Today, legal marketing is more challenging than ever before, as attorneys have to deal with two rapidly changing variables.
One of those variables is of course, the customer. The millennial generation is currently the largest in the United States today, and its members are now all at or approaching adult age, making them consumers law offices must account for. This is important to note, since the desires and consumer expectations of consumers in 2018 are much different than many those attorneys have previously become accustomed to.
The other significant variable is how attorneys reach clients. It doesn’t seem that long ago that the task of print, radio, and television marketing was sprung onto attorneys. Now attorneys are expected to engage in things such as email marketing, online mobile marketing, social media marketing, website marketing, and SMS text messaging. In other words, there’s a lot to worry about these days.
In order to help attorneys create the best possible marketing plans for their firms, we’ve put together a list of five trends all legal marketing professionals need to be aware of.
Mobile Is Becoming One Of The Best Ways To Reach Legal Clients
Back in 2015, Google announced that for the first time, their number of mobile searches exceeded their number of desktop searches. Over the past few years, that trend has continued, leaving businesses of all kinds having to re-examine the way they present their online pages.
Law offices have seen this trend affect their industry as well. In 2017, Jason Bland of Custom Legal Marketing conducted a study to determine just how much mobile dominantes law firm web traffic. What he found was that, “Across a variety of legal practice areas – from personal injury to criminal defense to employment law – mobile traffic ranged from just 21% to 57%.”
One number that really stood out from Bland’s study, was that 57% of people searching for a criminal defense attorney, searched from their mobile devices. While not all types of attorneys received traffic that rivaled that level, the study made it clear that just about every type of law practice had a sizeable portion of their target audience searching on mobile platforms.
What do attorneys need to do to make sure their mobile site impresses clients?:
- Make sure your website is mobile friendly, and already has a responsive design. If you have an older site that doesn’t, it’s time to invest in an update. Also try adding a clickable phone number to your mobile site. Your clients are already on the phone, why not make it convenient for them to call into your firm for more information.
- If you find the user experience of your mobile site suffers from a clunky design, consider simplifying. Certain heavier design elements like large header images and intricate drop down menus may look nice in a desktop design, but can end up being disruptive and difficult to navigate in mobile formats.
- Make sure your site runs as fast as possible on a mobile platform. This can be accomplished by doing things like minimizing landing page redirects and adding plugins. Also optimize your website images, to reduce file size without diminishing visual quality.
Facebook Is No Longer Business Friendly
On January 11, 2018, Facebook announced changes being made to the algorithms that build their users’ newsfeeds, with the goal of making Facebook more personal and, less advertising inclined. These changes will make it easier for Grandma to keep up with what her grandchildren are up to, but more difficult for businesses to get their Facebook advertisements seen by the potential clients using the platform.
Organic traffic on Facebook doesn’t seem to have much of a pulse these days. Rather unfortunately, the network has put smaller companies in a position where they need to “pay to play”. The platform’s paid advertisements can still have some impact, but you’ll likely have to spend more money than ever to get your content seen by a large number of people. There is only so much ad space available on Facebook these days, so be prepared to up your social advertising budget if you want your promoted content to be consistently seen over others boosted on the platform.
We recommend firms consider shifting their social media advertising budgets towards Twitter instead. Not only is it easier to build up an engaged group of followers on Twitter, the network offers a variety of paid advertisements and steadier results. The platform’s “Website clicks or conversions” advertisement campaign is a standout, as it allows you to bring in hundreds of clicks to a shared linked for just a few dollars each day.
Law Firm Websites Are Being Used For More
Just because a law firm website looks impressive on the surface, doesn’t mean it will impress today’s legal consumer. While fancy designs are nice, and can go a long way into catching the eye of site visitors, it’s what people can actually do on your site that matters most. Getting customers to take action on your website is the first step in getting them to hire you.
According to Captorra, 74% of legal consumers visit a law firm website to take action. The more ways you give clients ways to take action on your firm, the more clients you are likely to win over.
More and more attorneys are using their sites to do things like:
- Collect payments
- Schedule appointments
- Process new client information
There are a few ways firms can go about adding these features to their website, perhaps none better than utilizing legal softwares.
Online Reviews Are Growing In Importance
Ignoring the haters is something law offices simply can’t afford to do in 2018. With a millennial generation on the rise that often treats what other people say online about a company as gospel, attorneys need to pay closer attention to their online reviews.
New data shows that 90 percent of consumers read reviews online before visiting a business, and that nearly 88 percent trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
The power of customer testimonials can’t be understated. A review from a person online is much more likely to strike a chord with a web surfing legal consumer than any blog post you can write about your firm. So make sure you always treat your clients right, ask to be reviewed by those you had a positive experience with, and do what you can to convince those who left negative reviews to reconsider.
While you should stay on top of all the reviews that exist for your firm, your Google reviews will be the most important. Getting positive reviews of your business online can go along way in increasing its organic search ranking on the world’s most used search engine.
Consumers Are Becoming More Likely To Reach Out Through Online Customer Service Channels
Whether you want to call them a bit lazy, a tad anti-social, or just more technology inclined, there is no denying the fact that most millennial customers seem to prefer reaching out to a business through an online message format, rather than phone call.
Data shows that 92 percent of customers walk away satisfied from a business interaction that involves live chat, the highest percentage of any communication channel. Another study showed that 51 percent of millennials choose email as their first choice of communication with a business.
Instead of growing frustrated over this, attorneys should instead take advantage of millennials message-first tendencies, and make sure their firm provides multiple outlets for online conversation. Eventually you’ll need to get on the phone with a customer if you are to represent them, but communicating through messaging channels such as live chat, email, and social media messaging, can be a great way to provide comfort and calm concerns of consumers during the initial “get to know you” period.
The simple fact is that the more online communication channels you can provide legal consumers these days, the more likely you are to begin a relationship with them. And if you can provide an immediate response to a consumer’s online message, you may just keep them from moving on in their search to other firms.
The best way to ensure you reap the rewards of all your online and mobile marketing efforts is to make sure you always have a live voice answering your firm’s phone lines. Teaming up with a legal answering service is the only way to guarantee that all first-time callers are greeted by an experienced receptionist voice. Don’t think it matters? Well, statistics from Forbes Magazine indicate that 80 percent of callers sent to voicemail fail to leave messages because they do not think they will ever be heard. Give your firm the best chance to win over every customer possible, and get yourself a legal answering service right away.