A law firm’s business plan can look very different depending on what kind of law you practice. Whether you are a tax attorney, trust and estate lawyer, civil defense lawyer, real estate attorney, or practice in any other legal field, the goals and interests you cover in your business plan probably vary greatly. No matter what your business plan looks like, we can use it to create a smart marketing plan that will attract new clients.
As you look over your law firm’s business plan (even if you are filling in some of these headings as you review it) pay attention to these 3 essential questions for drafting your marketing plan:
A complete marketing plan will answer these questions, and will grow over time as the answers do.
Now, let’s take a look at a few common components of a law firm’s business plan. We will unpack each section and discover which areas of your new marketing plan will benefit from the knowledge you already have.
Your mission statement describes the core values and the purpose you have in starting your legal practice. What we can glean here is related to effective marketing for your ideal client and how you will keep those clients coming back.
Think about how exactly your core values will attract clients. Does your vision appeal to clients with specific needs? Can you show a potential client convincing proof of the unique opportunities you can offer them? Can you present that proof in a way that speaks directly to your ideal clients, so that they are curious to hear more? Strong testimonials and well-written case studies are a couple of ideas that will communicate your mission to your clients.
If your Mission Statement focuses on business tax law, for instance, think about how you can build trust with potential clients. Trust is a major factor in hiring legal counsel. Consider giving your existing clients a review survey or looking on Yelp for their thoughts on what you’re doing well, and how you can improve. Once you make the effort to learn how they are thinking, you can work to keep them coming back.
This is where you map your structure, lines of communication, firm strategy, and action plans. From the Executive Summary, you can locate what makes your law firm’s structure different from competitors. What is unique about the way you are organized? What does your firm’s strategy mean for a client’s experience? Look at your firm through their eyes.
A personal story and individualized approach to client interactions will help attract new ideal clients and keep current clients coming back. What impression does your consultation process give to your clients? What questions might they have at each step in your firm’s strategic process? Are there any unique points of service that you can highlight in marketing materials?
By understanding how exactly your firm works best, you can start to define your ideal legal clients. Your law firm’s structure and the people you work with are perfect for specific sets of clients. Who are they, exactly? Are there areas of your specialization that your firm would be happiest to work in?
Lastly, market research and analysis are crucial to your marketing plan. If you know a little about your local competitors, and where you fit in the market, you can use that information to guide how you can most effectively market to your ideal legal clients. It might not be a good idea to overlap with competitors in your messaging—common phrasings become stale—unless you have something more substantial to offer. Focus on exactly what makes your firm unique so that you can easily attract clients who are looking for exactly what you have to offer.
With this data, you can also build customer persona profiles. These are extremely helpful tools for your law firm’s growth. Maybe you’ve started already by beginning to articulate your target market(s). A persona profile is a zoomed-in approach, which will help you distill your marketing message and increase results by getting specific about your ideal clients.
Now that you know how to develop your law firm’s marketing plan, based on your business plan, give it a try!