Do You Have a Back-Up Plan?

A few weeks ago, here in Chicago, we had what you might call “a torrential downpour.” Where I live, we received 9 inches of rain in a 45 minute period. Water filled the streets, cars with flooded tailpipes got left behind mid-way through intersections, and in my own front yard the water flowed over the curb and half way up the front lawn.

This might not have been a problem for my house in particular, except for the fact that the power went out for 14 hours. No power, no sump pump pumping everything back out to the street. So it filled up the basement. Rain and sewage water soaked the carpet, the furniture, the kids’ toys and irreplaceable memorabilia.

In High Performance Marketing, we run nationwide marketing across multiple websites and deliver consumers to lawyers. That means “downpours” are inevitable sometimes. This can come in the form of traffic fluctuations on the internet, outages across websites, surges and traffic spikes, and even partnership changes amongst the search engines that cause huge variations in expensive traffic being sent our way.

When it rains, preparation is everything. If we don’t have a system in place, we could end up paying for advertising that gets sent to a website that is “down”, wasting money and creating a negative impression on those visitors. That’s why we employ multiple methods and back-up plans to ensure that things keep running smoothly, and that we can react quickly when they don’t.

For example, we have call center agents available 24/7/365, and automated email alerts to key personnel. Other reports are sent at 6 am every morning, and analytics people monitor traffic by the hour, with team members responding to fluctuations that look awry.

Many of these solutions have arisen out of calamities along the way. We’re fond of saying around here, “let’s find out what caused this, and put a process in place to make sure it never happens again.”

As a small firm attorney, or even a solo practictioner, you may be asking “what can I do to safeguard my law firm against a business downpour or a drought?”

Or, put another way, “what am I doing now to protect my marketing investment, in the event that I’m not available for incoming prospect calls?”

That’s your downpour: prospective clients are calling and falling off the table because you’re in court, traveling, at home with your family or just meeting with a client. Just as we’d lose money and good will if our ads were driving traffic to a site that was “down”, your law firm is losing money and potential relationships when no one is available to pick up the phone.

You’ve put in the time and money to create the ads, find the outlets and place the ads, and that’s time and money spent whether you pick up the phone and close the deal with that prospective client or not.

The flipside is a drought: you’re busy with your current clients or something outside the office and you don’t have time to market your practice or think about keeping your pipeline full. You may still see some impact from your past efforts for a while, but in time the stream becomes a trickle and then the trickle runs dry.

That’s why in High Performance Marketing, we keep things running even when you’re busy with the practice of law. Our online marketing staff keeps our websites fresh, our ad content current and optimized, and works to stay at the top of the search engines for terms key to your business.

And that’s not all. We don’t just fill the pipeline with prospects; our call center follows up on inquiries for you so that you’re not losing prospective clients while you’re busy doing your job. And, if you want to take it one step further, our Virtual Receptionist can schedule appointments for you while you’re away.

When an unexpected drought or downpour strikes, recovery can be time-consuming and expensive.

Even now, 5 weeks later, we’re still dealing with ‘fun’ projects such as having cracks filled, sealing potential future leaks in the floor concrete, replacing the carpeting and furniture, getting a battery back-up sump pump in place and trying to get back to where we were before the flood.

Don’t let that happen to your business. Put the systems in place to protect you from both downpours and droughts and keep the water at a reasonable level in good times and bad.