We have been working solely with law firms on their marketing strategy and execution for over seven years. In order to consistently provide successful legal marketing services to hundreds of law firms across the country, we developed a framework. We call it Law Firm Marketing the GNGF Way, The GNGF Way for short.
Our approach as a law firm marketing company is not to confuse clients by making marketing online seem like some magic hidden in a bunch of acronyms (SEO, SEM, SERP, etc.).
We strongly believe that a successful legal marketing agency has to have a process that:
- emphasizes education
- encourages an understanding of the law firm’s goals and strategy
- focuses on full transparency in the execution of the marketing tactics
- utilizes measurable, results-focused project management
Our framework, The GNGF Way, was created out of the best strategies of our most successful client engagements and continues to be optimized over time.
It doesn’t focus on the latest fad of what is “tricking” the search engines or spamming the latest social media.
Instead, we focus on a step by step approach to building and executing on the law firm marketing strategy that is appropriate for your firm.
The following chart summarizes our framework for Law Firm Marketing the GNGF Way.
If you are interested in learning more about how the GNGF Way can help you define and achieve your law firm’s goals, choose a time and complete this short form to request a 30-minute consultation with one of our legal marketing experts. Or, just hit us up on live chat right now.
STEP 1: Protect Your Law Firm Referrals
For many years this step was later in our process, but we got tired of watching law firms get stuck in the branding and communication steps and then in frustration just jumping onto the latest SEO fad or PPC tactic to try to rank for [insert practice area] lawyer [insert city].
So just over a year ago with some strong data behind us, we decided to make “Protecting Your Referrals” the most important first step that all law firms should take.
Why the big change? Because our data overwhelmingly supported referrals as one of the strongest drivers of business to local law firms, yet we watched many law firms lose prospective referrals because of their online presence. And we were sick and tired of it.
Protecting Your Referrals is all about making sure that someone who is referred to your firm or yourself personally is able to search online and find the right phone number or email to contact you. It is creating a branded web presence so that a search on your name or your firm name shows the referred person that their friend was right in recommending you as the perfect attorney for their problem.
If your web presence doesn’t match what your referral source is saying about you, the prospective client is only one click away from finding someone else in your hometown to solve their problem.
Just getting this first step right and not doing anything else has been shown to increase many law firms’ business by over 20%.
We think this Protect Your Referrals step is so important to your law firm marketing strategy we have an entire page dedicated to describing it further
Step 2: Define Your Law Firm Brand
The outcome of this step is a documented Brand Platform for your firm that defines what makes your law firm unique and what makes your target market tick while capturing why you do what you do.
Ultimately, we want to define a brand that you can use in any medium to communicate the right unique message to the right audience.
While our branding process is one of the best in the legal marketing industry, the process is not always easy.
Many clients tell us this process is the first time they have really thought about their law firm business this deeply and often say the branding exercise is one of the most valuable parts of our process.
This process will likely take the most time and effort from you and your entire law firm team.
Furthermore, this exercise will help you figure out your law firm’s “WHY”. What is your core purpose, your vision for the firm, the firm’s core values?
While our goal is often focused around the external differentiators of your firm, all of that has to come from the core of you and your law firm.
Once complete, we provide a guiding document to deliver a consistent brand message that you can provide to any attorney marketing agency you work with in the future.
In respect to marketing your law firm website online, the Branding Platform is:
- what our designers use to drive the look and feel of your website
- what our Strategic Account Managers and our strategic team use to drive your content and legal SEO strategies
- what the writers use to communicate your message the right way to your target market
- what our paid ads team uses to help craft ad copy
- what our link building team uses to help find appropriate sites for link opportunities
- and more…
You can learn more about this and the different options we have to help you create your brand on our Law Firm Branding Services page.
Step 3: Communicate Your Law Firm Brand
After you know your “Why” and what makes your law firm unique, it is time to communicate that brand to your employees, your peers, and your prospective clients in your target market.
Communicating your law firm’s brand is really about getting your message in front of the right audience at the right times.
There are a number of methods and mediums to communicate your brand. We will start with a law firm website. From there, depending on your brand platform, there are many ways to amplify your Law Firm’s Brand such as:
- Paid Radio and TV media
- Community outreach and public relation events
- Targeted networking to referral partners
- Print advertisements, or advertorials
- Becoming a resource for the media
- Teaching an important topic through live or online seminars
- Writing a book or an e-book
- Educating using an online video series
- And much more
Your target market, your firm’s core purpose, and your differentiators are key to helping determine the right places to communicate your brand.
Our strategic account managers will work with you to understand the right places to communicate your law firm brand depending on your situation, budget, and competition.
Step 4: Know Your Numbers
As a data-focused company, we think this is the step that truly sets a law firm up for growth. It is required to get you ready for the goals and execution steps that follow.
Law firms that understand the key performance indicators (KPIs) for their firm’s marketing, intake process, their client satisfaction, and their law firm’s overall business profitability are set to win.
“What gets measured gets managed.”
This concept is important to helping guide law firms to improve their business.
What would your response be if I called your firm and asked: “About how long will it take me to get to your office?”
Without knowing where I am currently located, you can’t even tell me how to get to your office let alone how long it will take.
