7 Critical Law Firm Marketing Trends Your Law Firm Needs To Know About
1.) Realizing that digital marketing is the key to getting new clients for your Law Firm
If you still believe that billboards and newspaper ads are going to do the job, you have been mistaken. Digital marketing is the number one way to reach potential clients.
The average adult in the US now spends 5.9 hours a day consuming Digital Media.
Consider this: Who is more likely to be in need of your services? A person driving down the road and seeing a billboard, or a person searching for “personal injury attorneys near me”? Your clients are not going to the yellow pages and looking for advertisements, they’re conveniently pulling out their cell phone and doing a quick google search.
The trends for people pulling out there phones and doing “near me” searches has exploded over the last 5 years. This sample is the search volume index in the United States for people searching for “Lawyer Near Me”
We understand that this is probably not the same landscape as it was when you were in law school; however, even if it is uncomfortable.
1) your responsibilities for your clients have not changed
2) people are still in need of attorneys.
The only difference is how you attract them and how you communicate with them.
According to Mashable “Google gets over 100 billion searches a month”, and 48% of consumers start mobile research with a search engine. (Smart Insights, 2016). The meaning of these statistics is that more likely than not, the genesis of gaining your new client is going to start with a simple internet search.
Your firm should be one of the first websites that show up from a search, and your website should be fast, easy to use, and attractive. The client expects you (or your firm) to be available to them 24/7.
A website filled with information, FAQS, a chat bar, and blog posts allows you to passively engage your clients at any time of the day. Take a look at this post on 20 Internet Marketing Ideas for Lawyers.
While you or your firm may be unfamiliar with the digital marketing landscape, it isn’t new.
2.)Trying several different strategies and platforms at once
Depending on the type of cases you handle, your geographical location, and your area of expertise, your clients will be different than someone else’s. The thing that competitive firms are doing is testing and discovering which form of digital marketing is going to bring in the most clients.
We generally place law firm digital marketing in three categories: owned media, paid media, and earned media.
Studies have shown that email marketing campaigns have an excellent conversion rate (i.e. how many emails sent does it take to gain one client). Three-quarters of companies agree that email offers “excellent” to “good” ROI. (Econsultancy, 2016).
By automating your email communications, you can communicate with your clients, potential clients, or even potential leads. With an automated digital communication strategy, you can reach out and have a presence while simultaneously remaining “hands off”. Automated emails and other communications can also give clients a feeling, even after their case is over and you’ve been paid, that they are still being taken care of by you. With that being said, they are much more likely to use you or your firm in the future because you’ve kept in contact with them.
Social media is another great tool that many law firms can employ successfully to attract potential clients, but we’ll talk more about that later.
Let’s look at a few social media usage numbers:
- 92% of marketers say that social media is important to their business. (Social Media Examiner, 2015)
- 90% of all marketers indicated that their social media efforts have generated more exposure for their businesses. (Social Media Examiner, 2015)
- By spending as little as six hours per week, 66% of marketers see lead generation benefits with social media. (Social Media Examiner, 2015)
- At least 61% of those investing a minimum of six hours per week in social media marketing saw improvements in search engine rankings. (Social Media Examiner, 2015)
3.)Everyone in the firm should buy into digital
As a lawyer, you’re not going to wait outside of the jail or in the courthouse hoping to catch someone in need of an attorney. In today’s market and with such an overabundance of new lawyers, it’s extremely vital that you and your entire team commit to going digital. As we’ve pointed out that this can be scary to some, once they begin to see results and their paychecks get bigger and bigger, they should be convinced.
The biggest challenge here is getting everyone excited to take on the new digital strategy. The latest technology may be foreign to some, especially people older in age, who are unfamiliar with things such as websites, social media, and the internet. Get your staff to accept the fact that in 2017 they need to embrace the digital life. If you have to train a few employees to be computer fluent, that’s fine, but employees who refuse to jump on the team and embrace the new direction are not going to help your firm grow.
The results will speak for themselves. Digital Logic has helped numerous firms increase their number of clients year after year, and with the competition between attorneys and firms at an all-time high, you ultimately cannot afford to NOT be digital!
Come up with a process so everyone on your staff is on board and you have a system in place to solicit online reviews of your firm from happy customers – this should be a daily or weekly activity and will significantly help your online footprint. The majority of people check online reviews prior to hiring a lawyer – accept this.
- Encourage your staff to share your social media posts
- Get key staff members to contribute content to the blog (with editorial help)
Mobile devices like smartphones and tablets have overtaken the desktop computer as the king of digital technology. Your customer is more than likely going to be searching for and communicating with you via a mobile device. In fact, more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the U.S. and Japan. (Google, 2015). That means that if you are still using a flip phone you are at a huge disadvantage to someone who has the iPhone 7. In addition, your digital marketing needs to be directed specifically towards the mobile user.
Also, ensure your digital marketing is adapted for a mobile device. Understand that most people are going to be viewing your website on a small screen, so having a dedicated mobile site that is easy to use is ideal. Also make sure your automatic communications are appropriately sized and designed for a mobile user.
When it comes to interacting with your clients, a good majority of them are going to want to communicate directly through the mobile device. And that doesn’t mean they want you to call them. Actually, the opposite is true. Text messages, iMessages, emails and Facebook messages are the new preferred method of communication. There have been over 4 billion downloads of messenger apps. (HubSpot, 2016), which means all of your attorneys need to be equipped with a device that allows them to communicate with their clients.
While you’re training your employees to interface with customers digitally, don’t forget to integrate digital communications into your internal communication as well. There are several apps and programs available that can help you run your operations more efficiently and effectively. Apps like Slack help you and your employees communicate and share files in real time. It can be a life saver if you are in the courthouse and need a document from the office as soon as possible.
