There’s been a revolution in the legal industry over the last few years – fuelled by an opening up of the legal markets. Competition for clients is fierce, stemming from a realisation that they will now ‘shop around’ for legal services. If you haven’t yet considered digital marketing for your law firm, now is the time.
Why consider digital marketing for your law firm?
For some firms, moving marketing and business development efforts online has been a ‘no brainer’. An increasing number of those searching for legal services will use Google or other search engines either to find a firm, or to back up a recommendation they have received. Other firms remain unconvinced about the power of digital marketing for law firms, and struggle with how to incorporate a digital strategy into other marketing efforts. In this blog, we look at 5 areas that law firms should be concentrating on to hone their digital strategy.
Build a solid internet presence
For anyone choosing a law firm, trust is vital. From the multi-national looking for top flight commercial law advice to the couple looking to buy their first home, your clients want to feel that they are choosing a company they can be confident in. In this digital age, more and more people will be researching your services online. Making sure your website is fit for purpose is vital.
- Mobile Responsive is crucial – the dominance of mobile devices will only grow and develop over time, so make sure your website is easy to read across devices.
- Load time makes a difference – everyone is ‘time poor’ these days, and your prospective clients will be looking for advice quickly. A slow website puts people off and will probably lose your firm business.
- Ease of navigation – Using ‘plain English’ and making it easy for clients and prospective clients to find the information they are looking for is important.
As a law firm, you need to know what people are saying about you. Part of your digital strategy should involve ‘listening’ across the internet to keep tabs with your online reputation. There are a number of tools available to help you with this.
- Reviews You can keep a ‘Testimonials’ page on your website. Consider incorporating a Trustpilot or other online review platform into your digital strategy. This allows clients to provide ‘independent’ reviews of your services, and their experiences with your firm.
- Digital listening Set up ‘alerts’ – for example using the ‘Google Alerts’ function or an app. This helps you keep track of mentions of your firm online, whether in online blogs and articles on other websites or on social media.
- Ensure you respond Set yourself apart by routinely checking reviews and comments and responding. Many businesses shy away from review sites on the basis that they don’t want ‘negative’ publicity. Responding to negative comments in a positive and robust manner can support your reputation rather than damage it.
One of the real areas for development online for law firms is exploiting the benefits of great content marketing, including blogging. Lawyers are in a position to provide clients with a wealth of well written and invaluable information on all aspects of legal practice, without detracting from the need for the services you offer.
- The importance of ‘Plain English’ Even the most legally savvy client can find the language of lawyers hard to understand. Demystifying legal issues by using straightforward language will set you apart.
- Create original content We’re aware of legal content services which spool a blog feed onto your website. The trouble is that other law firms are buying the same news feed. This doesn’t set you apart – and Google hates duplicate content.
- Be creative People expect certain things of their lawyers. We understand that. But within the parameters of those expectations, digital marketing offers a number of opportunities for you to be creative in the way you present your law firm and your services. We’ll just whisper ‘video’ here, as something to think on…
Used as part of a structured online strategy, social media can be a powerful tool for law firms. For one thing, it can allow clients and prospective clients to see beyond what can, for many, be an imposing facade.
- Choose your platforms Depending on whether your clients are mainly other businesses or individuals will inform the best social platforms to concentrate on. LinkedIn company pages are getting better all the time and are worth investing in by any business offering professional services.
- Use careful automation There are a number of tools available to automate your social media. These are invaluable to maintain a constant social presence but remember the importance of spontaneity too.
- Respond and engage Following on from the last point, social media offers law firms a real opportunity to engage with clients, to break down barriers and perceptions and position your firm as a firm of choice. While automation is hugely valuable, don’t underestimate the benefits of real time posting and engaging online.
Focus on data and results
Investing in digital marketing is the same as investing in any other aspect of your practice – and you will want to know that the investment is paying off and delivering value for money. There are a wide range of tools available to analyse your online activity – choose one (or two) that work for you and use them.
- Create measurable targets When you build your digital strategy, create targets that you can measure, and make sure the tool you are using will deliver the information you need to benchmark and measure your activity
- Review activity regularly So it may not be the most exciting exercise in the world (although may be it could be) but if you have targets and tools to measure performance, it goes without saying that you need to review what’s going on at regular intervals
- Tweak as the data suggests While it’s important to stick with a strategy for a good few months to really see results, if your regular reviews show that something really isn’t working, or could be tweaked, don’t be afraid to make those changes.
There is a huge advantage to be gained by taking a structured approach to digital marketing for your law firm. Embrace digital, and create a strong online strategy to work within your overall marketing plan. Focused on business objectives and with key performance indicators built in, you can take a structured approach that delivers the results your firm is looking for.
It’s something we do every day for a variety of clients. We’d love to help you, too!