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Managing Outsourced Marketing Vendors To Achieve Optimal ROI

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Law firms outsource a variety of functions, including various aspects of marketing. It's important to know what the marketing job titles mean and how to manage vendors effectively

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Managing Outsourced Marketing Vendors To Achieve Optimal ROI

  1. 1. + How to Effectively Manage Marketing Vendors to Achieve Maximum Return on Investment (ROI) Stacey E. Burke
  2. 2. + Part I: Outsourcing
  3. 3. + Defining Outsourcing Recognized as an integral business strategy since 1989, outsourcing is a business practice that involves hiring outside parties to perform services either previously performed in house or services the business needs and cannot perform itself.
  4. 4. + To Outsource or Not to Outsource: That is the Question  Outsourcing work at a law firm is done to be competitive, competent, efficient, and smart about how the work is accomplished.  One common issue small firm lawyers often face is deciding when – and how – to delegate.  Should you hire new employees or outsource certain tasks?  This is a difficult decision since the work of small firm lawyers often ebbs and flows, and hiring staff on a whim may prove to be problematic down the road if business slows down.
  5. 5. + Time is Not On Your Side Reports suggest lawyers spend up to six hours a day doing non-billable work. The whole point of outsourcing is to leverage your time. Imagine how much time you could recapture if you outsourced just one thing.
  6. 6. + What Should You Outsource? For solo &small firm lawyers, some of the best outsourcing available is for tasks that: eat up a lot of your time are critical to your practice’s success are irritating enough that they do not get the appropriate attention
  7. 7. + In 2019, nearly everything can be outsourced. So, where should you start? With an assessment.
  8. 8. + Advantages of Outsourcing It saves on time It saves on costs May increase profitability Access to specific resources and skills Increased focus on practicing law Increase in efficiency of business operations
  9. 9. + Disadvantages of Outsourcing Breach of confidential information can occur when third parties access a law firm’s network and digital properties Signing contracts between two parties require legal review, which shouldn’t be as big of an issue in the legal industry as it is in other industries Quality control
  10. 10. + Deciding WHAT to Outsource There’s no sense in contracting out your strengths. Instead, when deciding what to outsource, consider the following items….
  11. 11. + 1. What You Struggle With  Decide whether to outsource based on two factors:  Can you hire an internal team member for less than the cost of an agency fee?  If so, do you know someone who’d do at least as good of a job as the prospective partner?  If you can’t answer “yes” to both questions, then outsource it. Spending the time to recruit for a role you can barely afford isn’t a bright bet.
  12. 12. + 2. Expertise You Don’t Have  Just as in the cases you handle, your law firm likely won’t have the budget to hire a full time engineering expert, but it might be able to retain an experienced individual as an outside advisor.  Think of outsourcing as you think about hiring experts in your cases.
  13. 13. + 3. Mundane Tasks Be sure neither you nor your best workers are spending time on tasks that don’t fit their skillset or level of expertise. Automate what you can, and outsource the rest.
  14. 14. + 4. Creative Work While you may want to DIY, amateur design doesn’t get the results you want. It might cost you more, but you get what you pay for, so pay a specialist.
  15. 15. + Ethical Considerations When Outsourcing It is important to work with a marketing firm well-versed in the legal industry because of the unique market and ethical considerations involved in lawyer advertising.
  16. 16. + Don’t Be a Rule Breaker Attorneys have legal and ethical rules they must follow. If you hire someone who doesn’t know those rules and ethical boundaries, it can get you into big trouble!
  17. 17. + Pay Close Attention to Your Website Content  When hiring a marketing professional to build your website, make sure to be closely involved in strategy and choosing content.  Write your own copy or at least edit the vendor’s copy to avoid violating Model Rules 7.1, 7.4, and 7.5, which involve communications about you or services offered by your firm.
  18. 18. + … But Maybe Outsource Your Content Marketing Content marketing generally does not fall under attorney advertising rules because what content marketing really does is convey useful information to the public, not solicit business. Make sure you explain to anyone helping you exactly what would cross the line into advertising.
  19. 19. + Ready to Work With An Outsourced Vendor? Once you’re ready get started, vendors will need access to a variety of your firm’s digital assets.
