Another year seems to have flown by, and many businesses are already considering their goals and strategies for the coming year. To ensure your law firm is spending its marketing dollars wisely and getting the best possible results, a well-thought-out plan is a good idea. Here are a few things to think about and some steps you can take to get started on your 2024 marketing plan.
What is a Law Firm Marketing Plan?
Your law firm’s marketing plan is a place to document and define the goals and strategies you wish to pursue for a given period, usually the coming year. Your marketing plan defines what you want to accomplish, who your law firm is targeting with its efforts, your budget, the strategies you plan to use, and the various roles and responsibilities of people who will execute the plan.
Why Your Law Firm Needs a Marketing Plan
It doesn’t matter whether you are running a large law firm or are a sole practitioner — you still need a marketing plan. It’s the glue that connects your strategies together and ensures you are focusing on the right activities at the right time. Here are some of the benefits of having a legal marketing plan.
- It helps you create measurable goals.
Your legal marketing plan ensures you create goals that align with your firm’s overall business objectives. Going even further, it allows you to designate key performance indicators (KPIs) to track each of your marketing initiatives.
- It helps identify your target audience.
Your firm can waste a lot of time, effort, and marketing dollars on strategies that don’t reach the right audience. Your marketing is an excellent tool for defining who your target audience is and how you can customize your firm’s message to reach this demographic.
- It pushes you to create and stick with a budget.
The last thing you want to do is spend money on the wrong marketing strategies or not know where your marketing dollars are going. A marketing plan pushes you to create a detailed marketing budget and designate how those marketing dollars will be spent.
- It provides marketing consistency.
If you post new blog content or social media updates only occasionally, you won’t be as effective at creating a connection with your audience or building authority as you would be if you were more consistent.
- It can serve as a strong motivator.
Because your plan outlines your goals and creates a roadmap to achieve them, it can serve as a powerful motivator for your team to stick with your winning strategies.
- A plan makes your firm more competitive.
You can be sure the most successful law firms in your area are making legal marketing a priority and executing their strategies with a solid plan. By doing the same, you are ensuring your firm remains as competitive as possible.
- It can make your law firm proactive in its strategies.
Being reactive to market trends or conditions isn’t a successful legal marketing strategy. Having a plan in place allows your firm to be proactive and take advantage of various opportunities to achieve better results.
Top Trends in Legal Marketing to Watch in 2024
One thing that is a constant with digital marketing is that strategies continue to evolve, and what the search engines prioritize can change from year to year. It’s always interesting to consider what the new year will have in store for digital marketing. Here are a few trends you can expect to see in 2024 and beyond.
- Use of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence
There is a right way and a wrong way to use machine learning and AI for digital marketing. The wrong way is to expect these solutions to do the work for you effectively. They won’t produce the results you want. But they will deliver more accurate and in-depth insights about your target audience so you can optimize your campaigns.
- Growth of Social Media Advertising
Social media use among consumers remains strong. People still use social networks to stay in touch with people they know as well as to learn about and make connections with brands. In 2024, advertising on social media will become more personalized and interactive.
- Increased Role of Video Advertising
Consumers are watching more and more video content online, which makes this channel ideal for marketing in 2024. Marketers will continue to use video to create brand awareness and boost engagement across various online channels.
- Emphasis on First-Party Data
Marketers are placing more emphasis on first-party data due to increased privacy concerns and a need to gain consumer trust. This type of data offers greater reliability, accuracy, and regulatory compliance, as well as improves the user experience.
Putting Together Your Law Firm’s 2024 Marketing Plan
It’s a good idea to take a close look at your law firm’s marketing strategy at least once per year. Without an annual marketing plan, things can get confusing and more costly than necessary. To make creating your plan easier, here’s a list of of the steps you’ll want to include in the process.
- Conduct a Marketing Audit
If you aren’t sure where you stand, it will be challenging to create a comprehensive legal marketing plan. For this reason, you may wish to start with a marketing audit that delivers a snapshot of where your business is currently at and an analysis of the effectiveness of any marketing strategies.
- Perform Market Research
In addition to examining the state of your current marketing efforts, it’s also essential to research the market in general. This will include taking a look at various trends in the overall digital marketplace and your local area. Specific attention must be paid to the competition. Specifically, where does your firm stand regarding market share in local search results?
- Understand Your Audience
If you haven’t spent a lot of time defining your target audience, this is an excellent opportunity to delve into this subject. Legal marketing won’t be effective if you don’t have an intimate understanding of your target client’s wants and needs. Going further, your website and content must match your target visitor’s intent, which can vary depending on your practice area. For example, some potential clients are interested in “how to get out of a DUI,” while others want to know “how to set up a living trust.”
- Establish Your Goals and Objectives
Early in your marketing plan, you’ll want to create a list of goals and objectives. What is your purpose for marketing your law firm? For many, it’s to get more clients. But this is a process that includes increasing your online visibility and building trust with your audience. You can create specific objectives tied to each strategy, such as gaining a certain number of social media followers per month, a particular click-through rate, or various local search rankings.
- Create Your Budget
If you haven’t already done so, it’s vital that you create a realistic budget that can help your law firm achieve its marketing goals and objectives. If you aren’t sure how much to allocate for marketing, you may wish to consult with your digital marketing agency for guidance.
- Map Out Your Messages
Your messaging is tied to your law firm’s branding and marketing strategy. Ideally, what you have to say and the things your law firm stands for will set it apart from the competition. Your marketing plan should define how your messaging will be incorporated into your website, content, social media posts, and more.
- Outline Your Strategies
A successful marketing plan is comprised of many different strategies. Your practice area, goals, and target audience will influence this decision. For example, if you are a criminal defense lawyer who serves a lot of younger clients, you may wish to focus heavily on social media. Most law firms, however, will want to use a combination of strategies, including having a strong law firm website, ongoing blog content, video marketing, and more.
- Measure Performance
Those goals you established at the beginning of the process play an important role in the success of your overall marketing strategy. You can identify one more key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the performance of each of your goals. Each KPI allows you to benchmark your progress. At various intervals throughout the year, these metrics give your firm valuable insights that enable you to make adjustments when something isn’t working or take advantage of new opportunities.
Take Your Legal Marketing Strategy to the Next Level
Now that you understand the importance of having a digital marketing plan for your law firm and some of the steps to create one, you’re probably ready to take some decisive action. We can help. Too Darn Loud Legal Marketing specializes in results-driven digital marketing solutions for legal professionals. We can help your firm boost awareness, create value, and improve its results throughout 2024 and beyond. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and website evaluation. We can be reached at (800) 649-1764.