If you’ve been reading some of the content I put together over the past couple of years, you’ll know that Market My Market has fully embraced EOS (the Entrepreneurial Operating System). EOS has been a great platform for creating goals, ownership on every level, and clarifying our vision (to an extent). You can learn more about EOS here.
The reason for my hesitation when discussing “vision” as it relates to EOS is that, for as much as I believe in the tenets and the simple practicality of EOS, some definitions and explanations can be less thorough than desirable. Vision is such a sweeping term that needs precise development of context and implementation, so turning to Lencioni’s “The Advantage” has been the exact additional layer we needed to properly explore vision further.
What Is Most Important for Your Business, Right Now?
Without going into EOS, Lencioni business fables, and other company organizational disciplines and tools, what I wanted to discuss today is one straightforward question: “What is most important, right now?” It is a crucial choice and sequence of words that need bearing on specific language such as “most” (prioritization) and “right now” (a more discernible timeline).
Nitpicky, but necessary for what I’ll be discussing. Think about these terms a few times intentionally and compare them to the question, “What’s important for our company?” You can see how there’s a reason for these particular words “most” and “right now” being included.
Patrick Lencioni is a major proponent of Organizational Health, making strong arguments for team cohesion and having a penchant for effective though potentially lengthy meetings (love/hate for many of us). I would say his “Six Critical Questions” that you can challenge yourself and your team to answer are quite interesting and would put you on a path for some meaningful and productive conversations.
Lencioni’s Six Critical Questions
Again, we won’t be getting into all of these questions besides one, but it’s useful for perspective (and they’re going to sound very philosophical, borderline metaphysical without context, so I’ll add just a bit from MMM as an example):
- Why do we exist?
- How do we behave?
- What do we do?
- How will we succeed?
- What is most important, right now?
- Who must do what?
In the ensuing exercises, one may answer “What do we do?” by saying “we provide high-quality legal services/representation to those with a legal issue.” But what you really may want to say, after a series of guided introspections, is “we guide individuals facing the most stressful, difficult time of their lives through the unforeseen rigors and pitfalls of a legal system that may not always work in their favor.” Not my best work, but you may get the point. If you do happen to like it, use it verbatim or a variation. Free of charge.
Now that we’ve got that all out of the way, what’s so important about this question and why is it one that you can start asking yourself right now, right as we’re getting close to the halfway mark of 2022? Let’s revisit the composition of this question, “What is most important, right now?”
What Is Most Important for Your Business?
What is most important can’t be two dozen different elements for your business. For example, this could be a hypothetical list of “what’s important” at your firm right now:
- Settle our biggest cases X, Y, and Z
- Hire a new paralegal
- Attend X networking events
- Get on X podcasts
- Attend X conference
- Find a new bookkeeper, accountant, office manager etc.
- Something else operations related
- Or marketing related
- Or operations related, or so on
What’s most important can’t be 20 items, or 10, or even 5. What’s most important needs to be the two or three absolute most important goals you want to accomplish. And coupled with “right now” (which is absolutely crucial for a timeline and eventual deadline), you now have to define two or three goals that are the absolute most important, and by no later than the end of the year.
This isn’t a novel exercise, but when you’re working with defined parameters, you’re empowered in a position to more clearly get things done. Working without quantifiables is difficult, and in my experience, many things simply don’t happen without them.
Defining Your Most Important Goals
Let’s categorize some examples of where your most important goals (we’ll call them MIGs moving forward) can be positioned, using some examples from before:
- Operations/Internal (personnel, infrastructure, business processes, etc.)
- Marketing/Advertising (lead acquisition, brand awareness, expanding your network, converting potential clients)
- Core Offerings (effectiveness/efficiency of services, expanding services, quality of services, and so on)
So, for example for “core offerings,” you may anticipate bankruptcies (hopefully not, but…) around the corner should there be a recession. Is it a MIG to brush up on Bankruptcy Law, hire an all-star in the field, partner with another firm, etc.? Is this very important to you, and can it be done within the next six months? On PI, are you satisfied with the settlements you’re obtaining? On Criminal, are there more reductions in penalties/charges, where you’re accustomed to your outcomes being dismissed/dropped?
If the “core offerings” aren’t where your head is at for 2022 at least, I can provide insight into marketing and advertising and provide information on what could be prioritized from a business development standpoint as I hear it around the industry.
Digital Marketing in the Industry
My sweet spot, so let’s start there. To preface, there should be a marketing mix for everything, but as far as what’s trending and where you’re at marketing-wise, there are certainly MIGs to cover here. In digital marketing, we may have the following, not limited to:
- Local service ads
- Google Ads
- Google My Business/Maps
- Your website and a strong SEO and Content Plan for that (within your website, there are countless subgoals, but we won’t cover all of those here)
- Legal and non-legal directories
- Social media, both organic and paid
- Video content hosted on your website and also disseminated and optimized elsewhere, such as YouTube
- Pay-Per-Lead campaigns
- Pre-signed retainers
- Sponsored content
- Display marketing, surplus inventory video pre-rolls, and paid positioning on popular websites
This covers a lot of it and excludes traditional marketing such as TV, radio, billboards, etc. You have to consider that you may only be able to choose one MIG out of marketing/advertising, as other goals haven’t been covered in the other categories yet. This may be daunting, or even impossible, but keep in mind this is a “do it and do it well” situation. What can we filter from all of these possibilities? Here are the top contenders:
The Complete Website
Your website is the centerpiece of your representation online. The website itself should always be a priority, but it goes through phases of what should be prioritized. Think of it as a flowchart: Website functionality, content optimization, then conversion rate optimization.
