Most business owners recognize that high turnover rates come with a pretty hefty price tag. With a small law firm, the expense can be even greater because most simply can’t afford a devoted HR team to find a replacement and a training program to introduce a new employee to the various processes and protocol of the office.
One area where continuity is required but often overlooked is online marketing. What happens when your in-house marketing point person departs unexpectedly? Will the number of leads you generate online each month take a hit? Will you even be able to remove your former CMO’s name from the staff page on your website? To ensure your online presence doesn’t take a hit when your go-to marketing person calls it quits, consider the following:
Don’T Put All of Your Eggs in One Website Basket
In an effort to “simplify things”, attorneys will often entrust the development of their websites to an in-house marketing person who may have some experience with site management. These websites can be problematic for a few reasons. First and foremost, they are usually pretty lackluster in design and functionality. Unless your in-house marketing person is a devoted web developer, they likely don’t have the experience or expertise to build a really professional site for your practice. Instead, you’ll end up with a boilerplate WordPress site which is easy to produce with minimal skills. And even if you’re fine with a very basic site, what happens when your webmaster leaves the firm? Will you know how to update it? Do you know another webmaster who can quickly come in and take it over at a reasonable cost?
To avoid this disruption to your web presence, consider hiring an outside developer who will work closely with your marketing contact. This individual, or company, serves a sort of back-up who can provide direct support and make sure your website isn’t impacted during the transition.
All Online Accounts Should Be Linked to a Named Partner
Over the past few years, the legal community has embraced social media and firms across the country have created Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ accounts to increase visibility and connect with contacts across the industry. In most cases, social media outreach is the responsibility of the firm’s marketing contact and he or she is charged with setting up accounts and posting regular updates. Far too often, attorneys take a hands-off approach for these efforts, and don’t even know the login credentials for their various online accounts. To ensure you can log in and manage them (and even protect against a disgruntled former marketing consultant), it’s absolutely imperative that a partner is named as the owner with his or her email address on file with the website.
It’s also a good idea to keep a list of all online accounts along with the corresponding username and password for each. This document should also contain a list of all marketing contacts (e.g. website host, brochure designer, etc). For security reasons, this list should never be printed but storing it on a shared (secure) office drive can help to keep everything in one central location for convenient retrieval.
Make Marketing a Team Effort
We know that as an attorney, time is never easy to come by and for many, marketing takes a backseat to billable work. In fact, the very reason that firms hire an in-house marketing consultant is to help them save time by delegating responsibility. And while we understand the need for help, marketing is absolutely crucial to a firm’s success and the only way to ensure continuity is to have other members of the team involved. Consider holding a short meeting each week where your marketing consultant will provide you with an outline of the week’s goals and efforts to accomplish these. Keep all of these on file and review them periodically to make sure you’re on track for success.