No communication (online) by the effective law firms is impossible without strategic marketing plan. Lawyers are increasingly likely to engage in marketing. However, they often confuse marketing and communication. A good communications plan is based, in fact, a strategic marketing plan. Social networks occupy a prominent place in modern communication plan used by lawyers.
Introduction: do not confuse marketing and communication
Law firms are venturing gently on the marketing channel. Although they often still confuse marketing and communication, lawyers quickly understand what really marketing. They are well aware that its purpose is to attract new customers and retain existing customers more, with a view to growth and improved profitability.
Unfortunately, they still rock very often and too quickly in the communication and generally forget that a powerful and effective marketing communication is only possible if it is based on a well defined strategic marketing plan. They overlook a fundamental rule “segment before communicating.”
Strategic Marketing Plan
Lawyers and other professionals are facing unprecedented challenges.
These challenges stem from fundamental trends that feed on each other, for example internationalization still more accentuated, the increasingly high tax burden, the subjugation of the bar to VAT or strengthening of competition at all levels the economy, resulting in constant pressure on prices.
But that is not all. Internet redraws, too, fundamentally society. Think of the massive amounts of information available online and market transparency. This revolution is far from over and everyone must constantly adapt their behavior and habits in this rapidly changing environment. No business would break the rule.
However, not lose sight that all threats conceal possibilities. It is however not clear, certainly not innate or intuitive, to identify them. Yet it is the foundation of the strategy of your law firm. Identifying these opportunities is, in addition, that the first step of the process of attraction, retention and customer satisfaction.
The second step is to align the purpose of your firm and / the option (s) identified (s): this is the strategy. Much simpler than it seems, however, that such harmonization is essential. And again, this is not an automatic or intuitive process. Desired steering needs change.
A strategic marketing plan however is not as complicated as we think. Specialized advisory firms gradually emerge to assist lawyers in this direction, if necessary.
If several methods are proposed, broadly remain as follows:
- clarification of the matrix product / existing market (Who What how?);
- location of potential growth, eg by means of the classic Boston matrix
- different combinations of product / market or using a SWOT analysis, possibly on the basis of a questionnaire submitted to clients;
- defining a strategy:
- what, for whom and how?,
- define what is needed to move from the current situation to the situation envisaged (in terms of personnel and training, potential partnerships mentioned, communication and brand …)
- effect of the new strategy on the calculation results (compared to the current calculation of results).
The communication plan
Once the firm has defined its strategy, existing and potential customers must be constantly informed of its unique approach and expertise: the communication plan.
The “communication channels” most used by classical lawyers are participating in networking events, whether or not as a speaker or trainer, publishing articles in the press (specialized) and sometimes , sending a paper newsletter. The electronic newsletter is a little more modern tool.
Be aware that the channels of communication created by the Internet, such as social networks, are numerous (and often cheap). On these channels, it is nevertheless very difficult to maintain an approach that will distinguish your firm from others, which will make sure that your “message” be seen and read by people it targets. We croulons all sub information. Hence the importance of being able to convey the right message to the right person at the right time. This requires planning and careful preparation. Communication is not a matter of intuition.
Building a communication plan (online)
It is quite possible that the new product matrix / desired market be identical to that which already exists. But this is that once you have a good idea of the product / market matrix (desired) and segmentation that you can work on a communication plan (including brand policy).
To establish your communication plan, you can pretty much from scratch. But it is recommended that you rely on what exists. This often helps to have an intuitive idea of what works (good) or not. The validation of the intuitive knowledge by analyzing the effect of existing channels is therefore a good starting point for creating a communication plan: an analysis of the traffic on your website (how, who, why …) how are read any newsletters, analysis of other possible activities results as organizing events …
The creation of a good brand policy: a clean challenge for lawyers
Apart from a few large firms, often international, it is complex to establish a strong brand policy. In addition, the solicitor-client relationship is often a relationship of trust. The “personal brand”, the personal brand of the lawyer, is therefore more important than the brand of the firm. This does not mean that the mark of the firm is not at all. Customers, and even more so business customers are well aware that the quality of service provided by “their” lawyer is closely linked to the quality of its support (infrastructure, staff …).
To attract and retain customers and allow growth, marketing communication should be focused on the development and sustainability of the firm related trademarks.
It is often essential that the marketing communication strategy at the bar takes into account the development of personal brands, along with the brand of the firm. The various related marks are mutually supportive and not contradict each other. A task that is far from simple.
I have already spoken of this complex balance. See brands lawyers Policy.
The role of social networks
Fortunately, social networks are there to lend us a hand. These are extremely personal networks. Twitter and LinkedIn, and generally also on Facebook, these are people who attract “followers” or “friends” faithful. What makes these networks of all designated channels to support the creation of a personal brand.
These social networks are therefore at the center of the marketing communication strategy of lawyers.
Here again, improvisation is not appropriate. Based on the firm’s marketing strategy (see above) and the envisaged positioning of different brands of the firm, it should carefully plan that communicates what, when, how and where.
The communication planning on social networks may seem contradictory. It is impossible to predict what the impact will be a message or whether it will be “viral”. However, by carefully selecting a number of “opinion leaders” relevant in selected niche activities and constantly watering the unique information and, most importantly, advice or “expert opinions”, there Chances that your “tweets” spread. At stake? A “traffic” relevant to your website which in turn will result in leads that could lead to new contracts.
Deployment (relentlessly) of such communication is a daunting task. Each individual lawyer should get help, otherwise they will not get out. Each partner must also benefit from central support in developing your personal brand. This is also one of the advantages of (potential) of a power cabinet. We return to the organization of the central support in a future article.
A communication plan should always be based on a specific marketing plan. It is first to know what products and services offer what customer segments, in what way (single) and through which brands.
This marketing plan will identify what needs to be communicated, when and where. If intuition is important for this purpose, the communication improvised more. A substantiated analysis (and objective) of the current communication effect is generally quite useful.
Social networks are, too, part of any modern communication plan. Their use is like an art and requires a certain talent. But even the most talented musician will play properly without partition or rehearsals with different instruments.
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