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 for you law firm marketing plan, then you are mistaken. Digital marketing is the number one way to reach potential clients. Lead generation for lawyers involves multiple channels and can be direct and in-direct.
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 pulling out their cell phones 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 not the same landscape as it was when you were in law school.
1) Your responsibilities for your clients have not changed
2) People are still in need of attorneys.
The only difference today is with 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). This means that gaining your new client today is going to start with a simple Google search.
Your law firm needs to be one of the first websites that show up from a search. Plus, 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 reach your clients at any time of 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
Your clients will be different than someone else’s. It depends on the type of cases you handle, your geographical location, and your area of expertise. Competitive firms are now testing and discovering which forms of digital marketing are going to bring in the most clients.
We place law firm digital marketing into three categories: owned media, paid media, and earned media.
Studies have shown that email marketing campaigns have an excellent conversion rate. This means how many emails sent out it will 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 leads and clients. With an automated digital communication strategy, you can reach out and have a presence while remaining “hands off.” Automated emails and other communications can also give clients a good feeling. Even after their case is over and you’re paid, that they have still been taken care of by you. 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 use to attract potential clients. But we’ll talk more about that later.
First, let’s look at a few social media usage numbers:
92% of marketers say that social media is important to their business.
90% of all marketers said their social media efforts generated more exposure for their business.
By spending as little as six hours per week, 66% of marketers see lead generation benefits with social media.
61% of those investing at least six hours per week in social media marketing saw improvements in search engine rankings.
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 vital that you and your entire team commits to going digital. As we’ve pointed out, this can be scary to some. But once they begin to see results, and their paychecks get bigger and bigger, it will make more sense.
The big 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. They may be unfamiliar with using 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 many firms increase their number of clients year after year. With competition between attorneys and firms at an all-time high, you can’t afford to NOT be digital!
Come up with a process so that everyone on your staff is on board. Create a system to request online reviews of your firm from your happy customers. This should be a daily or weekly activity and will help your online footprint. Most people check online reviews before hiring a lawyer, so it’s best to accept this and adapt early.
Encourage your staff to share your social media posts
Get key staff members to contribute content to the blog (with editorial help)
4. Going mobile-first
Mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets, have taken over the desktop computer as the kings of digital technology. Your customer is likely going to be searching for and communicating with you on a mobile device. More Google searches take place on mobile devices than 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 XS. Direct your digital marketing needs towards the modern mobile user.
Adapt your new digital marketing efforts to mobile devices. Understand that most people are going to be viewing your website on a small screen. So having a responsive website that looks perfect on a mobile device is critical. Make sure to size your automatic communications and design them for a mobile user.
When it comes to interacting with your clients, most of them want to communicate through their 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 a preferred method of communication. There have been over 4 billion downloads of messenger apps (HubSpot, 2016). Equip your attorneys’ devices that allow them to communicate with their clients.
Don’t forget to integrate digital communications into your internal communication as well. There are many apps and programs available that can help you run your operations online. Apps like Slack help you and your employees communicate and share files in real time. It can be a lifesaver 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 a 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. High Quantity and Quality, not just High Quantity
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 and website content are helpful to an 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. Personalize it in such a way that every recipient believes it’s drafted and sent for them.
Don’t focus too much on the technology and changing the landscape. At the end of the day, what 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’ll get to know some intimate details into your client’s personal life.
Being available for your clients can grow your relationships, 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 of the digital world. 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. A client will test you when you meet face to face, and they are going to check 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 would embarrass you to say or express, get rid of it. 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. We do this so that what we do on your behalf is in line with your marketing goals. If you haven’t given it much consideration yet, you can even follow this guide on how to write a marketing plan.
6. Splitting a firm’s digital presence over too many sites
It’s common to not know where to start. It’s forgivable to think that to be successful in the digital marketplace, you need to have a presence everywhere. Think again! It depends on the type of practice you have, customer demographics, and style of marketing. The sites and platforms you use are going to change based on these factors.
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 has enough users. But if you practice commercial real estate law, do you even 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. While you figure out how everything works, you can try out different social media platforms and decide which ones are best for you. You may discover that your customers enjoy seeing you on Twitter. Or your LinkedIn page may get 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 a specific social media platform or profile.
Every day a new platform launches, so staying on top of changes in digital marketing spaces is important. Don’t sacrifice the quality of something that proves to be effective for something that is only a fad. Our experts at Digital Logic keep up with the communications scene. We can adjust your presence fast if need 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 one thing at a time. 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. Turn an article you wrote into a 2-3 min 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. This means there isn’t a person on the planet better or more prepared for public speaking! Videos with you and your employees get viewed by customers as personalized. They can help viewers get a sense of what you are all about in only a few minutes.
You’ll get a 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 auto-playing video ads. (HubSpot, 2016).
A great way to engage potential customers on social media is to create original graphics. They need to be simple and to the point. According to Buffer, “Visual content is 40x more likely to get shared on social media than any other type.”
A great idea would be to create an infographic that shows your win rate. If you’re a personal injury attorney, the average award you get for clients is interesting. 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 only limited to 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 cheap to buy and easy to use. Once you’ve recorded your show, do some minor editing. Then, you can place it on your site for your customers to download at their leisure. Podcasts are becoming more and more popular. Podcast listening grew 23% between 2015 and 2016 (Edison Research, 2016). 21% of Americans age 12 or older say they have listened to a podcast in the past month. (Pew Research Center, 2016).
Let us know if you’re law firm needs help setting up any of these actionable law firm marketing trends. Learn more about our Law Firm Marketing services.
Digital Logic is a Shreveport based company that works with both local and national businesses!