Your 2024 Marketing Plan
Join our host, Toby Rosen, as we dive into a few ideas for a successful marketing strategy for 2024’s dynamic landscape. We'll delve into the necessity of a robust website, lively social media, and targeted email campaigns, as well as the surprising comeback of traditional mediums like radio and TV advertising. But it doesn't stop there: we're talking about AI, and paid advertising like PPC, too.
This episode isn’t just about predictions; it’s packed with actionable intel to set your firm up for success in the ever-competitive legal marketing battlefield of 2024.
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Welcome to Legal Marketing 101. I'm Toby Rosen. Today we are talking about your 2024 marketing plan and we're talking about what needs to be in the marketing plan, what probably shouldn't be in the marketing plan and a couple of things you probably are not expecting. But before we get to the good stuff, which is the things we're putting in our marketing plan, this is a legal marketing podcast. So I do need to make a little bit of a disclaimer and I'm going to talk really briefly about most of the basic elements of marketing plans throughout the course of this podcast. And when I say basic, my definition could be a little bit different than yours. When I say basic, I mean you have a solid website with content going up all the time and your local profile is robust. You've got social media posts that are being churned out weekly, daily and you're doing all the networking things. You've got an email marketing system set up and maybe you've even got a little bit of a video program or some automation or something cool going on with your CRM. So when I say basic, it actually might not be the most basic overall for the legal universe, but the ideas we're going to talk about today none of these are really a replacement for the things I just mentioned, and they aren't necessarily a replacement for any of the marketing efforts you're already engaged in. They're a supplement. So it's easy to make a new idea or a different idea sound exciting. But if you're not already covering all of these basics, don't get sucked in by the shiny object syndrome here. Don't reallocate budget from something that's working to something that is a risk. We really don't want to be building our castles on sand. Okay, that's enough editorializing for me. Let's get on into some of the things you should be doing in 2024. And, obviously, the basics. That's where we're getting started. So I'm going to focus in on a couple of areas for 2024, that we're really. This is what we're doing the most with the firms that we're working with, and so for this episode, we're going to divide up the areas that we're going to talk about, the subjects we're going to talk about, into basically three sections, and number one is offline marketing, number two is AI integration and number three is paid advertising. So let's talk about offline marketing, because this may not be your first inclination, unless you're stuck in 2005. Offline marketing, this means billboards, local theaters, local sports teams including things like your kids sports teams, your school sports teams, radios, television, basically anything that's not a directly online form of advertising like Google ads, facebook ads and this offline world. I'm not sure if you guys have noticed. It's a really big world and if we're honest about that, it means there's a lot of good stuff and there's a lot of bad stuff. But there are things here that, given the whole world's transition to digital first marketing over the last what do we call it 10 or 20 years, a lot of these things are suddenly great bets for us. These things like radio and newspaper, they're cheaper than they could have ever been. I mean, if we're adjusting for inflation and for a lot of the firms that I'm working with, we are looking at these options actively. Whether we're over 50%, you know likelihood to do it for some of them, we will see. But it's something that's really interesting right now and of course I could be hurting myself a little bit here, just on the off chance that any of the radio sales people I'm talking to are currently listening to this episode. But there really is quite a lot of value in these marketing sources. Radio is one of the ones that's at the top of my list. The rates are just really low for the value we're getting. If we evaluate it in digital marketing terms, like CPM, we're getting more exposure today than we even did five years ago, because we're doing so at a lower cost. But the big caveat to this is that you need to be analyzing your market yourself to really find the value, or have your marketing team do it. What the radio teams are going to tell you might not be totally accurate. I don't want to bash them too much, but they're incentivized to pump their numbers up and while the radio industry is getting better at accuracy, like everybody else because of technology, the numbers are still going to be whatever the maximum they can pump them up is going to be. I mean, that's how they're going to do it. So go and do a little bit of research on your own, and for this the options could be limited, but you do need to double check what you're being told by the radio sales people. The main thing I would really suggest looking at is the demographic breakdowns that they give you, and particularly the income breakdowns. What percentage of listeners are earning more than, say, 150,000 a year? 100,000 a year? What percentage are earning less than 50,000 a year? And understanding whether or not the numbers they're giving you are accurate here. This is what's going to be the key factor in finding that value and making the decision to jump in or not with something like radio or TV. But the other really important thing to consider here this is something I suggest being aware of with all of your marketing efforts is contract length, and in radio and TV you're kind of going to run into a lot more contracts and often lengthier contracts. If you're signing up for six months of radio ads at, let's say, $3,000 a month, you're really spending $18,000 when you sign that contract, not just that $3,000 check that you're writing today, and I know you know this, but I'd just kick myself if I didn't mention it. So let's go ahead and move on to number two, and that's AI integration. Now we've talked about using AI in your firm before and things are still definitely in the development stage in this space. And if you're listening to this, in