It's the cry of every lawyer: we're just too busy to get around to those many marketing activities we know we're supposed to do.
Our articles don't get written, our outreach doesn't happen, our checkboxes don't get ticked. And when we do get around to things, we have to do it so quickly that the quality is sadly lacking because our attention isn't focused.
So how can lawyers manage the perpetual problem of having clients to serve with the importance of staying on top of the law firm marketing program?
We're just too busy to get around to those many marketing activities we know we're supposed to do.
In truth, “too busy” is code for “I have other things to do that are more important”.
So the question to ask is: are those things really more important?
Our days often run on something resembling auto-pilot, with a collection of tasks that we never really decided to do but have just accumulated over time as our “normal”.
But if you sat down and allocated everything you do in a day an order, where would things sit? Would marketing efforts now make the cut? Could other things you're holding on to be easily delegated?
Bite Off Less
The inevitable result of most law firm strategic planning days is an overwhelmingly large marketing burden. After all, with a bit of time out of the office (and maybe a few beverages) we can grow extremely optimistic about what we're going to get done.
Now optimism is great – I love optimism. Unfortunately, it's often the case that returning to the office with a grand plan, and a 5-year vision makes us feel pretty good about things… for about a week.
And then we realise that the things we've committed to doing or achieving are nearly impossible.
And because we can't find 2 consecutive hours each day as we thought (or our plan to get up at 4am every morning turned out to be crummy) we put it off.
Instead – what if you devoted 20 minutes every day? Or 15? Or 10?
Align your marketing strategy more closely to a realistic assessment of the time that you WILL commit, day in and day out, and you'll achieve far more than waiting for the fictitious moment in your career when you have a solid 3 hour stretch to get onto it.
Change Your Tactics
Have you convinced yourself that the only marketing activity of any worth is to write a detailed, well-researched paper that will then be published on your website?
Or perhaps it's reading the latest 140-page legislative amendments in your area and writing about the changes?
These things might be great (though often aren't) – but if they aren't getting done then your tactics need a re-think.
There are many ways to skin the marketing cat, and only a few of them require the bulk amounts of time that intensive research has.
So if the thing you've committed to isn't get done, because the time you need for it simply isn't there – then change it up and do something else.
Ditch the Perfectionism
This one's a bit tricky.
On the one hand, everyone should aim pretty high in terms of quality. We all want to produce fantastic work, whether it's marketing or legal.
We can get 95% of the way towards “high quality” fairly efficiently. That last 5% though can be a bit of an elusive pig.
And the question to ask is this: is that last 5% worth it or not?
Now don't ask the question from a perspective of personal pride. Ask it from a cold business perspective. Is there actually any difference in terms of business outcomes to do that extra work, spend that extra time?
Often the answer is no. The small benefit gained from the enormous push that perfectionism requires rarely offers sufficient value to be a good use of our time.
That said, it’s horses for courses. Your LinkedIn post of the day doesn’t need 90 minutes of meditation, 15 minutes of warmup and 60 minutes of editing – you just need to write it.
But if you’re producing a paper for a journal then you’re obviously going to approach things a bit differently.
So maybe let’s not ditch the perfectionism entirely – but keep it reserved for the times that it makes a difference.
Yes, we’ve arrived at the self-interested option. The one where I remind you that there are services out there specifically focused on law firm marketing who can take a significant piece of the marketing burden off your shoulders.
And yes – this website contains one such service.
But before we leap in and suggest you just outsource your entire marketing effort, there are a few solid questions to ask.
First – marketing comes at a cost. So, what are the most major things clogging up your system that would be good to outsource? What kind of value would getting those tasks done by someone else offer you?
Next – do you already have a firm idea of what you want someone to do, or do you want someone to be developing the ideas and strategies for you? This will influence the options you have in terms of who you outsource your marketing work to.
Finally – what marketing tasks are you keen to keep doing yourself. What are the things that, with a bit of time now up your sleeve, you can focus on?
Outsourced marketing for law firms can only do so much. We can do a certain amount of the work that goes towards creating leads or opportunities for you. But you or one of your lawyers will eventually have to pick up the phone, type an email, send a message, or engaged with someone personally to land a new client.
Working together though, and making good decisions about what to outsource, can be an effective way to keep your firm’s marketing humming along.
If your law firm’s marketing is consistently getting pushed to one side, or stuck in an eternal bottleneck, then reach out and see how we can help you get things up and running.