In this week’s edition of Things I Wish I Knew, New York Lawyer Joleena Louis shares her experience with failed marketing techniques, and how your firm can avoid a similar setback.
When it comes to marketing, not every technique you implement is going to be a winner. Knowing when to reevaluate and move on is the key to saving your time and money.
Several times in my practice, I realized that certain marketing tactics were no longer working.
The most notable instance for me was when I decided to leave my BNI group. BNI is a networking group that has many “chapters” across the globe. I was a member of a chapter that met at 7 a.m. every Tuesday morning.
Unlike most other networking opportunities, members of the group are required to share warm referrals on a regular basis. There were several other attorneys in my chapter who received a regular stream of referrals from the group.
But it simply wasn’t working for me. I received a few warm leads but nothing close to the fees associated with being a part of the group.
And then there was the time commitment. It was 7a.m. but I often meet with clients before court or before they had to go to work. And evenings would be even more difficult to commit to. The group works best when you show up consistently and there are limits to the number of meetings you can miss.
I eventually came to the realization that the time and money I was putting into it was not resulting in a positive return on my investment. It was hard to make the decision to leave because I didn’t want to disappoint the group, but I knew it was the right thing to do for my business.
What Went Wrong
I think the problem was that it was a random collection of people who were not in fields that were not necessarily connected to each other nor to my practice area. So it was difficult for them to refer me to my ideal client, which is why I joined the group in the first place.
I felt that hour a week would be better spent meeting with referral sources who were closer to the clients I was trying to reach. And that proved to be a better choice.
Ultimately, I don’t think joining the group was a total waste of time. While in the group, I learned how to effectively communicate what I do and who my ideal client is. And I met some really fantastic people who I still occasionally send referrals.
My Advice to You
If you are ever in a situation where you question the effectiveness of a marketing strategy, here is what you should do:
Spot It Early. Know exactly what you want to get out of each marketing tactic. Set a measurable goal so that you can easily see if it is working in the way you wanted. If I had to do it over again I would have set a goal getting at least two new clients from the group in the first three months. If I didn’t reach that goal I would decide whether or not the group was worth continuing at that point.
Make adjustments. Figure out why the method is not working and make any changes or adjustments that will make it work. It’s possible I just wasn’t in the right group. In hindsight, I should have looked for a group of professionals that catered to my ideal client, and one that met at a more convenient time for me.
Make the Change. If there is no way to adjust, you have to know when to let go and move on. Spending time and resources on a marketing technique that’s not working will ultimately be harmful to your business. The faster you let go and move on, the sooner you will find a technique that works.
Giving up on a marketing technique can be scary, especially if you don’t know what to try next. But letting go of what’s not working will give you the time and resources to figure out a technique that does work.