Just like without having numbers for your firm’s key metrics, you can’t figure out how long it will take to get to where you want your firm to be, let alone how we will get there. Without knowing your numbers, you won’t be able to measure your success to make sure you are heading in the right direction.
At GNGF, we work with your law firm to understand the key metrics you should understand if you want to improve your business through marketing conversion strategies.
- Average case value by practice area in revenue
- Average case value by practice are in gross margin
- Lifetime value of an average client
- Average number of leads per week
- Leads broken down by marketing lead source
- Cost per lead
- Leads per referral sources (clients, attorneys, doctors, etc.)
- Current unique visitors to your website a week
- Conversion rate of visitors to leads
- Conversion rate of leads to clients (ideally by practice area)
- Average time from Lead to conversion to client
- Client satisfaction metrics
- And more…
Many law firms do not have this information readily available. Our goal is to help you understand and document these key metrics and use them to set realistic goals for your firm in Step 5.
Unfortunately, many law firms work with other legal marketing agencies that do not set up Google web analytics correctly, if at all, and do not provide law firms access to the right data.
If this is the case, then the first few months of our control of your website is used to establish these baselines before we are better able to move to Step 5.
Step 5: Define Your Goals
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where–” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“–so long as I get SOMEWHERE,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”
(Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Chapter 6)
Many law firms we’ve met over the years admit they don’t set concrete goals for their firm.
With the number of firms that don’t consistently track their key performance indicators, it makes sense that many don’t take the next step and set a goal for these key metrics.
Even starting with a simple goal of X more cases per month, or X more revenue per quarter would be better than no goal at all.
We talk to firms all the time that have spent twenty, forty, even a hundred thousand dollars a year on marketing but are unable to succinctly communicate what their goals are for their marketing dollars.
Similar to what the Cheshire Cat says above, spending enough money will lead to something. You may see business tick up a little, but is it moving you toward your goal?
As we have worked with hundreds of law firms, across the US, on their law firm marketing strategy and execution, we understand that there is no one-right goal for every law firm.
One lawyer wants to grow the revenue and profit of her firm in order to bring on more associates to allow for even more revenue growth.
Another lawyer doesn’t really want his firm to grow in size, but he wants to spend more time in the courtroom working on the specific type of cases he enjoys the most.
Yet another lawyer decided they loved the business aspect of running a law firm that he wanted to manage the business and marketing more and practice law less.
If asked to create concrete goals, they would look very different for each of those lawyers and thus lead to using different strategies to move toward those goals.
An effective goal must have these 3 elements:
- The goal must be based on a metric you are currently measuring. This helps your goal stay realistic as you know where you are currently before you decide to go.
- The goal must be measurable, so you can say if it is done or not done at every step along the way
- The goal must be time-bound with a period of time or date you are targeting to complete the goal.
Besides these three elements, goals are very flexible, your goal can be to:
- grow leads
- increase profit
- move into a new practice area
- cut a practice area you don’t like and remain at same level of revenue
- and much more
Any of these types of goals could be set as a monthly, quarterly or yearly goal.
Bigger goals longer than a year are okay, as long as you can break it down into shorter milestone goals.
Our recommendation is to think in 3-month quarterly goals that lead to your overarching one-year goal.
Step 6: Execute Strategy and Measure
Unfortunately, this is the step that most law firms start with when purchasing law firm marketing services.
Someone calls you and tells you they can get you more leads if you just put yourself in this top ranked directory, or if you just do social media, or run some radio ads, and on and on.
It’s all about leads you think, if I only had more leads I would have more cases and won’t have to worry about the financial stresses I have right now. Payroll, insurance, mortgage, school loans, etc. these are all on our minds when we jump at the promises of the next shiny marketing tactic.
Then six months later you are still writing checks or watching the charges on your credit cards and are not sure what you really are getting for that money.
I am sure the marketing company was not a thief, they likely performed their services at some level of average quality.
But, because you took the Ready, Fire, Aim approach, you are wondering if the effort was worth the money.
Those law firms that don’t step back and walk through a law firm marketing approach like the GNGF Way will likely end up dropping that marketing company and jumping onto the next shiny marketing tactic.
Instead, this step should build upon your business and marketing goals set in the previous step. You work with our Strategic Account Manager to identify the tactics that we have data that indicates it will help you move toward your goal.
We know your current numbers, we know your goals, and each month we can work with you to review how we are progressing toward your goals and celebrate when we help you get there.
Sometimes though, the tactic that we are implementing is not moving the numbers the right direction or not fast enough and the data, goal, and measurement allows us to be completely transparent with you and work to identify areas where we need to adjust or replace a particular marketing tactic.
We stay in this Execute and Measure step until we help you hit your goals.
Then we work with you to identify if we need to measure new metrics (Step 4), set a new goal (Step 5) then back to Step 6 execute.
This is the GNGF Way. As you can see, working with GNGF is not a set it and forget it marketing program. You are not buying the latest shiny marketing tactic.
You are investing in an agency that uses our experience to help guide you to build the successful law firm you have always wanted.
You may also have realized that this is not an overnight process. Getting through these steps takes time.
But when you have all of this in place, your law firm will be performing at a whole different level then the vast majority of firms in your area.
If you are interested in learning more: