Blogging is tied to law firms’ bottom line and growth

Dec 18th, 2012 | Law Firm Marketing, Legal Marketing in Brief

Making a commitment to digital marketing might be a profitable professional New Year’s Resolution.

The reason: A growing set of numbers indicate using online marketing will impact both your revenue and your bottom line.

Here’s some of latest information indicating online marketing is delivering on its promise of being a business accelerant fostering faster communications with far greater reach at lower cost:

• 16.5 percent of the 552 respondents to the American Bar Association’s 2012 Legal Technology Survey reported they obtained new clients through social networking. Social networking includes blogging and platforms such as AVVO, Facebook and LinkedIn plus so-called micro-blogging like Twitter.

• A whopping 39 percent in the ABA report said they got clients from their blogging, but the ABA admitted the sample was a bit thin. In our most recent national marketing effectiveness survey, 10 percent of corporate, transactional and defense firms responding said their blogs that had resulted in new work and 15 percent said LinkedIn resulted in files.

• On average, law firms that blogged increased overall revenue more rapidly over the past two years than those without blogs, says a survey by LexBlog, the single largest provider of social media solutions to domestic law firms.

We hear accounts in support of these numbers with increasing frequency. A partner at one of our clients wrote me last week: “Wanted to let you know that I got my first case from LinkedIn. Law school classmate who practices in L.A. needs local counsel in a patent infringement case. Was looking around on LinkedIn and found me. Pretty cool.” (He gave me permission to use his email.)

Of the AmLaw200 firms 77 percent now run 633 blogs, a 26 percent increase from 2010. The most popular subject matter is employment law, followed by IP and then environmental and health care.

Despite this experts are still wary about linking online marketing directly to revenue and profit. The ABA Journal wrote this fall that it would be impossible to show a “direct causation” between blogs, revenue and growth. What blogging and social media use may really evidence is “more forward-thinking” marketing teams and a jump in lawyers involved in business development, the magazine said.

I’ll finish by pointing out something we’ve learned in the client surveys we do when we write a law firm marketing plan. Clients give their law firms higher marks when asked about the value of fees they have paid a law firm when the clients also report that their law firm keeps them informed about legal issues of importance to their day-to-day business operations. Firms rated as giving clients the best value for fees paid are those that use social media the most.

As LexBlog puts it: “a professional’s best work comes from relationships and word-of-mouth. The Internet, when used properly, will accelerate these connections and establish professionals as a sought after authority in their field.”

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