First of all, does your website look like it’s been built in the past 5 years? If not, you need to accept that your website being functional on desktop and mobile is an absolute MIG for your marketing yesterday. Don’t proceed with anything else until that’s done.
Too obvious? OK, let’s move on to content optimization. This involves the effectiveness of your website as far as bringing in qualified traffic. Robust blog and page strategy in place? Check. Highly authoritative and ranking well for strong keywords? Check. The upward trend of organic traffic through multiple forms of content answering questions and positioning the website for every variation of human inquiry that exists (via FAQs, blogs, long-form pages, articles, testimonials, case results, transcribed videos/podcasts)? Check, check, check…moving on.
Conversion Rate Optimization
The last, but often overlooked, bastion of the complete website is conversion via CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization). A beautiful website with strong content marketing and links can still fall victim to poor messaging and overlooked UX, especially on mobile, of high-conversion pages.
We naturally have a skewed perception of small numbers when it comes to percentages such as a measly “1%” or “3.2%”. If you have goals set up on your website (and follow conversion rates for really anything, from website submissions to intake), you overlook the difference of 1.8% to 2.2%. However, that’s an increase of 22%—it’s incredible how many people would default to saying an increase of 0.4%. A 22% increase in leads on your intent pages of the website can literally change the course of your business and life.
Google My Business
Aside from your website, your Google My Business is another immensely important MIB from a digital marketing standpoint. Nearly 40% of people doing a short-tail search prefer Google My Business results, since they are the first clear non-paid result, show reviews/social validation, and frankly look good. If you’re situated with your main office GMB, go ahead and get yourself another. GMB is making it harder to take advantage of this, and while your competition is backing off from the strategy, you have every opportunity to go forth with it.
Paid Placements on New Directories
I don’t want to showcase complete organic search favoritism, so from a paid standpoint, one MIG may be to negotiate placement on up-and-coming directories and lock in lower prices. For example, Expertise almost quite literally came out of nowhere in the past few months and is leapfrogging many common legal directories for top spots in heavy markets. I do not technically endorse Expertise, nor do we have an arrangement with them; I’m just calling it for what it is.
Keep an eye out for directories that are currently on the second page of Google for strong keywords, and potentially negotiate favorable terms in anticipation of them having their big break. You could end up with a steady stream of decent leads later in the year and have negotiated the monthly or annual down to the point where your price per lead rivals literally anything else you’re doing.
Bonus: News Feeds for Different Audiences
I can’t help myself here, and while it may not be a MIG, there’s an idea I have that I’d like to share. I see many large law firms essentially have a “news feed,” which spins local news and posts it on their website. Local crashes for PI, sensational arrests for Criminal, etc. While this is commonplace now and it has been for several years (I used to automate this in-house at a PI firm, spinning as many as 100 local accident blogs in a day), there may be an opening for the translation of these reports in other languages. Spanish is an obvious first consideration, but in some areas such as NYC, other languages such as Polish, Hebrew, Italian, etc. may be an interesting method to get in front of specific demographics.
These are some of my top picks, but maybe they’ll be the impetus for the marketing plan already on your desk that you’ve been meaning to execute. If you know there are two or three MIGs on the horizon for the rest of the year, completion may be more manageable.
Other Business Goals Outside of Digital Marketing
From a more internal or operational standpoint, here’s what I’m seeing around the industry for law firms very strongly in line with accomplishing big goals within a reasonable amount of time:
- Officially adopting and actually using a legal CRM such as LawMatics or Clio, or finally being able to jettison your on-site server and move to the cloud (and ditching your IT guy, sorry Paul).
- Hiring an Operation Manager, Business Development Professional, or potential C-Suite non-lawyer that helps work on your law firm full-time, no questions asked. More Info
- Working with a specialized staffing agency that helps find personnel that can do the bulk of the law firm’s work…overseas.
- Partnering with a cybersecurity company to ensure sensitive information is never held for ransom: More Info
- Purchasing another law firm (beyond a MIG, I know, but maybe we just make it one in 2022 at this magnitude). More Info
Here are just a few examples on this front, and I started going through our guest list after a while on the Legal Mastermind Podcast as I realized that so many big-picture ideas and strategies are brought to the table by our guests. So, I encourage you to gather some inspiration from the podcast titles there as well.
Let Market My Market Help Establish Your Most Important Goals
Owning a business often means wearing many hats and being a part of a variety of business elements, from marketing and sales to product development and customer service. At Market My Market, we can help you narrow your focus within the digital marketing sphere and assist you in answering the question: what is most important, right now? Our digital marketing experts have a wealth of experience curating online content for our client’s to attract, engage, and retain their audiences so that you can increase your customer base. To learn more about our client-centered approach that will help your company achieve conversions, contact the skilled content and SEO professionals at Market My Market for a free consultation today.