This is a follow-up article to an article we published three months ago, which also dealt with digital marketing for lawyers. In it, we explained why digital marketing is important for lawyers and we also focused on some of the tools lawyers have at their disposal: websites, blogging, SEO, social media, reputation management and reviews.
Marketing often is something that lawyers see as a necessary evil. To make matters worse, online marketing is substantially different from traditional marketing. Some of this was discussed in our ‘Why Social Media Matter‘ article. In it, we explained that “the old ways of turning visitors into customers are not the most effective in an online paradigm. In the new online marketplace, everybody offering products or services must realise that they also are publishers, and that potential customers are content consumers. The way to turn website visitors into customers is to turn them into regular content consumers first.”
In this new marketplace, lawyers must publish websites and blogs, and engage with potential customers on social media. They must take things into account like user experience and website design; mobile functionality and local search presence. They have to focus on online intake of new clients, on customer service and client experience, as well as on reviews, reputation and authority. And most importantly, they have to work on how to turn website and blog visitors into regular content consumers, before they can be converted to clients.
So, practically speaking, where does one start? The first step is to know your audience and competitors. One of the advantages of the online marketplace is that we can have better access to all the pertinent data. We can learn who visits our website or blog, as well as who we are connected with on social media. This allows us to create visitor profiles, which then in turn allows us to better accommodate their wishes and expectations. It is important to keep the focus on potential customers, when determining what content to provide. At the same time, it is also important to keep track of what the competition is doing, so we can a) differentiate ourselves sufficiently, and b) remain competitive.
The next step is to then define an engagement strategy. The adage that content is king still applies. Know where your potential customers are on social media, and offer them relevant content. What has changed in 2017 is that the content people are looking for is no longer limited to quality text content. They also want visual content: infographics, e.g., are more popular than ever before, as is video content. So, make sure you use those. (In a future article, we’ll deal more in depth with content marketing specifically).
The way to further finetune your strategies and to find out what works for your law firm is, again, to diligently keep track of the relevant metrics. Find out what pages on your website and blog are popular. Discover how people found them. Learn what posts on social media led to visitors of your website and blog.
If you are familiar with some of the more traditional marketing techniques, then Teresa Matich’s article on “How to Take Your Old School Marketing Techniques Online” on the Wishpond blog can be useful. She illustrates how online marketing uses different tools, and that we have to move:
- from business cards to websites: 96% of people with a legal issue turn to the Internet first, and nearly 40% of people needing a lawyer look on the Internet first to find one.
- from public speaking to blogging: you build a reputation by publishing high quality articles on the Internet.
- from the phone book to online ratings directories: people no longer just want to find a lawyer, they want to know whether he or she is any good, and they will look for online reviews.
- from bus stop ads to Facebook ads: people looking for a lawyer spend just over a quarter of their time doing so on social media, so it makes sense to advertise on them.
Alex Barthet, a Miami based lawyer, gives some additional useful advice, based on his personal experiences with online marketing.
- Claim your online profiles: online services like Google, Yelp, and Avvo let you create profiles. Often these are among the first places potential clients go looking.
- Also claim your social profiles on sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
- Be careful with paid profiles: they usually offer very little extra value.
- Use pay-per-click (PPC) advertising carefully, and make sure to determine a maximum budget that cannot be exceeded.
- Don’t fall for sales pitches from marketing companies that want to lock you into long-term contracts.