A Legal CRM System: The Key to a Winning Marketing Strategy
One of the most common attorney complaints about marketing is that quantifying results is difficult. Many law firms wonder about the ROI on their legal marketing strategy and whether certain activities such as email marketing produce significant business.
Implement a client relationship management (CRM) system with your marketing and that problem is nearly solved. This quick reference guide outlines why a CRM is so effective when integrated with your attorney marketing tactics, as well as how to best harness that power to garner consistent business for your law firm with less hands-on effort.
What is a CRM?
A CRM is a sales and marketing technology that enables you to manage client interactions throughout the sales cycle. It can organize your attorney marketing efforts and make them more efficient, resulting in the following benefits.
- Automated processes such as client profile updates based on behavior (which free resources they download from your website, for instance)
- Streamlined communication systems and automated follow-up
- Easier lead tracking and qualifying
- Tailored email campaigns for every type of client at each stage of the cycle
- Simpler problem resolution
- Straightforward ROI analysis
Some CRM systems like the James Legal CRM even integrate your firm’s billing and accounting software, provide a centralized reporting dashboard, and provide reputation and review management.
How can a CRM help my firm?
An effective, user-friendly client relationship manager accomplishes two big things:
- Frees up time spent on necessary but time-consuming attorney marketing tasks
- Increases the effectiveness and consistency of your marketing efforts
For example, you could set your CRM to send a tailored follow-up email to every potential client who visits your website within one hour of the visit. This not only prevents you from having to manually contact all visitors, but also ensures that every single potential client receives a message from you in a timely manner and that nothing falls through the cracks.
How can I overlay a CRM system upon my existing marketing efforts for more effective attorney marketing?
Once you decide upon which CRM to use, you can set up several functions and processes like the two below that make your attorney marketing to-dos easier and more efficient.
Lead Tracking and Qualifying
Gaining more clients starts with gathering high-quality leads to nurture down the pipeline, and that first involves qualifying potential clients in order to focus on only the ones that fit your ideal client profile.
The right CRM can make it easy to qualify leads by storing and tracking information about clients, flagging certain behaviors as “ready to buy,” and allocating leads to the right people on your team. For example, let’s say that two people reach out to your practice.
- Jim visits your personal injury law firm’s website and fills out a contact form asking for more information about medical malpractice law.
- Tina emails your firm about workers’ compensation law, provides her contact information, mentions a few details about her potential case such as the date of the incident and the injuries sustained. She explains that she’s reaching out to several law firms for consultations.
Jim’s request automatically populates a New Lead form and routes his information to the medical malpractice team at your law firm. The team reviews Jim’s profile and categorizes him as a stage 1 potential client who requires a follow-up call to determine whether he is qualified. One team member is assigned to follow-up to prevent duplicate efforts.
The marketing team that receives Tina’s email creates a profile for her on their CRM and categorizes her as a stage 3 hot lead who is ready to become a client, which prioritizes contacting her on the day’s calendar. This system ensures that Jim and Tina each receive the attention they need when they need it, and with less effort and oversight from your team.
Develop Email Drip Campaigns
Email marketing is one of the least expensive and most cost-effective forms of attorney marketing. However, creating and sending out campaigns can take up a lot of time and energy when done manually.
A CRM enables your firm to develop email drip campaigns (automated email campaigns that are sent out on a specific schedule). For example, let’s say that you already set up an automatic follow-up email to go out to every website visitor who enters their email address into your firm’s online lead form. Turn that into a drip email campaign by sending out one email per week through your CRM!
- The first could be an introductory email quickly introducing your firm and asking how your attorney team could best contact the visitor to gather more information about their needs.
- Should the visitor not respond, he or she will receive another email the following week suggesting a quick phone call to discuss any questions they might have regarding their potential case.
- If you again don’t receive a response, the week three email provides a testimonial from one of your most loyal clients and pushes for a phone call.
- The fourth message contains a video from your firm’s friendly attorney team along with an offer for a free consultation.
You are much more likely to receive a higher response and greater ROI on your attorney marketing with consistent, tailored email campaigns rather than sporadic, generic ones. The best part is that a powerful legal CRM can do the work for you, so you can focus on the things that matter most.
