As you sit there either (a) entrenched in the logistics of your own Law Firm marketing, or (b) running your practice on little more than referrals, you’re inevitably wondering how you can build clientele and increase your revenue stream. And while you may fall into the category of legal professionals who (through either education and/or implementation) understand why a digital marketing initiative is crucial for the survival of any business, you may also be among those budgeting for that sweet 1/16 page blurb in the local Yellow Pages. Either way, we should probably talk.
Let’s be frank. It’s 2018. If your firm or practice doesn’t have a responsive website, SEO strategy, social media engagement, reputation management and employ multimedia content on a regular basis, you’re losing both prospective clients and revenue. Simple fact.
The reason we can say this with such confidence is that any good marketer knows their audience. They make it a point to understand perspective, expectations, and needs to ensure a positive end result. One might even argue that it’s similar to the bench and jury-facing side of the legal profession, but we’re not here for judicious sparring, we’re here to get you thinking about how you, your practice and/or firm can become more successful.
A Place to Call Home
Several sentences back, we mentioned the Yellow Pages (a generationally-divisive reference that you’re either going to “get” or not). With that in mind, the days of flipping pages to locate a business or service provider are far behind us. And with the Baby Boomer generation becoming ever-more comfortable with advances in technology, we are close to reaching a point where the most senior members of our society are perfectly comfortable with the idea of an online search. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
Regardless of the industry that it occupies, a business might as well be counting down to the day it closes, if it doesn’t have an online presence. And that presence begins with a website (and we’re not talking about the Do-it-Yourself options advertised on TV).
Because, while looks matter, an attractively styled website means nothing if it lacks functionality or worthwhile content. This is a common mistake made by law offices, who seem content to serve up an awkwardly posed photo and contact information.
In a Law Office, prospective clients are looking for reassurance in the form of professionalism, proof of competence, transparency, and guidance. A website allows you to sow the seeds of reassurance through simple inclusions, such as photographs and “About Us” blurbs that create a sense of familiarity, prior to first contact. From there you can integrate valuable client testimonials and informational content to create a comprehensive online presence that will be both welcoming and beneficial to those interested in your services.
And remember visitors who reach your page will do so on a variety of devices, ranging from smartphones and smart TV’s, to tablets, laptops, and desktops. This brings us to another common mistake: the absence of responsive web design. Not all web designers are created equal (and Do-It-Yourself platforms even less-so) and many either (i) don’t account for the variety of devices that the site needs to perform on, or (ii) upcharge significantly for appropriate formatting. Since dynamic performance is a pretty standard expectation of today’s consumer, it’s important to know that you’re making the best first impression with those who find their way to you. But what about those who don’t?
Be Easy to Find
A well-designed, functional, and responsive website means nothing if prospective clients are unable to find it. Think of the manner in which you utilize an online search, be it Google or otherwise. How far down the first page of search results do you scroll? Do you even bother to look at the second page?
As with web design, any well-designed digital marketing strategy incorporates search engine optimization (or S.E.O.) This ensures that your firm or practice ranks higher in online search results than your direct competitors do. Without an S.E.O. strategy, you might as well be relying upon that 1/16 page blurb in the increasingly more obsolete Yellow Pages.
While a website serves as a valuable home base, social media interaction is key in promoting the visibility of your services and interacting with your client base in real time. Through posts and live streaming, you are able to present insights and informational content. Through sharing, you are able to serve up case studies and public headlines that can help to initiate conversations.
That said, management of a successful social media profile can be a full-time job in itself. While a practice might prefer to control content themselves, the simple act of managing comments and dialog is incredibly time-consuming, albeit something that can pay huge in terms of dividends. Just as a firm is short-selling their potential by not employing the help of a digital marketer, they’re doing the same if their choice of partner doesn’t offer social media management services. Choose wisely.
Managing Your Reputation
It’s the downside to an online presence, isn’t it? The simple fact that anyone can visit your social media profiles or review sites (such as YELP!) and leave a potentially damaging review or comment. While no attorney aims to disappoint a client, there is always the chance that an outcome may not meet their expectations.
With that in mind, proper resolution is achieved by addressing the response in a timely in a constructive manner. And much like the management of a social media profile, reputation management can be more time-consuming, and far more important, than you might think.
Not That Different
Just as an Attorney is focused on minutiae that leads to a satisfying outcome in terms of a ruling or resolution, a competent Digital Marketing partner is committed to the steps needed to ensure the continued success of a firm or practice. The question is: are you just as committed to that success, and if so, what is YOUR digital marketing strategy?