five years, well, maybe I was wrong, but we're seeing more AI operating systems that are allowing more consistent collaboration, both among the people on your team, and that will automatically or with a little bit of work, utilize the vast amount of information your firm is undoubtedly collecting and creating Tools like Soon or SoonA. I'm not exactly sure AI are leading the charge here There'll be a link to that in the show notes but things like Jasper are still really fantastic for content creation, and ChadGPT even still does a really good job, and we're also just seeing more AI being integrated into our favorite products every day everything from Siri and speech to text on your phone to your email systems with Gmail. But this doesn't mean you can just sit back and relax. You're still going to have to build and plan and implement and maintain these systems, and before you embark on your AI journey, you really need to sit down and assess what's going on in your firm, and this means conducting a really, really thorough review of your current process and then identifying the specific areas where AI is going to make the most impact and then what tools are available now and what will be available in the future to deliver that impact. I know it's a lot, so today we're not going to go deep into the specifics on this, because this is really more about the idea. But an assessment like this really does require defining these super clear objectives and then going and establishing KPIs to determine success or failure for the tools and then creating a roadmap for the implementation and integration and training that extends all the way down to analysis and then a cutoff point if the KPIs aren't being met. And those KPIs are really important because, ultimately, the successful integration of AI systems really does hinge on strong data management practices within your firm. The quality of the data, the accessibility of the data and the security, very importantly, of that data are all really important considerations here. These are the factors that directly influence the accuracy and reliability, importantly again, of the AI driven systems we're going to use, whether they're for insights or they're for predictions, or even if they're for generative uses like content creation or document drafting or contract review. Even being in a data governance framework and continuous data cleansing operations and robust cybersecurity protocols, that's what will provide you the insurance you need for your data, because safeguarding sensitive information, both on the business side and on the client side of the operation, is critical for clients and for regulatory requirements and really just for you beating your competition. But, like I said, this is going to be a never ending game. Ai models require ongoing maintenance and optimization and they need constant monitoring to make sure they're refined and producing what you need them to produce. You also need to update the model pretty constantly to adapt to changing conditions in the business or in client requests, things like that, and then also in evolving user preferences, any new data sources, new data formats and we won't go too deep on this either, because I'm getting tired of talking about AI but this means doing things like establishing feedback loops, conducting performance evaluations, iteratively improving algorithms to enhance their predictive capabilities and to mitigate biases. That's before we even mentioned fostering a culture of learning and innovation in your team so you can maximize your investment in AI systems, because, at the end of the day, your employees need to be equipped the right skills and knowledge to effectively leverage these AI tools right. So, while we are able to extract just an absolutely massive amount of value from AI products, it's not necessarily easy just yet. So let me move on to an area that's a lot easier, then, and this is actually having more and more crossover with AI it's good for me and that's paid digital advertising. This is our final topic for today. For this year, we're really talking about two main avenues for paid ads online, and those are Google ads and contextual advertising, and, like the nerd stuff before, we're not going to go super deep on these today because we've had a bunch of episodes on this and we're going to have more episodes on paid ads, but I do want to dip into this quickly because it's something that we're really ramping up. So if you're not up to speed on Google ads, head over to the Rosen Institute and check out my PPC course. I go into a lot of specifics about how Google ads works, what you should be doing with it, what you definitely should not be doing with it, and I've also had some episodes here on the podcast about Google ads, so be sure to go and check those out, along with the contextual advertising episodes, of which there will be more soon. So why am I suggesting to firms that they invest more in paid ads in 2024? It boils down to two major things. The first is that search result quality is actually improving due to the increasing integration of AI and search engines, and the second is that there's increased competition for organic results because of the increasing integration of AI and search engines. And yes, those things are sort of opposed or the same, depending on how you look at it, but either way, it's a little bit scary if you have a significant budget for SEO or for your marketing program going at your firm. So we're investing more in paid ads this year because it's one of these things that seems like a certainty. So, just like 2023, where I was talking a lot about local SEO if you haven't talked to me about this yet, you should, because it's still a great bet for your marketing program so I think 2024 is likely to be the year of paid ads, or PBC specifically, and that's because, regardless of the direction that Google goes in with search, you can pretty much bet your last dollar that they're still going to offer an advertising solution to us, whether it's on their platform or throughout their network. It's just such a huge source of revenue for the entire generation of Web 2 and Web 1, really giants that I just I have a pretty much 100% level of certainty that we're still going to be using these platforms for paid ads for years to come. But if you're asking me, why should I do this now? Well, today's not the day for that, but it will be soon. That's it for Legal Marketing 101. 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