How to Create a Marketing Plan if You Are a Lawyer
Understanding the basics of a marketing plan and keeping it simple
Marketing is that topic about which anyone has an opinion, and very few have the knowledge. Over the years, marketing has been often associated with those aggressive and pushing sales. For many, marketing equals selling. However, for the accuracy of this article, we ought to start by citing the marketing definition from the American Marketing Association (AMA):
Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.
Now that we’ve cleared out and understood that marketing is about creating value for our clients, let’s move on to creating a marketing plan. What sections should your marketing plan contain, and all those tiny details that we end up ignoring?
This article will focus solely on helping you draft your marketing strategy, and it will not focus on ways and tips to market yourself as a lawyer.
What should contain a simple and efficient marketing plan?
You might want to keep your marketing plan simple and take one step at a time; even if this article gives you plenty of insights and ideas, keep it simple. It is easy to get overwhelmed and abandon your plan after your first week. Remember that less is more, with no exceptions.
There are two components of high importance to your marketing plan: strategy and tactics.
Your marketing strategy contains:
- Your why - why do you do what you do? Why this and not something else?
- Your niche - what is your expertise about, and what problems you solve in that niche?
- Your audience - whom you’re willing to serve with your expertise?
If you’ve already started working on building your brand as a lawyer, then you’ve got yourself covered with these questions.
How to define the right marketing strategy for your business
Marketing strategies are long term - let’s say two years, and it is the section where you add your objectives and goals.
For example, your goal is that in 2 years, all of your clients are freelancers contacting you for designing legal collaboration contracts and monthly, you have a consultancy call to make sure their business is legally complying. With that in mind, you start adding to your strategy all the possible ways you see that happening. Another example is: maybe you start joining freelancer groups, hanging around freelancers and joining their events. Perhaps you’ll consider joining those events as a speaker and sharing your legal expertise. Or maybe you’d prefer creating written content around that or audio content - such as a podcast. The sky is the limit, and I hope these examples can help you understand the reasoning behind it.
Remember, this is a draft. You’ll be adding and removing ideas. A helpful exercise is to avoid refraining from all your thoughts, at least not until you write them down on the paper, and you’ve brought enough arguments to prove they cannot work.
HINT: If your arguments sound like I don’t think so, mmm, it doesn’t feel right, I don’t like it, then you are not objective.
Such statements are subjective ideas based on limiting beliefs you have regarding marketing.
Once you’ve finished with the ideas exercise to build your strategy, you’re moving to the next section: marketing tactics.
Remember, you only start working on your marketing tactics after you’ve defined a clear marketing strategy.
What are marketing tactics, and how do you define them?
The marketing tactics represent that section of your marketing plan where you define actions on a monthly, weekly and daily basis. It is essential to always have your biggest goal in mind - in the example above will be to have 100% of your clients’ base as freelancers to whom you serve in that particular way.
Following the above example, let’s say that your strategy to achieve your goal - 100% freelancing clients - is to spend more time among your target audience, to understand their needs and bring them value with your services.
How will you do that? Well, here are a couple of tactic ideas you can undertake:
- Put your research skills at work, browse forums and public groups where freelancers hang out to find out more about their struggles, engage with them, and answer their questions.
- Make the most of your communication skills and start creating content about legal struggles that freelancers might face.
- Embrace your networking power and let everyone know that your mission is to help freelancers with their legal struggles.
In the freelancing example, you might realise that by drafting legal collaboration contracts and providing them with one hour of legal consultancy every month, you’re adding value to the freelancers’ businesses.
You can build upon their feedback and adjust your tactics on the go. For example, you ask for permission to use their stories and how you’ve helped them as case-studies on your website. Or during future events, presentations or webinars.
Once you’ve found an overall tactic or you’ve bundled up some of them, it is time to transpose those into monthly and weekly actions.
Let’s say you found out that your clients hang out on LinkedIn, and they’re very active in some thematic groups. You’ve also found out that their biggest struggle is ensuring they’re using proper collaboration contracts for their business.
What are your next monthly and weekly steps for that?
Monthly you can make a shoutout on those groups offering a free assessment consultation for three freelancers, or you can do a workshop on what freelancers should pay attention to when drafting their collaboration contracts.
Weekly you can check those groups and see if there’s any way you can interfere in their conversations and add value to them. You can also create weekly content based on your expertise - you can create a LinkedIn newsletter to help freelancers.
Or maybe LinkedIn is not your place, but Instagram is. Or Quora. Or YouTube. Or Facebook. Or your website. Or perhaps it is the nomad community you belong to already.
Depending on where your target audience hangs out and where they’re comfortable having you in - can boost your creativity. Each online platform nowadays provides you with a plethora of tools and ways to connect with your audience. All you need to do is a bit of research about your (ideal) clients and to put yourself in their shoes.
Keep it simple - one step at a time, and do not rush.
If you haven’t had a marketing plan yet, do not rush into whatever google throws at you — nonetheless, a complex one. Do not buy others’ ideas about content marketing, social media strategies and sales funnels. Not until you’ve done all these exercises by yourself - you are the only one who knows what goals you want to achieve and who your ideal client is.
None of those plans will be successful to you if you don’t allow yourself the time to answer and draft your simple marketing plan.
Once you’ve gone through these overview activities and you’ve got your basic marketing plan, check if you are the one who can deliver it too. At this moment you’ve got two options:
Yes, you can deliver it - you’ve got the time and the resources.
No, you cannot deliver it - you don’t have either the time nor the resources.
There is no right or wrong answer here. By answering the above question, you’re reaching an essential step of your business. In this step, you have to decide if you’re willing to outsource or are comfortable trading some of your time to undertake those basic marketing activities.
What beginner mistakes to avoid?
Ads. Many lawyers rush into running ads without knowing their purpose and what kind of clients they want. It is easier to pay with money instead of spending the time to figure it out. No marketing expert can make your business awesome if you don’t know your audience and why you’re serving them. You can be on a google ad list, or you can be on someone’s referral list as a great professional lawyer. What matters the most, an ad or a referral?
Quick solutions. There will be many out there offering you quick tips or algorithm hacks. Before adopting any tempting quick hack, one thing to consider is to remember that your mission is to add value to your clients, not hacking algorithms. The added value for clients comes with time, from consistent diligence and simple plans.
Trends. As tempting as they can sometimes be, trends are tricky. Unless you’re an entertainer and your mission is to entertain your audience, jumping on TikTok and recording a TikTok dance wouldn’t add much value to your clients and their legal struggles, right? But if you know - and that knowledge is backed up with data - that your clients hang out on TikTok looking for law educational content, then being on TikTok is beneficial to your business.
It’s not about you. Have that in mind when drafting your plan. It is about your expertise and how you can add value to your client, but it is not about you. Your focus should be on how you can better serve your client.
Remember your mission and how you can add value.
You need to remember that client comes first. Not your ego. Start drafting your marketing plan with that in mind. Adopt this thinking into your next meeting with your client or your prospect. Think about that when you type your bio description, be it on a social platform or a niche platform, such as Avoteca.
As Seth Godin once said:
People do not buy products or services, but relations, stories and magic.
If you’re willing to build relations, we’re looking forward to welcoming you to our community of lawyers. At Avoteca, the mission to serve lawyers better drives us further. We’re here to support independent lawyers to thrive and help clients connect with like-minded legal professionals who can serve them better.
Feel free to reach out to us for more information or to check our FAQ section.
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Marketer & Community Manager
24 February 2021