Five Digital Marketing Trends Your Firm Should Embrace

Sep 13th, 2016 | Company News, Law Firm Marketing, Legal Marketing in Brief

Online marketing is a huge piece of a law firm’s strategy, yet like the technology driving it, the tactics are quickly evolving.  One day you’re hearing pay-per-click is best, the next it’s banner advertising, now social media links on your bios are key – what’s next??  I have the answer for you.

At the Legal Marketing Association annual conference, I listened to a number of leading online marketing firms present a consensus of the digital trends all law firms must embrace.  The top five are: responsive website design, omni channel marketing, marketing automation, intelligent content and visual content.

Below is a general description of each.  All are staples in the law firm marketing plans we develop.

1.     Responsive design website.  Mobile-friendliness has been an essential element for every website since Google Search’s mobile ranking change in April 2015.  In short, websites that are not mobile-friendly will see their search rankings plummet, even evaporate.  So what do you need?  A responsive design allows the website to adjust to fit on the screen of the device being used.  For example, if the site is pulled up on an iPhone6 screen it would adjust to fit and be readable, as it would be if pulled up on a desktop monitor screen.  Being design responsive though, does not always mean the website is mobile-friendly.  To find out how mobile-friendly your firm website is, visit https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/.

2.     Omni channel marketing.  This has been a huge trend in the retail world for years, but now this buzzword is making its way into legal and professional services marketing.  Basically, omni channel marketing is the concept that every experience your customer interacts with is consistent.  The website would coordinate with the social media profiles which match the advertising which all look like the office space and so on.  It allows customers to have a seamless (think, predictable and recognizable) experience no matter how they “visit” the firm. This is an incredible challenge for law firms, as consistency and its cost are usually a sticking point, particularly when the partnership is older.

3.      Marketing automation.  Automation is the use of platforms or tools to combine technology with the sales process. In the end, it’s about creating metrics.  Many marketing professionals track marketing efforts of their law firms and lawyers by evaluating the number of opens and forwardings an email blast secures, for example.  Email marketing is one of the most obvious and effective uses of automation, but there are many others.  It gives your lawyers the “found” time to market without actually having to find the time.  The easy part is developing the content and sending the email.  The hard part is that database…

4.      Intelligent content.   You spend countless hours writing an article for the local Bar Journal only to have it run in the least read month of the year.  How do you capitalize on those hours spent in order to market your expertise?  The best way I’ve heard it described is Write Once, Publish Everywhere.  When you author an article, post it on your firm’s blog and share it on your social media profiles, especially LinkedIn.  LinkedIn’s publishing platform, Pulse, is an incredibly powerful way to reach an even wider audience.

5.      Visual content.  It’s no secret that video on lawyer bios and infographics are the coming trends.  Actually, these tactics are already here, are being employed, are rapidly dropping in price and are proving effective.  Sorry, but you will eventually need to give in on visual content if you want to remain relevant to the marketplace.  I know you love text, but look what television did to newspapers.  If video is a step too far for your firm’s budget, consider starting with infographics or other visual information that would help your customer/target base understand what you do.

Law firms have a tendency to defer certain marketing investments due to cost and time.  Unfortunately, I’ve heard many tales of lawyers losing work because they had a negative rating on a social site, their website bio was out-of-date, or the bio was not even able to be found online!

THE REALITY:  Investing in one digital tactic annually would help firms grow and remain ahead of most competitors on the technology curve.

Look, the deal with your client is still closed directly and often involves a long-standing, personal relationship.  The key here is to support your lawyers and firm by investing in your digital marketing as well.  It allows your lawyers to have an ongoing conversation about who they are and what the firm is capable of doing, without the lawyers having to say it to everyone they know in-person.

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