Do you subscribe to change?

What can the legal sector learn from the music sector when it comes to changing business models?

Almost everyone in the legal sector agrees that we need to change. Most also agree that change is long overdue. But, where to begin and how should we focus on what needs to change?

I wondered if depersonalising it would help? Perhaps the best place to start is to look at the seismic change that has taken place in another industry and apply some lessons to our own? For the purposes of this article, let’s use the music industry.

I love music almost as much as I love working in the legal sector and just as much as I love using data to make well-informed decisions. I’m going to write a post on how geeky I can get over my data/music and how I’m willing to look at my own data in order to better understand my relationship to music/my purchasing history. In my experience, using data to overcome your own barriers to change is a great place to start.

So, why choose music?

Well, the music industry has undergone radical change time and again over the years. It’s had major existential threats, survived them, transformed and flourished again. I think that it can help illustrate the changes ahead for many sectors, including the legal sector.

From live music from the past to phonographic, from vinyl to CD to online to download to streaming, the industry is constantly adapting to technological changes and changes in consumer behaviour, as well as offering new ways of experiencing it.

In music, what appeared to be settled business models have, time and again, been transformed, become obsolete or moved to being increasingly niche. This is the first lesson that the transformation of the music industry can teach the legal sector: that settled business models can quickly become niche or obsolete.

What’s a good example of a radical change that changed a whole industry?

Let me give you a small example: Before Simon Fuller marketed the Spice Girls’ first single (Wannabe) ahead of launch, singles were released, climbed the charts until they eventually gathered enough momentum and hit the number one spot, hopefully staying there for a few weeks. Post-Wannabe, the only way to get to number one was pre-playing music on the radio before an embargoed physical release that was imposed by Fuller. Most physical sales of a single then happened within the first week or two of the initial release date. For the right record, it pretty much guaranteed a number one spot. No other strategy to get to number one mattered anymore. Fuller rendered them obsolete. The way of doing business had changed forever.

But can that kind of change happen in the legal sector?

Is the legal sector in a pre-Wannabe stage? Possibly. Seismic change has yet to take place – but it is coming. The prize is too big to be ignored. Then again, parts of the market have been given the Wannabe treatment. Conveyancing solicitors for most of the market operate very differently to how they did 20 years ago. Likewise, personal injury, road traffic and similar. Is commercial law likely to go through a major change like this? I believe it will.

What else can the law learn from the music industry?

Dominant models in the music industry

I think it’s fair to say that the primary models for music were as follows for the following years:

pre-1877 – The live music era

1877 – 1962 – The record era

  • 1877 – phonography (gramophone music) launched
  • 1898 – 78RPM shellac records launched
  • 1948 – 33RPM and 45RPM vinyl records launched

1962 – 1999 The alternative formats era

  • 1962 – Cassettes launched
  • 1982 – Compact Discs launched
  • 1992 – MiniDisc launched

1999 – The download era

  • 1999 – Napster launches
  • 2003 – iTunes Music store opens for business

2008 – The streaming era

  • 2008 – Spotify launches
  • 2011 – Google Music launches (2012 saw its combination into Google Play)
  • 2015 – Apple Music Launches

As a music fan, you may have been an early adopter of a new format. Alternatively, without any clear benefit, you may well have skipped a format entirely. But looking at the dates above, one thing is clear, that the formats and the business models that sit behind them last less and less time, and are increasingly democratised from day one. Gramophones were expensive and the preserve of the elite when they launched. By way of comparison, Apple Music launched in 100 countries on the same day to a colossal existing iTunes user base.

Co-existence of models

What’s also clear is that these models do overlap. The dates only tell part of the story: revenues from physical purchases of music was only finally overtaken by streaming revenue in 2017. Keeping an eye on revenues and knowing when to switch horses is essential: too soon and you’re the next Betamax, too late and you’re the next Nokia.

However, timing aside, almost everyone in the music industry has needed to adapt their business models in light of the ongoing technological and consumer listening preferences.

Let’s deal first with the players who currently dominate the market. What’s clear is that first movers or early movers gained a significant advantage when porting to the new model: Napster provided an outlet for consumer-led demand for online music. It broke the old model as users shared their music freely across the world. Litigation put paid to the business as a market leader, but by then, consumer behaviours had changed forever. Others with legitimate business models stepped in and took advantage of the new market conditions.

Apple took full advantage with iTunes: a legitimate music service which offered virus free, downloadable music. Others followed and then the game moved on again: Spotify spotted the opportunity to provide a streaming service, which killed off the download model.

Others piled in as the download market began to wither: Apple offered downloads alongside its streaming service Apple Music (helped by its £4bn merger with Beats), Google launched Google Play (leveraging its brand), Amazon launched Amazon Music on the back of its major Amazon Prime subscription customer base.

Today, subscriber numbers are as follows for the main players:

  1. Spotify – 70m paying subscribers (140m in total)
  2. Apple Music – c. 25m paying subscribers
  3. Google Play – no official figures released but believed to be around same size as Spotify’s freemium accounts. Google Play (Google’s app store) passed 1bn monthly users in 2017.
  4. Pandora – c.80m subscribers – but no recent growth
  5. Soundcloud – c. 175m subscribers but most are free accounts
  6. Amazon Music – c.16m paying subscribers
  7. Tidal – c. 3m paying subscribers

Note that within a very short window, none of the major players is relying on downloads to be the mainstay of their business. In music, today, it’s stream or die.

Before we look at what all this means for the legal industry, it’s worth noting that some other effects of the subscription model dominating the music industry are:

  1. Radio has lost listener numbers to streaming services – especially as some super star DJs have moved into [stewarding] playlists for the major players
  2. Since the birth of Napster, there has been a massive resurgence in live music. Artists have to eat and you can’t replace a live experience.
  3. There has been a surge in indie or self publishing. The Arctic Monkeys grew through this route – building a massive online following before publishing on a label.
  4. More recently, there has been a surge in publishing to demand [insert Spotify commissioning recordings – article]
  5. Vinyl has carved out a niche market and now outsells digital downloads in the UK. Read that again: vinyl outsold digital downloads in the UK in 2017.

In short, where there’s change, there’s opportunity.

What does all this mean for the legal industry?

For me, there are a lot of parallels between the legal industry and a pre-Napster music industry. The legal industry’s Sean Parker is going to come along with the appropriate financial backing and take advantage of the incumbents’ inertia. To be fair, that move is probably already afoot in that the Big Four accountants are all ramping up the size of the legal offerings.

