MARKETING, LAW FIRMS

How Digital Marketing can help small and medium-size law firms to step up their game- Part 1

Joanna Michaels, Beyond Social Buzz

Recent times have brought an important shift in how people search for legal services, with approximately 75% of clients using online search for that purpose. It has also been found that they undertake this search for a variety of reasons, namely:

  • To clarify which type of legal action is adequate to their circumstances
  • To find a lawyer who can handle their case
  • To check the reputation of the lawyer they are planning to hire.

With online searches becoming an integral part of the client’s decision-making process, building a strong online presence through a variety of digital channels is imperative to the success of today’s law firms.

While relationships and a strong word-of-mouth reputation are still imperative to how lawyers find work, digital tools and channels can act as a relationship and reputation accelerator.

Websites

Websites play a pivotal role in making that first impression on a potential client. This is why it is more important than ever before to invest in a professional looking site that effectively converts traffic into leads.

The first question here is: how does the firm’s website enhance the customer’s experience online?

Mere communication of available services, partners’ profiles and office details act simply as an online version of the company’s brochure.

The main considerations are for the website to be easily found (SEO best practice), interactive, easy to navigate and for it to provide high quality relevant content that will convince prospects to become clients.

Another question to ask is: does the website content engage and encourage interaction, through the use of fully responsive site, social media integration or video marketing?

And finally: does the site convey a consistent brand image that can then be extended across all social media profiles?

Mobile experience

According to latest research, 56% of online content is now consumed on smartphones. Therefore law firms need to ensure that the content they provide is accessible on all mobile devices to ensure quality of the customers’ experience.

The value of content

Firms need to consider the value of the content available on their websites as this can help facilitate cross-selling of additional services and referrals. The content should be dynamic and developed on a continuous basis, and then fed through all other relevant digital marketing channels chosen by the firm, i.e. social media or a newsletter.

The idea of high relevance content could be supported by adding a user login facility to the firm’s website. This would allow to better capture a client’s preferences.

Differentiation

Websites need to be evaluated from the standpoint of how effectively they communicate the unique selling points of the firm, in order to stay competitive in the changing legal landscape.

Clarifying the firms’ objectives and positioning of the brand (with clear verification of the unique selling points) is a key starting point to developing an effective digital marketing strategy.

Blog

Your firm’s blog is the home base for all the content your team produces.

It should be focused on specific practice areas that are relevant to the type of work and clients you want to attract.

By magnifying the reach, your blog’s message can happen through strong relationships with online influencers and amplifiers. For this reason take time to network with reporters, conference coordinators, leading bloggers and engage with them. Gaining mentions and references from an influential crowd will position your firm as a thought leader and increase its exposure.

In terms of SEO efforts, the blog should be focused on reinforcing lower-competition, and long-tail keywords in specialist areas.

This is vital as potential customers or clients use what is called ‘natural language search’ when looking for legal services. So perhaps instead of using the key word that you may have been heavily focused on i.e. ‘London law firm’, they are more likely to search through something like ‘How do I hire a law firm in London to handle my divorce case?’

Consequently, blogs should focus on natural language and longer keyword phrases that reflect the real searches.

Promote your blog posts through Linkedin, Twitter and Google +, which is especially valuable for SEO.

Like what you reading? Click here for Part 2 

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