The truism holds firm; a successful business is a business that makes sales.
The key to selling is in understanding the needs of clients and compelling them to buy your products and services over those provided by a competitor. This is the essence of a law firm marketing strategy. Ergo; successful marketing strategies make for successful businesses.
When budgets are tight, new business owners that succumb to the temptation to seek out the cheapest option can easily be forgiven for doing so. They could, however, easily end up paying dearly for that decision when competitors steal the limelight and all the customers.
What is concerning is the number of businesses and law firms that simply do not have a marketing strategy or that are entirely unable to describe it without making inchoate referrals to Facebook and Twitter followers.
When a product or service is ready to launch, making a noise about it is what will translate a good idea into turnover and profit. The most successful marketing campaigns are intrinsically strategic; they focus on identifying the long term needs of clients and consumers, and on communicating how your products and services meet them betetr than any other.
Your marketing strategy is your chance to influence your customers into thinking that there is something unique about your business. It is your opportunity to establish an added value to your product or service. Failing to do this effectively leaves consumers having to make their buying decisions based purely on price. And unless you are the cheapest, it doesn’t bode well for future sales.
Generating sales is not something that happens over night, nor is it always easy. You need a clear position in the market and that is what a marketing strategy can help you achieve. So here are some brief tips on how to develop and implement an effective marketing strategy. The importance of research, planning and evaluation cannot be overstated.
1) Research your target consumers in detail. Visualise them as actual people and not cold statistics. How do they engage with the internet? When are they online? And, of course, what is it that they want? Have you actually asked your prospective customers this question? Develop an understanding of your consumer and the issues they face.
2) Seek a gap in the market that you are confident you can fill. Be realistic. Approach this stage as a consumer, there may be a big difference in how you see the market and how they do.
3) Research your competitors. What position have they established in the market? Do not try and emulate those positions. Copycats rarely get noticed.
4) Communicate clearly what product or service you are offering. Demonstrate how it is unique and what benefits it offers.
5) Be disciplined. Once you have set your objectives and identified the market gap you are targeting, stick to doing just that. If you become distracted by the belief that your business can become the market leader overnight, your hubris is likely to ensure that you fail to establish a foothold in your market. You cannot become the market leader overnight. You can, however, establish a firm grip on a small share of your market, and you can always work to increase it.
6) Continually evaluate your strategy. Analyse its effectiveness and take advantage of a new business’s ability to respond in real-time to that analysis. Do not pursue avenues that are not working and do pursue more of what is measurably going right. Furthermore, do not forget to ensure that you are delivering what you have promised in your marketing.
These are the fundamental elements of a successful marketing strategy. The success of your business will be in adopting these principles in a precise and tailored fashion that is simple and provides measurable results. While the temptation to tackle your marketing strategy in-house by appointing a few young and enthusiastic junior executives can be hard to resist, it is more often than not the more experienced PR and marketing professionals who will ultimately deliver results for your business.
With a strong network of media contacts and in-depth knowledge of professional services, Christina advises a range of businesses and law firms on media and business development initiatives.