The industry is ripe for change, because:

  • it is a traditional sector which has yet to see major change
  • it is highly profitable in comparison to other industries
  • ownership is within the hands of partners who could seek an exit route
  • the models of doing business are often ‘one size fits all’ approaches
  • innovations are not copycatted by competitors as quickly as they are in other sectors
  • the advent of ABS has removed barriers to entry and improved sources of funding which improve the opportunity for scale and rapid growth
  • client demands are being informed increasingly by procurement teams who want increased price certainty and don’t buy into the billable hour for every piece of work
  • technological changes could rapidly make a lot of the work done at the junior end redundant
  • the industry is still fragmented and ripe for more consolidation. This fragmentation (combined with the prevalent profit distribution model) is at the heart of the sector’s inability to invest in rapid growth and take a calculated risk in a new venture.
  • the next generation of purchasers don’t buy into the same models as the current incumbents. Equally, the next generation of private practice lawyers don’t contend that the model will hold for long either. These are the people who transformed the music industry as consumers.

If you add all those things up, and apply some of the lessons from the music industry above, it’s clear to see that opportunities exist for the brave.

Someone will use a subscription model to replace a lot of the legal services that are currently performed between in-housers and private practice lawyers. Employment and real estate services in particular look ripe for something along these lines.

Adapting our models for how we conduct the business of law will allow the sector to retain its profitability and growth.

Where will it end?

I have some bad news for those who hate change: despite its several transformations, the music industry continues to evolve and needs to continue to evolve in order to serve its customers.

Some recent developments:

  1. Spotify is commissioning music much as Netflix commissions its own shows. This means it owns the underlying assets and doesn’t have to pay an artist fee every play.
  2. Only 11% of British households currently pay for a streaming service -there’s room for significant growth – hence the price wars that are being waged as you sign up for a new mobile device.
  3. Spotify is leveraging its data for brands which allows you to target your demographics with adverts and targeted marketing. (See Spotify for Brands for more details).
  4. Live ticket sales are offered as you stream on Spotify. This is targeted advertising as it knows the exact artist you’re listening to and where you’re based. Is disruption on the cards for the ticketing industry?
  5. Given how cash-rich some of the dominant players are, there’s a sense that a major merger or two could transform the market again. It’s not inconceivable that Apple could buy a major music label or two with their massive back catalogues. This could result in content being unique to a certain streaming platform (as it often is with Tidal).
  6. The latest Sonos speakers deliver Amazon’s Alexa smart assistant system directly into people’s lounges. Currently, Sonos systems default to Amazon’s services not Spotify, and you can’t use the Alexa assistant to play Apple Music at all.

Conclusions

Change is now the only constant in the music industry. As for music, so for legal. Nobody wants to have to issue the famous Nokia CEO’s memo.

If you do want some good news, it’s that streaming revenues only just overtook physical music sales in 2017. So, whilst you don’t have to move first to emerge as a winner over coming years, you do have to evolve with the times to remain relevant. I’d contend that the pace of change is quicker than ever.

Next, law firms are sitting on a lot of data and business methods. Someone, somewhere is working at giving clients greater access to these.

Finally, it’s not just the music industry where subscription models are set the threaten the fundamental, century long way of doing business. In a driverless-car world and one that is increasingly environmentally conscious, I believe that car ownership will be the preserve of the uber-wealthy and thrill-seeking petrolheads who’ll drive them at racing circuits.

P.S. if you want to think about how to use music with your brand, maybe try this online music blog on how to choose your hold music. I once asked the Italian office to change theirs from Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence given that it was the theme of a Japanese war movie!

P.P.S. See in 10 seconds how the music industry revenues have evolved over the past ten years.

P.P.P.S. a version of this article appeared in the May 2018 edition of PM Forum magazine (£)

Law firm CRM: What can the legal industry learn from the translation industry?

 

Let’s shift gears: time to talk law firm CRM.

We’ve done a lot of posts on web and PR over the past few weeks. Now it’s time to talk about where the rubber hits the road: law firm CRM. Before I get into specifics over my next few blogs, this piece is about the need to understand the direction of travel of the industry you’re operating in as a context for conversations with your clients. The need for an eye on the big picture.

In ancient times, I used to work in an industry that has now been almost eradicated by machine learning, AI and the sheer slog of humans: the translation industry. With instantaneous translation now available for free online, it’s amazing to think that only 20 years ago interactions that would now take seconds would then have taken hours, days even.

You’d probably expect the world of foreign languages to be full of exotic travel and engaging with people from far-flung realms of the globe. I suppose visiting a 21-storey tower block in the middle of Croydon’s Whitgift centre for some would represent an exotic journey. Not to mention the daily delight of dealing with my colleague in Seoul who simply refused to do his job!

But, really, we were a happy, youthful, well-educated, poorly paid bunch and we were happy. In total, we were probably 24 project managers and 15 in DTP interpreting, translating, repackaging all manner of materials for consumption in Bolivia, Sweden and China. Or at least in those countries’ equivalents of Croydon.

A life in the engineering sector

The team I led looked after clients in the engineering sector. Our clients were multinationals and behemoths like ABB, ERF, GM, Filtrona (now Essentra) and the like. Aged 23, I was in charge of around £4m of accounts. During my time there, we landed a contract once that was 4m on its own. That was a lot of words that needed translating. And this was 1997, so that was when £4m was a lot of money.

We worked at the largest translation business in the world, a listed entity. A strong position with the world’s leading freelance translators. What could possibly happen that would unseat us? We’d developed a world-class piece of translation software but it was the equivalent of Henry Ford’s competitor giving his coachman a bigger whip: it was the wrong tech.

The inflexion point

I remember the furore when I had to buy a rival’s software (called Trados, now part of SDL Trados) to work on a piece of work for a major Swedish manufacturer’s work. Even at the time, I knew it was the beginning of the end. The nightmare of using what was essentially the open source version of a software (as far as the translators were concerned, it was open sourced, the agencies paid to use it) rather than our own bespoke software. It’s like the moment when you first used Facebook after being on MySpace or Friends Reunited. You knew in an instant that you’d moved on, never to return.

The company died within maybe a couple of years of that, stood on a burning platform that it had not done enough about.

Anyway, I mention this because, for 18 years now, I’ve not really thought too much about the translation industry. I couldn’t tell you what the latest vogues were, or where money was to be made (if any) from localising people’s content. I moved on.

What are the key learnings from working in the translating sector?

