As one-year ends and another begins, law firms commonly wrap up the year’s financials and evaluate their numbers. But numbers only tell one part of the story. The new year provides a unique opportunity to take stock of your advertising and how it is serving—or not serving—your firm. Here are six things firms should do now to better position themselves for 2023 and beyond.
- Big Picture: Review Last Year’s Strategy & Accomplishments
Hopefully your firm had a strategy for how it wanted to accomplish all its goals in 2022. Now is the time to find out where you were successful and to what degree. If things went off the rails, was it catastrophic or just a minor detour from the plan? Perhaps you wanted to increase your community outreach—did you succeed with your involvement in an event or group? Or perhaps you wanted to take a new direction with your creative content. Did you receive a positive response? How did your bottom-line change from the previous year? Assessing the big picture of your past year—the good, the bad, the ugly—allows you to make observations, learn, and draft strategic recommendations on where your law firm brand can go from here.
- Narrowed Focus: Review Your Analytics
After reviewing the big picture, narrow into the numbers. Did you see more cases come through the door? What are your analytics telling you about the source of the new cases? Did TV brand ads or call to action ads drive the increase? Or was it social media? Perhaps you underwrote a big community festival or fundraiser event? Take a deep dive into your analytics to see what return that investment produced. Keep in mind that ROI can be new cases or could simply be a lift in brand awareness throughout the desired law firm client base. There’s no right or wrong answer—the important thing to note is whether you improved in the area you set out to and incrementally helped the firm’s brand and awareness. And hopefully you saw a lift in case volume and a lower cost per case.
- Take Stock of Your Creative Content
Regardless of industry, in marketing, creative is important. Are you running the same creative that you have for years or is your content fresh and distinctive? Wear-out is common in the industry of personal injury marketing—some firms purchase so much ad time and space that audiences get burned out by overexposed ads. Over the past year, did you notice any wear-out with your message? An easy method of determining wear-out is to assess the frequency levels of your media buys. Plus, consider whether your existing creative content will set you apart in the new year and support and achieve your goals.
- Assess the Competitive Landscape
Look around you and analyze what the competition is doing. There are only so many potential law firm clients in your market each year—how do you get ahead of your competition to earn your market share and allow for continuous growth? While you’re taking the time to review your last year, your analytics, and your creative, it’s also a good time to assess other firms and take note of their strategy, creative, and positioning. Assess how your competition is distinctive. Have you secured your positioning in the market? Take a closer look to see if your firm is differentiated and not just another voice coming through the television, billboard, or digital marketing.
- Update Your Company Strategy
Separate from your buying strategy, your company strategy is more akin to your firm’s mission. Strategy isn’t buying more billboards; it’s your reason and purpose for going to market. Your strategy helps define how you go about your business and should also help define and direct your advertising. Strategy reveals the value that you offer your clients. Are you here to help people put their lives back together after a traumatic injury? This motivation gives direction to what you want to communicate to audiences—it helps you identify your audience and your tone. Instead of emphasizing what you want to sell, emphasize what you want to accomplish for your law firm’s clients. Updating your law firm’s strategy could mean taking a different position, communicating unique offerings only your law firm can provide, or redesigning creative—it helps you become relatable to potential clients and directly impacts your firm’s campaign.
- Plan to Invest in the Community
We have found that when attorneys get out of their offices and make genuine efforts to support groups and initiatives, they create stronger connections with the community than simply running TV or billboard ads. Proponents of community involvement, we help generate ideas and find opportunities for the law firms we work with. Now is the perfect time to identify what organizations and/or events you want to support in the next year(s) and how you want to support them in line with your marketing strategy. Investing in the community impacts lives and builds brand awareness beyond the courtroom and beyond the billboard or television.
Eric Morgan is President of Roux Advertising, a full-service agency that increases law firm case volume through distinctive marketing campaigns. Roux uses a strategy-first process that positions law firms uniquely in a marketplace and crafts the ad messaging, media buying, and analytics to capture brand awareness and drive qualified calls.