2019 will soon be drawing to a close, and we know many lawyers out there are looking forward to ramping down their advertising efforts and enjoying some well-deserved time off. But, before diving head first into the holiday season, it is important that attorneys give some thought to how they will go about marketing their firms in 2020. When returning to work in January, you’ll want to be ready to take action, and come to the table with fresh ideas that can help you get a headstart on lackadaisical competitors.
So what do lawyers need to know about marketing in 2020? Here is what the experts believe are trends worth keeping an eye on.
Podcasts Are On The Rise
In today’s multi-tasking culture, where people can’t stand to go more than a few minutes without having their brains stimulated, podcasts are thriving. Consumers seem more comfortable committing to listening to podcasts over other informational mediums, because doing so doesn’t require their full attention. They can listen to podcasts in the car, at their desk, or even while lying in bed. The same can’t be said of reading blog posts and eBooks, which while still valuable, are becoming harder sells to consumers.
Few would argue the popularity podcasts have these days. The question lawyers will have regarding podcasts, is whether it makes since for their firm to pour valuable time and resources into making one. Starting a podcast is quite the commitment, as it requires buying a microphone and microphone stand at the minimum, and a lot of careful planning. So how can attorneys ensure that their podcasts will bring a positive return on investment? Finding a good niche topic for the podcast is a good place to begin.
“Before jumping into the podcast world, law firms must research what topic they want to focus on and what audience they want to target,” said legal writer Virgina Mayo in an article for Bigger Law Firm. “For example, a personal injury law firm may offer tips on automobile accidents or possible defective products. The goal of the podcast will be to become the firm that listeners will turn to if they have a legal problem.”
While creating a podcast worth listening too is far from easy, it definitely has the potential to be a rewarding marketing avenue for attorneys. The platform gives lawyers a chance to not only showcase their expertise to potential clients, but their personality as well. Consumers could be more eager to reach out to your firm, if they feel like they already know you from listening to the podcast. For lawyers that find the podcast scene to be a bit daunting, consider teaming up with attorneys from other firms. Having someone to help carry the content creation load and provide a different perspective could be a significant boost to your efforts.
Area Demographics Are Starting To Matter More
Knowing your target audience means everything in today’s marketing world, and for lawyers, it is a must to know who exactly is making up the community they are practicing in. As of 2017, the foreign-born population in the US was up to 44.5 million people. Long-time legal marketer Rodney Warner recognizes that large portions of the population are up made of first or second generation immigrants, and believes that the legal needs of these groups are often being overlooked.
“An example is central New Jersey, not far from where I live in Pennsylvania,” Warner said. “There is a large population of immigrants from India and Pakistan, along with their children and grandchildren. They are, generally, more educated and earn more money than the overall population. While the median income of American families is about $61,000, according to the US Census Bureau, the Pew Research Center estimates the median income for Indian households in the US is $100,000. Many of them own their own businesses. A culturally competent law firm that could plug into this community and meet their needs could do very well.”
Catering your law firm to a specific community is a decision that will of course require some long-term planning and consideration, but is one that ultimately could end up being quite fruitful. One thing law offices might want to consider is bringing on lawyers or other staff members who are already part of the demographic they are hoping to reach.
“Hiring lawyers who are part of a (particular) community could help acquire clients,” Warner said. “They may literally be able to speak their language, know the culture and have connections in the community that could result in client development.”
Email Marketing Is Growing In Importance
A lot of marketing methods and tools have died out over the past 20 years, but as we enter a new decade, email remains as relevant as ever. Very few, if any marketing channels can replicate the direct line of communication email provides to a target audience. Just about every business professional can be found checking their email at least a few times a day, and the chances of a consumer seeing an email remain much higher than them seeing a post or message on other marketing platforms.
“Many marketers overlooked email for a while in favor of social media and other newer platforms, but the data is clear that email is one of the most effective channels for B2B and professional services marketing,” said Michelle Calcote King of Reputation Ink in a recent blog post.
According to data from Campaign Monitor, email marketing drives more conversions than any other marketing channel, including search and social. If you still aren’t ready to include email marketing into your plans for 2020, maybe this thought from Design Wizard’s Ellan Dineen will change your tune.
“A long term email strategy takes into consideration both the immediate and continuing goals of your practice for the most comprehensive approach to client management,” Dineen wrote in a blog post earlier this year. “Long-term focuses on steps to not only obtain a client, but to sustain and maintain that client. Incorporating this plan of action will mean even those clients who you’ve counseled in the past won’t be neglected, but rather stay well-updated and informed on pertinent information that may apply to them. For potential clients, a long-term email marketing strategy will nurture them so that you’re firm is always on their minds at the most opportune times.”
Geofencing Has Become Worth Exploring
For those unfamiliar, geofencing is a location-based service that businesses use to engage their audience by sending relevant messages to smartphone users who enter a pre-defined location or geographic area. For years, it has been a trendy topic amongst marketers, yet has been far from universally embraced by law firms. So why would 2020 be the time to jump in on geofencing?
“We’re making a huge push towards geofencing right now,” Jan Roos of CaseFuel told us earlier this year. “There have been a few false starts over the last 5-10 years on geofencing with secondary networks, but with the consolidation of eyeballs on the big platforms and the strength of targeting on platforms like Google and Facebook, we finally have the ability to target people in a certain location and serve them an ad they’ll actually click.”
Most of the people reading this blog post have probably found out about a company or product through a geofencing campaign. With the amount of time people spend on their smartphones, it’s hard not to at least occasionally be drawn in by a targeted ad, especially if that ad is presented to you several times. In order for lawyers to really take advantage of what geofencing has to offer, they will need to carefully consider places where their target customer will be, particularly around the time they need to contact a lawyer.
“One of the best applications for (geofencing) is actually outside of search,” Roos said. “We’ve been getting fantastic numbers on personal injury cases, targeting people killing time on Facebook or Instagram at hospitals.”