Your LNC marketing plan is a piece of your business plan. The business plan spells out what your business does and does not do as well as your business goals. It covers more than marketing as it discusses your services, financing, staffing, and strategic alliances. It also includes your vision.
If you’ve ever taken out a business loan, you may have written a business plan.
Overall, think of the business plan as the cornerstone for your business. You’ll modify your business plan when you decide to add staff, services, or new target markets of attorneys.
Your business plan should help you identify what you need to change in your marketing plan. An LNC marketing plan gives you direction and helps you budget for the coming year. Its pieces help you achieve clarity about marketing your LNC business.
Parts of an LNC Marketing Plan
There are many components to a marketing plan:
- Mission statement
- Executive summary
- Internal or external analysis
- Implementation plan
- Evaluation methods
The mission statement should contain a clear, simple description of the goals of your LNC business. It defines what drives the company.
The executive summary is a concise overview that summarizes the main objectives of your marketing plan.
The internal analysis provides the background of the company, the current status, future directions, current resources, as well as its strengths and weaknesses.
For example, one of the strengths may be that as the business owner you are currently working part time in an acute care setting, thus staying in touch with changes in health care.
One of the weaknesses of the company may be that you are responsible as a sole practitioner for doing everything in the company, and you act as a bottleneck. Invoices don’t get written unless you do them.
The external analysis includes the economy, the demographics of your attorney audience, trends, competition from other LNCs and offshore medical summary companies, and target markets.
The Executive Summary should be brief, a single page, and located at the front of the marketing plan. It should use short sentences as well as bullet points for the major issues. It spells out what someone reading your marketing plan needs to know in order to make sense of it all.
The summary provides readers with a concise description of the upcoming plans for your company while also highlighting your main thoughts. Generally, this summary is written after the completion of the marketing plan.
You should also list your competition: who is marketing to your target market. You’ll identify these people at local meetings of LNCs and at attorney conferences when you look around the exhibit area.
To the extent you can, determine how they are marketing and the services they offer. List the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors and how you are different.
I do not recommend you pose as an attorney, call up a competitor and ask about the cost of services. That is sneaky and unethical. LNCs have tried that with me and I could detect their lies.
The clients and target markets section describes the requirements of the current and potential clients. What do they need? What services can you offer? What new services are your attorney clients asking for?
For the marketing strategies include the types of clients you want to serve, the target markets, programs, services, packaging, pricing, and promotion.
The implementation strategies should include the steps, responsibilities, deadlines, and budget. The marketing budget spells out costs of advertising, direct mail, website maintenance fees, exhibiting at attorney conferences, and printing.
When you are evaluating your LNC marketing plan you need to understand your success measurements. How will you evaluate the effectiveness of your plan?
Your database and accounting software should allow you to measure the number of new clients, repeat clients, revenue generated from a single attorney, revenue generated from a law firm, and total revenue. Also structure your database so you can determine which services are in highest demand.
The size of your marketing plan is dependent upon the size of your company. If you run a small company, you can generally create a marketing plan that is no more than a handful of pages. I recommend printing out the plan, putting it in a binder in your office, and reviewing it at least quarterly. You can include a section for monthly reports on revenue and other parameters you are measuring. I developed quarterly goals with my staff and discussed them monthly.
A marketing plan should cover the length of one year. This is because markets will evolve and your clients will change.
It is helpful to include a section in your marketing plan that addresses two or four-year segments. Whether or not you do this, the majority of your marketing plan should address the coming year.
Develop your marketing plan in the last quarter of the year. The development of the plan is the hardest part. Executing the plan will bring with it challenges, but the biggest challenge is deciding what your company should do in the market and how to do it. Generally, a marketing plan will begin with the first of the year or with the opening of the fiscal year if they are not the same.
An LNC marketing plan keeps you focused, on track and able to evaluate new opportunities to spend your marketing money. For example, I used to advertise in publications that listed legal vendors. When a new client contacted me, I asked where he had heard about our company.
By tracking these responses, I was able to determine that the money I spent on ads was not yielding the results I wanted. I reallocated that money for other types of marketing.