With over 20 years of marketing individuals and business, there are a number of areas I have specialised in including law firm marketing since 2008.
David has used his expertise to optimise the digital environment to enhance Ince & Co’s profile and brand… Responsible for developing and monitoring the Firm’s website impact, analysing the results to increase benefits for the Firm’s business. He has educated colleagues across the Firm on the role of online solutions including social media, and ensured that all website content, promotions and communication are within brand guidelines and compliant with relevant governing bodies.
– Ince & Co International Law Firm
The state of Digital Marketing in the Legal Sector
Many feel law firms have been slow to embrace digital communications when compared to other sectors. Often uncertain about how to integrate digital marketing into the firm to drive business and improve reputation. A recent report from econsultancy, which was carried out in the spring of 2015, was taken by more than 150 professionals employed in marketing, digital or communications within the legal sector:
- Despite more than 30% of companies increasing marketing staff and marketing budgets since 2014, digital budgets remain a small proportion of marketing spend. Of the respondents that knew their figures, 67% admitted digital represented just 1-20% of the marketing budget.
- Content marketing is effective and in demand: multimedia content creation is the skill second-most in demand when recruiting into legal sector marketing teams. Content marketing is also viewed as the most effective digital marketing discipline for law firms. This chimes with law firm websites and their prioritising of sector insight in the form of articles, publications and video.
- More than half of the responding firms are yet to align data and communications. Respondents identified proactive engagement with clients using digital content as an important new reality for marketing
- Client behaviour is changing, with an increasing role of the web in conversion. respondents pointed to the role of the web in conversion. Although referrals are still important, as is the work of business development teams, it is clear websites shape client decisions more than ever.
- Half of the survey respondents felt their firm was adequately set up to manage the customer experience for predominantly mobile users. It is often easier for a smaller and less asset-rich firm to make the switch to a mobile-first mentality, providing they have an adequate budget set aside.
If none of your search competitors have mobile-friendly sites, your traffic probably won’t drop too much. If all of your competitors are already mobile-friendly, and you are not…you may suffer lower results on mobile while your competitors remain afloat.
The State of Law Firm Marketing
Many law firm heads lack a business background. This can be a weakness when targeting new business or setting a brand or communications strategy. The legal sector’s emphasis on relationships, cross-selling and referred business means there is a reluctance to talk about marketing, and especially digital, in the way that modern marketers are accustomed.
Many lawyers don’t get new clients because they don’t do enough business development activities, they waste time and resources on the wrong activities, or they don’t get face-to-face with potential clients.
“Everyone verifies you on the website before purchasing your services, even those who come through direct referrals.”
Tips for Law Firm Marketing
Don’t waste any money on marketing that is not measurable. If you can’t measure it, don’t do it. How does marketing align with the overall business goals? Can you observe how marketing has generated any results? Pursue the techniques that you can measure including optimising for search engines, blogs and social media. Consider both paid and organic options. Start at the beginning of any marketing initiative by figuring out how are you going to measure it.
“[There is an] increasing use of digital leading to conversion.
Be strategic and tactical, make a plan. It’s not real until you write it down. An overall strategic business plan is vital for any firm and within this should be planning for specific areas of marketing to drive and develop business. This can then be used to track the outcomes and results, focus on what works.
With law firms having large and content-rich websites, engaging clients and potential clients through organic methods such as search engine optimisation continue to be surprisingly limited, websites and articles often lack focus. Worse still, on page and technical error remain prevalent, with the website being poorly optimised and maintained.
A brief website audit of over 100 websites showed all had issues with broken links, while one top law firm even appears to be blocking search engines from viewing its website. A digital audit should be the foundation of a strategic approach.
Law firms continue to limit investment of marketing and business development due to uncertainties as to where the money is going. Firms often treat digital marketing as a cost without understanding the return on investment. With a strategic plan that monitors and measures the activities expected to be investing at least 3-4% of revenue across marketing activities.
Law Firm Marketing for 2016
SEO for Law Firms
Responsive and Mobile Pages
Marketing Automation for the Legal Sector
Social Media Maturity for Law Firms
What next for Marketing Law firms?
Before 2007 digital communications were still in the midst of a dramatic increase and many sectors were struggling to adapt to the changes. The internet has empowered clients in the legal sector just as it has in every other. Whether that client is an individual consumer, a business owner or a general counsel, they are more likely to ‘shop around’. This could imply simply gathering information online or changing their legal services supplier.
With more competition from alternative business structures, this is causing particular pain for medium and small-sized practices and means law firm marketing should become business as usual.
How today’s Consumers Really Search for an Attorney – LexisNexis and Martindale-Hubbell
What I do
As a digital marketing consultant, I assist law firms in understanding how best to position their digital channels to be integrated within the business and be aligned with the overall goals of the firm. I offer a range of services dedicated to the legal sector including:
- Digital planning, strategy and integration
- Support for digital projecting including website development
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
- Social media marketing and planning
- Digital & website audits
- Advise on email marketing campaigns
- In-house training
Contact me for an informal discussion or further information about how I can improve your firm’s marketing.