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According to Forbes, law firms need strong communication with their marketing agency in order to prevent unhappiness.

But communicating with a marketing team (even a very experienced one) can be challenging.

Marketers may use jargon and buzzwords which attorneys are unfamiliar with, and even the most savvy digital marketer may struggle to grasp the legal knowledge you’ve gained over the years … knowledge which you probably take for granted.

The key is to find a way to communicate where your goals are clearly defined, the agency’s strategies are fully explained, and performance metrics are outlined and reported on regularly. This way both sides can measure their success, and build-upon it.

Here are 4 simple steps you can take to ensure that your marketing agency hears what you need, and delivers easy-to-measure results that drive real growth for your law practice.

Clearly Define Your Wants, Needs, and Goals

Your first few meetings with a law firm marketing agency are an opportunity for you to clearly define what you hope to gain from the relationship.

Before your first meeting, outline what you want from the partnership, what you need to achieve for your business, and what goals you hope to reach … even if you aren’t sure how to get there.

A good marketing agent will listen first, and only after they have heard and understand your wants, needs, and goals will he or she tell you how they can help your desired outcomes.

If you aren’t able to clearly define goals for your firm, the legal marketing team you hire might deliver results which aren’t what you were looking for. Your communication early-on is critical.

Determine Your KPI’s and Set Reasonable Expectations Up Front

Determining the Key Performance Indicators (or KPI’s) for your law firm’s marketing efforts is an important step in being able to clearly communicate with any marketing agency you hire.

Your primary goal might be to grow your business, and it may seem obvious to simply track the number of new clients as your performance indicator, but relying on a single KPI measuring new client acquisition will not tell the full story of your marketing agency’s success. Tracking KPI’s such as:

  • New Client Leads
  • New Client Leads That Yield Billable Hours
  • Marketing Cost per New Client Acquisition
  • Average Fee per New Client
  • ROI (Return on Investment) per New Client
  • Growth in Top Clients
  • Client Retention

can help to paint a more complete picture of the value of your marketing campaign.

If improving the volume of your business with existing clients is your primary legal marketing goal, however, measuring the number of matters handled per client (as an indication of the growth in your client relationships) might be something you pay special attention to.

A good legal marketing firm can help you identify and define your key performance indicators, but you should plan on an internal discussion at your practice so that your legal team can clearly define what matters most to your firm, and communicate that to the marketing agency you’re working with.

Require Ongoing Tracking and Reporting

After you define your key performance indicators, set clear definitions for how each will be tracked and how often reports will be delivered to you by your marketing firm.

You shouldn’t try to micro-manage your marketing experts, but you should demand that they keep you informed of progress so you can regularly evaluate the campaign’s success based on data.

Schedule Monthly Meetings with Your Account Manager to Strategize

In-person or teleconference meetings with your law firm marketing account manager are critical.

I haven’t met many people who want more emails to respond to, and talking through performance reports is the best way to fine-tune your marketing plan and stretch your marketing dollar.

While you may get lucky and partner with a legal marketing firm that is trustworthy, accountable, and a top-performer, in most cases it is your responsibility to manage the relationship and set a precedent of open and straightforward communication.

Schedule a meeting every month, and enter into each meeting with several questions or proposals. Don’t be afraid to push-back on items that don’t make sense to you from a business standpoint, or to modify your contract based on what is (or isn’t) working.

Communication: The Language of Leadership

The attorneys who enjoy successful partnerships with legal marketing agencies aren’t lucky … they’re great communicators, and excellent leaders.

Be clear about your goals, define performance indicators which measure success accurately, and schedule regular strategy calls to discuss the results of your marketing campaign. Do this, and your legal marketing team will drive the growth you’re looking for.