At least five lessons stand with me until today from the translation industry’s transformation in the late 1990s:

  1. The opportunities were there for the established players, they just needed grasping. Not tentatively, but fully, with confidence and some financial backing;
  2. The winners in the new economic model were not the major players in the prior one with maybe one or two exceptions: SDL was a company I always admired for keeping an eye on the need for evolution;
  3. Technology that destroys your model can come out of nowhere. Walk a mile in a tech startup’s shoes and ask yourself this: how hard is it for them to digitise or commoditise something you currently charge for at a premium price? If the answer is only cash/labour/time then consider that someone is going to do it soon as long as the prize is big enough. This is already happening in the legal sector;
  4. Get to know your threats. Keep on top of the startups, JV with them, buy them, litigate with them. Whatever your chosen strategy, you’d better understand which parts of your business they are luring away. If you insist on building your own, then there are a whole load of things to consider that will take up another blog post.
  5. You cannot stop an idea whose time has come. Ask Kodak (who owned the patent to digital cameras), or Nokia (who dominated the world’s handset sales market and a mere 2 years later were nobodies and now where in a smartphone world).

What does this mean for the legal sector?

The lessons I learned about managing relationships in a shifting and challenging market have stood me in good stead for a long time in the legal sector (and they certainly made me a better PR because I wanted our communications to lead to instructions). I tell you this: CRM isn’t easy. Winning new business never is. But doing law firm CRM no matter how hard the messages you have to hear is better than not doing it. Winning business from existing clients should be easier than for new clients. So why do law firms put so much effort into winning shiny new clients and invest their time in CRM so poorly in comparison?

I’m going to explore that topic, along with a lot of other CRM topics over coming weeks because I think it’s where I can help a lot of ambitious firms like yours to make the biggest difference to their bottom line.

Let me know if you’d like to get to the front of the queue and have a coffee. Finally, thanks to Chris BarbalisÂfor the photo which you can find on Unsplash

Here’s to the death of the passive voice in law firm marketing

Why should you reduce or remove the passive voice from your writing?

The article, which covers the need to write in the active voice, was written by TBD’s crack squad of writers. It will be read by you over the next two to three minutes and will focus on improving law firm marketing. If we carry on writing like this, the feelings which you will experience reading this article will be of distance, of separation.

Which of these following phrases do you prefer? Maybe say them out loud when you’ve read them the first time.

I ate all the dinner you cooked.
OR
All the dinner you cooked was eaten by me.

How’s about:
All my readers love the active voice.
OR
The active voice is loved by all my readers.

Sorry. We simply can’t do it. As writers, when we write in the passive, a little piece of us dies. When we have to read excessive amounts of passive writing, we feel the same way. A poor review will be given by you if we continue to write like this.

Here’s why: readers don’t like the passive voice. They may not be able to put their finger on exactly what it is about writing that is passive heavy, but when we ask them, they say that they find it untrustworthy, elusive, wheedling, that it is not the way that ‘real’ people speak.  That’s why reading your text out loud is so important.

But here’s what you really need to know: busy people stop reading your article if it’s written with too many passive sentences.

You’ve probably spent hours (and hours) writing a grammatically correct article on the intricacies of an update to the law. Then, when you see the web statistics on it, you find out that, what, maybe ten people have read it from beginning to end? Your return on investment for all that time spent writing it is nigh on nothing. Think about the opportunity cost of writing an unread article. What other marketing activity could you have done that would have made a material financial difference to your business?

Aside from all the other tips and tricks that we’ll write about in other articles (including why getting readers to get to the end of the article is so important), writing in the passive voice is one of the single biggest turn-offs for readers.

Lawyers and the passive voice

But, wait, what’s this? In our experience, lawyers love the passive voice. It is safe, it alludes to things without expressly stating them, it incorporates, it protects. It’s the kind of language that lawyers use in their writing and mix with Latin words when they don’t need to. Like inter alia. Or ad hominem. It’s done to aggrandize the reader’s opinion of the author. However, it almost certainly achieves the opposite effect.

How should we deal with this inherent conflict?

First, it’s worth noting that the use of the passive voice here and there is, of course, perfectly acceptable. See this excellent post from stroppyeditor, which contains the following line:

“One obvious thing you can do with the passive (but not the active) is to omit the agent. This is very handy if the agent is unknown, irrelevant, too obvious to mention or too contentious to mention…”

At TBD, we feel that (in particular in the case of the legal profession) it is this aim to omit that means readers distrust the text. Sometimes, it’s necessary. But not too often, in our experience.

So, what should lawyers do instead? And what is the two-hat approach?

Here’s an idea, why don’t we strike a deal? A two hats approach.

When you write your legal documents, feel free to use the passive voice, wearing your ‘lawyer doing law’ hat. The passive voice will be deployed by you, you might say.

But when you write for business people who work outside of private practice, how’s about if you wear another hat? One that you put on for when you’re writing law firm marketing materials. And when you wear that hat, you agree to write using the active voice?

I make you this promise: if you write your blogs, legal updates, trade press articles and quotes in the active voice, more people will read them. People will think you erudite, to the point, precise, a thought leader. The statistics will back me up, be it social media shares, comments, blog views, or email traffic. In short, the success of your campaigns is, in no small part, based on how well written they are.

What is the third option?

Perhaps you’re game for the bolder option? Just the one hat? An active hat. Perhaps you’ll agree to write your legal advice in the active voice? I make you an additional promise if you’re willing to take on this challenge: if you do write legal advice in the active voice, more of your clients will act on your advice. The more they act on it, the more that they hold your advice in high esteem. The more they hold your advice in high esteem, the less likely they are to use a competitor.

So, what you might have thought started out as a lighthearted article on a nice-to-have writing style, has turned out to be a business critical point of differentiation from competitors. That’s hardly passive.

We know that writing law firm marketing materials isn’t easy. So, let us know if we can help. (Hint: we can!)

T: 0117 2872099

E: Simon.Marshall@2BD.me


This Online passive voice checker from Datayze Weill help you reduce down your use of the passive voice in your writing. We used it in this article to make sure that we were writing in the passive voice when we wanted to.

Oh, and thanks toNafinia Putra for the photo.

 

Law firm PR: How many press cuttings should I expect my public relations team to get?

ÂWhat does success look like for law firm PR/media coverage?

This article is meant for senior partners, managing partners, department heads and PR teams at law firms. As a leader and/or owner of your business, you’re right to want to demand value and the right level of performance from your law firm PR team. In this day and age, cuttings reporting and audience reach is pretty easy to automate. The added commentary your PR team provides will help you understand the nuances behind their performance. Media coverage is not the only thing a PR team is there to do but it is the basis for a lot of other of its public relations activities.

What factors will impact on your PR team’s ability to deliver media coverage?

First, let’s take it as read that we at TBD understand that the PR specialist(s) you have hired have chosen to work in-house and not at an agency. One of the attractions of working brand-side is that some PRs may not wish to have the daily experience of challenging clients demanding coverage down the phone. However, this is not an excuse for them not delivering a regular slew of high-quality, strategically aligned cuttings per month.

