At its core, Law Firm Marketing is about differentiation: the ability to convey a firm or practice’s value proposition in more ways than reiterating “we are aggressive, and get results!” One might argue that the need for differentiation is universal among marketers, but legal marketing presents unique challenges since the ‘results’ are usually life-altering in nature. Failure of an attorney or advocate to represent a client effectively could negatively impact their way in life. And therein lies the primary challenge…
Now consider this.
40% of small law practices don’t have websites. This is both frightening and empowering when we view ourselves as 21st-century businesses, beholden to the same advertising platforms and opportunities as other industries. The days of white and yellow pages are dead and behind us. Local television and radio platforms are being replaced by on-demand, streaming and satellite successors. Bottom-line: traditional marketing is dead, and the final nail will be driven into the coffin in the years to come. An online presence is required to thrive in today’s marketing environment. A responsive website should be the cornerstone of any firm’s online presence, and nearly half your local competition isn’t bothering. Then again, maybe you’re included in the half content to self-sabotage.
Only 35% of legal websites have been updated in the last three years. So, whether competitors’ websites are (i) barebones, providing only basic contact information or (ii) rife with content, one-third of them will be interpreted by a prospective client as ‘dated.’ That said, updating your website regularly with high-quality content that is both readable, applicable and well-organized will set you apart from the slackers. Content is King, and it’s offering you the crown. See? We’re only about a quarter of the way into this, and it’s easy to see how impactful a strong online presence can be in a law firm’s ability to differentiate itself.
And did you realize that…
As of 2015, over 95% of websites for law firms or practices were neglectful in creating personalized content. This means that their website fails to provide visitors with an assurance that they can provide worthwhile representation. Such content could be in a variety of forms, be it a blog or video, as long as it communicates your strength in specialized legal services. Without doing so, you’re relying on the phrase ‘Attorney at Law,’ or an Esq. Suffix on your business card to impress them. But guess what, you’ll never get that far if they can’t find you online.
So, to recap…
- Three-quarters of all people in need of legal representation will seek out an attorney online.
- Nearly half of small law practices don’t have websites.
- Of the ones that do have websites, nearly one-third don’t update their content, and
- Most don’t personalize it to convey their own value proposition, rendering themselves invisible and unrelatable to prospective clients.
These statistics might not apply to you, but if they don’t – the question remains: are you doing everything you can to increase your standing over firms and practices that are guilty of these cardinal marketing sins? Part of maintaining an advantage is staying on top of trends.
Trends for 2019
At this point, we’re assuming that you’ve decided to tick the boxes of digital marketing strategies. Your firm enjoys the benefits of a website overflowing with personalized content, that’s refreshed on a regular basis. It is a responsive website, as user-friendly on smartphones as it is on desk and laptops. Thanks to a diligent SEO strategy, the website ranks high in an online search and all your online reputation is well-managed to convey utmost professionalism. Your social media game is strong, and you’re engaging with your client base (and local community) on a regular basis. So what more can you do, as we edge toward the new year? Most of its right there waiting for you to take advantage of it.
LIVE Video Streaming
As an attorney, professionalism is an important component of your public image. That said, there will always be a need for content that comes across as polished and professional. However, it’s also important to humanize yourself since people are coming to you for very human reasons. Use of the LIVE Video streaming feature made available on most social media platforms provides you with a means of sharing more spontaneous and organic content. Respecting the confidential nature of your clients, it could provide a means of providing relatable referrals and testimonials as well as creating more light-hearted personal interest.
Stories & IGTV
Social media platforms also provide the means of creating short-form timed content. Instagram, for example, offers the Stories feature which accommodates 15-second video posts that can be used to create fresh bursts of engagement. On the other hand, it also offers the new IGTV functionality, which allows for longer-form content running anywhere from 10 minutes in length to a full hour. What you include for content is up to you, but it’ll be a cornerstone of many marketing initiatives in 2019. Remember…the goal is to set yourself apart.
And just as a constant stream of fresh content is essential, let’s not forget the importance of content that retains its importance and relevance over time. Whether informational or based on case studies, this is a means of providing your clients with resources that don’t require timely maintenance in order to be helpful. It’s a key component in a dual-content strategy and plays a vital role in creating organic traffic.
The words ‘marketing’ and ‘trend’ go hand-in-hand but do so with good reason. There is an inherent challenge in staying current with the ever-changing means by which law firms are finding success in their marketing endeavors. But starting with the right foundation, and being proactive and staying ahead of such trends is crucial in terms of distinguishing yourselves from your competitors.