A lot of people are on spring break this week – but you shouldn’t take a break from marketing. In fact, there is so much opportunity to stand out as others sit on the beach or during any kind of vacation during the year.
Whenever you take some time off – or business is slow – here are some things you can do with your downtime to continue to develop your marketing and business development efforts.
Even if you have enough clients now, don’t pull back on marketing when things are going well, as anything can happen.
Because legal services are not an impulse purchase and companies retain outside legal counsel when they need legal representation, you should always be marketing yourself and your firm to stay top of mind with prospective clients and referral sources.
Strong marketing is about building relationships by providing value.
Also, marketing is not just for client or business development.
It can help you stay top of mind with the media, help you build your personal brand, obtain speaking engagements, board appointments, article writing opportunities – and so much more.
Here are some ideas on how law firms and B2B companies and their employees can reignite their marketing and business development efforts when they have downtime.
- Create a personal marketing plan with only three to five actionable to-do’s so that you can actually accomplish them. One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to marketing. What works for a lawyer in one practice area may not work for someone with a different practice, that’s why I tailor these plans individually with my clients based on their strengths and opportunities for growth within their industry, practice area, clients and overall goals.
- Reconnect with former clients and top referral sources – send them a helpful article and ask them how their business is going. Building meaningful relationships is still tantamount to success in the legal industry as so much of doing businesss is still based on who you know. Building relationships with your referral sources is one of the smartest things you can do at any stage of your career.
- Research industry conferences and sponsorships and submit to those that will help raise your visibility and put you in the same room with potential clients and referral sources. Also, don’t just attend these conferences as an attendee, write content from your favorite sessions.
- Write a client alert, a blog post or an article – co-author with a colleague, referral source or a client if it seems too daunting or time-consuming to do it alone.
- Set up Google Alerts for top clients and prospects – info is always power. Make sure to set one up for yourself too.
- Update your web site bio using keywords for SEO – if you don’t say you do it – people think you don’t.
- Create a LinkedIn strategic plan, which includes updating your LinkedIn profile with keywords and all of the sections, sending five connection requests per week, commenting on VIP connections’ posts, sharing a post and writing a post yourself, learning how the LinkedIn algorithm works and learning how to use hashtags. If you’re looking for tips on how to grow your network and presence on Linkedin, here are some ideas. Also, you may want to try out creating a LinkedIn company newsletter.
- Research your competitors’ marketing activities – what inspiration can you get from them and what can you do better than them? Understanding your competition will give you insights about how to engage with your audience. Look at what your competitors are doing to fill any gaps in your current social media and content strategy. Sign up for their client alert list as well as follow their LinkedIn company pages (just know they can see that you’re following them).
- Update practice area/industry descriptions and matter lists – people are googling your firm every day – if you don’t say you do it, they may not think you do. This is why it’s so important to update these pages periodically.
- Create educational content and promote it in the right places. This demonstrates your value instead of describing it.
- Clean up and add new contacts to your email list and create a plan for a client-focused email newsletter. Remember that you own your email list, unlike your social media assets, and email marketing when done right (meaning your lists are updated, segmented and your employees are strategically contributing content) is the most direct way to reach your clients and prospects. So don’t underestimate the power of using it in conjunction with social media. Here’s how to create a stronger email strategy.
- Do an SEO audit on your web site – look at the content on each of the pages and see where you add add backlinks and crosslinks to bolster your searchability. Also ensure that keywords are used strategically on each page and that you have more than 300 words on each page so that Google can find your content in the first place.
- Repurpose past content. Remember that a lot of people won’t see your content because of social media algorithms and the time of day they are online. Repurposing and reusing content enables you to cast a wider net with it and increase the likliehood that it will be seen by others. It also saves you time so you don’t have to keep creating new content. It’s an essential tool to have in your content strategy. You don’t need to create new content from scratch every day – instead go through your past articles, social media posts and web content and look at the high and low performing content to see what you can reuse again. You may want to change the image or edit the text a bit – or not. Repurposing content should be integrated into your content strategy and will save you time and effort. Evergreen content is particularly great content to repurpose because of its timeless nature.
- Research volunteer opportunities for an industry or bar association committee, social cause and alumni associations – this is a great way to network and meet potential referrals, collaborators, employees and clients.
- And of course, you knew I was going to say to focus on social media. Success on social media is about consistently posting compelling, engaging content Tj build your subject matter authority. Take the time to develop a unique social media strategy. You might think you need to be on all of the social platforms, but you only need to be on the ones used by your clients, prospects and recruits (which is most likely LinkedIn). Don’t spread yourself too thin or waste your time on other social channels if you don’t need to.
- That being said, still claim the social media handles on all of the major channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok) even if you aren’t planning to use them. You don’t want anyone else to take yours. At a minimum, put up your logo, a brief about section and a link to your website or your linktree/link in bio tool. You may even find that people will start following you and you should be on one of those other platforms as a result.
Bonus tip -Here’s an idea on how to make your content marketing work harder and smarter for you.
Do an analysis through your email marketing and social media analytics to see which of your content pieces did well since January of this year. Then feature those top webinars, articles or blog posts in a social media and email campaign with the headline “our most read/watched articles/
This is a great way to give your content extra visibility as well as give additional publicity to the authors who wrote them.
Remember, it’s great time to focus on your business development and branding efforts especially since many of your competitors may not be – use that to your advantage!
Here’s a video with more on this topic.
Stefanie Marrone advises law firms of all sizes, professional service firms, B2B companies, recruiters and individuals on the full range of marketing and business development consulting services designed to enhance revenue, retain current clients and achieve greater brand recognition. She also serves as outsourced chief marketing officer/marketing department for small and mid-size law firms.
Over her 20-year legal marketing career, she has worked at and with a broad range of big law, mid-size and small firms, which has given her a valuable perspective of the legal industry. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, sign up for her email list and follow her latest writing on JD Supra.