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Why Law Firms Need Marketing Automation

Why Law Firms Need Marketing Automation

The use of marketing automation in business has recently gained popularity. For those of you who don’t know what marketing automation stands for, here’s a quick definition:

“Marketing automation refers to the software that exists with the goal of automating marketing actions. Many marketing departments have to automate repetitive tasks such as emails, social media, and other website actions. The technology of marketing automation makes these tasks easier.”  – Hubspot.com 

For you to gain a competitive edge on your competition, you need to understand what it takes to acquire and retain your customers. Understanding your prospect will give you the opportunity to put a customized action plan into place. The use of marketing automation allows you to do this by triggering specific actions based on results. For example, you can trigger what page, content, follow up, and services to provide a client by understanding their response to a specific message. The benefit of marketing automation is not limited to any specific type of business; however, some can benefit more than others.

For you to understand the true value of marketing automation, let’s explore how law firms can use it to get a competitive edge. We’ll be exploring three main areas – identifying prospects, understanding prospects, and analyzing return on investment (ROI).

Identify Prospects

Thousands of online marketers have been relying on email marketing to generate positive results. The strategy is to send several follow-up messages to find which ones resonate with different subscribers. This is a very lengthy process because you only gain two types of insight – open rate and click through. But, you’re limited on what features you can use like split testing, smarter segmentation, URL viewed, social interaction, and personalization. In short, everyone will continue to get the same content sent to them no matter how they engaged with the previous message.

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By using this strategy, you’ll be:

  1. Wasting your time and resources marketing to a subscriber who might not be interested in your services.
  2. You’ll be limited on the insight you gain because the subscriber might be interested, but what services are they exactly in need of.
  3. Annoying subscribers by bombarding them with emails will increase unsubscribes. This is bad for your overall goal.

Smarter marketing through automation will allow you to identify prospects better because you’ll be able to provide continuous value nurturing them until they become loyal customers.

Here’s a sample marketing automation workflow:

    Let’s look at how this would work:

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    As a lawyer, much of the business is acquired through cold calling and a prospect database. You’ll start this automation process by calling a prospect, and the result will trigger the automated tasks. For example,

    1. A prospect is called, and if contact is made, a welcome email will be triggered. This email will include information about your law firm, the services you provide, etc. If you’re unable to reach the prospect, then they’ll be added to a pending follow-up list. They will continue to be contacted until they agree to learn more about your services.
    2. The welcome email is opened and the prospect continues to receive additional information about your services with each message bringing them closer to becoming a prospective client.
    3. After a certain amount of days, a follow-up call is triggered. This will be a call triggered to close the deal with the client. If you’re unable to get them as a client, they’ll be added to a pending “follow-up call list”. They’ll be contacted again within a few days.
    4. If they agree to use your services, the software will send them a pending agreement for viewing and a signature.
    5. If a signature is attained, an email will be send about retainer fee; if no signature yet, there will be a follow-up email reminding them to complete the agreement.

    This is just a simple sequence; however advanced marketing automation tools allow you to configure the funnel as it relates to the way you acquire and retain clients.

    Understanding Prospects

    Above, I mentioned the importance of sending high quality content to your prospects. This keeps them engaged and builds long-term loyalty. A sure way to lose people who are still potential prospects is by sending content they don’t value or find relevant. For this reason, writing high quality content that is relevant and insightful are very important. For example, you know the client is looking for a military lawyer with a high success rate, so send through relevant content on how to find the best lawyer and/or what to look for.  But, how do you know what types of content prospects find insightful? How do you know what content to continue writing for your existing customer base? These types of questions have haunted online marketers for years because it takes a long time to acquire subscribers, but you can lose them in a very short period if they don’t find value in your content.

    The marketing automation, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), has changed the way we approach content marketing. It’s changed the way we produce content by providing so much insight on the prospects during the automation sequence. Since you’re able to segment prospects into various lists, you’ll be able to send different types of content to each. With each event triggered, you’ll understand the prospects preference. Since the marketing automation is so customizable, you can put the prospects through a series of events where they even select the type of content they want to receive. Long-term wise you’ll save time, money, and resources only writing content that resonates with the prospects.

    If you’re familiar with marketing, then you know how date and time matters. By analyzing the reports on each prospect, you’ll establish a pattern on when they are most likely to open and read follow-ups. Use this information to set a schedule on when content should be sent out to them. This is a lethal combination when you know what type of content the prospects want to read, and what time they want to read it.

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    For lawyers, it’s even more important since you’ll know what time is best to call the prospects. You’ll know when to send out contracts, agreements, and other important documentation as well.

