When Should I Focus on Marketing?
Join our host, Toby Rosen, to find out when you should really be focusing on marketing. Every twist and turn, every high and low of the marketing calendar is part of the journey. It's not about when to shift your focus to marketing or how to fill a lull in leads; it's about planning, committing, and succeeding, and we're going to show you how it's done.
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When should I really be shifting my focus to marketing? Welcome to Legal Marketing 101, I'm Toby Rosen. Today's Thursday episode is going to be a little bit different and I have some good news and some bad news for you. The bad news is that we're going to take a little break from the Thursday episodes from now until January. The good news is that the Monday episodes are not going anywhere and we will be coming back strong with the Thursday episodes in the new year. But why am I pausing our Thursday series right now? That's because for my clients, things are really ramping up right now. My business is close to capacity, I'm close to capacity, I'm low on sleep and my clients are starting to feel some of this holiday slowdown and they're starting to think about the marketing for next year. So we're taking a break because I want you to start thinking about your own marketing too. If you need more ideas, go back and listen to the previous episodes of Legal Marketing 101. A lot of people are saying it's one of the greatest legal marketing podcasts of all time. A lot of people are saying that you can ask them, but if you've already listened to every episode that I've published, read everything I've ever written, and you still need more for some reason. Well, you can go to rosanadvertisingcom to get in touch with me and ask. But if you're just banging against the walls a little bit and you sounded as crazy as I just sounded maybe go take a vacation first and then get in touch. That's what this time of year is for. So let's get back to it. When should you be focusing on marketing? And the reality is, the evasive answer here is really always. You should probably always be a little bit focused on marketing, but that kind of answer is really unsatisfying for a lot of people and it's a little frustrating. I mean, it is to me. We're working on a lot of things all the time and saying that marketing needs to be add to that stack of never ending to-do list items. It doesn't feel helpful. So let's take a look at how I plan a marketing objective calendar, or you can use any terminology for that. Let's take a look at how I plan one of these calendars that you would use for the firms. This is what I use for the firms that I work with. So when we do this, we're taking into account a bunch of different data points and the first thing that I typically start with is looking at the historical sales data from the firm. I want to know what months they typically do well in and what months they typically do poorly in. What does well actually mean and what does poorly actually mean for this firm? So from this data we can already start to see some trends in the calendar and we can see if things are maybe better or worse during holidays, or if they're better or worse during school breaks, if they're better or worse maybe in particular, holidays like Christmas versus Thanksgiving versus Easter. But this data it doesn't give us the entire picture and we're going to come back to those holidays in a second. But this data it just tells us when we're getting sales and that could also mean that at certain times in our calendar our marketing efforts aren't sufficient or our intake isn't sufficient to keep the sales up to the level that we needed at. So we're also going to look at what the current marketing efforts are if there's paid advertising, and what would the search picture look like, what would these social media look like If we're doing anything with email, and even what our sales, what all of these pieces look like, because all of these have an effect on our revenue number. So we're going to look at all of these marketing efforts and we need to know if there are any variations in any of these pieces, because we need to account for those in the next part of the planning. But for this example, let's take a step back, because including all of those variables is really challenging. So let's just assume, for the sake of easiness, that all of our efforts and all of our systems are functioning, they all have minimal downtime throughout the calendar year and it's consistent, and that when we're looking through this data, we basically haven't had any substantive changes from month to month. Essentially, in this example, we're eliminating all those variables and saying that every month had equal effort, equal input by the firm, and the variations in this scenario are then going to specifically be related to the clients. So any change there is really coming from who we're marketing to, and that's really what I want to focus on here, because there are just so many different things that may affect your marketing, not only the things that are actually going on in your marketing. But you could get sick and not be able to engage for a couple of weeks, you could get injured and not be able to engage for a long time, or you could have someone on the team who isn't there for a few days or is pregnant and out for a few weeks and it throws something off. There's so many different variables and things that can affect your marketing and those things definitely come into play when we're talking about a marketing calendar. But beyond those things that are sort of within our control or at least within our responsibility, like what's going on in our office, there are these things that are outside our control and those things are our clients. We can't control them, but we can persuade them, we can build their trust and