,,Why read this article? This short article looks at ways your law firm can best continue marketing to your clients and prospective clients on a reduced budget following COVID-19.
,As law firms look to start a new financial year, earlier proposed budgets are beginning to be reduced, so that firms can recover cash that will have been lost by a drop in business, as a result of COVID-19’s impact on clients.
,Law firms can still operate on a restricted marketing budget going forward, however firms will have to decide on the right things to focus on to achieve the best return on investment (ROI).
,So how can your law firm and marketing team, use some of the tactics and learnings from COVID-19 to operate on a restricted marketing budget going forward
,,1. Social selling
,Almost all law firms have a social media presence today and many lawyers have their own personal social media presence. Yet, many law firms and professional services generally do not fully understand the benefits of social networks and how best to leverage these challenges to maintain and grow their clients and develop new clients. Most individual lawyers use platforms like LinkedIn as an online CV or Twitter for just retweeting your firm’s legal updates.
,Since COVID-19, a number of firms have increased the use of their social media channels to share “knowledge” and connect with client contacts, rather than traditionally sharing products, bragging about award nominations and directory rankings. Junior and senior lawyers across law firms are contributing to brand building activities like never before by connecting with connections and sharing relevant knowledge that clients will find useful.
,Law firms will look at how social selling can be further implemented into their marketing strategy, in order to reach clients more than ever before and help lawyers create stronger relationships with their connections.
,,2. Digitize channels to market
,Traditionally law firms and their marketing teams put a strong focus on client hospitality and in-person events. These are costly, particularly if held at external venues and time consuming events, with multiple moving parts. These have many benefits in that it allows you to meet clients in person and showcase certain teams. However, they are heavily dependent on clients being available to attend real time, so are always at risk of drop outs and low attendance numbers.
,Expect to see this moving to other channels such as client briefings and other thought leadership reports that might have traditionally been sent via hard copy. Soft copy and mobile apps is something we have seen being created over recent months and will only set to continue going forward. Thus reducing the use of external print and promotional consultancies that previously external spend would go towards.
,Covid-19 has highlighted the advantage of hosting global webinars or hosting virtual roundtable events that can connect clients from around the world. Moving the majority of all events to digital format in the format of webinars or virtual roundtable would only require a virtual hosting platform like Zoom, MS Teams etc. The advantages of this format is cost savings, ability to bring international partners together and also convenience, no longer do clients need to travel to your offices to attend. Although as clients return to work, expect to see this impacting engagement and attendance to virtual events
,,3. Bespoke and personal channels
,Prior to COVID-19 we have seen a greater emphasis on ensuring legal marketing teams are producing succinct and tailored content for clients,
,When reviewing client engagement on CRM’s and speaking to clients, we are seeing some clients receiving a large number of centrally sent content, which is just getting deleted or unsubscribed, according to General Counsel I have spoken to over the last few months, most are only engaging in content sent direct from their relationship partners and those firms that they had pre-existing relationships prior to COVID&19.
,This feedback will encourage relationship partners to be more proactive in analysing and tailoring briefings before sending on.
,Also we will expect to see firms
,,4. Virtual teams and service delivery
,For many legal marketing teams, working from home once a week is routine and for many global law firms, central teams are used to working virtually with lawyers around the world.
,However since the outbreak of COVID-19 and teams moving to working from home all week, we have not seen any disruption to the way in which marketing teams are supporting their law firms, which is challenging law firms to think about the move to smaller offices and encouraging greater working from home by teams. I personally am definitely moving from one day a week to two or three days to enjoy a greater work life balance (no commute) . I have been enjoying the past few weeks.
,Many of us probably find ourselves with not just Skype, but Zoom and MS Teams and we have had to quickly adapt to these platforms for internal meetings or for hosting external clients on webinars.
,This could also make it easier in terms of recruitment pools being expanded, no longer will law firms be restricted to recruiting local candidates, instead a London-based law firm can potentially recruit a regional-based marketing candidate to fulfil the role remotely. Perhaps in more international law firms, we could well see more roles moving to other countries outside of the UK.
,,5. Utilize internal teams more efficiently / future of outsourcing
,Often marketing departments will rely and utilise external consultancies for brand, digital, pitch, client listening and numerous other activities, often as marketing departments are either too lean, short on time or do not have the know-how in-house.
,This type of external expense can usually be a large chunk of budget, yet with budgets expected to be tightened and marketing teams under pressure to demonstrate to their firm that their roles are essential, particularly as we have seen marketing teams being furloughed and freezes on promotions, teams will be trying to best utilise internal resources and rethink how they outsource certain work.
,One way that law firms have adapted in recent months is by upskilling internal teams in digital areas such as social media, webinars and other digital tactics. Also we have seen marketing work closer with knowledge management, design and other client teams, of course smaller firms will not have some of these teams, but for larger firms being able to utilize these internal resources provides good cost savings to marketing budgets.
,Review your proposed budget for the year ahead, to identify which external spend focuses on events and other activity that can be reduced or removed as a result of COVID-19. Then consider how best your firm can utilize social selling,digital marketing and working more closely with internal teams to continue marketing to clients and developing opportunities on a reduced marketing budget, over the next year.