Lawyer Monthly marketing manager James Gardner has outlined two growing avenues of legal marketing that would benefit law firms to explore in the new year.
For many lawyers and law firms, marketing can still seem daunting and a task that feels more like experimentation than a strategy. Worse still, the past two years have shaken the legal landscape for everyone involved. How can you ensure that your law firm is still attracting customers during this tumultuous time?
While marketing spends may still sit below pre-pandemic levels as we come to the end of 2021, now may be the time to re-focus your marketing strategies to optimise your lead generation and new customer intake.
Below, we have laid out two core strategies for your legal marketing that, if implemented correctly, will help you to gain qualified leads and attract new customers in 2022.
Sort Your Website and SEO
Your law firm’s website is still one of the most important, and often overlooked, components of your legal marketing. With over 96% of clients, using search engines to seek out legal advice, it is vital to ensure that your website is offering a positive experience and value for your visitors. If you can get your target audience onto your website and provide them with the information they are looking for, you will win more clients.
Ways to accomplish this can include:
Making your website look good
We are very visual creatures. We eat with our eyes, and the online space is no different. If your website and branding are on point, then visitors will be more likely to stick around and even engage with you. If your website looks like it was made in 1994 and is in need of a makeover, get one done this year!
Ensuring clear and easy site navigation
Put simply, make sure your website visitors can easily find their way to the information they are looking for. Most people will only look at one or two pages when they visit, so you have to make sure those pages easy to find.
Your law firm’s website is still one of the most important, and often overlooked, components of your legal marketing.
Checking your page speed
Use online tools to test your website page speed and ensure they are loading quickly. Slow pages will turn off potential clients, leading to higher bounce rates – as much as 32% – and lost clients. So even if you write great content and your site looks fantastic, if it is not loading within ten seconds you need to spend some time fixing it. Ideally, you will want to hit a page load speed of around three seconds.
Making your website responsive for mobile and tablet
Allowing visitors to get the most out of your site no matter which device they are viewing it on is essential in an age where more and more visitors look at websites on their mobiles. Often ignored, this is a vital tool in your arsenal and one that is very easy to check. Simply view your own website on your mobile device and see how it looks. Are pages cropped? Buttons missing? If so, then you need to look at creating either a more responsive website or a mobile-friendly mode. If your potential clients are not seeing your website in a good light, they will look unfavourably on your law firm.
Writing good content
Content is and always will be king online. Google’s E-A-T (Expertise – Authoratativeness – Trust) algorithm received some updates this year, but its fundamentals remain the same. Avoid short blog posts that have no value and concentrate on writing content that answers a search query with expertise and authority, and you will gain the trust of the search engines – and your website visitors. When you write content, imagine that you are answering a client’s question and impart your expertise so they can understand exactly what is happening, what it means and what actions they need to take. By following that simple tactic, you will invariably improve your content.
Content is and always will be king online.
Working on your SEO
SEO can seem scary, but it really does not have to be. To simplify it, SEO is making your website more appealing to search engines. But how?
Well, a combination of good content, keyword research and use and backlinks will certainly help. Look into keywords that your target audience will look for and produce content on that subject. You can use different types of keywords too, so if on your homepage you describe yourself as a divorce lawyer in London, look at the transactional queries such as “divorce lawyer London”, “London’s best divorce lawyer” etc. to target those looking for your services. On your blogs, focus on informational and educational search queries such as “How do you get divorced in England?” By finding those queries that match what your target audience is searching and implementing them across various spaces on your website, such as in URLs, headings, content and quotes, you will increase your SEO and your online visibility.
An additional element to consider is looking to increase your number of links to reputable websites. When a reputable website publishes a link to your site, it is similar to a client referral or a positive review, telling Google that your website has good information and thereby giving you more authority with the search engines and improving your rankings. To increase your backlinks, focus on writing good content and then promoting that to other websites so they feature it. Include quality information and infographics that are easy for people to share so they can link back to your original content.
Get Smart with Social Media
Social media, love it or hate it, continues to be one of the largest segments of the online space across the globe. It also remains a key marketing channel for 2022. But we would suggest a very different approach and encourage you to get smart with social media.
Social media offers a unique way to interact and appeal to different audiences, whether that be local, national or global. Position yourself right on social media and you will likely be onto a lead generation goldmine. The problem? It is horrendously time-consuming and ineffective – at least, the way most law firms do it.
Position yourself right on social media and you will likely be onto a lead generation goldmine.
Do not be on every social media network
Too often law firms fall into the trap of thinking that they have to be on every social media platform to be effective. This is one of the most common mistakes and can actually harm your law firm in the eyes of clients. Rather than looking at social media as something you have to do and sign up to every service under the sun, instead use the same targeted approach that you would in other areas of your law firm marketing. Be sensible about where to have an account and how many accounts you have.
Go where your customers are
If you work in corporate law, I am sure you can guess which social network will feature more of your target audience out of TikTok or LinkedIn without resorting to statistics. That does not mean you cannot or should not have both, but it means that if you can only budget for one (either financially or time-wise), then you should choose the one your audience will more likely frequent.
Create good content or say nothing
This year, operate a policy along the lines of ‘If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all.’ If you feel you can contribute to the conversation, then get involved, add value, write good content and start conversations. If, on the other hand, you do not have the time to put content out and all you are left with is a handful of social media channels posting soulless marketing messages aimed at no one once every month, then you are going to put more people off. Nothing looks worse than an abandoned social media channel where the last post was made in April 2021.
This year, operate a policy along the lines of ‘If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all.’
Do not bite off more than you can chew
Social media takes time and effort, particularly the largely visual ones such as Instagram and TikTok, so pick one channel to start with and put some effort into learning how it works. Dip your toe in the organic and paid side of it. If you find you are enjoying it and you see potential in other channels, then go ahead, but make sure your resources will cover it. The rise of TikTok has seen bigger businesses employ creators whose sole job is to make TikTok videos to promote the company. If you can do that and you work in an area of law where your clients form part of the audience, then it is an excellent opportunity for your law firm to reach new customers. If not, then it is probably not worth getting an account on that platform.
Prioritise targeted engagement over numbers
Try to avoid being sucked into prioritising page views and ‘likes’ over engagement. Many people seem to want their page to hit 10,000 followers and pay little attention to how many people are actually engaging with their posts and who they are. If you are a local law firm and you have got a Reel that has been viewed 24,000 times, that is great, but if those viewers are on the other side of the world and never going to use your law firm then what is the point? Create the content that appeals to your audience in the areas where they are. You will find more potential clients using this method than creating content for a mass audience that is not made up of your customers.
Take time and plan
Again, do not try to bite off more than you can chew. Either of the above avenues, if pursued correctly, will ensure that you generate more leads in 2022 and form a solid launch pad for your legal marketing to grow. It is up to you to determine which makes the best fit for your needs.