Marketing for lawyers used to be the classic referral and handing out business cards. But the internet and technology disrupted everything. Suddenly, everybody had a website. The competition went from the law firm on the other side of town to a pool of them online. But lawyers were still apprehensive about marketing and there’s a good reason why.
Nobody calls lawyers for fun. If anything, every call that goes through a law firm is a distress call. To many lawyers, marketing was equal to putting up a billboard on the Cross Bronx Expressway flaunting your skills. It’s almost like saying, “I’m waiting for your life to go south so I can make money out of you. “
But as the internet created infinite options for prospects, law firms slowly embraced digital marketing. Let’s talk about the past, present, and future of digital marketing to help you see what really counts.
The Past of Digital Marketing
There has been a long-standing tradition of upholding trust and the law above all else in the legal arena. Lawyers view themselves as thought leaders, trustworthy, expert, and caring-legal guardians who have clientele and not customers. From this standpoint, marketing seems like merchandising-nothing short of devaluing the legal profession.
Legal marketing in the 50s and 60s was unheard of. The law even banned some forms of marketing-with little resistance from lawyers. In the 70s a law firm called Bates from Arizona challenged the status quo. They put an ad in the local daily. It resulted in the disbarment of the lawyers and a suit against the State Bar of Arizona. The Supreme Court ruled that the restrictions of advertising and other forms of marketing were antiquated rules of etiquette. Law firms started marketing their services and even hired in-house marketing teams.
The newfound freedom later found its way into internet marketing in the early 90s. However, users could not share much with the Web 1.0 platform. In the same decade, the internet evolved, providing clickable banners. Yahoo and Google also launched along with search engines that enabled law firms to improve their rankings online.
The entry of Google, MSN, and Yahoo Web search engines blew up the internet in 2006. The year saw 6.4 billion in traffic in a month as a result of these engines.
However, legal digital marketing soon experienced hiccups in SEO ranking. Outsourced marketing companies sometimes played dirty to improve ranking including using black hat SEO.
By 2016, legal firms were not only creating websites but also actively pursuing digital marketing. In the same year, research by Bloomberg reported that 68% of lawyers and marketers bowed to internal pressure to grow revenue, 43 percent to the pressure of seeing other businesses succeed, and 41% to client pressure to get alternative billing methods.
Legal Digital Marketing Today
Legal digital marketing has evolved massively with AI making it easy to track ads and measure ROI. Ideally, law firms wrap their marketing strategies around value, content, analytics, multiple channels, SEO, and focusing on the client needs.
The value bit of the marketing strategy is meant to give clients value. The target of the value principle is to show clients that the firm understands their plight, has what it takes to help, and is trustworthy.
Websites are standard today with 86% of law firms reporting that they have a website. Ideally, websites are the online representation of a law firm. They reflect its persona through the colors, text, and tone of the content found there.
This content is geared to improve SEO rankings with the help of keywords. Content could be blog posts, web content, videos, infographics, and text. CTAs with statements such as Get a Free Consultation or Find a Personal Injury lawyer is popular for generating leads that turn into clients. 56% of law firms with more than 100 employees use video marketing.
According to the American Bar Association, 41% of all firm sizes use email marketing and Facebook(30%)
With the pandemic restrictions, more law firms are cashing in on live stream features on social media. Lawyers hold live Q&As or hold webinars to discuss hot button topics or give advice.
The Future of Legal Marketing
If the COVID-19 crisis has taught us anything, businesses don’t seek legal services-people do. These people have needs and some have changed completely courtesy of the pandemic.
The pandemic may stretch longer than we think. Content will still be important. Current statistics are already hinting at just how important online content will be. The problem is creating content that your clients need versus what’s trending.
Users are putting more effort into content consumption, reading writings on thought leadership, getting advice from videos, and then listening to a podcast to learn more. People are consuming this content all at various stages of their content-funnel journeys.
To examine how well you’ve been doing on content ask yourself these questions.
- What do my clients want?
- Can they comfortably say my law firm is right for them?
- Which content can help them stem their fears about an uncertain future?
A relevant attorney will not only be good at applying the law. They’ll also care for their clients. Their marketing strategy will be largely built on content that solves their client’s problems.
For most attorneys, getting content marketing right starts by learning these crucial things about content marketing.
- Get a Podcast for Your Firm. Podcasts are in high demand. They add depth and personality to your content in a way that text cannot. It also makes you relatable. People have a habit of hiring people they think understand them.
- Leverage video Content. Video is an excellent way to show clients your personality. Thanks to tech, every video doesn’t require a video crew to hack. But you can hire a professional video production company to use on your ‘About Us’ section.
- Get to the Point. Make a habit of getting to the point at the top of your content funnel. Even with a higher demand for online content, attention spans are still extremely short.
- Be Crystal Clear. Target a niche group for your thought leadership content, and say who it’s meant for in the headline, opening, and whenever you share it.
Who We Are
We focus on law firm marketing, providing strategies that fit the unique facets of the legal field in a competitive market. That way, you can focus on providing value to your clientele. Request a custom quote here today.