    Analyze Return on Investment

    Marketing automation is an all-in-one software that allows you to analyze your ROI. The main objective for any business is profit, so it’s important you know if you’ve made or lost money. Through the CRM software, you’ll be able to analyze where you earned and lost money. A complete profile will allow you to make tweaks on how you conduct business so going forward you can continue to make a profit.

    As a lawyer, it’s important to know the cost per acquisition and retention. You want a clear breakdown of how much it costs to attain the customer and how much it costs to keep them once in the marketing funnel. By using a marketing automation platform, you’ll be able to see your prospects move through your sequence in real-time. You’ll be able to analyze where they stop engaging so you can trigger another set of tasks instead.

    Here’s some more analytics provided by the CRM interface:

    • Open and click through rates
    • Bounce rate
    • Time and date of engagement
    • Increase in clients
    • Increase in profits
    • Content engagement percentage
    • Cold calling success and fail rate
    • Agreement success rate
    • Completed cases
    • Expenses
    • Profit and loss

    Final Thoughts

    The power of marketing automation in business has no limits. The fact that you have complete control over the customization allows you to keep tweaking your workflow until it’s perfected. Email marketing tools are very limited in features and, because of this, are becoming less popular in business. Specifically, email marketing will have limited split testing functionalities, the inability to segment prospects, and trigger events based on actions. But, advanced marketing platforms provide you with an all-in-one solution, increasing your overall goal. As you read here:

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    Around 48% of law firms cited an ‘improved ability to cross-sell,’ when using a CRM solution – further improving the ability to generate revenue as a result of using a CRM.“ – jamesattorneymarketing.com

    I believe marketing automation will continue to gain popularity over the years, especially when more people are turning to the Internet to hire professionals. As competition increases, those businesses that avoided automation will have no choice going forward. They’ll have to find better ways to connect with prospects so they can outshine their competition.

    Featured photo credit: Gilles Lambert via unsplash.com

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    Published on September 18, 2018

    17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

    17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

    Have there been instances when you noted a drop in your team’s productivity or observed a behavioral change in someone who used to be an excellent performer?

    Before you blame the team for not being motivated enough or worse still, choose to ignore these warning signs, look inwards and ask yourself if YOU are doing enough to keep your team motivated in the first place.

    Motivating employees is extremely crucial. As the leader of the pack, it is your responsibility to ensure each and every member of your team feels valued, driven and motivated.

    After all, you cannot expect a bunch of disengaged and demotivated people to deliver results and grow your business, can you?

    Here are 17 surefire tactics for motivating your employees and building a productive team:

    1. Show your appreciation

    In the whole race to achieve external business goals, leaders often forget to value their most important assets — their employees.

    The least you can do to boost performance and morale is to appreciate your employees, recognize their efforts and give them credit when it is due.

    Whether it’s sending a personalized note, recognizing achievements publicly during team huddles or even rewarding top performers at the end of every month, you will be surprised to see how these small acts of appreciation can go a long way.

    2. Communicate effectively

    Effective communication can do wonders in motivating employees. Who is a strong communicator? Someone who knows what they are talking about and are able to convey their message accurately.

    Communication is a lot more than just language and talking. Factors such as eye contact, active listening, hand gestures and postures also say a lot about a person’s communication skills.

    3. Be open to dialogue

    Gone are the days when leading through fear and putting on the tough, distant leader act would work.

    New age leadership is all about instilling trust by being accessible and encouraging discussions. Your team needs to feel comfortable speaking to you and you need to set the tone for such a camaraderie.

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    In spite of having a busy schedule, you can still show you care through simple, effective acts.

    For instance, having an open door policy, showing genuine interest while interacting with your employees or even greeting your team members helps breaking barriers and projects you as an accessible leader.

    4. Provide constructive criticism

    Giving negative feedback is always tricky — you don’t want to hurt feelings nor do you want the feedback to be taken lightly.

    So, what do you do? The idea is to offer criticism such that it inspires change and delivers results.

    Firstly, take criticism behind closed doors because nothing breaks self esteem the way calling out employees in public does.

    Have a one-on-one discussion with the concerned person and make your feedback very specific. Be clear about your expectations and offer guidance on how they can improve.

    Most importantly, give them the chance to explain their side of the story too instead of jumping to conclusions.

    5. Conduct one-on-ones

    Yes, you conduct weekly meetings with the team but how well do you know them on a personal level?

    While you may think this isn’t an important practice to follow, it is one of the best ways to engage with your employees and identify what drives them.

    Conduct a one-one-one session every month and use it to understand how your employees are doing and if they are facing any roadblocks.

    More than reviewing performances, consider this as a relationship building tool to ensure you are aligned with your team and are working towards a shared, common goal.

