There are five massive movements that have fundamentally changed how legal practitioners market their firms, said digital marketing guru Mitch Joel, speaking at Avvo’s Lawyernomics convention. However, many are still playing catch-up, stuck in what Joel calls ‘marketing purgatory’, where the old way of doing things doesn’t work, while learning new techniques is too difficult. Throughout a lively, engaging keynote address, Joel highlighted five areas that legal marketers should be keeping top of mind when planning and executing their campaigns:
The battle for the direct relationship with the client has evolved. Many law firms only envision themselves battling against their direct competitors—but this is no longer the case. Joel used an anecdote in which he purchased a pair of Beats headphones from a WalMart, and then liked both brands on Facebook. Who, Joel asked, owned the direct relationship? Law firms aren’t only competing against other firms for the direct relationship with a client, but also with every other touchpoint in the supply chain—including the online platforms you use to engage them.
Because of this, Joel stressed the importance of creating valuable, relevant content to establish the relationship with the client directly, rather than relying on a third party.
Modern marketers have access to a greater wealth of data and analytics tools than ever before, allowing them to properly identify, segment, and market to clients and optimize campaigns to focus on what works. Where data existed but was siloed before, law firm marketers now have the ability to integrate both linear and circular data, leading to increased effectiveness of marketing campaigns.
Joel recommended starting off with a combination of Google Analytics and marketing automation software (Hubspot, Marketo, or Pardot) to start, and then building out other solutions from there. We’d also recommend utilizing at least some form of rudimentary social listening or monitoring solution to keep an eye on what potential clients, peers, and thought leaders are saying and key conversations you should be taking part in. Hootsuite, a free social media management tool, is great for this.
Whether you’re creating social content, website content, or apps, the focus should be on creating a tool that’s valuable and useful for your intended audience. Joel highlighted ‘Sit or Squat’, a public bathroom rating service from toilet paper brand Charmin as a simple yet highly useful app.
“The great thing about digital is that you can take something that already exists and modify it to add value to your clients,” says Joel. In Charmin’s case, that was overlaying bathroom rankings on a pre-existing Google Maps interface. Don’t feel the need to reinvent the wheel, particularly if you’re a solo or small firm lawyer—instead, look at how you can apply slight tweaks to something and create a new tool that your clients will love.
Passive vs Active
Joel stressed the importance of knowing how your potential clients are consuming media via different platforms and adjusting your content to support this. Mediums like television and print media are more passive media, where consumers just want to unplug and take it all in. Whereas mediums like social media are tailored more towards active media consumption. Joel used an example of posting a press release (a one-way, passive announcement) to a social media channel, and paying to promote it (don’t do this). The business of law is still about building relationships, and active consumption channels are optimized for this. Posting or promoting passive content won’t help you achieve those goals. Ensure your active consumption channels have active, engaging content to avoid ineffectively burning through your marketing budget.
One Screen World
Much has been made about multi-screen media consumption, and with good reason: more people have mobile subscriptions than electricity, clean drinking water, or bank accounts. Joel advised against putting too much thought into dual-screen consumption. “The screen that’s in front of you is the one that matters. Focus on that.”
Ultimately, Joel said, you need one marketing strategy: “How are you connecting to your clients when they’re trying to connect to you?” Whether passive or active, mobile or desktop, an effective law firm marketing strategy will understand how to facilitate connections with potential clients at exactly the right moment.
Looking to learn more about optimizing your digital marketing efforts? Download your free copy of ‘The Lawyer’s Guide to Marketing Your Firm Online’ now.