We hate to say it but if your PR team resists any line of query on coverage, then you need to ask them ‘why?’ No other part of your business gets a free ride. Very few other areas of the business have such a ready-made set of key performance indicators. That resistance is usually a sign of deeper rooted issues. We’ve worked alongside too many other legal PRs to ignore the warning signs that point towards a couple of simple facts: PR is not as easy as it looks and some people take on the role believing it will be an easier ride than it is.

Here’s another fact about PR: it is a sales job. Yes, it’s also a listening job, and a writing job, and a counselling job and lots of other things besides. But at its heart, PR is about coverage and at the point of exchange with a journalist, you are selling an idea, a theory, the basis for Pulitzer glory.

Now, as we know for all sales jobs: failure is your daily norm. £No.”, £No, thanks”, £I’ll check with my editor”, and £Can you email it to newsdesk1@org.uk” are the most common phrases you’ll hear all day as a PR. If you can’t deal with that level of daily rejection, then you will struggle at PR.

The final point here is on rigour. It’s hard to say what percentage of your pitches convert into coverage. But what is clear is that to get more coverage, you need more pitches happening.

How many cuttings should a fully embedded PR deliver?

In speaking to friends who are PRs at law firms as we prepared this piece, it was interesting to note how far apart their estimates/expectations are in terms of coverage.

In our experience, after a few months in the role, excluding deal or case coverage, and all other things being equal*, you can expect something along the following lines for annual proactive targeted, quality coverage per PR Executive:

  • National/broadcast coverage: 40 cuttings
  • Sector trade press: 150 cuttings
  • Legal trade press: 130 cuttings

NB these figures exclude agency cuttings. They are also figures that should average out over the course of the year. We have taken into account the rough number of cuttings for financial results, partner promotions and the like.

Now, if your PR function is set up to operate more in relay (in-house digs out stories, external agency sells in to the press), you should expect the agency to produce something like this (per year) for £5k a month:

  • National/broadcast cuttings: 50 cuttings
  • Sector trade press: 100 cuttings

You’ll notice that we have excluded the legal press and regional press titles from these agency targets. Your use of an agency in those areas is so nuanced as to make generic targets meaningless for our purposes.

Before you say it, we know that this is a can of worms. And it’s going to draw so much fire from both in-house PR teams and PR agencies but here’s the thing: they should be explaining deviations (for less or more coverage) to you in their weekly or monthly cuttings reporting.

How do I know if the results that are produced are the ‘right’ results?

The first thing to say is that your media cuttings should align with your objectives. They could be departmental, sector, firmwide or brand/profile – but for a cutting to count, it needs to be aligned to at least one objective and have your key messages appear in the piece.

Whatever else, please don’t get fobbed off with the following:

  • Number of media meetings that have been scheduled or taken place;
  • Number of journalists pitched with story ideas;
  • Number of press releases written or issued;
  • Cuttings which are not in target titles or are not in areas of the business which you are actively looking to promote;
  • Double-counted articles e.g. a mention in the same syndicated article across a region’s titles;
  • Internal communications; or
  • Social media activity as a substitute for press coverage.

Nothing’s wrong with any of the above. Far from it. It’s just that the thing that matters – and the reason you hired a PR team – is that they deliver media coverage and reach your target audiences that way. Your web team, your social media team, emails to clients are all great, as is updating the internal audience. Any of those teams can re-promote the content afterwards. But don’t lose sight of why you hired a PR in the first place: to get coverage and third-party endorsement of your quality through that coverage.

Maybe encourage them to share results like this.

We think that the benchmarks that we have outlined above are ones that PRs should welcome as they can use it to manage the (at times, unreasonable) expectations of their marketing and business development colleagues. Agencies, likewise with their clients. The dialogue between those parties has to improve. When it does, coverage flows and everyone looks good.

Quid pro quo. What can partners do for their law firm PR team or agency?

So here’s my appeal to management and partners on behalf of your PR team: you need to clear the path to them making their targets and doing their job. Please:

  • Sign off on their quotations (which if they are good at PR, they will have written with the target audience in mind and using language that means that it is likely to appear). Make amends if you have to, but please sign off on the basis of those changes being made;
  • Don’t turn down coverage in the nationals or trade because you’re ‘too busy’ (each opportunity probably took your PR hours to get on average);
  • Don’t waste their time on an ‘after the deal has closed’ press release. All the coverage is on exchange or announcement, not on completion. The latter is marketing; and
  • Don’t tell them what PR is. The parts you can see (drafting, brainstorming ideas, upcoming features) are just part of their role. Keeping smiling when you’ve heard the word £No” 10 times today before you’ve even spoken to a journalist is something partners don’t see. The protracted negotiations over draft spokesperson quotations, another.

So what should you do next?

Here at TBD, we help PR teams peak perform. We’ve honed our techniques over the last couple of decades and we know how to improve the No:Yes ratio of your pitches. So, if you’re not getting the appropriate level of coverage from your agency, or you want to talk about your in-house team performing, then it’s time for us to talk. Try us on 0117 2872099 or Simon.Marshall@2bd.me in the first instance.

*i.e. no crises, no mergers, systems in place, no management responsibilities, and the in-house team does the majority of your PR (with an external agency doing crisis and any special projects).

The jargon buster: A glossary of digital marketing terms for law firm marketing

Why have we prepared a glossary of digital marketing terms for law firm marketing?

There’s a whole new digital marketing language to learn and it’s foreign to most of the professional services marketing people we meet, never mind their management teams. That’s changing, but we thought that this blog could live as an evergreen reference tool. If you have a term that you’d like to suggest to add to our glossary of digital marketing terms for law firm marketing, then please drop us an email to TheTeam@2BD.ME

Being confronted with this jargon is a bit like walking into a coffee shop and staring at the menu for inspiration not knowing the difference between a latte and a flat white, or an Americano and a mocha. Hence our choice of the image above (thanks, Cyril Saulnier).

The good news is, you mastered ordering a coffee, right?

Glossary of digital marketing terms

What does SEO mean?

SEO means Search Engine Optimisation. In lay terms, that means getting your page to rank as highly as possible on the relevant search engines. Why does that matter? Check out our post on why Google needs to love your post and why you need to love Google.

What is a CMS?

Although it’s the name of a major law firm, in this context, CMS means Content Management System. The CMS is what people use to load content onto a website. There are two major types of CMS: free ones and ones that you license for an annual fee (let’s discount build your own CMS systems). The choice is important because a licence free CMS is cheaper and good for smaller firms and start-ups, whereas a licensed version may well deliver a one-stop shop solution for many or even all your needs.

