How Artificial Intelligence is Changing Legal Marketing

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AI and Legal Firm Marketing

COIN, short for Contract Intelligence, is a tech tool developed by JPMorgan that is capable of extracting 150 attributes from over 12,000 commercial credit agreements and contracts within seconds. This extraction that takes mere seconds for the software takes over 360,000 hours of manual work by lawyers! This feat is achievable thanks to artificial intelligence.

Similar AI tools are now helping the law industry, including law firms as well as independent lawyers for various tasks. The law industry is now using AI for research, analytics, contract review, e-discovery, due diligence, and even litigation forecasting. The law industry was one of the few industries that were largely unaffected by technological advances, but it is changing now due to the incorporation of machine learning and artificial intelligence.

AI has not only helped the legal industry manage the massive amount of data and workload it deals with but is also helping law firms and lawyers in marketing their services to the right audience. It is transforming how they market themselves by automating marketing processes, providing effective lead capturing methods, and engaging with customers. The partnership of AI and legal firm marketing has come a long way in the last few years, let us look at these changes in more detail.

Smart Customer Analytics

Smart Customer Analytics

Be it big data or small data, customer analytics is perhaps the most important part of any firm’s marketing strategy. It includes an in-depth analysis of customer behaviour as well as experience. However, these analytical processes required CRM tools, databases, SQL queries, and hours upon hours of work in the past. Let’s not forget that the legal marketers then had to rely on their hunches before beginning manual data analysis.

With the advent of AI, this is changing rapidly. Legal marketers no longer have to use such extensive, time-consuming processes to figure out their customers’ behaviours and experience and to manage their data. AI can assess a large set of data within minutes, unlike humans who’d take multiple days to do the same.

AI is also used for making the right recommendations at the right time. Ai-based marketing tools are designed and developed with millions of predefined conditions that allow them to know how the customers react to specific situations, ad copy, content, and other touchpoints, including lead magnets and call-to-actions. AI can help marketers gain deep insights into the customer base, like:

Where to find the right audience

How to interact with them more effectively

What content to send them

What is the right time to connect 

When to send follow-up communications

Such smart AI tools can help marketers understand their target audience on an entirely different level than previously imagined. What’s more, smart analysis AI tools can even help legal marketers send the most effective email or SMS at the right time, and even personalize content recommendations to the right audience. AI can now guarantee campaign success by making data utilization an easy task while also eliminating human error.

This “seventh sense” of legal marketing is only growing every day. According to a 2019 Forrester and Albert study, 26% of marketers are already using autonomous AI, while the rest rely on some AI assistance. Here are three best examples of how AI is helping the law industry with smart customer analytics.

Google AdWords’ Smart Bidding

Almost all major companies are using Google AdWords for marketing their business. Recently, Google integrated AI-based Smart Bidding into this marketing tool to leverage information from millions of ad placements around the internet. This information is helping advertisers bid at a more informed level. Smart Bidding analyses the data points and tailors bids to each auction across all Google’s properties. The tool uses machine learning to optimize bidding that can maximize conversions and conversion values across the bidding portfolio of the users.

Smart Bidding is allowing ad buyers in the legal industry to factor in an array of parameters including device, location, time of day, browser, language, and much more. The payback is enormous as a result, as it continuously refines ad placements to improve ROI while also allowing legal marketers to mine data like customer preferences and behaviour.

Smith.ai

Two major law firms, AttorneySync and GNGF, have recently incorporated Smith.ai into their marketing strategies for their clients, allowing them to capture more leads that are looking for legal services. Smith.ai has a proven track record of delivering comprehensive solutions that help the business grow while keeping costs affordable.

This AI tool makes it possible by taking care of the time-consuming communications tasks reliably and accurately. It can answer phones, book appointments, log details into the CRM, notify the marketing team about top-quality leads, and follow up on nurturing leads (especially those that interact with lead magnets or CTAs). What makes the Smith.ai tool even better is that it can be integrated into a wide range of programs, including HubSpot and Zapier.

Ravel Law

Another AI tool that is gaining traction in the legal industry is Ravel Law. It expertly mines customer data that can be used by legal marketers to pitch the right services to the right customers. It provides intelligence on the opposing counsel, generates a probability of winning values, and identifies litigation trends that can be used by legal firms and lawyers in their marketing campaigns. Apart from analytical predictions, the software can also provide legal firms with judges’ data on cases, circuits and rulings right on the dashboard, which can also be used in landing new clients.

Intelligent Content Marketing Strategy Support

Intelligent Content Marketing Strategy Support

While it is great to have 10,000 reads on a piece of content, all those views are worthless if they are not by the target audience. Instead, content that gets 40 reads by the right audience is much more valuable to the firm’s lead conversion. This principle relates to vanity metrics vs engagement metrics. Here, AI can combine big data, small data, motivational data and integrated data of the customer base into general feedback and highly positive data points. This can help the legal marketers significantly.

