As lawyers, we're great at planning stuff and writing down what we've planned… often in excruciating detail.
In fact, many firms have strategy guides, policies, 5 year plans, goal sessions, internal meeting minutes, how-to books and training sessions to help them plan their marketing strategy for the coming [insert period here].
The problem? None of it ever gets done. And so, 5 years down the track when you're moving offices you find the marketing plan that took 1000 hours to develop, and realise that all it needs is a new date on it – because nothing has changed.
So why does this happen, and what can we do about it?
You Haven't Bought In
The first reason our grand marketing vision doesn't reach fruition through execution is that we aren't really convinced that it's going to work.
Sure, Joe talked a big game about how much business he got from LinkedIn, but is it REALLY going to work?
The truth is nothing will get done properly if YOU aren't convinced it's going to have enough of a positive impact.
This is why we have sporadic, low quality blogs from many lawyers – they don't think it will “work”, so they self-sabotage the process by not really putting the effort in to do it properly.
Action: run through your current marketing plan (if you have one) or your current marketing activities that you're trying to do, and make a list of all the ones you don't genuinely believe are going to make a difference to your practice. You've then got two options:
- Just don't bother with them anymore; or
- Do some research and find out what the deal is.
You Bit Off More than You can Chew
The problem with a marketing plan that has 19 levers, 200 pieces and 37 action items each day is fairly obvious – it's too much.
And even if it isn't too much, it SEEMS like too much.
After all, before the plan was drawn up you were already busy, right? So… what's changed? Still busy? I thought so.
Implementing new and novel things requires the ability to develop habits. And developing habits means taking it one step at a time, not 27 steps at a time. It certainly can't be done using the “I've just got to get to it” attitude that many lawyers adopt in relation to this stuff – trust me, I've seen it, I've done it – it doesn't work.
Action: pick one thing from your newly refined marketing plan. Do that until you can do it with your eyes closed. Then pick the next thing.
You're Too Concerned About Getting it Right… or Wrong
Finally, many lawyers don't execute because they're worried about the intangible boogy man getting them because they did something wrong.
Rarely, if ever, does the boogy man make an appearance, especially if you're a lawyer and naturally likely to be fairly restrained as you start to tap into the world of digital marketing. Truthfully, unless you decide to launch a massive expletive laden tirade, the chances of things going swiftly south are fairly low.
Usually these concerns are kind of school-yard in nature. Things like:
- not being good looking enough for video marketing
- not having anything clever enough to say in an article
- thinking everything has already been done
- not wanting to be noticed at all (which is a tricky mindset if you need to be marketing your firm…)
The inner perfectionist in most lawyers is a deeply paralysing gremlin who will swiftly sink your ability to execute on any marketing strategy, convincing you that you are unworthy and unable, inept and foolish.
Action: tackle the fear, do the thing. Just do it once for now, and watch how absolutely nothing bad happens. Then do it again. Then go back to the habit section and work on that.
Less Analysis, More Action
I'm not down on marketing plans, but I'm down on marketing plans that inadvertently STOP any actual marketing from happening.
So if your marketing activity has hit an all time low despite having a beautifully comprehensive plan kicking around the office somewhere, try our simple three steps:
- Be honest about what you think simply won't work – cross it out, or find out if you're wrong.
- Learn how to develop new habits – and do it. One step at a time, one habit after another.
- Murder the gremlin inside you telling you that your entire practice will collapse if you have a typo in your blog post or accidentally spell licence with an S instead of a C (unless you're in the US, in which case it's just an “s” because, you know… ‘merica).
Now stop reading – and get after it!
Of course if you decide you'd rather somebody else does the heavy lifting, you know where to find me.