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August 10, 2021 Practice Points

Legal Marketing Staff: An Investment with Serious Return for Small Firms

Some answers to your potential questions as to whether or not a marketing team could benefit your firm.

By Kimberly Cushing

Marketing staff help grow and foster a firm’s client relations, allowing attorneys to focus their time and attention on the substantive legal matters. But despite the benefits marketing teams bring, many attorneys have reservations about devoting time and resources to marketing or believe such a team would not be a good fit for their firms. If you have questions as to whether a marketing team is a good investment for your small firm, here are some answers.

Why do you think it is necessary for a law firm to have a marketing team?

It’s no surprise that attorneys are often swamped with work deadlines, court hearings, and client meetings. These busy days and long nights can often leave marketing a firm or individual attorney on the back burner, but this can cause a significant hit to securing future business and nurturing current leads. A marketing staff member is a valuable asset because they focus all of their time and resources on client engagement which gives firms and attorneys a competitive edge in the industry. 

What would a legal marketer do? 

Marketing is a broad term with several different components falling under the umbrella. Legal marketers can help with website management, networking events, advertisements, social media, email marketing, legal award nominations, public relations, and much more. There are so many ways for an attorney and a law firm to get their face and name out to the community and having a full-time marketing staff member is certainly a step toward achieving that goal. 

What if I don’t have the financial resources to hire a full-time marketing employee? 

First, keep in mind that marketing is an investment and, just like any investment, a business must give to get. At first it may seem like a financial strain to hire a marketing staff member, but by hiring the right marketing person, the financial strain should produce a return on investment. After all, marketing’s job will be to get your name and face out there, which should translate to more clients and more money into the business.

If the marketing budget is tight and cannot afford the initial investment in a full-time marketing employee, try hiring a part-time employee or a college student who is looking for an internship. With internships, do not limit yourself to only hiring people going to school for marketing, also look for candidates who are majoring in communications, advertising, public relations, social media, or journalism. Reach out directly to local universities and colleges with the internship job posting so they can share it with their students.

Ideally, a firm’s end goal should be to have a at least one full-time staff member dedicated to marketing. As business ramps up and as the practice grows, the marketing team should grow as well. 

Should I use a marketing agency instead of hiring a full-time marketing employee? 

Many attorneys may just consider hiring a marketing agency instead of hiring someone in-house to do their marketing. While it may sound advantageous to hire an agency that has an entire team of creative marketers, it can also have some serious downfalls. Marketing agencies usually come at a hefty price and have several clients. Typically, businesses end up working with an account manager who may have ten other clients in seven different industries. Hiring an in-house marketer gives the law firm a team member who is fully dedicated to the firm’s specific brand. In-house marketing gives an attorney direct control over what is happening day in and day out.

When an attorney decides to hire an in-house marketing staff, they should find a trusted friend or business connection who works in the field of marketing to help sort through potential candidates. If possible, have a marketing professional sit in during the interviews as well, they can be a huge help in deciding who the right person is to hire for the firm’s specific marketing needs and budget. 

I am not ready to hire a marketing person, what can I do for the time being myself? 

If a firm cannot make the financial investment in marketing, an attorney will instead have to make a time investment. Block out a few hours every week and dedicate 100 percent of that time to marketing. Those hours should be spent creating and updating a business Facebook page with new content and post about the attorneys’ specialties and how they can help potential clients. Use LinkedIn to network with people who could be a strong referral source, and research organizations to join that can help the firm gain traction in the local community. These are all great starting places for marketing and getting a firm’s feet off the ground. 

Kimberly Cushing is a marketing assistant at Goosmann Law Firm which has offices in Sioux City and Omaha, Nebraska.

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