The challenges of creating the marketing strategy of a law firm have always existed, especially in terms of maximizing public presence, acquiring new clients, and maintaining good reputations. However, digital marketing has created a new twist to these challenges.
Technology is now at the forefront of determining how effective a marketing strategy is and lawyers have to grapple with this new reality. They have had to quickly adapt to social media, search engine optimization, and content creation.
They can no longer sit back and wait for clients to knock on their door. The internet era is only favoring those who combine traditional and digital marketing tactics.
This paper looks at some of the digital marketing challenges that law firms are currently facing. We present solutions to these problems and tools that law firms can implement to tackle most of the issues.
Gone are the days when attorneys marketed themselves in the Yellow Pages and on bus stop benches. Marketing used to be simpler. Lawyers used referrals, print ads, TV commercials, and billboards.
But simpler doesn’t always mean more effective. At least not when it comes to modern marketing in highly competitive industries.
These strategies worked great before the internet but they can no longer be relied upon to deliver results.
According to a Legal Trends Report carried out by Clio, law firms are having a tough time assessing the resources needed to find and retain clients. Fifty-four percent use advertising, but 91 percent of them cannot calculate the ROI of their advertisement. Ninety-four percent don’t know the cost of acquiring a client.
Today’s target audience spends most of their time online. Search engines have replaced the Yellow Pages.
Referrals from friends, families, and other lawyers are still popular at 59 percent, but 57 percent frequent the internet to carry out research. They visit lawyers’ websites, seek online reviews, and use social media to search for the best firm to represent them.
Image Source: Clio Legal Trends Report
Digital marketing is revolutionizing marketing for lawyers. Law firms are now using digital strategies to run their marketing campaigns. With digital marketing, you set your law firm apart, boost your search engine ranking, and improve the quality of customer relationships.
Today’s digital marketing challenges start with keeping up with rapid changes and convincing leadership to try new tactics. Law firms also don’t have enough resources to handle digital efforts.
Image Source: Good2bSocial
They are yet to appreciate the benefits of digital marketing. According to the survey mentioned above, law firms rate the importance of digital marketing at four on a scale of one to five. Fifty percent of them allocated only 15 percent of their budget to digital marketing.
This problem seems to be stemming from a lack of understanding of digital marketing benefits and tactics.
How can it enhance their position and generate new opportunities?
What do open rates on emails mean?
What do the click-through rates, bounce rates, engagement, and reach mean for the firm?
Law firms are also dealing with an inability to gather and analyze data. Consequently, convincing the law firm leaders of digital marketing value becomes difficult.
The traditional way of marketing may have worked in the past, but it now needs to be integrated with digital strategies. This method does not give prospects a choice since you’re advertising on the radio, you have brochures in the mail, and your face is on all park benches.
Digital marketing gives your audience a choice. The audience does not have to listen to you or read your email. They choose how and when to learn and engage with you.
But this is actually not a bad thing for law firms. In fact, if you know how to leverage digital marketing, it can be a welcomed change.
Plastering your face on park benches may get the attention of passersby, but their attention will move elsewhere just as fast. Having a digital marketing strategy helps you target.
The cost of running ads on billboards and television is also more expensive than that of running digital marketing campaigns. Plus, the consumers you reach via digital marketing are within your target market. Digital marketing channels allow you to prequalify people who see your content so that you don’t waste money on advertising to those who will never become clients.
Image Source: WebFX
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t (or can’t) incorporate traditional media too. You can publish articles, advertise on video, host webinars, host podcasts, and much more. If you think about it, all these are similar to TV or radio advertising but they are adapted to digital consumers and channels.
With digital marketing, you communicate with consumers better, you get feedback and you get to answer questions in real-time. It also gives you the ability to track results, target the exact audience, and use data to make decisions.
Traditional media, on the other hand, has hidden costs like spikes in prices during peak advertising time on radio and TV, mailing costs, and billboard prices that depend on location and traffic.
Most legal firms also run their businesses either in their city, town, or county. Very few have practices worldwide. Thus, it becomes even easier to come up with a strategy that targets the right people.
Digital marketing gives your law firm a comprehensive approach to getting clients, engaging them, and converting them to loyal clients. But in order to do all this, you need a strategy that effectively captures, nurtures, and converts.
To succeed, you need goals.
What do you want to achieve? What do you hope to get from your digital efforts?
Find a strategy that helps you reach these goals and define your key performance indicators.
