Maryann Fasanella is an expert in law firm marketing. Here, she gives us inside marketing tricks of the trade. While she comes from a law perspective, many of these tips can be applied to marketing across several service industries.

Tip 1: Know your audience

Though it seems obvious, this tip is the crucial ingredient that is the most overlooked in any marketing strategy, not just law marketing. The idea that the widest cast captures the most is a deeply held, and equally flawed, belief. Make sure when you are constructing your plan, you are targeting those who most need your services. You cannot let fear of the one that got away drive your strategy. The best plan is one that is tailored to attract the clients that are most likely to sign on with you. Your marketing materials and strategy are the first pieces of information that many potential clients will see. With that in mind, make sure that your first impression will ensure that when they walk through that door, it will be with purpose and intent.

Tip 2: Content Content Content

“Crazy Eddie selling used cars at prices so low he must be insane” may have gotten a laugh back in the early days of television. It may have even garnered a sale or two. However, today everyone has a world of information at their fingertips 24/7. The only way to shout through the noise is through your content and message. It is vital that the content you display is relevant as well as easy to digest. If knowing your audience is the key to getting the right clients, then your content is the key for those clients getting to know you as the right firm.

There cannot be enough emphasis placed on the content of your marketing. The words and visuals that you choose to place before your potential customers should always follow your messaging. The internet has a long memory, and something that sounded good in the moment can and most times will come back to haunt you. Solid ideas and marketing will always hold up to scrutiny, and you would have to be crazy to allow anything less than the best out into the landscape.

Tip 3: Your Stop Doing List

In the Jim Collins book, Good to Great, he outlined his findings from examining companies that went from mediocre to remarkable results over a 40 year period. One of the biggest takeaways from that research was that what the companies had stopped doing was much more important to their success than what they were doing. This idea is at the core of a great marketing plan. Once you have your messaging, stop doing anything that doesn’t measurably contribute. Some things may seem like great ideas, but anything that doesn’t serve the message strips funds and momentum from everything that does.

So spend a few moments thinking about everything that you do to market your firm. Odds are there are a few that have returned questionable results. Don’t simply jettison those ideas out of hand though. Consider the value of each of them carefully. Be tough and fair, but if they don’t fit the message, then they have to go. Your marketing strategy will be all the stronger for your efforts.

Tip 4: Building Your Web

You cannot, and should not expect clients to simply walk through your doors with no effort. The effort that you place in building your web of clients extends beyond just your online presence, but in cultivating the referrals that will walk through your door. Never miss the opportunity to ask a client for a referral. You may not get one every time, but you lose nothing in asking. In today’s day of instant information, it is the collective strength of your web that will set you apart.

Tip 5: Engagement, not Visibility

People see advertising every day. However, we would argue that a good conversation will exert more influence than the flashiest, most expensive advertisement on the most heavily travelled roadway. When you look at your plan for marketing, consider that. If most of your plan revolves around passively presenting information to your potential clients, you may be spending more than you need to get the returns you want. It is the conversation that will provide the most influence, so don’t be shy about pursuing it. Join a trade association, or get involved with charity groups. If you surround yourself with clients, you are bound to raise the level of your engagement, which will translate to a better return.

Finally: Be Accountable

By using these tips, you can create a solid marketing plan that will generate returns. But don’t just pay them lip service. Discuss them, argue over them, and refine them until you are satisfied that they meet the goals of your firm. And most importantly of all, write them down! After all, if it means garnering more business coming through your doors it is well worth that extra effort to solidify it in writing.

However, the worst trap you can fall into is believing you are finished with your plan. Marketing of any variety is never complete. If your success is to be properly measured, accountability must be the ruler. The best and most carefully laid plans can and often are, decimated by excluding it. Let’s take a ludicrous example. Say that my goal is to see a sunrise and my plan is to run west until the sun cracks the horizon before me.

Now, we all know that I will never see that sunrise. It doesn’t matter how much time I put into it, nor does it hold that working harder or longer will produce my desired results. Without accountability though, I would never question that ridiculous plan. Make sure to review your plans regularly. Celebrate the successes and learn from the failures. Remember, accountability is just as important to do internally as is it externally. You would not expect to keep a client’s business if you were not accountable to them, so make sure to keep your law firm marketing plan accountable to you.