    6. Build training programs

    In this ever-changing business landscape, it is important to ensure your employees are updated with the latest, relevant skills that can help boost productivity and performance.

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    From imparting technical and soft skills to offering mentoring programs – investing in training and development significantly helps in motivating employees and keeps the learning going.

    While conducting training programs, remember to keep them engaging and interactive. They need to ultimately drive value and reinforce learnings.

    7. Offer growth opportunities

    Every employee envisions a different career path for themselves and demotivation strikes the day they feel they have reached stagnation. As a leader, you need to first be aligned with their goals and offer ample growth opportunities that constantly keeps them engaged and motivated.

    Growth opportunities go beyond just financial growth. While money is a huge driving factor, what makes most people tick is making progress in the company and going up the career ladder.

    Being faced with new challenges and responsibilities lets them push the envelope and broaden their knowledge and skills.

    8. Reward them

    Go beyond verbal recognition and reward employees for their notable work. You can start an incentive program and reward top performers. This ensures increased productivity and brings out the best in them.

    If you don’t have enough budgets for that, you can also reward top performers with movie tickets, a paid vacation or something as simple as giving them the option to work from home.

    Rewarding employees promotes healthy competition and motivates them while meeting business goals.

    9. Encourage team outings

    Employee motivation also stems from how connected the team is. Invest time in team building because a team that works collaboratively is likely to deliver better results.

    From bowling nights to hosting team dinners – team outings are a great way to get to know each other and bond. Assign someone from your team to be in charge of organizing these monthly outings and make sure you join them too!

    10. Involve them

    Involve your employees in decision making because when they are involved, they feel more valued and part of a larger cause.

    Seek your team’s opinion and encourage healthy debates within the team. This boosts employee morale and challenges them to work harder as they know they are in a position to make an impact and will be taken seriously.

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    11. Set meaningful goals

    In the beginning of the financial year, make sure you sit down with each employee to set meaningful and realistic goals. The goal-setting conversation is an extremely crucial one and needs to be a two-way street.

    Whether your employee feels burdened or doesn’t feel inspired enough by the assigned goals – this is the time to come to a consensus and assign goals derived from business objectives that foster individual development while keeping in mind their strengths and weaknesses.

    12. Empower them

    You cannot expect employees to be motivated for long if you micro manage the team and do all the talking.

    Trust your employees and empower them to take decisions. Mistakes will happen but that is the only way they will learn.

    Be open to discussions, delegate effectively, set your expectations and give your team the freedom to do it their way.

    13. Deal with conflict

    A conducive work environment is one wherein there is open communication and trust, but every once in a while, you do encounter people in the team who indulge in office politics and spread negativity.

    How much ever fulfilled an employee feels with their work, gossiping co-workers are bound to ruin it for them. Workplace gossip if not tackled hampers productivity and soils working relations.

    As a responsible leader, you need to maintain a conducive work environment and act as a mediator in such cases. Don’t be the leader who is locked up in his/her cabin and is unaware of what is brewing within the team.

    14. Implement a flexible work culture

    Flexible work cultures are a growing trend and are here to stay.

    Whether it is offering flexible working hours or allowing employees to work from home once in a month – a flexible work culture promotes work-life balance and aids in employee satisfaction.

    It shows that the management is sensitive to employees’ schedules and is thereby highly appreciated.

    15. Host engaging activities

    All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy and we cannot agree more! So, why not devote one day of the week to employee engagement activities?

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    From hosting baking competitions to introducing wellness programs in the office – let your team have some fun beyond work. This keeps the environment engaging, light-hearted and interesting, giving them all the more reason to look forward to coming to work.

    16. Maintain a positive work space

    Your employees spend more than half their day at work and in order to keep them energized and motivated, it is important to maintain a positive and inspiring work space.

    Have a recreation center where employees can unwind after a hard day’s work, offer free snacks and beverages and invest in an open office design that promotes socializing and conversations.

    These are simple yet effective ways to create a space your employees will love coming to.

    17. Avoid discrimination

    Any kind of discrimination, be it due to age, gender, religion or race hugely impacts employee motivation and performance.

    In order to avoid such cases, you must lay down rules against discrimination and take strict action against accused employees. Lead by example and make sure no one in the team is a victim of bias and discrimination.

    The bottom line

    Don’t underestimate the power of motivating employees. Understand that the more engaged and motivated they are, the better their performance will be.

    It is also a good idea to send out a survey and get feedback from your employees on the company culture, work environment and their motivation levels.

    This will help you be more aligned with their expectations and further improve your efforts in building a stronger, engaged team.

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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