A growing number of law firms are finally recognizing what non-legal companies have known for decades: to build a financially successful business, you must focus on your core competencies and either delegate or outsource the rest of your business functions.
Very few of the top producing law firms rely on just “word-of-mouth marketing” or “random referrals”, as I refer to it. They actively promote their legal solutions to a specific target market using several best practices. They have either made the commitment to assemble an in-house team, or they work with an established legal marketing firm to implement their law firm marketing.
When it comes to outsourcing some or most of your law firm marketing and business development efforts, here’s a 4-step process we recommend our clients follow:
- Identify the marketing strategies and business development tools you want to use.
- Analyze your firm’s realistic ability to effectively design and implement the plan.
- Select which strategies your firm will handle and which ones you want to outsource.
- Interview and select an outsourced legal marketing company who can assist you.
Clearly, there are many other internal steps along the way, but those are the basic four steps involved. In my experience, the most difficult ones for attorneys are the first two.
When working with any outsourced legal marketing company on your business development efforts, here are the questions I recommend you ask to evaluate their services:
- Do they specialize in working with attorneys in small to medium-sized law firms?
- What is their experience working with attorneys in your specific practice area?
- Do they understand the business of law (how the law works)?
- What is their knowledge of legal ethics and how attorneys are restricted in how they market their services?
- Have they researched how prospects “buy” legal services—both online and offline?
- What is their knowledge of your competitors?
- How many of your competitors are they currently working with providing the same service they are offering to you?
- Is their service geo-exclusive, or are they offering the same services to all your direct competitors?
- Do they have the assets to allow you to compete, or are they a one person show?
- Is this a “done-for-you” service, or will you or your staff do the heavy lifting?
- Are you “leasing” their marketing efforts or is it a “work-for-hire” service? Who owns the end product when you part ways?
- Will they be around for the long term? Are they growing or declining?
- Who will actually be implementing the service? What are their credentials? Can you speak with them?
- What are the processes, procedures, protocols and systems they use when implementing the service?
- How do they measure results? How will you know if they are successful? How long will it take before you start to see results?
- What are the timeframes to develop and deploy the marketing service?
- Can they give you the contact information for several references?
Keep in mind that there are some activities that law firm management should always be involved in, such as developing relationships with referral partners, conducting seminars or presentations to promote your law firm and connecting with your top clients.