This was a blog post written in November 2016, shortly after the 2016 Super Summit. It has been reprinted here with the author’s permission. Don’t miss out on the 2017 Super Summit; register today!

Last month I was fortunate enough to attend the PILMMA 2016 Legal Marketing & Management Super Summit in Salt Lake City, Utah. Lawyers from across the country gathered for the 3-day summit to learn from over 30 speakers about how to better market and manage their law firm.

What is PILMMA?

The Personal Injury Lawyers Marketing & Management Association (PILMMA) is the innovation of Kenneth L. Hardison, the senior partner of Hardison & Cochran. According to Ken, he created PILMMA in order to fill the void of marketing and management resources available to personal injury and disability lawyers. In addition to the annual Super Summit, PILMMA offers Mastermind meetings that promote the sharing of knowledge among lawyers periodically throughout the year.

Takeaways from PILMMA:

Relationships and Responsiveness
Building relationships and being responsive are crucial to the success of any business, law firms included. Attorney Mitch Jackson stressed the importance of this during his presentation last month. He said that adding value and building relationships is key. People have more options today than they have ever had before, and if you’re slow to following up to a prospective new client’s phone call or email, you probably lost the business because they went to the next firm in the search results. We have seen this first hand with our own clients, but we are often able to help correct these behaviors before they snowball into larger issues. The act of responding to a lead within the first few minutes could drastically improve a firm’s chances of retaining a large number of new clients that they were previously losing.

Do something
Of course, we all do a wide variety of things each day. However, the point of this is to do something now, your firm won’t grow itself. Attorney Matt Dublin said that firms should pick three things to work on when it comes to marketing – a free thing, a paid thing, and a long-term thing. I agree with this approach, as it would prevent a firm from placing all of their eggs in one basket, and also allow for smarter marketing decisions to be made based upon data, not gut instincts.

Give back
The idea of giving back to your community is not a new idea. However, attorney Janet Ward Black provided a wide range of examples that displayed how her firm’s commitment to community involvement has had a significant impact on the growth of her firm. She has created a variety of community programs aimed at giving legal advice to people that may not be able to afford a lawyer or hosting events that significantly impact thousands of lives in her community. Janet’s presentation was inspiring and motivating.

Using tracking to improve results
One of the first things we do when we take over the marketing strategy for a client is review how they are tracking their marketing efforts. Unfortunately, most of the time there are several holes in the bucket, meaning that firms are not sure what marketing strategy is working (or not working) because they are not tracking the results correctly. I always tell our clients, if you’re spending money on something you should do everything you can to calculate the return on that investment. For example, if you’re investing $5,000 a month in pay-per-click advertising, you should be able to monitor and track how that investment is impacting your firm in terms of new leads and clients. Once you have the data then you can make smarter decisions and pivot when needed, as opposed to falling into a routine that isn’t working.

Link Building
Links are very important, but not easy to get, especially for law firms. The biggest reason for this struggle is that law firms need to give other sites a reason to link back. In most cases, this is not easy to do. However, that does not mean it isn’t possible, it just means that you need to work hard and have the appropriate expectations in place. We have had great success with link building campaigns for our clients, but these are easily one of the most hands-on strategies that we do.

Social Media Targeting
The idea of “you have to pay to play” is becoming more and more important when it comes to social media marketing. Essentially if you’re not paying for ads on a top social networking site, you will have limited visibility and you should have low expectations for growing your social media presence. The good news is that paid advertising on social media is relatively inexpensive, and the return on investment is typically very high if the strategy is managed correctly. When you pay for ad placements on a site, like Facebook, you have the ability to target your ads at a very granular level. This is a beautiful thing because you can cater specific experiences to a specific audience, which naturally will increase the effectiveness and response rate to your ad.

Final Thoughts:

Salt Lake City is beautiful and the takeaways from this event helped to solidify everything that we’re doing for our clients currently. If you have any questions about these takeaways or if you attended the summit as well, I’d love to hear from you.

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Chris is the Director of Operations at GNGF and was a guest at the 2016 PILMMA Super Summit.

He specializes in SEO, branding, website conversion, and strategic planning for law firms across the country. As the main point of contact for clients, Chris is always available to answer questions. He facilitates communication between clients and the GNGF team in an effort to improve each client’s overall web presence. Seeing his clients’ online presence grow and improve motivates Chris to work with energy and passion every day.

Out of the office, he enjoys spending time with his wife and kids (a daughter and son), writing his dad blog, collecting Nike and Air Jordan shoes, and rooting for his favorite Cincinnati sports teams.

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