4 Ways to Save Money with a Legal CRM
One Phoenix criminal defense attorney jumped from roughly 20 prospect inquiry calls per month to more than 200 per month. An Orange County probate attorney saved $14,000 per month on ineffective marketing spend. A personal injury attorney in Vancouver, WA increased his caseload from 62 to 141 cases in one year.
What do these three law offices have in common? They implemented various elements of the James Legal CRM (client relationship management) system in order to automate their prospect follow-up, convert leads into clients, boost their online reputation, and track results for greater marketing ROI… not to mention save money in the process. Here are the four ways that you, like the three law offices mentioned above, can accrue business and save money with a legal CRM.
- Exposing inefficiencies
It’s not always obvious where your law firm is spinning its wheels—that’s where an outside perspective can be most helpful. When setting up a legal CRM, a legal publishing and marketing company like Optimized Attorney can tell you exactly where you’re wasting time and energy on inefficient processes such as sloppy record-keeping or a fragmented calendar and task list.
These simple inefficiencies can cost your law firm a hefty amount of money. For example, if your team fails to follow up on a lead because of miscommunication and you lose out on a big case, that’s potentially thousands of dollars lost. Or, printing all documents when you could be storing client files and legal marketing collateral online could be costing your law firm hundreds of dollars per month in wasted resources and fruitless administrative time.
Establishing a legal CRM can expose and prevent wastefulness so your law firm can stay financially successful.
- Streamlining processes
When you need data crunched for your latest email campaign, you need it now; you don’t have the time to wade through figures and create Excel sheets. A CRM gives you the power to streamline processes like campaign management so you can track performance retroactively and in real time. And that means that you have the power to adapt your campaigns, cut them short if they’re not performing, and iterate if they are successful.
Other essential legal marketing processes like lead scoring (ranking leads to push high-priority ones to the top of your list) and tracking client interactions also become easier with a CRM, making the following activities quicker and more painless.
- Organizing and segmenting your leads list
- Focusing on the most promising leads immediately
- Developing various campaigns tailored to different categories of leads
- Storing and viewing contact information and communication records so you can track clients’ needs and preferences
- Integrating accounting software for easy billing
- Setting appointments and organizing tasks
Basically, a CRM gives your law firm the power to have all the information you need daily at the touch of a button, and enables your entire team to work together seamlessly without micromanagement.
- Saving time and labor
Think about one online task that takes hours out of your day. If you immediately thought “responding to email,” you’re not alone. According to the Huffington Post, some employees spend more than 3 hours per day tackling work email, not to mention another 3 hours checking their personal email accounts.
With the right legal CRM system, managing email becomes less of a burden. For instance, Optimized Attorney recently helped criminal defense lawyer Howard Snader institute a fully-automated and criminal-law-specific email drip campaign as part of a plan to cut his legal marketing spending and increase overall effectiveness.
After implementing a marketing overhaul that included the automated email campaign—a campaign that required little oversight on the client’s part—Mr. Snader went from receiving 18-25 calls per month from prospective clients to more than 200 calls each month, and his second quarter 2016 revenues are up 41% from one year ago.
Simple strategies like automating email campaigns and converting to Gmail can hugely impact a law firm’s bottom line while taking the responsibility of manually tackling email off the shoulders of busy law firm staff.
- Using online reviews to improve online legal marketing ROI
The first thing potential clients will do when researching your firm and deciding whether to pull the trigger is to see what other clients have said. That’s why online reputation management is so important nowadays, and why law firms can see such hefty boosts to their legal marketing ROI by focusing on it. In fact, one Optimized Attorney client increased his caseload from 62 cases to 141 year-over-year, heavily due to the presence of online reviews!
The James Legal CRM involves a proprietary review generation and screening software that:
- Consistently places positive reviews about you and your law practice online
- Prevents (or parks) negative reviews from being posted
This system helps to ensure that your law firm is spending time and money on the marketing strategies that can have the greatest impact on your caseload in the long run, improving your overall marketing ROI.
We’ll dissect your law firm’s marketing and business processes to save money and streamline your operations. Learn more about our effective James Legal CRM!