The important things to note when choosing a CMS:

  • How widely used is the CMS? If it is widely used, more developers can develop in it which normally means lower charges for coding changes to your website after launch. The availability of more developers will also extend the life of your website. For you to get maximum return on investment from your website, you should make sure to choose the right CMS.
  • How well will the CMS speak to your other systems? If you do email marketing, have a CRM system, a leads/pipeline system and/or a finance system in place, this alone may well determine which CMS to select as integrating these systems is where you will derive the most value out of your website. More expensive CMS choices will often come with greater integration with your other systems, including InterAction and/or Elite which are commonly used by law firms.

What are rich snippets?

Rich snippets are available in some content management systems to show search engines how to present information on a certain page. It’s richer content and more likely to result in more people visiting your content. There’s a full definition here on unamo.com.

What are alt tags?

Sometimes, servers block images. In this case, alt tags are the words you have tagged the image with to describe it. There’s an SEO bump for alt tagging your images.

What is a backlink?

A backlink is when another site lists a link to your website. Google loves backlinks as they are a sign that the content is trusted. If you like this page, please feel free to backlink to it, which will push is higher among the rankings.

What are referral sites?

Referral sites send traffic to your website. Google treats them as a trust signal and ranks articles and pages form websites with good referrers higher than others.

What is an iframe?

You don’t have to host videos on your CMS or on your website. Using an iframe approach means that you can embed one source of HTML within another. So you can list your videos on Google (publicly, unlisted or private) and then ask your website to play them when someone selects the play button on your website without the need to host the videos on your server. Of course, you can load them into your CMS, it’s just that YouTube and Vimeo are so good at playing videos for you that you may as well use their resources instead, leaving your web pages quicker to load.

What is a blog post?

A blog post, as opposed to a legal update which is probably about black letter law, is an opinion or an industry view on a topic. Blogs tend to report less certain events or even look forward. Readers love blogs because they alert them as to what’s coming or what something means for their business. Lawyers default to legal updates because their subject matter is normally decided and so is less risky to talk about. In-house lawyers get bombarded with legal updates when what they often want is more forward-looking materials. We’ve asked them.

What is Google Analytics?

If you have the code embedded on your website, you can find out so much about your web traffic. Where the traffic came from, what time of day, what the users did next. You can then improve the website’s performance as a result of these statistics. Google Analytics is the benchmark for these analytics as it’s free and used by almost everyone who runs a digital marketing agency. If you are responsible for your law firm’s website, this is an area where I’d suggest a course will pay so many dividends. Like this one from Search Star, a great SEO agency.

What is data studio?

Google data studio is what TBD Marketing uses to provide its clients with insights into their web, social media and search engine statistics. It’s a data visualisation and manipulation tool.

What are keywords?

Keywords are the words on your web page that (hopefully) match the ones people search for on Google. When you write a page about “A glossary of digital marketing terms for law firm marketing” then your keywords are glossary of digital marketing terms for law firm marketing” and you need to naturally feed it into the text so that works for the reader and the search engine which ranks the page. Do you see what’we did there?

What is an organic ranking? What are organic search results?

This is where you rank highly on Google without paying to do so. You may precisely the right keywords in place and have optimised your web page with alt tags, rich snippets and the like. Equally, your piece may well be liked by lots of people on social media and so Google knows it’s a trusted piece and ranks your page highly organically. Think ‘free’ and ‘by playing by the rules’.

What is PPC? What is re-marketing? How do I use Google AdWords?

There’s an old saying that doing business without advertising is like winking at someone in the dark. You know what you’re doing but no-one else does. The good news is that advertising has come a long way over the past few years and you can really aim your content at your target audience with much greater accuracy. PPC means pay-per-click as is when you pay Google Adwords or similar to advertise some content against some given keywords above the organic search results. Then, when someone searches for those keywords, the search engine shows them a link to your content and you literally pay only if they click through. For some personal injury terms, this may cost the advertiser as much as £60 per click.  If you can’t rank above someone organically, then you can pay to beat them to the traffic and the difference in results is increasingly subtle.

PPC differs from re-marketing. In re-marketing, you pay to have someone who has already visited your website to continue the journey on your site. If they almost bought something from you, you can bring them back to the product with an interesting advert. You’ll have seen these yourself when you see Amazon adverts appear on your Facebook timeline. Those adverts are tailored to you and feature products that you’ve previously researched. Re-marketing can be very useful for law firms who want to attract new business but don’t yet know the website visitor’s email address. A cookie on their machine is all Google needs to show them your advert when they are on another site. We did this a while ago at one of my former law firm employers for the graduate recruitment campaign and drew applications from people who had previously left the site. One of them now works at the firm.

What is influencer marketing?

Influencers exist with or without social media, but social media has shone a light on how influential some influencers can be. If you want to work with an influencer, you need to know if they have the audience (or reach), if they are considered credible on that topic and if they do actually influence people to think differently about something as a result of their communications. It needs to be all three elements and not, as is often mistaken, just a large audience. Tools exist to work out someone’s influence – you should check with your social media team (or us at TBD) if this is something that you are considering.

Influencers are useful for marketing partnerships. For law firms, it’s essential to note here that the influencer must be influential with the audience, not with your law firm partnership. Doing a marketing/brand partnership with an international rugby player or cricketer is a great idea, as long as it aligns with your target audience. In the legal sector, some lawyers do exist as significant influencers, but many of them will not be paid for their influence and so will not be considered appropriate for brand or marketing partnerships.

What is marketing automation?

Marketing automation is when you automate several of your early-stage marketing efforts to bring new audiences into the business development cycle. There’s less and less need to waste time manually emailing contacts using mail lists as marketing automation systems have a better understanding of what to send a person next to get them to re-enter the BD funnel. If that sounds calculated, then you need to know that it’s a fact of modern marketing. More importantly, it happens to you all the time. Amazon nudges you to re-engage. YouTube says ‘we think you’ll like this video as you enjoyed that last one. Imagine how much time you’d save if you could automate this part of your marketing. Hubspot has an excellent post on marketing automation.

What are CTAs (or Calls to Action)?

CTAs are the raison d’etre of your page – the reason that they exist. Your page serves a purpose in informing or educating your audience but the CTA lets them know – hopefully with some clarity – what you want to do next. Perhaps it’s “sign up to an email” mailer. Perhaps it’s “call a lawyer” about an article that they’ve written. Every page needs a CTA.

The golden rules of CTAs are to make them clear (i.e. unambiguous) and obvious (i.e. prominent and in plain English) and, most importantly, don’t have too many of them on a page so that there’s no room for confusion as to where to go or what to do next.

Analyse your CTAs on your web pages: where do visitors go next? Delete or improve the CTAs that they’re not using.

What are social postcards?

On social media, posts with images in them get higher levels of engagement. One way to get around the old 140-character limit was to use images embedded with words. The limit has gone up to 280 characters now, but images with a logo, quote and a link do get engaged with. Have a look at this example which features an excellent law firm apprentice called Thomas.