The benefits of adopting digital marketing strategies include improving brand awareness, enhancing thought leadership, and generating qualified leads.
Image Source: Good2bSocial
Before choosing a marketing strategy, it’s important to carry out audience research. Find out who your target audience is and the platforms they frequent.
What are their pain points, and how can you solve them?
It’s also important to carry out a competitive analysis. Find out:
Armed with this information, review your current strategy:
- Which is the best law firm in terms of digital marketing?
- What areas are they prioritizing?
- How is their website?
- What are their strengths and weaknesses in terms of digital marketing?
- How effective are your current digital efforts?
- What are your digital marketing goals?
- What are your key performance indicators?
- What is your budget?
- Do you have the right resources in terms of personnel?
Once you sort this out, implement the following digital marketing tactics*:
*Quick note: you don’t have to implement everything on the list. In fact, it’s advisable you don’t spread yourself too thin and focus on the areas and platforms that will yield the best ROI.
1. Have an Optimized Website
Most lawyers have a website that only showcases their company profile. Research indicates that the likelihood of having a website for law firms depends on the size. Solo firms are least likely to have one at 55 percent.
Although referrals are still a great part of marketing for lawyers, most clients will turn to Google when they need help. If they don’t find your website, then they will contact your competitor.
Other times, the client goes online to search for more information before making a decision. Having a website increases the possibility that they will find the information they are looking for. It’s an opportunity to showcase your expertise and this increases the chances of the client calling you.
Having a website is not enough. You need to provide valuable and relevant content. Content that solves the client’s problems. Having quality content increases the chances of the potential client calling to schedule an appointment or emailing to get more information.
Use content marketing to drive customer action. Use it to create awareness, increase visibility, increase social traffic, and increase conversions. According to HubSpot:
- Marketers who prioritize blogging have a 13-time better likelihood of seeing a positive ROI.
- Thirty-two percent of marketers consider visual images the most important in content marketing
- Content marketing drives three times more leads than paid search.
Based on your ideal customer research, provide content on your audience wants to hear, read, or watch.
An optimized website drives traffic to your site and engages the potential client. To achieve this, ensure that the website is:
Your website should be mobile-friendly. Google rolled out the mobile-first indexing in 2018. According to the release, Google will increasingly use the mobile version of websites to index and rank them.
Not having a responsive website on different devices and browsers affects your rank on SERPs and the traffic you get.
Fast Loading Site
The more time your page takes to load, the bigger your bounce rate. Get the page to load faster if you want better traffic.
To increase page load speed, you should:
Image Source: Think with Google
- Improve server response time
- Shrink images
- Compress file sizes
Make your website accessible to everyone, including those with disabilities. Some of the precautions to take include ensuring that your images have descriptions and alt tags.
There should be text-based versions of documents and the ability to access forms through voice command. Also, ensure that your website is ADA Compliant.
Conversion-Centered Landing Pages (CCD)
CCD targets the ability to design experiences that help achieve business goals. It guides the potential client towards a specific action using psychological triggers and persuasive design.
There are design elements and psychological tactics you can use to persuade visitors to complete a conversion goal. The design elements include:
2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Encapsulation: ensuring the visitor’s eye does not wander away from the call to action.
- Contrast and color: use color and contrast to make your call to action stand out from surroundings.
- Directional cues: visual indicators that guide visitors towards what you desire them to do. They include arrows and pathways.
- White space: using simple spatial positioning to make the call to action stand out
- Urgency and scarcity: using scarcity and urgency as psychological motivators
- Try before you buy: give people a preview of your services
- Social proof: use testimonials to create a sense of trust while enhancing the “me too” factor
SEO grows your firm’s visibility in non-paid search results. It helps people find the services you offer.
Search engines can drive traffic to your site, but how much traffic you actually get depends on the value and relevance of your content.
Some of the ranking factors to consider include:
- Backlinks: Ensure high-quality links are linking to your site to increase ranking. Search engines use links to analyze the popularity of the site, trustworthiness, and authority. They also use it to determine spam. Backlinks act like referrals – the more other sites link to you, the more trustworthy search engines think you are.
- Content: Quality is key in producing SEO optimized content. Publish informative, professionally written, new, unique, and interesting content.
- Optimize for mobile: Visitors should experience the same clarity when they visit your website from a mobile device as they did when they accessed it from a desktop. The layout and content should fit the screen, and the site should load fast.