6 Strategies to Use Your Legal CRM to Its Full Potential
For fast-paced law firms, marketing automation tools like CRMs (client relationship management systems) help to cut down on busy work, increase productivity, and grow business. However, many legal practices don’t end up using their CRM to its full potential, and become frustrated at the wasted time and money.
We have compiled a short list of strategies to make the most of your CRM, so you can avoid common pitfalls and experience the greatest return on investment (ROI).
3 Ways to Make the Most of Your CRM:
- Choose a legal-specific tool
There are many CRMs to choose from but not a lot of them are tailored to attorneys, which presents a problem for legal practices who need legal-specific content and tools. Choosing a legal CRM in the first place can be the best way to use your marketing automation software to its full potential.
For instance, the James Legal CRM comes pre-loaded with content for specific types of practices, such as:
- Social Security disability
High-quality, legal-specific content and a CRM developed with attorneys in mind can help to differentiate your legal practice from the competition and establish your law firm as an authority.
- Assess and improve your business spend
Use your CRM to its full potential by first assessing your marketing and business spend—where every dollar of your budget is going toward online marketing, content development, etc. Then, compare that to your performance dashboard that tracks how well each campaign and strategy is performing (for example, the dashboard included in the James Legal CRM displays marketing results by channel to measure which efforts are working).
Are you spending the greatest amount of money on the most impactful strategies? Is money being wasted on unnecessary tactics? Consider your CRM an auditing tool as well as a marketing one, and use it accordingly.
Tip: Click here to get a free audit of your marketing and technology spend, to see where your law firm can cut costs while increasing prospect inquiries.
- Train staff on both marketing and sales strategies
You can excel at utilizing your legal CRM’s marketing features such as establishing drip email campaigns, but that doesn’t automatically translate into more clients unless your staff also knows how to leverage marketing improvements into actual sales.
Consider this example: you pour money into promoting more calls from prospective clients to your law firm, but your receptionist isn’t trained on the best ways to translate those calls into consultation appointments. As a result, your legal practice continues to struggle with improving its conversion rate. Talk about money down the drain!
Training staff on how to best use all features of your CRM isn’t enough. You must also educate them on how to translate leads into greater sales online and offline, in order to make the most of your CRM.
3 Common CRM Mistakes to Avoid:
- Using your software only for content and email marketing
Most marketing automation software comes with just a CRM that helps with content and email, however, the best automation software is ideal for much more than that. Optimized Attorney’s automation software is a 5-in-1 powerhouse that includes:
- A legal-specific CRM that sends high-quality content to prospects
- Google app installation for easier collaboration and less expensive marketing
- Telephone software that tracks follow-up efforts
- Review generation software to promote a positive online reputation
- A comprehensive analytics dashboard to measure marketing results
Don’t settle for a legal CRM that helps with only content and email; your marketing automation software needs to include a high-quality CRM encased in a full-scale support system.
- Failing to leverage data to set goals
Tracking data is great for looking backwards and determining what strategies are working, but it’s also useful for looking forward. Use the analytics on hand to set realistic goals for your team.
If your law firm is already generating 75 leads per month from a lead magnet on your website, strive to bump that number up to 100 leads per month and convert 5 of those leads into clients within 60 days. This will keep your team on track and focused on actionable objectives that can have a big impact on your bottom line.
- Focusing on price rather than value
When it comes to legal CRMs, some law firms choose lower-cost tools to cut corners and reduce spending… but shopping around based on price can do more harm than good if it means ending up with a CRM that doesn’t perform.
Assess your CRM options by looking at the software that provides the greatest value. For example, the James Legal CRM helps clients increase their revenue while also saving money in several ways, such as:
- Stopping ineffective marketing efforts
- Eliminating telephone bills
- Discontinuing unnecessary software and services
Most users of the James Legal CRM find that their real cost is $0. In fact, California probate attorney Phil Lemmons (a Optimized Attorney client) saves $14,000 per month in previously wasted spending. The lesson here is to view a CRM as an investment and choose the right one for your law firm based on the benefits, features, and track record of success rather than just price.
4 Ways to Turn Your CRM into a Revenue-Generating Machine
If you’re serious about engaging past, present, and future clients, your firm is likely already using one of the more powerful tools available: a CRM (client relationship management) system. We’ve already covered the financial benefits of adopting a CRM, and attorneys interested in sophisticated client intake and retention techniques should take notice.