What are link shortening services? and why would you use them?

The longer a website link, the less likely it is to be typed in properly and, therefore, visited. You can purchase a dedicated domain name which is short (2bd.me is already short enough!) that shortens your long URLs into a few characters. Shortening them means that they can appear more easily in print, adverts, business cards and banner adverts and that they may even be memorable (like the one for this post: http://bit.ly/lawjargon). Once you own your new domain name, you can then register it with one of the many shortening services like bit.ly and share your shorter, fresher links. Also, if you add a + to the end of a shortened link name that is registered with bit.ly, you can see the stats behind how many times the link has been clicked. Read more on this over here.

What is agile development? What is waterfall development? What are user stories?

In our article, ten questions to ask if you’re building a website, we talk about the choice between agile development and waterfall development. With waterfall, you need to determine all the aspects of the web build you’d like upfront and then the developers develop it based on that and deliver you a fully fledged website. With agile, you devise user stories (“I am an in-house lawyer and I want to search for German colleagues of my UK lawyer”) and develop a website based on fulfilling the functionality that meets those user requirements. With agile, the developers work in sprints, developing a set of requirements at a time and then testing so that they are ready for sign off. If priorities change during the project, then agile is a great way of focusing development efforts on those elements which matter the most as you proceed.

As we say in our other article, a waterfall methodology is useful at a law firm when you have a lot of stakeholders. there’s a reference document which contains all the requirements.

The agile methodology is useful when you have a smaller team that signs off on the functionality as it allows greater flexibility as you go through the project, where priorities will (in our experience, inevitably) change.

One thing to note: with waterfall, your discussion with the agency will be what is in and out of scope. With agile, you’ll have to trade off on time/money or refocusing your priorities. Neither is perfect, but it’s good to know the limitations and advantages of each before you begin.

What terms would you like to have added to our jargon buster?

Please email us or comment below and we’ll add more of your digital marketing glossary queries as they get suggested. Oh and please share this post with your friends and contacts using the buttons below.

What is HTTPS and how does it differ from HTTP? (and why is it so important?)

HTTPS is a way of exchanging data with a website that is secure. the S means that the site has been granted a certificate to show that it takes web security seriously. But not all certificates are born equal: free SSL certificates have been used in the past by copycat websites and phishers in order to look secure but to engage in criminal activities. The much-publicised BA.com/baways.com debacle used a free certificate on the copycat site. It fooled 380,000 customers and stole over 70,000 credit card details (including CCV numbers).

Exchanging data with an HTTP website is not secure and means others can capture your data. Warnings now pop up on most browsers, and users don’t trust unsecured websites. Given the volume of your business that’s now online, it’s time to get your https certificate in order.

How does Google affect law firm marketing?

Why you need to love Google and why Google needs to love your website (aka law firm SEO)

How did you find this piece? Via social media? On our website? Via email? In all probability it was via Google, because Google and law firm SEO accounts for the majority of your web traffic and ours too.

The medium is the message

How you got here tells you something about our relationship with you.

Maybe you arrived at this article via a LinkedIn post or a Tweet that we issued on our Twitter account. That means you’ve chosen to follow us or Link with us or you found the article on one of those sites and you just couldn’t resist clicking through. Around 15-20% of you came via this route, if we had to guesstimate.

Maybe you came to the article via an email we sent you. Email means we’re even more likely to know you or have done business with you in the past. In the days of GDPR we’re not crazy enough to just buy in marketing lists, so odds are you gave us your email address at some point. A good slug of you will have come in via email – maybe 10-15% of you.

And then there’s the front door. Did you go to 2BD.ME and click onto blogs and then select this one? If so, you’re a rare one. Only 5% or so of our blog traffic comes in this way. Still, if you did, you probably knew us from somewhere. Maybe a word of mouth recommendation? A business card? Sounds like there’s probably a connection there somewhere.

So what about the rest of you? Well, if you didn’t come in from someone else’s website with a link to this article, then you probably came via a search engine, and if so, probably via Google.

Why is Google our overlord?

Google dominates web search. It handles well over 60% of all search engine (in addition to the searches it handles on YouTube which it also owns, and which often ranks second for worldwide search volumes.)

It quite literally ‘owns’ the audience you don’t yet know. If you subtract all the ways you have of reaching people direct through digital (email, social, web) then Google dominates the remainder of the people who do or could come to your article or website.

These people are your cold targets. And as someone who works in a law firm, you know that you need a pipeline of new contacts coming in in order to grow your future business.

What are the stats behind Google’s dominance of search?

Of the total daily web searches, Google handles 3.5bn. That’s one for every other person alive every single day. That’s two for every person on the internet.

Now, of those 3.5bn daily searches, around 57% of them click on the top three results. Not the top three pages. The top three results.

That excludes the adverts which appear above search results.

Fourth place on Google accounts for around 5% of all traffic. The difference between ranking fist (33%) and fourth (5%) is colossal. Almost 7 times as many people visit the top ranked result. That directly impacts on your sales leads.

What does this mean for law firm marketing experts?

Well, it means that we need to play by Google’s £rules”.

Google loves mobile friendly websites because users use their phones for more than half of all web views now. If you don’t have a mobile friendly website, you need one or you won’t get ranked. No ranking = no traffic = no new business for you.

Google loves pages which answer questions. Look at this article. The sub-headings are almost all questions. Why? Because people type questions into Google and Google rewards those pages which answer them most accurately with a higher ranking. How does it do that? Well, Google’s algorithm allocates a score based (among other scoring criteria) on how many people read the page, how long they read the page for, and whether or not they share the page on social media (which is another sign that they trust the content). The three we highlight here are scores you can help to influence.

The most important bump in your google rankings comes from using the right keywords in your page url and in your H1 title. In WordPress, this is easy to see. The tools we have plugged in to our website remind us to optimise these terms. Do yours?

Finally, law firm marketing people, and law firm partners and fee-earners should use Google+ more often. The only thing Google rewards more than user behaviours is its own social media, Google+. You literally get a bump in your article’s rankings if you have shared it on G+.

Google’s algorithm is thought to have around 200 ranking criteria. You can read a long list of those ranking criteria here.

Do we need to respect other ranking criteria?

Yes, of course. Google is not the only player in town. However, respecting Google’s rules will help you get ranked elsewhere. There may be regional nuances e.g. the need to rank highly on Baidu in China, but well written articles which answer real people’s queries will get better read and inspire people to contact your law firm to make an enquiry.

You need a highly ranked website in order to run successful campaigns and to ensure that you’re getting your message across when it comes to challenges. You may also like to read this article on “the ten most important questions to ask if you’re building a new law firm website“.

