Throw out your old plans to create a marketing masterpiece on a blank canvas in 2020. Now is not the time to be Pablo Picasso.
Now is the time for marketing paint by numbers. It does not matter the order that you put down the paint. What matters is that you have a plan for marketing initiatives you can accomplish and will bring value to your firm. What is important is that you keep moving forward. In the end, no one can tell that it was paint by numbers – they just see how putting everything together in an orderly fashion paid off.
How do we pivot marketing plans at this point?
Your New Reality
Start by figuring out where you are today, and what direction you need to be going. Talk with your leadership team about where the firm currently stands and potential paths forward. Yes, I said paths. There are so many unknowns, likely there will be multiple possibilities for how you move forward with the second half of the year.
Once you understand this new reality, think about how marketing can support the firm’s efforts. Create new goals for your department to guide your marketing plans for whichever path the firm moves forward with. Review your original plans for 2020 and see which are still applicable, or where you may be able to scale down. You may find out that you do not have to start over, you just have to make some adjustments.
Your new focus for 2020 needs to be on being nimble, efficient, and your ability to adjust quickly.
There is a lot of uncertainty. We must be flexible. Broad goals are important. But very specific projects take precedence. Look closely at the initiatives that will position your firm for growth as we come out of the havoc of this global pandemic.
When evaluating your marketing initiatives, consider what will enable your firm to be quick to market. New products and services will arise from this crisis and you will want to be able to meet the needs of your clients as soon as possible. Actions like this bring you closer to the customer, which should be your priority at this point. Now is a time to build relationships with your clients and prospective clients.
Your Revised 2020 Marketing Plan
Undertaking a brand overhaul right now might not be the best idea. But there are many smaller-scale projects you can do that, when added up, will make a real impact.
Your website is an important part of your business, now more than ever. Maybe it makes sense to update your homepage so you can easily drop in the content that is relevant – and quickly changing – right now. Or maybe you want to add a blog to your website for all the content you have created while social distancing.
- Home Page. What changes can you make to your home page that showcases your knowledge and expertise quickly? Is any key messaging missing?
- Blogs and Landing Pages. Have you considered adding additional content to your website? Organizing content and targeting keywords is good for SEO but can also show your clients and prospective clients that you have experience. Adding a page, or a page and a template, can make a big impact on your website.
- Attorney Bios. Attorneys may have a little more time now to contribute updates to their bios. And the backend of your website should let you make changes to the attorney bio template quickly and easily. With face-to-face meetings happening less often, people will have to rely on information readily available online to aid in their decisions about who to hire. What updates to your bio templates will allow them to do that?
- Website Navigation. When was the last time you looked at your website navigation? Is it intuitive for your clients and potential clients? The navigation is on every page but making changes to the navigation generally takes place in only one spot on the back end of your website.
- SEO. Starting with your most popular webpages, review each page for the terms you want to be found for. This does not have to be a project you tackle all at once. Set a goal to handle a certain section of your website each month.
- Call-to-Action (CTA). Review the CTAs on your website. Are they converting as desired? Are they compelling? Messaging that made sense six months or a year ago may not make sense now. Swap out your CTAs to convert more leads from your website.
- ADA Accessibility. One area that often gets overlooked, ADA accessibility is gaining more and more importance. Now is a good time to transcribe PDFs and videos to make them more accessible.
Content Development and Dissemination
One of the easiest forms of marketing during this time of social distancing is content creation. Now might be a bad time to install a video studio in your offices. But it might be a good time to start producing smaller pieces of video content to share on social media. Your viewers are accustomed now more than ever to seeing self-produced video content with average sound quality. The videos you produce need not be cinema-quality, you can quickly and efficiently produce video content via your smartphone or computer’s webcam that is appropriate to post.
- Short-form video content. Video content is really flexible – it can be short or long, highly produced, or done with only your cell phone. Start by creating a theme for a series of short videos that can be shared on social media, and then aggregate them on a page on your website. Once you get some traction with one series, pivot to another short series.
- Captions and subtitles. We all know video is becoming more and more popular. But are you subtitling and captioning your video? Doing so not only allows viewers to follow your content when they are watching without the volume, but it also adds to your crawled website content.
- Existing Content. You do not have to reinvent the wheel. Likely you already have some content on your website that is great, if it just had a few tweaks. Review and refresh that content, and re-release it.
- Repurpose Content. As part of your content refresh, you may come across content that you can repurpose. Take the existing content and outline it for a new format, such as an old blog post that you make into a video. Or a blog post that you send as an email.
- Social Media Advertising and Pay Per Click Campaigns (PPC). Start with a practice area or industry group that is hot right now and create a campaign around it for a few weeks. See if it makes sense to undertake that initiative with another practice area or industry group.
Don’t ignore the less obvious parts of marketing. Undertaking a large-scale client survey might be out of the question at this point but looking for ways to improve the client experience makes a big impact.
- Client Experience. Review how your client or prospective client interacts with your firm. What areas does it take two steps when it should only take one? Are there bottlenecks anywhere?
- Automation. Work smarter, not harder. As you evaluate ways to simplify your process, include ways to automate your marketing. Maybe automate a new client onboarding process, or a series of marketing emails triggered by a specific action, or a client survey.
- Marketing Audit. Conducting a marketing audit now will allow you to move more nimbly because you will fully understand what you have, what you need, and the marketplace where you operate.
- Account Based Marketing (ABM). Select a small group of your top clients or pick a strategic list of prospective clients and start them on an account-based marketing program. Create a personalized campaign that reaches multiple clients in a variety of ways.
- Personalization. Small changes can make a big difference. Review your marketing communications and look for ways to create more personal messages to your clients and prospective clients. Look for ways to tailor marketing emails with names or certain parts of your emails with targeted content.
Changing your marketing plan does not have to be stressful. Creating initiatives that allow you to be flexible and meet the needs of your clients as they arise will position you to end 2020 with successful marketing results! Don’t let perfection get in the way of progress – just get painting.