Baltimore Local Program Recap: Small to Mid-Sized Law Firms Think Tank: Part I (Developing New Marketing Components on a Limited Budget)

Ever wonder how other firms your size can afford that CRM, and if anyone actually uses it? Envious of how your marketing colleagues at other firms are running such a robust client feedback program and using the results to feed into their collaborative business development program? In Baltimore on October 17, we put our heads together to ask questions and share ideas (both good and bad) at our annual BYO Think Tank for Small to Mid-Sized Law Firms.

In Part I of this three-part series, we’ll share roundtable takeaways on developing new marketing components on a limited budget.

CRM Systems

Firms that use their CRM as a simple contact database may not be utilizing all the features. However, an easy, no-frills system may be a viable option for a small budget and basic needs. The more robust systems, such as ContactEase and InterAction, are often preferred by firms that use their CRM for lead generation and a sales pipeline.

Either way, CRM clean-up and upkeep is key. Garbage in, garbage out. When implementing a new CRM, starting with a clean contact list is imperative. Attorneys must decide whom they want to enter into the CRM and mark them as public or private. Multiple attorneys “claiming” the same contact can pose conflict at firms. We need to be mindful that the right attorney is listed as primary.

Many firms find that a system that easily integrates with Outlook is preferred. Legal assistants and attorneys are familiar with updating contacts in Outlook and do not need to utilize a separate CRM tool.

Some CRMs have more robust mobile capabilities, especially those that are cloud-based, like Hubspot. These features allow users to not only research contacts on the fly but to also add notes, send emails and enter other important updates before they forget or get distracted when they return to the office.

The moral of the CRM story is that one size does not fit all. But whatever format you choose, you must keep it clean and provide incentives to make utilization a priority.

Social Media

Social media, namely LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, can be an easy, useful tool for a firm of any size with any budget.

LinkedIn is great for article dissemination and brand awareness, while Facebook provides more of a “storytelling” platform.

Many firms seem to be moving away from Twitter due to its perceived political agenda and the potential for “trouble.” However, the high media presence on Twitter may be helpful in PR efforts to connect with specific journalists.

JD Supra offers a sync feature that automatically posts to attorney social media pages, which can be helpful to attorneys who may not have time to post their articles. JD Supra also has a large number of Twitter followers on their various Twitter pages, which helps to disseminate articles to a broader audience. They offer small firm pricing, which may make the tool more accessible.

Several firms use HARO (Help a Reporter Out). According to their website HARO is useful in, “…connecting journalists and bloggers with relevant expert sources to meet journalists’ demanding deadlines and enable brands to tell their stories.” Marketers receive free emails three times a day with media opportunities. There are other paid subscription options, but firms on a budget can utilize the free option.

Check out Parts II and III for an in-depth dive into client feedback programs and collaborative business development opportunities.

By: Janessa Shaikun, Director of Marketing, Franklin & Prokopik; and Alice H. Simons, Marketing Communications Manager, Hudson Cook, LLP

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