In the quest for best-in-class advice on digital marketing and branding for law firms, most legal marketers are inundated with “content,” left with partially read books and blogs, but no reliable strategy on how to build their book of business.
That’s got to stop.
In this article, the legal marketing experts at Consultwebs help your law firm define branding and digital marketing, discover the powerful connection between the two, and describe action items lawyers can take back to their practice today for instant improvements.
Legal Marketing Objectives VS Objects and The Messy-Middle
The goals of legal marketing are not complex. Your law firm needs to be easy to think of, easy to find, and easily thought worth it. It’s when we discuss all the tactics and conceptual frameworks to get to these goals, that we tend to get over our skis.
For a law firm marketing strategy to be successful it has to appreciate the chaotic marketplace, build a memorable brand based on client experience that resonates across the entire funnel, take advantage of digital, and execute on strategy, not tactics.
Here’s what legal marketers think the client journey looks like –
And here’s what the client journey, actually looks like –
In a recent report, Google put it most eloquently, that the true customer path is not a funnel, but something they refer to, as “the Messy Middle.”
Potential clients come up against your law firm’s messaging, and while some may click to call because they require your services, there is a vast majority of them that take no action, they dip back into the chaos of life.
So effective legal marketing doesn’t just happen in a set timeframe, at a single point of decision along the customer journey, it happens across the entire journey, and at time-scales that range from hours, to potentially years.
This is where the connection between digital marketing, and branding for law firms, starts making sense. If law firms have to influence clients, not only at the most critical parts of the sales funnel, but during the entire messy middle of it, then the toolbox required must operate at both high and granular levels, strategically applied and scientifically measured. That’s why segmenting your legal marketing efforts by objectives is an essential first step.
With a legal marketing strategy defined and implemented by objectives, like Attraction, Conversion, Branding, and Loyalty, law firms can prioritize budgets and resources accordingly and begin to build their book in a reliable way.
We’ve written about how law firms can create strategies by objectives in previous posts, so let’s focus on the digital aspects of branding, and find out how they can best be applied.
Branding for law firms explained
First off, your brand is not what YOU think it is, it is the client experience, and what OTHERS say about your law firm.
When strategically designed, implemented, and widely recognized, the goal of your brand is to create mental shortcuts, so your law firm can exist within the minds of your target audience at the moment they are seeking to make a decision on lawyers.
And, in regards to the Messy Middle, the marketplace is distracted, so without branded assets, like ads or content, your potential clients haven’t been given a reason not to ignore you, which is their resting state.
Another benefit of basing your law firm brand off client experience, is during those initial surveys, you’ll begin to sketch out your internal client journey, and discover ways to save money, time, and reallocate resources towards activities more likely to expand your book of business.
Digital Marketing for law firms explained
Legal marketing, as we said above, is pretty simple – easy to think of, easy to find, and easily thought worth it. However you get to those goals, that’s marketing. “Digital” marketing is referring to anything online, and so videos, websites, whitepapers, ads, AdWords, and social media all fall under that umbrella. But knowing what gets done, is different than doing it.
Digital marketing promised tracking clients across the entire sales cycles, but the truth is, due to the crumbling third-party tracking industry, marketers are having to pivot to collecting the data of their potential clientbase first hand through content marketing initiatives.
How law firm branding works in the digital age
Branding is the way your law firm is experienced by the marketplace – clients, potential clients, and staff.
So the ways in which you remind these audiences about your law firm in the Messy Middle of their days, that’s effective marketing, whether it’s informative social media posts, or considerate content.
Content marketing campaigns, like FAQ video series, newsletters, or other community-oriented endeavors, are great tools to gather data from the marketplace, and provide touchpoints that keep your brand top of mind.
When legal marketers appreciate the chaotic marketplace their law firm’s exist in, they begin to make better decisions that bring attention to their brand for the right reasons.
By defining your brand, understanding the ways digital marketing can deliver, distribute, and disseminate your messaging to the right audiences at timescales that match their readiness, you can create law firm marketing that truly goes beyond the campaign.