Mobile Stats for Law Firms
- One-third of people use their smartphone as their primary device to access the internet. (HubSpot, 2016)
- 82% of smartphone users say they consult their phones on purchases they’re about to make in a store. (Google, 2016)
- 35% of smartphone users check their phone more than 50 times per day. (AdWeek, 2015)
- There are 2.6 billion smartphone users globally. By 2020, there will be 6.1 billion. (TechCrunch, 2015)
5.)Producing content that is higher in quality, instead of just high quantity
While it is true that we want you to have the biggest online presence as possible, if that presence appears amateurish or robotic, you’re actually at a disadvantage. Ensure that your blog posts, website content are helpful to the audience seeking legal help, or legal information.
When you are drafting your blog posts, automated emails, and other communication, make sure it sounds like an actual person wrote it, and personalize it in such a way that every recipient believes it was drafted and sent just for them.
Don’t focus too much on the technology and the changing landscape, because at the end of the day what really matters is that your client feels as though they matter to you. When a person hires an attorney, it’s not usually for something pleasant. During the course of a case, you’re going to get to know some intimate details into your client’s personal life.
Being available to your client can help grow your relationship and make you more successful, and they are going to expect you to be able to engage through digital means. If this makes you uncomfortable, you’ll need to reshape your view on the digital world, and think of it as an opportunity to be better available to your client, and thus a better attorney.
If you post content to your website, make sure that the content is going to be informative and add value to a visitor’s experience. If it’s not, it doesn’t need to be there. One good thing to remember is that every interaction a client has with your digital marketing is like an interaction the client has with you. Just the way a client will evaluate you when you meet face to face, they are also going to evaluate the quality of your digital communications. So take the time and seize the opportunity to make a good impression.
If you have something published that you would be embarrassed to say or express, get rid of it, and don’t put anything online without your seal of approval. At Digital Logic, we take a lot of time to understand our customer’s needs, goals, and business, so that what we do on your behalf is in line with your overall strategy.
6.)Splitting a firm’s digital presence over too many sites
It’s common to not know where to start, and it’s forgivable to think that be successful in the digital marketplace you need to have a presence everywhere. Think again, depending on the type of practice you have and your customer demographics, your type of marketing, and thus the sites and platforms you use are going to change.
Almost every business and firm has a Facebook page, and that’s not a bad place to start. 72% of adult internet users use Facebook. (Pew Research Center, 2015) so it certainly has enough users. But if you practice commercial real estate law, do you really need a Snapchat? Probably not, and in fact, it may seem inappropriate or childish. Especially when you consider that 52% of Snapchat users are under the age of 25. (Statista, 2016).
A good rule is to look at the type of clients you handle and go where they go. Just like when you were figuring out what working and what does, you can try different social media platforms and determine which ones work the best for you. You may discover that your customers really enjoy seeing you on twitter, or your LinkedIn page gets more hits than you anticipated.
Be flexible and go where the customers go. Try not to get locked into one way of thinking and get your heart set on specific social media platform or profile.
Every day a new platform launches, and staying on top of changes within digital marketing spaces is important, just don’t sacrifice the quality of something that has already been proven to be effective for something that is more than likely a passing fad. Our experts at Digital Logic are plugged into the communications scene, and we can adjust your presence accordingly if needs be. When you’re first starting to bring your firm into the digital space, stick with the basics, and keep it simple.
7.)Expanding beyond just written copy
In today’s era, it’s hard enough to get someone to sit down and focus on just one thing at a time, so asking someone to try and read through a ton of blog posts and advertisements is going to be tricky. 4X as many customers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it. (Animoto, 2015). So a great way to capture a wider audience is through the creation of videos.
These short videos aren’t hard to make, even if you have zero experience. You can easily condense an article you wrote into a 2-3 minute animated video and post it as part of your digital marketing strategy. You’re much more likely to get someone to watch it than you are to get someone to read a story about it. Don’t be camera shy!
At first it might seem intimidating to get in front of a camera and appear in a video, but remember, you’re an attorney which means there isn’t a person on the planet better or more prepared for public speaking! Videos with you and your employee’s are seen by customers as personal and can help them get a sense of what you are all about in just a few minutes.
You’ll get return on your time tenfold when you are able to publish videos. Be cautious though, and stay away from ads that are autoplay enabled. 51% of people have a lower opinion of brands that use autoplaying video ads. (HubSpot, 2016).
Another great way to engage potential customers on social media is to create original graphics. They just need to be simple and to the point, but according to Buffer “Visual content is 40 more times more likely to get shared on social media than any other type of content.”
A great idea would be to create an infographic that shows your win rate and possibly if you are a personal injury attorney, the average amount of award you get for your clients. Little things with your name on them that will catch your customer’s eye. If you need help, we can design graphics and logos that stand out and reflect your firm’s personality. As well as your accomplishments.
You aren’t limited to just graphics and video either. If you have an interesting topic you’d like to publish for your customers, consider making a podcast. Podcasts are user created talk radio shows. You can record them on your computer using one of many different applications. Some of the simpler applications are relatively cheap to buy and easy to use. Once you’ve recorded your show and done some minor editing, you can place it on your site for your customers to download at their leisure. Podcasts are becoming more and more popular, and Podcast listening grew 23% between 2015 and 2016. (Edison Research, 2016) (Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics) with 21% of Americans age 12 or older say they have listened to a podcast in the past month. (Pew Research Center, 2016) (Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics).
Let us know if you’re law firm needs help implementing any of these actionable law firm marketing trends. Learn more about our Law Firm Marketing services.