In this post, we share four insider tips from our own Legal Content CRM that can help you streamline and optimize your personal CRM platform, ultimately increasing both your revenue and reputation.
Tip 1: Create a Workflow
Consider a workflow like a roadmap of how you and your staff will interact with your client base. It’s one thing to input your clients into a CRM, but quite another to have a game plan for every contact attempt, content delivery, and meeting.
Putting this plan into visual form will help your staff understand the proper procedure for following up with everyone who reaches out to your firm via email, live chat, web survey, or phone call. Understanding the totality of the relationship between your firm and a client cannot be understated.
Depending on how advanced your CRM is, you may end up with quite a long workflow, but the initial effort you put into creating your flow will be worth it. Your clients may not see how your CRM operates behind the scenes, but they’ll appreciate your organized, detailed system of follow-up procedures, as will your staff. Structure breeds success.
Tip 2: Value Accountability
Once you have a workflow, the path to setting up your CRM should be less arduous, but you’ll still need to rely on your staff to stay focused and complete tasks accurately and on time. A CRM is only as good as the people managing it.
At Optimized Attorney, we rely on an extensive system of internal checklists to ensure that each client’s CRM launches quickly and remains optimized for peak performance moving forward. We highly recommend that you investigate a similar system for your own CRM in order to keep your staff accountable to the workflow you designed.
Our team utilizes Smartsheet to organize daily tasks and goal milestones within a collaborative, multi-user environment, but there are many other productivity suites like Trello and Taskworld that may be a good fit for you and your employees.
Regardless of which system you implement, we’ve found that process oversight is an integral part of a healthy CRM. Technology is powerful, but the human element is just as important in ensuring your clients have a good experience that they can share with friends and family. A happy client means more potential for referrals down the line.
Tip 3: Sweat the Details
A default CRM is nice, but a customized CRM is better. Don’t be afraid to get granular with your system and use it to its full potential. The more you tailor your interface to your firm’s specific needs and goals, the more you’ll get from your investment.
For example, do you tag your clients by case type? If you’re a personal injury attorney, can you sort through thousands of contacts to instantly find only those who have hired you for a dog bite or neck injury case? Are your clients grouped by geographic region, chronological status (past, current, prospective), and marketing channel used to contact your firm?
Data is powerful, and the ability to parse that data into meaningful metrics only increases your power. Spend time with your CRM, learning its options inside and out. The intricate feature sets of today’s CRM platforms can be daunting, but exploration and education are worth the effort. Your firm’s bottom line will benefit from consistent, dedicated customization.
Tip 4: Trigger Points
Each and every action within your CRM should activate, or “trigger,” another action. Triggers are the points that actually control the behavior and performance of your system. You can think of them like workflows for technology.
Here’s a basic example of one particular trigger structure from our own platform:
You’ll notice that each action and reaction opens up a new path on the option tree. If A happens, then B follows. If A doesn’t happen, then C follows. This continues until the goal (client retention, for instance) either succeeds or fails, and success typically activates an entirely separate set of actions.
Creating follow-up campaigns at this level of detail will involve a deep commitment on your part, but once the material is created, the system is basically autonomous, drastically cutting down on the amount of effort you and your staff need to dedicate to client communication. Your initial preparation will save you both time and money down the line.
Your Future Is Bright
If you embrace the tips listed here, you can find success with your client relationship management system. Whether you’re new to the concept or are a seasoned CRM user looking for an edge, following this guide will give you an upper hand over your competition and increase your revenue year after year.
However, if you feel that this level of customization and continual work is a mountain you’ll never be able to conquer, you aren’t alone. Selecting, customizing, and monitoring a CRM can be challenging, particularly for always-busy attorneys.
Optimized Attorney offers a fully preloaded Legal Content CRM based on our 35 years of law book publishing experience. Our platform contains pre-written follow-up materials, flow charts, a unified marketing dashboard, and much more.
Prices start at $1,000/month for the full system. Click here to learn more about what our system can offer your firm and to schedule a personalized marketing consultation with our president Michael Knutz.
Show Your Expertise with a Book
So much free legal information is now available on the internet that it has become difficult to impress prospects by merely having helpful content on your site.
