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So, you’ve had a week of working through our first set of five summer holiday tips in this series (if you missed the first five, then check back to our blog for the previous post).  How did you get on? We’d love to hear from you with news of progress. This week we move on to a little light strategy and planning, and next week, we’ll complete the 15 tips with the last five in the series – so stay tuned.

What’s next? Here are our next five tips for summer marketing activity:

1.      Paper trail – Lawyers in particular seem to take a great security from piles of paper.  Paper means WIP and WIP means useful.  If you have piles of paper and files open it makes you feel safe and busy.  Unfortunately, though, their attraction is lost on most other business people.  Towers of files just look like you haven’t done your tidying up.  So dedicate an evening to closing some files, sending out some client care review letters (yes, that getting in touch part again) and sending any outstanding invoices.

2.      Evil email – This brings me nicely onto the inevitable subject of your database.  The reality is the quickest and easiest way to reduce marketing costs is to take communications online.  You may be thinking that email is the comms tool of Beelzebub but the fact is, in this day and age, most people communicate this way… and it is no longer seen as the easy option… simply the best option.  That said, it does require an accurate mailing list and you’re probably sitting there with a lot of “email” boxes left empty in your database.  It would be a valuable use of your time to make some calls and search on Google to try to fill in some of those gaps. Top Tip: If you type “@whatevertheirwebsiteaddressis” into Google you will often generate a number of available email addresses – which will allow you to work out the format of your contact’s address… or you could go through the mountain of files in the first tip and find some email addresses you already have! Don’t forget you only have a year until the GDPR comes in so now is the time to do this work!

3.      Understanding profit – It’s a common failing that firms have… they think about revenue generated (i.e. fees charged) rather than profit. Many firms talk about their ‘best clients’ because of the volume of work, rather than the amount of profit made.  Take some time over the summer and study the profit you make from each of your ‘top ten clients’. Ask yourself about the different types of work you do, as well as the people that do it.  What about areas that you don’t work for them, but could? Consider putting together a short bullet point list of actions to develop that profit. Now extend it to the next top 10 and repeat.

4.      Get in touch – It takes a brave firm to ask for feedback but we think it’s one of the most important things you can do.  Set up a simple online questionnaire in Survey Monkey and send it to every client that has instructed you in the last 12 months.  You should be looking to find out their views on your expertise, client service and responsiveness, as well as collecting views on the best ways to market to them in the future.  Don’t forget to ask them to provide detailed feedback and use this as an opportunity to pick the phone up and talk to them – saying either “thank you” for completing it or to specifically address poor feedback.

5.      Forward planning – This one goes without saying… that said, I know I’ve said it before.  One of the most useful things you can do is to work out where you want your firm or practice to go and the steps you need to take to get there.  Set your three-year goal, work out the process goals that you need to achieve it and then write a “to do” list of actions required to achieve each process goal.  Make sure you put time in the diary each week to make it all happen, once the holidays are over.

This blog is designed to help both marketing teams and lawyers. Please feel free to use the content and share it with your fee-earners, if you think it might be helpful.