10 Marketing Automation Tips for Your Law Firm
Every business needs marketing, but no one has time for it.
You need to promote your law firm in order to expand your reach and gain new clients. But at the same time, full case loads and administrative needs make prioritizing those promotions on a daily basis a struggle.
Of course, the worst thing you could do in that case is to forego marketing altogether. So instead, why not automate your practices?
Understanding Marketing Automation
Marketing automation has rapidly gained traction in recent years precisely for scenarios like the one mentioned above. Thanks to digital advantages, you can spread your message and engage your audience on a personal level without a significant, daily time investment.
Almost 50% of businesses across industries now use marketing automation, and the curve continues to point up. Meanwhile, 91% of users call marketing automation "very important" to the overall success of their marketing programs.
The general concept is simple: by automating your marketing processes, you can create a personalized communication strategy to effectively reach potential clients.
Especially repetitive tasks, such as sending emails, lend themselves perfectly to this type of automation.
10 Marketing Automation Tips for Law Firms
1) Map Your Communication Flow
To be successful, marketing automation has to be strategic. That means not just starting to build automated communication flows and scheduling social media messages, but planning it out first before plugging it into software.
On social media, a content calendar can be immensely helpful.
For your automated emails, consider building a flow chart of the messages that potential clients should get at various points in their journey to engaging your services. If you map it out first, building it in automation software like Mautic will be much easier later on.
2) Segment Your Leads
The best automation efforts are not identical for all of your audience. Instead, take advantage of your software's abilities to segment your leads into a number of groups that all share common characteristics. Then, build a marketing automation plan specifically focused around those characteristics.
For example, you may get contacts into your database that signed up to become a lead specifically to receive an in-depth exploration of a past case. For these leads, you can build an automation campaign that addresses similar cases, and how your law firm can help in similar situations.
If your law firm specializes in more than one area, this segmentation becomes especially important. Potential clients looking for help with personal injuries may not need the same type of information as those in need of workmen's compensation help.
3) Get Personal
Personalization is crucial in digital marketing. It's the #1 priority for most marketers today, thanks in large part to the fact that personalized emails receive higher open, interaction, and transaction rates than any other alternative.
Through effective marketing automation, you can ensure each of your leads feels a personal connection with your law firm.
The concept can be divided into several layers. The first layer is to make sure your emails address prospective clients by their first name, and pull additional personal information into the content on an as-needed basis.
A second layer includes making sure the content you send is actually relevant for your leads. Again, this means segmenting your lists to ensure each marketing message your audience gets is tailored to their needs.
4) Prioritize the First Email
It's difficult to overstate the importance of the first email potential clients receive when becoming a lead. It needs to fulfill the promise you made in exchange for their contact information, while also offering a succinct introduction into your services.
But above all, it needs to be one thing: fast. A landmark study by the Harvard Business Review found that new leads are 7 times more likely to result in a meaningful conversation if the first email they receive come within an hour of signing up.
When a potential client becomes a lead, they seek something in return, whether that 'something' is a case study or a white paper. Giving it to them as soon as possible maximizes their goodwill, and enhances your credibility as a law firm and thought leader.
5) Get the Timing Right
In marketing automation, it's crucial to find the balance between caution and spam. You don't want to send emails so often that your leads get annoyed. At the same time, you need to send them often enough to stay in potential clients' minds.
Numerous studies have sought to find the ideal balance of how often you should contact your leads. Most tend to agree sending an automated email between twice a month and once a week is close to the ideal frequency.
But of course, every audience differs. Law clients may not need to receive emails quite as often. If you begin to see lower open rates or higher numbers of unsubscribes over time, adjust your timing as needed.
6) Emphasize Consistency
In many ways, marketing automation follows a simple principle. The more often your leads hear from you, the more likely they'll be to remember you when it's time to engage your services.
To make sure that's actually the case, be sure you maintain a consistent message throughout your communication flows. Establish a core value proposition, and hammer it home over the course of multiple emails.
The more consistent your messaging, the more precisely your audience can categorize and understand the benefits of engaging with you when the time is right.
7) Don't Sell, Inform
The purpose of marketing automation is not to sell and promote your law firm. Instead, falling within the inbound marketing framework, it's to establish yourself as an invaluable resource within your audience's mind, building both awareness and credibility in the process.
That means each of your messages should be built not to tout your law firm, but to show its thought leadership in the field of law in which you engage. Link to recent articles discussing public cases, or emphasize your expertise in the client’s fields of interest.
This messaging strategy does not preclude your law firm from marketing its services. It does, however, allow you to do just that (through testimonials and other type of content) in a more subtle way.
8) Go Beyond Email
Marketing automation is most closely associated with email, but it doesn't have to be. In fact, you can use the same workflows and mechanisms to set up direct mail and even social media campaigns.
The best marketing automation campaigns combine multiple channels for a more effective message.
Email should be the core thread, but occasional direct mail pieces should feed into the communication flow along with strategic social media message.
The result, ideally, is a more integrated campaign that builds multiple touch points and opportunities to engage with potential clients.
9) Score Your Leads
Advanced marketers love lead scoring, the process of assigning point values to individual leads based on their actions and interactions with your law firm.
The more actively a prospective client engages with you, the more likely they will be to eventually convert.
Through lead scoring, you can focus your advanced marketing efforts more closely on contacts that are most likely to become clients.
In addition, you can also make a better educated guess on the moment when a client is ready to engage your services, based on factors such as visiting your pricing page.
Marketing automation software like Mautic, which tracks contact data down to the pages on your websites your leads visit, can help you get started with the process. In fact, a point-based lead scoring system is built into the system, easing the process for novice marketers.
10) Never Stop Optimizing
As with any other type of digital marketing, an indubitable advantage (and consistent challenge) is the ability to never stop improving. No email, social media post, or workflow timing is perfect, and you can always make adjustments that help you maximize your success.
For example, as mentioned above, you may find your email timing is not quite right. Your lead scoring points may be off, or personalized emails underperform generic alternatives. Through methods such as A/B testing, you can build an automated marketing machine that reliably attracts and converts leads into clients for your law firm.