Ask the Experts
What’s Next in Marketing Technology?
Question: Technology in all its forms is quickly becoming a big part of marketing. What are the most important tools we should be using at our firm? What should we do first to make sure we’re keeping up?
1. Email marketing. Leverage email marketing tools to the fullest. Even the free versions of basic products like Constant Contact or MailChimp offer pretty sophisticated features and reporting mechanisms that will help you track the success of your online marketing campaigns. There are other more robust products that you may want to investigate once you have a solid program in place. Without it, you might as well be selling yourself door-to-door like a set of encyclopedias.
2. Digital content and aggregation. Producing digital content, in all of its forms, is an absolute must. This includes developing high-quality website content, blogs, videos, podcasts and webinars. Basically, anything you can create, tag, post on the web and make easily found by your target audience will help them, in turn, find you. There are also a number of subscription-based content aggregators out there that you should use to help republish and redistribute your content to a much wider audience.
3. Social media. To many attorneys, the idea of having a social media presence presents a slippery slope, but it is among the easiest and most productive ways to self-broadcast your digital content (see above) without resorting to an email blast. It’s important to carefully consider each channel before jumping in; not all of them are appropriate for every lawyer, and there’s no cookie-cutter approach that works for everyone. When you do finally jump in, don’t make your social media presence all about you. Share other relevant and compelling content, and engage with your target audience if and when they go to the trouble of engaging you. This will help you build a following, which you will need in order to be effective.
Obviously, you gain a competitive advantage if you happen to be in a law firm that uses more technology in its marketing efforts, and anecdotal evidence supports the conclusion that those firms with better technology win the better clients and cases. One of the best ways to stay on top of trends in marketing technology for law firms is to attend the variety of technology-based conferences, such as ABA TECHSHOW, the LMA’s Legal Marketing Technology Conference, ILTACon or LegalTech, to name a few.
Jacqueline Madarang: Before you create a list of different tools your firm may need, it is important to integrate a technology awareness strategy to help identify your specific needs and be more efficient. Here are some guidelines:
- Determine your needs and budget.
- Assess the resources available to you.
- Prioritize and make time to use the resources.
Does your firm have a responsive website and blogs to display your brand and thought leadership? You can complement your website and blogs with a web analytics tool such as Google Analytics.
Do you use social media? There are several dashboards that can help manage multiple social media channels, in addition to being able to provide analytics — Hootsuite, Buffer, and Sprout Social, to name a few.
If you are sending email campaigns, how do you do so? And how are you managing your lists? A client relationship manager (CRM) can get expensive, but can be a great tool to have (you can also integrate this with your selected email marketing tool). Constant Contact, MailChimp, Emma, and Cvent are good, inexpensive email marketing tools that can also help manage your mailing lists.
When it comes to technology, don’t be afraid to try something new. Look at what your competitors are doing.
Jacqueline Madarang is a marketing technology manager at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP. You can reach her at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @jhmadarang. Jacqueline is an active member of the Legal Marketing Association (LMA), the LMA Technology Conference West Committee, as well as the LMA Technology Committee in the past few years.
First, there is customer relationship management — sharing an individual attorney’s contacts so anyone in the firm (within some limits) can see them. This is essential for good marketing and effective cross-selling. Look at InterAction or ContactEase.
Second, there is content management — providing a central repository of marketing copy that can be used across multiple media and particularly websites. For purposes of consistency and efficiency, these are critical. Look at ContentPilot or Tenrec.
Third, there is automated marketing communications, which allow you to send and track emails en masse or to readily manage attendance at events. Look at Vuture or Salesforce.
Fourth, there is social media messaging and monitoring — supporting the flow of messages across social media channels between a firm and its clients. Look at ClearView Social or HootSuite.
And finally, there is market and competitive intelligence — that is, tools that aggregate legal and business news about clients and other firms. Look at Thomson Reuters MonitorSuite or Manzama.
If you’d like to learn more about this from a legal marketing standpoint, visit lmatechconference.com.
Ian Turvill is the CMO of Freeborn & Peters LLP, a full service law firm headquartered in Chicago. He is the 2016 Treasurer-Elect of the Legal Marketing Association International Board of Directors. He was previously elected as the National Marketing Scholar of the Year by the American Marketing Association. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @IanTurvill.
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