Creating a Marketing Action Plan
This is the last of the five-part series on how experts can craft a successful marketing plan with measurable goals and accountability.
Part one was creating the mission and vision, part two was competitor analysis, part three was self-analysis and part four was crafting a marketing strategy and fifth and last is to put all of the pieces into something actionable.
This is the part of the marketing plan where you are going to put all of your lofty goals and research into actionable steps and then execute those steps. I will also talk about how to create some accountability, when to hire a marketing consultant and how to avoid those tempting “get clients quick” schemes.
Before I launch into the details of pulling everything together into action plans, I want to give you one piece of advice about marketing a service vs. marketing a product. Unlike a product that your customer can touch and send back if it breaks or doesn’t fulfill its promise– marketing a service is very different. You are asking your client to take a leap of faith that you can deliver a quality service – i.e. being an effective expert witness. As an expert witness, you need to be very careful about not making promises in your marketing, but you can and should be a thought leader in your field. On top of being a thought leader, being polished, professional and consistent is the key to your success. You are the product and you have to continue to bring quality to the relationship with the client or they won’t come back. That means from the first contact to the finished report, you and your team bring exceptional customer service to the table.
Multi-channel marketing is a term thrown around a lot in product marketing and it applies to marketing services as well. It means simply that you need to have a variety of activities to reach your target clients.
This may include:
• Public relations
• Speaking engagements
• Writing articles
• Internet marketing including blogs, email blasts, search engine optimization
• Brochures & Other Direct Mail Campaigns
• Client meetings
• Networking functions
• Expert Witness Lists & Brokerages
Pick two or three of the above activities that will make the biggest impact in 60 days and fits your marketing budget. Write down which activities you will pursue. Putting things in writing will make you more accountable and look at that list daily. Break your activity down into small steps, keeping in mind the target goal. For example, a medical expert has added lung cancer from vaporizers as an expertise. The expert has decided that the cannabis industry is an area that they could get new clients. By speaking at conferences in this area, the expert will increase their potential client pool. The expert researches which conferences have the clients they want, publishes articles and blog posts that they can forward to conference organizers when they contact them to volunteer to speak and posts those articles on social media.
After 60 days, evaluate whether the activity has met your goals and budget. Your marketing plan should be revisited bi-monthly because it is going to require updates, tweaks, and refreshes on a regular basis. You are going to test messages to see what resonates with certain clientele and how to hone your marketing to be effective for your particular expertise.
Tracking your marketing activity success or failure is vital to this process. If you don’t know where your best efforts are made, then you are marketing in the dark. While online marketing is easier to track through analytics, it isn’t as simple as some marketing experts will have you believe. This is especially true in marketing a service. While a potential client may visit your website, they may not pick up the phone and engage you until someone else referrers you or they hear you speak at a conference. It is essential to ask the question “how did you find me?” or “who referred you” when doing the intake. Without that information, you won’t know which marketing activity yields a higher return.
When to hire a marketing expert and how to work effectively with one.
There is no shame in DIY marketing for experts, but if the prospect of doing the research required to create an effective marketing strategy is overwhelming, it is time to call in a marketing consultant. If you don’t have the skills or time to create a professional website or social media content but you want to have that as a client-producing activity, it is time to call in a marketing consultant. Before you hire any marketing consultant, ask how much experience they have with marketing services and furthermore, how much experience they have marketing experts. Because expert witness marketing is so specialized and nuanced, any marketing missteps by you or your consultant could be significant and brought up in litigation. Make hiring a marketing consultant as careful a decision as your clients do when hiring you.
Once you have engaged a marketing consultant, you aren’t completely off the hook. You cannot sit back and let the marketing consultant take over. We are not the subject matter expert in your area and we need your input. Set up weekly touch base meetings with your consultant to make sure those tasks are taken care of and aren’t languishing. Effective marketing is marketing that is out in the world, not sitting on your consultant’s computer, waiting for you.
Now that you have some activities in mind and you may decide to either hire a marketing consultant or do it yourself – here are some caveats around marketing. Growth marketing is the latest trend. Do not fall for the promises of quick turnaround or rapid growth. Do not assume that a slick website and search engine optimization will make clients want to sign you up. While you need to have a clean website, and a professional image as clients will check your website to assure themselves that you are legitimate, clients will not come flooding in if you rise to the top of a google search. While you may be on several expert witness lists and pay handsomely for it, clients will also not flood in from that source either. Attorneys and paralegals hire experts because of their reputation. They hire experts because they met them or someone else referred them and they are comfortable working with the expert, not because they had a slick website and cool toys that the expert handed at a conference. You are the product, not your website or your swag.
So, there you have it, 5 steps to building and implementing an effective expert witness marketing plan. I have full faith that you can take these steps and put into action. Let me know about your successes (and failures). I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or comments about this series.