we can build confidence with them, but we cannot control them. So when we make a marketing calendar, we need to understand their quote unquote calendar and the different things that are going to cause people that we want to be clients to actually take action. So, going back to our example, let's say this is for family law, where we have no variables, but it's for a family law firm. There are a couple of things that really stand out in a marketing calendar for a family law firm. We talk about this a lot with clients and we usually are planning our objectives to hit a couple of different sections of the year. This allows us to be a little bit more effective with our budget and to really focus in on the things we want to do. So the first thing we know and we have pretty consistent data to back it up is that January, through about Valentine's Day in February, people are really interested in purchasing family law services. They just are. Now I can theorize about why this is, but my best bet is that really just Thanksgiving and Christmas are just they're too close together. So in family law, not only do we see this boost of traffic in January, through February and sometimes through March, but we tend to see a lull a little bit in November and December. Sometimes we see more consistent search traffic with the rest of the year, but by and large for family law firms in November and December we see reduced revenue, reduced conversions and it seems like just the vast majority of people who are still searching are people who are just doing research or preparing for what's to come in January. So obviously, with this information and this experience, this data, we know to plan ahead and say January is going to be our big month. Let's start planning when the lull comes in November or December and let's take that time because we're going to have a lighter client load and we'll redirect that energy into marketing. And because we know that that quote unquote event is coming around January 1st, where all the family holiday obligations are over, going back to work, that kids are back to school, you're able to go ahead and contact the attorney and actually start the divorce process. We know that we need some time to prepare for that. So, depending on our objectives, maybe we'll take 30 or 60 or even 90 days to start putting the pieces of our campaign together, and usually that's what I suggest starting things 90 days before you're actually going to do them. That's because review takes time, contractors are going to screw things up and even really good marketers are going to make mistakes. So what we're trying to do is to get a jump on things and if we're launching a campaign that was finished in the last 24 hours, then we're probably not really compared to complete all of the objectives that we want to complete. Marketing campaigns usually are just a lot of different pieces they're not just one thing, and all these different elements need to be effective, and doing that right can take a long time. Usually we don't get it right on the first try. We need to have a bunch of different iterations where we test, look at what the data is telling us and then make adjustments. That's how we build effective marketing campaigns and it's much easier when you have the time and space to do it. Of course, in this example I've highlighted a very known quantity where we know that something positive is coming. That January is coming for a family law firm, but in a lot of situations the firms that I hear from are in a really different situation. Their leads dropped off, their phones are dead and they need somebody to come in and fix the situation. And that's another reason I'm doing this episode, because if you're calling me at that point, it's not that things are too late per se, but if you had called me a few weeks earlier, we don't have to rush our approach to your marketing. And I've seen this happen over and over again with different firms and it's kind of something that happens often, that firms get into this situation and they need someone to get them out of the hole. But I often don't take those clients because it's just not productive for anybody who really wants to be focused on marketing. We don't want to be just fixing holes in a dam. We want to be building a dam that is hole-proof. Now, if any of my clients or recent clients are listening, I do want to say that this isn't about anyone in particular. None of you have really done this in the last couple of years, but I want to highlight it because I know that November and December are coming and things are going to get even busier. This is really just about something that happens a lot with clients that haven't done a whole lot of marketing before, and it's something that I've experienced a lot in the past. So, getting back to the question when should you focus on marketing? The real answer despite it being frustrating, the real answer to when you should start working on marketing is actually always because you should be doing it before you think you need to be doing it. You should always have something on your list. It's frustrating and it's an additional task. It can feel like it's not really yielding anything, but if you do it consistently, it will. As you know, I'm not a particular proponent of any one type of marketing. I like all of them, but in almost every type of marketing that I've interacted with, the people that I know that have been successful with each of these platforms they've had a myriad of different types of luck in their back pocket, but all of them have worked hard. In one way or another, they made the marketing that they wanted to do and the objectives that they had in mind the main priority in their lives. They planned ahead, they saw the roadmap and they were better for it. That's it for Legal Marketing 101. Check out rosanadvertisingcom for more Thanks.