  20. 20. + What a Marketing Vendor Will Need to Get Started  Domain name hosting provider (GoDaddy, Network Solutions, etc.)  Website (administrator level access)  Logo files (NOT just a .jpeg or .png file... preferably an .ai, .eps, or .psd file)  Social media channels (login credentials for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and more)  Google Suite (Google My Business, Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, Google Search Console, YouTube)  High resolution photos of the attorneys
  21. 21. + Part II: Which Vendors Matter For Marketing and What They Do
  22. 22. + Marketing is Here To Stay  Today, very few of the top producing law firms rely on just “word-of-mouth marketing” or random referrals.  Firms have either made the commitment to assemble an in-house team, or they work with an established legal marketing firm to implement a strategic plan.
  23. 23. + Which Law Firm Vendors Are Important to Marketing? That will depend on what functions you keep in house and what you outsource. The following are the most common outsourced vendors that touch upon law firm marketing in a meaningful way:
  24. 24. + Domain Name Registrar  Every website you visit online has a domain name, which means that every website owner went through the process of buying and registering that domain name. It’s one of the first necessary steps involved in starting a new website.  A domain name registrar is a company that sells Internet domain names and manages their registration.
  25. 25. + Website Host  Web hosting is the place where all the files of your website live.  Web hosting is a necessity for any website — it is the physical location of your website on the Internet, an online storage center that houses the information, images, video, and other content that comprises your website.  Web hosting service providers maintain the server where the data associated with your website resides, and also manage the technology that makes your website connect to the Internet.
  26. 26. + Website Designer  A web designer's main job is to design web pages. There is a lot to consider in the design of websites which may not be immediately apparent when looking at a webpage for the first time.  A web designer is an IT professional who is responsible for designing the layout, visual appearance, and the usability of a website.
  27. 27. + Website Developer  A web developer or programmer is someone who takes website design files created by a website designer and turns them into a website.  A website developer is responsible for using various components to construct a fully-functional website that is error-free in its technical aspects.
  28. 28. + Website Developer, cont.  There are three main types of website developers:  Front-end developers develop what a user sees when they visit your website;  Back-end developers develop how the owner of the website can access it and make edits;  Full stack developers do both front and back end development.  Full-stack developers understand both front and back-end strategies and processes, which means that they are perfectly positioned to oversee the entire process.
  29. 29. + Campaign Managers  These people are the main points of contact, and manage client communication.  They are responsible for the management of any marketing campaigns for your firm, and utilize your feedback to optimize the campaigns.
  30. 30. + Communication Mechanisms  Phone System  Internally, if you have an internal intake department, how does your phone system route calls to them? If someone takes an intake call, who documents to whom the call was transferred for screening and how is it documented?  “Hunt groups” can make intake calls rotate among a preset group of extensions so that only the right people in your firm ever have the chance to talk to a lead.  On the outbound side, ensure your caller ID is the business name.  Be sure to utilize online call tracking and recording.  Local versus toll free numbers versus vanity numbers.
  31. 31. + Communication Mechanisms, cont.  Answering Service  Preprogram your answering service to ask the basic questions anyone can ask to save you time once you take over communication.  Have them ask for name, DOB, contact information including email, and their reason for calling. They can email this to you contemporaneously with live patching the call.  Preprogramming your answering service is also useful for after-hours and weekends.
  32. 32. + Communication Mechanisms, cont.  Live Chat  Make sure you use pictures of named partners (not just stock photos) and your firm colors so the live chat graphic interface looks like it’s part of your site.  Ensure your service will only charge you for valid leads and not existing clients, solicitations, etc.  The provider should also provide you with a login into an online portal in addition to real time emails of live chats so you can follow up.
  33. 33. + IT Systems  Email  What distribution lists will you use for contact form submissions?  What email will be associated with all of your accounts (such as hosting and social media)?  Will you have a general info@ or contact@ email?  Will you put individual lawyer emails on your website?  Internet Service Provider  How fast or slow, uptime/downtime… everything matters for how well things work receiving and processing leads (especially if you have a VOIP phone).
  34. 34. + IT Systems, cont.  Case Management Software/Database  Where is it hosted: cloud vs. your server vs. provider’s server?  What level of customization is available  Do you have intake screens?  Can you transfer intakes from person to person?  Does it handle contact management, task management, and matter management?  What training is offered for employees?