When the information you provide is available on your site, prospects do not have to provide any contact details. They can browse your site and then head over to the competition without you knowing they are a quality prospect who considered you.
The better approach
To obtain contact information from a higher percentage of site visitors, and to bowl over those who do provide contact information, your lead magnet should be a book.
Law books and their authors remain at the pinnacle of respect for legal information providers because writing a law book is such a major accomplishment. Prospects understand that books require: (1) special knowledge, (2) major hours, and (3) commitment to the subject.
Trouble is, you probably don’t have time to write a book. Most successful lawyers don’t.
We created a book for you. Using our 35 years of legal publishing experience, we had experienced practitioners draft the manuscript with our guidance, and we then edited, formatted, and designed the finished product.
We brand the book with your name, photo, biography, and contact information. If you want to add any pages, you are welcome to do so at no additional charge.
Our marketing automation software automatically sends PDFs of the book to your prospects, and our shipping department can send print versions to your best prospects (we charge you for the printing, postage, and handling). At no extra charge you also receive a batch of printed books for your office to display or hand out.
Your Book Costs Nothing Extra
A book from you to your prospects is included at no additional charge with our marketing automation software.
Our marketing software for lawyers also:
- Keeps you top of mind by delivering an extensive educational drip series after sending your book
- Solicits reviews from your clients, lets you screen out any less-than-positive reviews, and then posts the reviews on Google or Facebook and your website
- Tracks the results of your marketing efforts so you know which to do more of and what to trim or eliminate
- Optionally eliminates most of your telephone charges by migrating you to internet dialing
- Includes an upfront business process and technology audit that saves the typical small firm several hundred/month in needless spending
Create an e-Book for Your Law Firm Website in 7 Steps
Crafting an e-book sounds more intimidating than it actually is; with Microsoft PowerPoint and your law firm website, you most likely already have all the materials needed to create and launch one. Still not convinced that you possess the marketing and technological know-how? The seven steps below will walk you through the process.
Step 1: Nail down a topic
Look through your archive of blog topics—most should do just fine for an e-book. Pare down the options by asking: what are your potential clients’ pain points? What sorts of topics would help you cultivate a discussion about using your services? For example, your typical criminal defense attorney has probably written about proper search and seizure for his law firm website’s blog before. He could expand upon it easily in an e-book, starting with the definition of search and seizure.
Decide upon your topic, and then open up Microsoft PowerPoint and title your e-book on the first slide (consider utilizing a PowerPoint template from a reputable online source if you’re new to e-books).
Step 2: Sketch an outline
Once you have your general topic, tweak it to be more general or specific depending on how long you’d like your e-book to be. Then, sketch an outline of the project—the topics and order of chapters—using a table of contents slide.
Step 3: Fill in the content
Save time by pulling from your blog posts to fill your outline with content, and then go back and add to each section as necessary until you’ve completed all chapters. Boil things down so readers aren’t bombarded with massive chunks of text or legal jargon.
Also, add a compelling call to action at the end along with your firm’s contact information. For example, “Concerned that the search of your home was improper? Consult our knowledgeable attorneys today by calling 999-999-9999!”
Step 4: Add images
If you’d like to clarify a confusing point or feel that the reader needs a break from constant text, feel free to insert images within your e-book.
Step 5: Finalize design
Play with colors, fonts, bulleted lists, bolding (for the most important points), and creative layouts for greater visual appeal. Don’t go overboard but watch out for going too sparse as well; it is a good idea to integrate at least your firm’s color palette and logo throughout as a bare minimum.
Step 6: Check quality
Go through and proofread everything.
- Check for typos
- Ensure that images appear correctly
- Make sure that all hyperlinks work
- Double check that the table of contents refers to appropriate page numbers
Step 7: Host on your website and offer it to visitors
You’re almost done! Now that your product is ready for viewing, all you have to do is host it somewhere. You already have a law firm website, so consider hosting an e-book landing page attached to that site. For instance, www.lawfirm.com could host their e-book on www.lawfirm.com/criminaldefensebook.
Afterward, make the book available for download in exchange for the viewer’s email address or participation in a brief survey.
Don’t have time to write content? We specialize in crafting quality content so you can accrue more clients. Ask us about our services!