As the global economy continues to endure COVID-19, the pressure is increasing on law firm marketing departments. As firms face challenging times – some seeing higher demand and others struggling to make ends meet – marketing strategies must adapt.
One marketing strategy underutilized by law firms, especially during challenging times, is content marketing.
Right now, investing in your firm’s brand has never been more important.
The law industry has been slower than other industries to adopt content marketing as a strategy to attract and convert business, so there is a significant opportunity to gain competitive advantage by getting in the content marketing game.
Well-designed content can help firms not only survive during this crisis but come out the other side actually stronger than before.
How? Consider a few facts about content marketing:
- Content marketing builds brand awareness, trust and loyalty.
- Content marketing attracts and converts leads. Sales thrive behind content.
- The ROI from content marketing is good for your bottom line. It’s significantly more cost-effective than traditional advertising.
Even if you are convinced that content marketing is the key to your firm’s post-pandemic success, it’s likely you have a long road to travel in order to convince decision makers to make a new or larger marketing investment during an economic downturn.
Budget Obstacles During a Downturn
Firms without a formal marketing plan for crisis-management may balk at the idea of investing in content in 2020. Too often, decision makers feel that the safe move is to pull back and slash budgets.
However, the opposite is actually true. Silence is a serious mistake. Content marketing informs your target audience.
With a good SEO strategy, you’re going to be discussing topics that potential clients need and want to know about. Once informed, those potential clients see your brand, and your firm, as a thought leader guiding them back toward a sense of normalcy.
But how do you get the budget approved when times are lean?
It all comes down to proving that a solid return on investment is forthcoming.
Overcome Objections by Proving ROI
Firm leaders understand that, without a strategic effort to go to market and develop new business, the firm simply can’t survive.
However, many firm leaders are not familiar with what is possible with content marketing. And, more importantly, most firm leaders are not clear about what the metrics look like and what exactly can and can’t be measured in terms of return from content marketing.
Predicting ROI is always a challenge, and it is especially difficult for content marketing considering the effort is largely focused on increasing goodwill with clients, contacts and leads.
So rather than trying to predict ROI the old-fashioned way, firms will benefit from taking a different approach. Proving ROI is a better strategy and it can be done by carefully evaluating, measuring and improving ROI.
Proving ROI of any marketing strategy to firm leadership will:
- Demonstrate the importance and the impact of a content marketing strategy with cold hard data.
- Identify specific areas where content marketing is most effective.
- Uncover areas where adjustments are necessary.
- Support the legal marketing department in better understanding the target audience, their pain points, and what drives them to take action.
- Justify and secure a content marketing budget for the future.
5 Steps to Evaluating, Measuring and Improving Marketing ROI
Step 1: Set the right marketing objectives.
What are you setting out to accomplish? Establish marketing objectives that are aligned with your firm’s overall business goals.
- For example, if the firm’s goal is lead generation, the content marketing strategy should focus on the top of the funnel and the ROI must be calculated based on number of leads generated rather leads converted or dollars earned.
Once you identify what you want to achieve, clearly articulate how to get there. And be specific.
- For example, if your goal is to generate new leads, that’s not specific enough. Quantify how many new leads or by what percentage you want to increase landing page traffic each month or each quarter. Then be sure to consistently measure performance in those distinct time-over-time increments, like month over month, quarter over quarter, and year over year.
Step 2: Choose the right metrics to monitor performance.
To measure how well your content is performing, websites and social platforms have reporting tools that marketing departments can easily use.
But first, you must determine the right metrics for the objectives that you’ve chosen.
Keep in mind that return won’t necessarily be in dollars. Depending on what you’re trying to accomplish, metrics for monitoring return might include any one of the following:
- likes, comments and shares
- engagement and traffic data
- lead generation indicators like content sign-ups or downloads
- qualified lead distribution for follow up
- conversion ratios and timetables
Step 3: Understand the real costs of content marketing.
You need to know how much you’re investing in content marketing.
This includes the cost of:
- tools and platforms
- employee time
- outsourced content creation
Even if you outsource, be sure to consider employee time and resources spent editing, publishing and monitoring the performance of the content.
Step 4: Identify your firm’s leading growth drivers.
When designing an ROI measurement process, start slowly with low hanging fruit.
Where is the most potential for growth?
Begin with a review of the most significant changes in revenue. Whether you find it’s a particular office or a particular area of the practice, this is a good place to focus your efforts for establishing or recalibrating metrics to measure ROI.
- For example, if a significant portion of your business stems from your current client base, be sure to track the percentage of work your firm is handling against the total work available from each client. This will provide a clear starting point from which to begin designing strategic objectives for driving ROI.
Step 5: Continuous Quality Improvement
Of course, you’ll want to continuously improve your ROI from content marketing.
By continuously refining the process, you’ll end up optimizing strategies and ultimately converting more business for the firm. The good news is that the previous steps will provide rich data to help with this process.
- As you test different publication platforms like blogs, articles and whitepapers, you’ll be collecting data about which format resonates best with your target audience.
- Seek to identify opportunities for spending in a more effective manner. Comb through data to see where efforts are and are not paying off. Then make adjustments accordingly.
According to one study, the average mid to large size B2B firm wastes 25 cents of every dollar spent on content marketing due to inefficiency.
Of course, firm leaders already know that during an economic downturn, efficiency is imperative when it comes to spending. However, too many firms are reactive when it comes to such a review. It must become a regular process and tackled with a proactive approach.
Content has proven to be a cost-effective solution for building trust and brand awareness. These same attributes make content marketing indispensable during a crisis.
As industry leaders recognize how important it is to invest in content in today’s economic environment, the only question that remains is: which firm will act fastest and most effectively?