Big Ideas for Small Law Firms

Presentation Review: "Big Ideas for Small-Firm Marketers" by Jeff Dennis, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Kegler Brown Hill + Ritter and Lindsey Dilsaver, Marketing Communications Director, Kegler Brown Hill + Ritter

Summary by Eilene Spear, Operations and Project Manager, The National Law Review

In smaller or mid-size law firms, marketing can seem overwhelming because there is so much to do and limited resources to do it. In an attempt to provide a variety of ideas for legal marketers in this situation, this presentation was given PechaKucha style, which is 20 slides shown at 20 seconds each. By the end, the presenters were out of breath and needed a Gatorade, but a ton of information had been provided.

Areas covered:

  • Planning, Tracking and Evaluating Law Firm BD Investment
  • Becoming a Thought Leader Within your Firm
  • Develop an Effective Marketing Training Program for Lawyers
  • Building a Lawyer Coaching Program
  • Creating a Compelling Annual Marketing Report

Planning, Tracking & Evaluating Law Firm BD Investment

Speakers provided some basic metrics that would provide some ROI on standard BD Investment activities. With these numbers, it's important that they are living, breathing metrics. In order to infuse them with meaning for your firm’s situation, it’s important to track them over time as well as create goals and benchmarks, and use them to inform decisions about strategy and investment. In order to create a shared language with these numbers, communicate them to firm leadership and other stakeholders and also integrate them into your firm’s annual marketing report.

  1. Pitches and Proposals
    1. Pitch Rate Success: Understanding the basic success rate of how many pitches you win:  # of engagements/# of Pitches
    2. Integrated ROI of Time: Effort of department against fees generated, return on time spent: Fees Billed/Hours Spent + Employee Cost
    3. Total Fees Generated:  Get a number for the total business generated with help from marketing department:  Add up cash from projects
  2. Marketing Communications
    1. Email Open Rate: Learn the percentage of your contacts who are engaging with content: Outreach viewed/Outreach Sent (numbers available in your email program, segmented by campaign)
    2. Valuable Traffic: Percentage of web site visitors that represent potential clients, etc.: Total Visitors x (1-bounce rate)
    3. Event Engagement:  Who attends your events that is invested?: Repeat attendees/Total Attendees
  3. Firm Investment
    1. Total Investment: firm’s total investment in marketing over time: Salaries + Total Marketing Dollars/Revenues
    2. Practice Reinvestment: where dollars are invested and switch up based on strategy: Practice Marketing Allocation/Last Year’s Practice Originated Revenue

Build Your Credibility in and out of the Firm:

On a more individual level; it’s important to build your credibility as a marketing professional both in and out of the firm. Use your knowledge and develop your own niche in the industry and across the firm. Here are some thoughts on how to build trust in the firm, in the community and in the industry:

  1. In the firm: Build relationships and get involved to educate yourself on your firm’s issues and to demonstrate your value.
    1. Build your internal network
    2. Use internal resources
    3. Be a champion of the attorneys
    4. Attend meetings/get involved with committees
  2. In the Local Community
    1. Win awards for the firm--this demonstrates your expertise to those in the firm
    2. Share your involvement in the community--attend educational events and provide a summary
    3. Be active in economic development organizations
    4. Be aware of local business activities
  3. In the Industry-
    1. Share Involvement with LMA/get involved with other organizations
    2. Find a mentor
    3. Be active with Facebook/LinkedIn

Develop an Effective Marketing Training Program For Lawyers

A list of good ideas for marketers to add value to their attorneys in a variety of ways, programming suggestions broken down into six areas to empower attorneys to be better about marketing and to challenge them to think about it as they work.

  1.  Business Development:
    1. General Counsel Panel Discussion
    2. Alumni Panel Discussion
    3. Flat Fees + Packaging Your Services
    4. Building Relationships for Associates
    5. Cross-Selling
  2. Marketing Communications
    1. Best Practices for attending conferences
    2. Leveraging Social Media
    3. Dos and Don'ts of PowerPoint presentation
    4. Maximizing website bio
    5. Personal branding
  3. Client Services
    1. Meaningful Client Conversations
    2. Using Marketing Collateral to Supplement Client Meetings
    3. Client Feedback process
  4. Marketing Technology
    1. Leveraging your CRM system
    2. Incorporating video into your practice
    3. How to best utilize your intranet
    4. Collaboration with accounting team & Software
    5. Understanding web analytics
  5. Professional Development
    1. Find the right educational opportunities
    2. Mentorship and why it matters
    3. Industry and Community Engagement
    4. Navigating your career
    5. Firm Diversity and Inclusion
  6. Economics + Ownership

Building a Lawyer Coaching Program:  3 Steps

Before beginning, be careful in your selection of attorneys who will participate in the program. It is important to understand how attorneys are evaluated in your firm, and how they are compensated so you can speak to the concerns of your attorneys. Additionally, review analytics to pick candidates. Make the case that this is to help them, and show them how you can impact their book of business in meaningful ways.

  1.  Discovery Interview
    1. Performance Metrics: what are attorneys judged on?
      1. Billable hours
      2. Business Development
      3. Service
      4. Firm
    2. What is the attorney’s pipeline?
      1. Work they have--or work they might have: existing work pipeline
      2. Target work--what work do they want?
    3. Marketing?
      1. Successes and failures
      2. What is the comfort zone?
    4. Relationship Mapping
      1. Internal--who do they know within the firm?
      2. External--who in their contacts could be a source/referral?
    5. Community Involvement
      1. Organizations
      2. Leadership
  2. Marketing + Business Development Brainstorm
    1. Come up with two ideas for each of the following areas to pitch to the attorney.
      1. Digital
      2. Relationship Development
      3. Events
      4. Content
      5. Organizations
      6. Skills Development
    2. Based on conversation with the attorney, choose 3 to focus on.
  3. Choose 3 of your ideas to implement
    1. Focus on Internal Resources, Timing and what is the Next Step
    2. Set up consistent schedule, break down tasks into smaller pieces, everything is individualized for attorney, based on his or her set of circumstances

Create a Compelling Annual Marketing Report:  This is your chance to show your value, integrate the ROI and communicate firm-wide the message you want to transmit.

  1. Personalize Report to your firm:
    1. Position the report to show your value
    2. Highlight new practice groups so attorneys know about them and can cross sell
    3. Hand deliver report, make it hard to miss
    4. Integrate firm culture & events; for example, firm had a lot of new babies born, highlighted new babies with new marketing initiatives
  2. Sample TOC:
    1. Marketing Director Message
    2. General Firm info
    3. Event info
    4. Website info
    5. Business Development Info
    6. Content Marketing
    7. Advertising Campaign Highlight
    8. Marketing Strategy
    9. Community Service Highlight
    10. Practice Area Highlight
    11. Marketing Project of Initiative Highlight
    12. Testimonials
    13. Diversity + Inclusion or Recruiting Highlight
    14. Fun Culture Highlight
    15. Looking Ahead to Next Year
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