If you need any help with promoting your website on Google, just call us on 0117 2872099 or email Simon.Marshall@2BD.ME

Building a new law firm website? Here are ten important questions to ask.

How do I build a new law firm website?

Here are ten important questions to ask if you’re looking to build a new law firm website. This article also covers what you need to know to get your website to perform better. It doesn’t matter if you’re a small law firm or a mid-sized or large law firm, they’re pretty important questions for any size of web build. It’ll take around nine to ten minutes to read (we checked) but it will save you thousands and potentially tens of thousands of pounds.

Websites for law firms – the basis for law firm marketing

You have to have a website – it’s the only part of your business that is open 24 hours a day.

Your website should be visually appealing. Your website should showcase your expertise, and your website should present contact details for the fee earners (or you if you’re a sole practitioner).

So far, so good.

A lot of law firms stop there. That is essentially a brochure as a website and it serves a perfectly good purpose: to verify that you are who you say you are to people who hear of you word of mouth. Almost no-one will instruct you purely off the back of reading this kind of website, but it will be useful for verifying that you are a law firm.

So, what else could I do as a law firm with my website?

You should use your website as part of running your integrated marketing campaigns to attract new audiences. You should also use your website to form the basis of your communications plan if you’re facing some challenges.

Google”owns” the audience that you don’t know. For more on that topic, and so that we can justify that outrageous statement, read this related post on why you need to love Google and why Google needs to love your website”.

Now, the good news is that the size of your law firm is pretty irrelevant to Google. Google does not rank your search results based on the number of fee-earners you have.

Some things that Google does care about are:

How closely aligned your web page or blog post or legal update is to the search that the Google visitor put in in the first place;

How many people read your article/pages on your website;

How long they stay on your site;

How often they share your web pages with others; and

How many links to your page/article exist on other people’s websites.

These are all things that we can do something about if we choose the right web agency to build our website and if we have the right content strategy in place when it is launched.

Agencies who build websites for law firms

The website you’re reading this on was built in two days on an existing template. That timeframe includes integrating all the analytics and thinking about how to have it rank on Google. It was done for around £300 as of end January 2018. Like any website, it remains a work in progress but it has had more traffic in its first week of existence than many firms get in the first few months of theirs.

We mention that because it’s easy to get drawn into website design by designers who want to build you a beautiful website, but who are not focused on producing the kind of website that will help your law firm win new business. Here at TBD, we want you to grow your business and/or make it more profitable, so our approach to web design is based on hitting that objective.

At TBD – a legal marketing agency – we have a track record in doing just that: bringing new audiences in and converting them into actual new business.

So what questions should you ask your web agency to know if they are building or running the site you need?

 

Question 1: How will this website help me achieve my business objectives?

More importantly, if your agency doesn’t ask you this question, you should be very wary. Every website build now, no matter the size of law firm that you run or work at, should underpin your objectives. If your web agency isn’t talking to you about calls to action (CTAs), analytics or website goals, they’re leading you in the wrong direction. TBD can help you generate those firmwide objectives and the related website ones if you’ve yet to write them.

Question 2: How are we going to tackle user stories?

First, if they don’t start by asking you about your users (website visitors) then that’s often a bad sign. Major websites – for any type of organisation – will focus on the needs of the users and website visitors.

So the first question to ask a web developer (if they don’t mention them) is ‘How will you build user stories into the design of the site?’

User stories are functions that different groups of users want to do when they’re on your site. Examples of user stories include:

‘How do I find a particular lawyer on your website?’; or

‘How do I find my way to your office?’

User stories should inform the build of your website.

If you have a lower budget, you’ll develop these user stories based on what you know about your target audience(s).

If you have a larger budget, you can use UX (user experience) testing to actually bring in clients, targets, recruiters or other stakeholders and ask them the answers to certain questions to help design the site based on their needs. One advantage of this is that you’re building the site for real people, not a past-based, internal perception of what your website visitors might want.

Question 3: What is your content strategy? What content do you need on your website? What weight goes to a blog versus the brochureware? How are you going to map the content from our old site to our new site?

Lots of goodwill exists in your current website. Well, hopefully, anyway. So if your agency doesn’t have a plan to get people from the old website page addresses to the right pages on your proposed new site, then you’re throwing away that goodwill. It’s another sign that they have a build-led mentality as opposed to a content-led strategy.

Have you ever experienced a 404 error – page not found? Of course you have. Frustrating, isn’t it? That is a sign that someone has forgotten to design the site to have you find content. Google hates 404 errors and punishes your rankings for all your pages if you have these dead links.

If your agency isn’t able to answer how it’ll map these pages over, you are literally throwing away traffic. And traffic means new business leads.

It’s like starting from scratch on a draft chapter of a book because you made a few spelling mistake in the prior draft. Please don’t let your agency do this no matter how much you don’t like your existing site.

Question 4: What CMS (Content Management System) are you going to use to build the site?

There are lots of choices here as to which system you could use.

Larger law firms use more sophisticated CMS systems because they have more tools baked into them. As a result, they perform all the tasks a larger firm needs seamlessly from day one. Larger CMS packages like Sitecore and Episerver have annual licences which can cost thousands a year to use. For smaller firms, these can prove prohibitively high for the benefit that you derive from them. They are also over-engineered for your purposes. A simple, user-friendly CMS will save you a lot of time and frustration.

At TBD, we have built sites for law firms based on lots of different packages. Our site is built on WordPress (which powers 29% of all the world’s websites) because it’s very low cost, it’s very easy to grant content access to authors of legal updates or blogs (I’m typing this on my mobile as I go) and it has hundreds of plugins available to make your site work harder. For plugins, think apps but for websites. You can plug in events management, email marketing, CRM systems, traffic analysis and so many effects that it’s impossible to list them all here. We’ll deal with systems integration at length in another post on another date.

Finally, because WordPress is so widely used, the volume of web developers who build it in is huge too. That means that development costs are lower than many other platforms and that one developer can pick up from another. We know some great WordPress developers to develop with, so let us know if you’d like us to help you build your new site.

Question 5: What SEO tools are you using to analyse the site after go live?

At TBD, we’re not tied to any particular SEO tool. Our site has some WordPress plugins enabled (free ones, we might add) which allow you to:

  • See how many people came to your site today, yesterday, this week, this month;
  • How many pages they read;
  • How long they stayed on your site; and
  • Whether or not they downloaded anything or called or emailed you as a result.

So, if your agency doesn’t have this in mind, this should serve as a warning light to you.

There’s a lot more to cover here, and we’ll do that in a dedicated SEO post on another day.

Question 6: What social sharing and email marketing functions are you going to build into the site?