- Keyword relevance: Using the right keywords makes it easy for people to find your site.
Ranking high for local searches is crucial for law firms. Organic SEO ranks your website higher whenever a potential client searches for keywords you target. These searches sometimes include a local element.
Image Source: Google
Eighty-two percent of consumers have tried a ‘near me search” using their mobile devices. Fifty-nine percent of the shoppers who conducted these searches clicked on the first three search results.
Image Source: Uberall
Fifty percent of consumers who carry out a ‘near me search,’ visit the location in a day while 18 percent of these searches lead to a purchase.
To take advantage of these statistics, law firms should leverage Google My Business. Optimizing your Google My Business page creates a mini-site for your firm on Google, and it becomes easier to rank at the top of search results.
Best practices for Google my Business include:
3. Email Marketing
- Verify your practice
- Provide your firm’s name, phone number, and address
- Choose relevant categories for your services
- Provide a brief description of your practice. Include services you offer, relevant keywords, and a call to action
- List your business hours
- Include clear images of your logo, headshots of your partners, and a group shot of your lawyers
Email marketing allows you to send targeted messages to potential clients and current clients. Automating your email marketing allows you to send emails to different clients based on their needs at the right time.
You can send welcome emails, thank you emails and tips. You can also use the emails to market your services or even offer your clients tutorials.
4. Social Media Marketing
Attorney at Work found that 71 percent of lawyers believe social media marketing helps bring in new clients.
Image Source: Attorney at Work
Social media marketing allows you to create content tailored to different social media platforms. It allows you to drive engagement and connect directly with prospects where they are actively seeking your services.
The most effective platforms, according to Attorney at Work, are LinkedIn and Facebook. Use these platforms to stay in touch with contacts, build your brand, drive traffic to the website, and keep up with trends.
Digital Marketing Tools for Law Firms
These marketing tools will help your law firm deal with most digital marketing challenges. They will help your firm find qualified leads, nurture them, and convert them. They include:
Email Marketing Automation Tools
Email marketing helps you put the right content in front of potential clients. Automation allows you to segment your target clients based on different criteria. These include legal service interest, current clients, geography, interested clients, and current clients.
With segmentation, you can personalize messages so that they are relevant and useful to the target audience. Automation allows you to:
- Remind clients of upcoming appointments and other details including documents needed, and directions to the office/ meeting place
- Deliver helpful content to potential and current clients. You can encourage potential clients to set up an appointment
- Send clients updates on case proceedings and what they need to do next
- Send reminders to clients on how far the case has gone and how they can contact you for further information
You can set email campaigns in advance, which saves you time and allows you to focus on high-value tasks.
Some of the best automation tools include Mailchimp, HubSpot, Act-On, Constant Contact, Drip, and ActiveCampaign.
Social Media Automation
The Attorney at Work study found that 52 percent of law firms use social media management tools.
Image Source: Attorney at Work
Social media automation tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, and
Sendible help your firm engage prospects and clients from one place. They help you plan content across various platforms and publish according to your schedule. You can track brand mentions and listen to what people are saying about you.
The tools also provide analytics to help you determine what content to post and when. You can also work on targeted campaigns and collaborate with different teams.
Document management is a huge time saver for law firms. Lawyers and their staff spend a lot of time on repetitive tasks. By automating, you reduce the burden of sending thank you letters, congratulations, reminders, and other documents that don’t require personalization.
Your clients get timely communication and your staff gets time to handle other tasks. You also eliminate repetitive tasks and manage a wide variety of documents from one dashboard.
Some document automation tools include Dropbox and Zoho Docs.
Customer Relationship Management Software
The State of CRM at Law Firms by Ackert shows that CRM adoption is growing in law firms. The firms use CRM to handle mostly contact management and email integration.
Image Source: Ackert
The best CRM for your law firm will help you capture lead information, create documents for signing and sending, and track matters until the client signs. They categorize clients into groups to help you get in touch with them.
Some of the best CRM for law firms include Salesforce, Zoho CRM, Highrise, SugarCRM, and Nimble.
Do not let digital marketing challenges dampen your firm’s spirit. There are ways to turn your practice around using digital marketing tactics. Combine various techniques and find several that work to grow your firm.
Digital marketing strategies can help you find quality leads, nurture them, and turn them into loyal clients. Plan before using any of the tools, define goals and key metrics, then analyze to ensure that you are working towards achieving them.
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