Effective marketing is an ongoing journey, especially because the whole landscape of online marketing is always in flux. Your law practice changes over time, and changes at Google, Facebook and other big sites affect your marketing strategy, too. Even online user behavior is changing at a rate that’s difficult to keep up with.
Carving out success in this kind of shifting environment often feels like a gargantuan task, but the challenges can be overcome. You just need to be sure that your law firm has a plan in place to adapt to the changes and connect all the dots.
A Changing Perspective for Marketing Law Firms
It used to be enough to just have a professional website, especially if it was full of relevant content. Social media, smartphones and an always-on culture have changed that. Everyone is online, all the time. There are dozens of points of contact for potential clients, and the people who find you online expect much more from the experience than they used to.
While your website is still the cornerstone of your online presence, people are looking for businesses that will also meet them where they are, when they need it. This isn’t difficult if you have the right tools, but it does mean that you must tend to a web of factors that feed your overall online marketing efforts, including:
- User experience and website design. Think about your website as the digital version of your physical office. Does your website look professional and speak to your brand? Is it easy to use? Does the navigation make sense? Do all the elements work correctly?
- Mobile functionality and local search presence. People are turning to phones, tablets and other mobile devices to connect with businesses online, especially local businesses. Do you show up in local and mobile searches? Do you have a functional mobile website? Have you claimed your local listings through Google Local, Bing and Yahoo and accurately completed your profiles?
- Intake, customer service and client experience. When you provide excellent service, it’s easy to market your law firm. Are you responsive 24 hours a day, seven days a week? What happens when someone calls your office? Are clients happy with the service you and your staff provide? Do you have a solid intake and follow-up strategy?
- Text, image and video content. Your online content should be useful and easy to digest. Do you offer helpful information, answers, or a peek into the personality of your law firm? Does your content look good on the page? Have you cut out unnecessary jargon and legalese? Are you breaking up text with headlines, images and videos?
- Reviews, reputation and authority. Google, other search engines and the people you’re trying to reach all pay attention to your online reputation. Do you know what people are saying about you? Are you using ethical marketing practices? Getting positive reviews on major review sites? Do other authoritative sites link back to you?
- Social media. Social media gives you a rare chance to engage with the daily lives of your audience. Does your social media presence reflect your firm’s personality? Are you offering a mix of interesting content? Are you responsive to comments? Are you interacting with others and sharing their content?
How to Connect the Dots and Improve Your Marketing Strategy
The problem with this evolution in online marketing for law firms? There are a lot of dots to connect if you want results. You can’t expend all your energy on just one type of campaign. Instead, you need to decide on the mix that is going to work best for you.
Figure out what works to attract the kinds of clients you want and how you can minimize the time you spend on contacts that aren’t the right fit. Prioritize improving your local presence, your mobile functionality and the user experience on your website — these are foundational areas that will drag down your other efforts if they’re lacking.
Remember, too, that a million clicks are no longer a measure of online success — you have to go deeper. Clicks won’t do you any good unless they’re actually turning into leads and cases. It is crucial that you put in the extra time and effort to track, measure and analyze your marketing campaigns. This data offers incredible insight into how well your marketing strategy is working and helps you make sure that great leads don’t fall through the cracks.
Above all, don’t give up if you don’t get it right the first time. The right mix of marketing is different for every law firm, and it can take a little time and adjustment to build momentum.
Tom Foster is a nationally recognized author and online marketing expert, focusing on the legal and medical industries. He is CEO of Foster Web Marketing and author of “The 5 Biggest Mistakes 99% of Lawyers Make With Their Websites,” along with several other books. Tom has been featured on numerous television stations, including affiliates of CBS, NBC, ABC and FOX, and speaks widely on web marketing for the legal industry. Follow him @tomfosterweb.
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