Google uses social as a signal in ranking your page. An equally good web page written by you and your direct competitor will rank differently on Google purely because of how much your readers share it. If your web agency doesn’t talk about social as part of your web build, then a warning light should come on for you.

Equally, if your web agency doesn’t talk about integrating your email marketing system into the web build (or using the CMS to do this), then another warning light should go off.

 

Question 7: What’s the budget for this new law firm website?

Look, this is quite possibly going to make us unpopular. But here goes.

For a brand new start up, you should be paying between £2,000 for a templated WordPress site up to about £10,000 for a fully functional WordPress site built from the bottom up. The templates are free or low cost on WordPress, the more expensive bottom-up approach means that the site will grow with you as your business grows and is a fully integrated site built just for you.

For more established firms, a bespoke CMS build (like the ones mentioned above) might be more appropriate. We’d suggest that you don’t immediately discount the bespoke WordPress route as there’s so much value for money in that option and it will leave you with a lot of budget for content creation or promotion. Equally, if you want a bespoke site built on a major CMS like Sitecore, there are some major advantages as the system is built to perform like a well-tuned engine. Analytics and those tools that would be plugins in WordPress often come straight out of the box on these larger builds.

Question 8: How are you going to handle maintenance and support for our website?

We’ll deal with this at length in another post, but it’s a good question to ask them before they build the site to know:

  1. That they don’t see it as a site build and then they disappear; and
  2. That they aren’t going to run a mile when you suggest that they need to do some snagging on your website after go live.

Question 9: Does their development methodology fit your firm’s culture?

If you have a flexible culture, with not too many decision-makers in the process, you should use the agile methodology for the best results.

If you have a lot of decision makers and decision-making is slower in your organisation, you should use the waterfall methodology to flush out the options internally before you are on agency time and the clock is running.

Picking the right methodology can save you a lot of scope creep, money and heartache.

Question 10: Now, here’s a question for you: How much should you spend on your new website?

We asked some other friends at law firms what they thought of our idea of dividing web traffic by total spent on the web build to give a rough cost estimate. They ummed and they ahhed. This is where we got to:

Up to 100,000 hits per year – stick with WordPress. Rebuild it on there if you have to, but focus on your content strategy once the site looks and feels good enough. Build cost – £2k to £10k, excluding fancy functionality or additional development work.

Around 500,000 hits per year – this is a hard one. You’re stuck between two horses. On average, I would postpone the web build for another year and focus on your content strategy. If your site is not mobile friendly, then update it now before it becomes irrelevant. Build costs – same as above or below depending on the option you choose.

Around 1,000,000 hits per year – For older sites, it’s time to make the big call: do you need a bespoke CMS system? Given that the traffic boost that a new site and proper content marketing can produce (we’d expect you to double your web traffic within a year of the rebuild), it’s probably time to invest. Build costs – from £100k to £200k

Around 2,000,000 hits per year and more, you should build (or have built) a site on a bespoke CMS with all the integrated functionality. And if you’re this size, then you should definitely be focusing on optimising your content strategy. That’s something that TBD can help you with. Build costs, normally in excess of £150k.

As you can see, an average page view costs around 10p in development fees. But there’s nuance in the build prices based on how the site functions, how many languages it has etc. Equally, 10p per web hit is a great yardstick for agency price comparisons.

What’s should I do next to build my law firm’s website?

If you liked this article or used it in discussions with your web agency, please could you let us know and let your networks know by sharing it with them using the buttons below?

If you think we can help you with your web build (we can!) then get in touch with us at TheTeam@2BD.ME or on 0117 2872099.

Marketing for small law firms – we can help you with that

Marketing for small law firms is essential to their continued success. The ways in which small law firms can market themselves vary from communications, advertising, digital and print marketing, or through face-to-face business development, and word of mouth or client relationship management.

The challenge is often that small law firms won’t necessarily have the experience of each of these marketing techniques and so don’t know which one to deploy when. Equally, they might not have the budget to employ a full-time Marketing Director.

This is where TBD can help.

Marketing for small law firms

We offer Marketing Director/Board level expertise to founders, name partners, and marketing teams.

We provide joined up law firm marketing to make sure that you spend your budget wisely with one of two main goals in mind every time: winning new business or retaining existing business. All marketing activities should flow from those two objectives.

What does this mean in practice?

Now, we’ve read a lot of marketing materials, so we know how easy it is to say that we’ll tailor our services to your precise requirements and the needs of your client base. But what does that mean in practice?

It means that if you have an objective of retaining or growing the relationship with an existing client, we can help you create the right CRM plan to do that.

It means that if you have an objective of targeting a new sector, we can help you with that. Sometimes, that’s en extension strategy, sometimes that’s a greenfield strategy. We can help you with integrated marketing campaigns to achieve either.

It means that if you are already a busy firm, but want to be more profitable, we can help you devise and execute the right plan to achieve that.

It means that if you are purely reliant on word-of-mouth and you’d like some brand profile and to win some new clients that way, then we’re more than willing and able to help you with that.

What prior experience do we have in marketing for small law firms?

We have previously helped small law firms start up from scratch with everything from websites and business cards to systems, launch communications and brand;

We have also helped small law firms to refocus their business development efforts to become more profitable; and

We have helped law firms with just few lawyers to develop their profile to win work from completely new audiences.

It may be that your firm needs something different. If so, we’d like to think that with over 20 years’ sales, marketing, business development, digital marketing, brand and communications experience we’ll be able to help. If, for whatever reason, we can’t help you, we’ll recommend someone excellent who can.

Marketing for small law firms is a rarified skill set – you need to have a broad range of marketing skills and know when to apply each one to make sure that the firm you’re advising wins business as a direct result of your efforts. That’s where TBD excels: focused marketing that produces results at a price that small firms can afford.

If you fancy a coffee to discuss, please get in touch by email or on 0117 2872099.

Why is the future of legal marketing TBD?

TBD. To be determined.

We use this phrase every day. But do we stop to think about what it means? And what does it mean for legal marketing?

For us, TBD means that the future is unwritten.

Which means that you have a say in your future.

TBD means you can start with a blank slate when it comes to marketing your law firm.

It means that you can use analysis and research to chart a way forward.

To be determined means having the resolve to do something, sticking with it over a period of time. In the legal sector, this is often a point of differentiation.

Why have we called a legal marketing agency TBD or to be Determined?

Because we believe in working with you today to shape your tomorrow. Because we believe that when it comes to legal marketing, hard work can produce great results. Because we believe that you can start with some great thinking and end with some amazing outcomes.

Let’s make your future a little more certain.

Get in touch with us:

T: 0117 2872099

E: Simon.Marshall@2bd.me

Or join our mailing list

Contact us