your set more easily.

4. Create showcase pages
Every one of your LinkedIn followers isn’t interested in every one of your legal area specialisms. Taking the place of the old ‘Products / Services’ tab, showcase pages allow you to develop customised pages for various target audiences and ultimately develop niche communities around them. LinkedIn members can actually follow these without following your entire chambers. You can then tailor content to your heart’s content.

Click on the arrow next to the ‘Edit’ button located in the top right hand corner of your company page and select ‘Create a Showcase Page’ from the drop-down list presented. Thereafter, choose a page name, assign administrators, write a description, attach a representative image, select an industry, include a URL to a relevant landing page on your website and upload your logo. Click ‘Publish’ at the end to make your page live.

5. Post compelling content
Get into the habit of posting content regularly, be it blog posts, press releases, industry announcements, service developments or other updates. It’s about having conversations with your followers by providing valuable resources and nuggets of information which your audience needs and wants.

This doesn’t have to be freshly written content each time. Sharing articles posted by industry spokespeople is equally acceptable.

Post content through the ‘Share an update’ area on your company page. These posts will then appear on your home screen and your followers’ news feeds. Consider optimum time of day (mornings are generally preferred), length of post (keep it snappy with a link for more information) and imagery. Use photos always and videos where possible (more on this later).

6. Attract followers
Your content (step 5 above) will do much of the work for you but you also need to request that firm employees feature your organisation as their present employer, follow your company page and drum up more quality followers. This could be via LinkedIn’s InMail messaging system, their email signature, PowerPoint presentations and during face-to-face conversations.

Similarly, your Partners and fee earners can invite followers through your website, newsletters, white papers and other marketing collateral.

Not forgetting reciprocal exchanges. Follow others and they’ll follow you in return. Locate esteemed industry figures to follow. You might want to check out who they’re following too.

Maximising your firm's presence on LinkedIn won’t happen overnight. Persistence and patience are vital. After all, the best things in life come to those who wait!

 

 

 

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Don’t just email, nurture!

How to schedule posts and monitor conversations

Not everything in life can be rushed. Some things take time. Your sales pipeline’s one of them. A long-term commitment to communication is what’s required. You need to nurture your database; not just send a constant barrage of emails in the blind hope that, if you submit enough of them, some messages will be the right one, reaching the right audience at the right time.

The term ‘lead nurturing’ is a relatively new phrase in marketing circles. Done properly, it can increase conversion rates and speed up the sales cycle. Music to your ears?

Because us marketers love our acronyms, here we demonstrate how to implement a nurture programme using the iMAPS structure:-

  • i is for iteration and testing. Get started with your next piece of content by producing different variations on the same theme and apply varying test methodologies such as day of the week, time of day, subject line, pre-header text, header height, images, colour scheme, links, testimonials… the list goes on! Track what works, what doesn’t and keep going onwards.
  • M is for marketing and sales alignment. As anyone with a marketing or sales role will know, the two departments go hand in hand. Invite your clerks into a meeting to agree the purposes and definitions of the stages of your sales process. With proper collaboration, you can establish a jointly defined lead nurturing plan.
  • A is for accelerators. These are, effectively, factors which strongly influence success. Listen, monitor and learn accordingly.
  • P is for personalised content. Despite all the major advances to marketing technology and overhauls in marketing theory, content is still king. Where possible, personalise for your audience as this is more likely to touch a chord. You may wish to consider a content calendar for this purpose.
  • S is for segmentation and scoring. Apply all the usual segmentation criteria such as geography, area specialism, role, vertical markets, sales cycle stage etc to set up your target group. Measure which are most receptive to your messages with some nifty analytics.

Our closing comment is this: nurture beyond just email because you can’t communicate with someone who’s unsubscribed. Multi-channel nurturing is the best approach.

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Achieve your 2016 content marketing resolutions

Achieve your 2016 content marketing resolutions

As April draws to a close, how many of your New Year’s resolutions have already fallen by the wayside? Expensive gym membership wasted? Healthy eating plan abandoned? Not forgetting your professional resolutions…

If you’re a marketer, your promises may (indeed, should!) involve content marketing. After all, without good content, your marketing plan will come to a standstill. You can’t be in front of every customer and every prospect representing your chambers face-to-face, so you have to rely on content to carry the torch for you.

By generating better and more regular content, you can engage your target audience in your brand. But it doesn’t necessarily have to mean more work for your already-busy clerks’ room. Here are some pointers to ease your workload and help you stick to your resolutions:-

Make content personal
Content overload can render your audience blind to your message. The trick isn’t making more content, it’s making smarter content by delivering personalised, hyper-relevant messages to the right people, at the right time, in the right place.

Get the most mileage out of your content
Take the concept of “waste not, want not” to another level. One way to ensure you get the most out of your expertly written content is to repurpose it in as many ways as practicably possible. For example, turn your research into infographics, white paper or another valuable resource.

Encourage sharing to make content matter
According to figures, only 10-20% of your readers will make it to the end of your content piece. To tackle the issue, simply put the best information right up top and make sure you’ve installed social sharing buttons (if it’s a digital resource) to reach a wider audience, even if your readers don’t read every word religiously.

Plan, write and edit
For the actual copywriting process itself, divide your time into three stages. First, plot your ideas. Second, write the first draft. Third, edit meticulously. Allocate sufficient time (and concentration!) to do the task justice.

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