  35. 35. + Part III: Vendor Management
  36. 36. + You’re the Boss Once you outsource any function of your law practice, you automatically become a client yourself who takes on the role of Vendor Management.
  37. 37. + Vendor Management 101 Managing multiple outsourced vendors requires its own set of skills. Vendor management enables a firm to research, vet, enlist, and be serviced by various vendors while ensuring service deliverability. It also helps you hold your vendors accountable, and ensures they are delivering what they promised.
  38. 38. + Don’t Delegate This Interview Interview each outsourced vendor as if they were as important to your business as your best paralegal because they will likely wind up costing you more money.
  39. 39. + Ask Vendors These Questions  Have you worked with law firms before?  How many attorneys have you worked with?  Do you have a law firm like mine I can contact as a reference?  Do you offer exclusivity?  Who will be my point of contact/ managing my account?  What portion of vendor charges is a management fee vs. the actual ad spend?  What will be your reporting frequency and substance?
  40. 40. + Having the Tough Relationship Conversations  Contract Terms: Website ownership, duration, etc.  Responsibilities and expectations: Explicitly settle on the terms of your relationship from the start to ensure an alignment of responsibilities and expectations.  Communication and Feedback: Provide lead feedback to help optimize your campaigns and ask for an oral review of reporting to ensure you understand it.  Termination Process: Changing passwords and revoking access.
  41. 41. + Having the Tough Relationship Conversations, cont.  Risk Management: A key part of vendor management is to be aware of the risks associated with third-party vendor outsourcing, and how they should be managed and mitigated.  It’s important to consider the types of data accessible by the third-party, what types of transactions they perform on your behalf, where these activities are being carried out (and by whom), and where the data is hosted, etc.  Determine the risk level associated with each vendor.
  42. 42. + Part IV: Results
  43. 43. + The Proof is in The Pudding Don’t accept reporting you don’t understand or that you feel is inadequate. A good vendor should be able to answer your questions and provide meaningful reporting.
  44. 44. + Own Your Google Assets  You can only hold an agency responsible if you have the same level of access to the data that they do. Insist that you are the owner of your Google Analytics account so you don't risk losing access in the future.  Do not allow an agency to collect data in a Google Analytics account that they own. Make sure that you own your account. You can easily provide the vendor access to your Google Analytics account.
  45. 45. + But Don’t Just Track: Analyze  Set regular calls and/or meetings and come prepared with your own analysis of their reporting, your data, and questions.  Start your marketing journey with a solid understanding of your expectations, marketing goals, foundation, and potential. This background and benchmark data – which can be collected at initial meetings or via an assessment tool – helps you set realistic campaign goals and allocate resources to strategies with the highest success likelihood.
  46. 46. + Make Sure You’re Getting The Data You Want  Part of good reporting is providing data on metrics that matter most to you.  These metrics should be agreed upon at the outset of the campaign.  They need to be reported on within a set time frame (weekly, monthly, etc.).  Metric definitions should remain constant so a true comparison can be made to the baseline.
  47. 47. + Track Everything Even when using an outsourced vendor, it is ultimately up to the firm to keep track of its marketing metrics to ensure it meets its marketing goals.
  48. 48. + Internal Reporting Metrics  Database entry and health: Is the client data entered uniformly and accurately? Is your system bloated with duplicates or useless information?  Intake conversion rate: Marketing vendors can report the total number of conversions they generate, but it’s up to you to track how many of those leads are converted into signed clients.  Acquisition costs: How much does each signed lead cost to acquire?  Projected case value: How much is each signed case worth to the firm? Knowing this informs how much you are willing to spend on acquiring each lead.
  49. 49. + External Reporting Metrics  Google Analytics/Tag Manager/Search Console: These free tools tell you how many people are visiting your website, what content is performing well, and if Google sees any problems with your website.  Search engine rankings: Know how your website ranks in organic search results, for what keyword phrases, and how the rankings trend over time.  Social media key performance indicators: Understand how your social media content performs by tracking engagement (likes/reactions, comments, shares, follows, etc.)
  50. 50. + Connect with Stacey:  Facebook: @MarketingLawyers  Twitter: @staceyeburke  Instagram: @MarketingLawyers  LinkedIn: /company/stacey-e-burke-p-c  Website: www.staceyeburke.com  My e-newsletter: http://bit.ly/StaceyMail

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