An AI-based SEO tool like Alliai can automatically advise legal marketers on how they can optimize their content. Such AI tools can analyze consumer behaviour and demands and deliver specific topic clusters that are most likely to have positive impressions on the audience. Some tools can even help legal marketers with choosing the right keywords and scan content for any errors. The most popular examples of such AI tools are Grammarly, which checks for grammatical and syntax errors for written content, and HubSpot’s content strategy tools that can help marketers develop a more natural and efficient strategy, and Can I Rank? that helps marketers choose the most effective keywords. Other tools like OneSpot and Cortex help legal marketers successfully test landing pages and personalize them to have the most impact even before they go live on the internet.

AI and legal firm marketing’s relationship regarding content marketing doesn’t stop there. AI is quite effective at personalizing the lead nurturing process, too. It can recommend a natural progression of user experience by offering useful content based on their browning and download history. Marketo and HubSpot are the two most popular tools used for the natural lead nurturing process by many legal marketers. Here, the AI software utilizes machine learning and predictive analytics to identify and tag available content on the website to feed recommendations.

Other Effective Implementation of AI

While artificial intelligence is stunningly helpful for lead generation and conversion, it can also be used for other specific processes that are part of the overall marketing strategy for many law firms and lawyers. This is where one starts to see how far AI and legal firm marketing has come. Here are the best AI-tool implementations:

Chatbots

Chatbots

Chatbots are intelligent software solutions with an AI framework that chat with users who visit a site. It was projected that up to 80% of businesses would start using chatbots by the end of the year, which would rescue business costs by USD 8 million by 2022. As the COVID-19 pandemic stands in the way, such deployments are somewhat delayed, but once the market conditions stabilize, they are going to become a driving force in legal marketing.

These chatbots take the best features of the “live agent” solution that many legal firms already utilize since 80% of customers prefer to interact using chatbots. But here, the chatbots follow a script that engages with the visitor through a conversation that is designed specifically to convert prospects to leads. All of this comes at zero pay-per-lead costs, unlike other lead generation services. These chatbots can also automate the lead gathering process, improve customer experience, and run around the clock, which customers expect in the current world.

Legal marketers are also using chatbots for lead generation, information collection, brand awareness, marketing automation, and social media engagements. Many are going further to leverage these chatbots to perform administrative and client service tasks, provide legal information to customers, complete forms, perform client intake, recommend content, and carry out platform research.

Chatbots are expected to become a mainstream part of client experience and lead gathering investment for law firms in the coming years. According to Business Insider, “chatbot architecture and design will evolve to the point that interactive AI will become standard for customer service.” This illustrates how significant chatbots are for AI and legal firm marketing. Here are some examples of legal marketing chatbots.

A leading example of chatbots is Fa Xiotao from a China-based company, Wusong Technology. It offers users in-depth case analysis and helps them locate lawyers. Legal marketers can use this tool to reach the right audience that is looking for specific services. What makes this technology so special is that it raised USD 17 million Series B funding, which makes it one of the biggest investments in the legal technology industry.

Another leading example is the AI chatbot called Immigration Virtual Assistant (IVA) by a Montreal-based law firm, EXEO. This tool makes the process of moving to Canada easy and stress-free for those wanting to immigrate here. It assists users with free legal consultations and provides them with answers to their queries. This not only helps the customers but also qualifies a lead for the company. In return for some free questions and assistance, the law firm can reap a specific lead that will be easy to convert down the funnel.

Lastly, there is LawDroid, a chatbox that helps law firms create their chatbots that match their practice area and specifications. It is made for lawyers, and works around the clock, making it the quintessential AI-based chatbot for legal firm marketing. The most popular users of LawDroid are The Commons Law Center, Hello Divorce, and Palace Law.

Voice Search

Voice Search

Siri, Google, Bixby, and Alexa; these are the most popular voice search tools that are available in most phones and computers nowadays. And they are changing how consumers and businesses search for information on the internet. According to Gartner, 50% of the global internet searches will be voice searches by the end of 2020. And other studies suggest that seven out of ten consumers prefer to conduct internet searches using voice search over typing since it is quicker. Moreover, individuals who are visually impaired or differently-abled rely extensively on voice search for internet searches. 

AI-based voice search is thus transforming how lawyers market themselves online, and how clients search for them or legal information. Voice search optimization has become especially crucial for consumer-facing law practices such as personal injury, family law, estate planning, criminal defence, etc. as they rely on internet search queries to drive traffic.

A majority of voice assistant users use voice searches to ask basic questions and search for information. Some of the examples of such questions include:

“Hi Siri, find me an attorney in Edmonton who specializes in divorce.”

“Hey Google, help me find a criminal defence lawyer near me.”

“Hi Alexa, what kind of lawyer do I need if I am making a will?”

“Hey Bixby, can you help me find a good lawyer in Calgary?”

“Hey Google, is there a personal injury lawyer nearby?”

“Hi Siri, where can I find an immigration lawyer in Canada?”

The questions can be endless, but these AI-based assistants have answers to most of the questions. How? They comb through the internet to find relevant information using long-tail keywords. Legal marketers are leveraging this feature of voice assistants and search engines for their marketing campaigns.

Many legal firms and lawyer websites have started adding extensive FAQ landing pages with many questions in a conversational tone, making it easier for voice search assistants to pick up the sites. This is similar to SEO optimization, but using long-tail, conversational keywords. This way, AI is helping legal marketers reach the new demographic of prospective leads that rely on voice search engines to find solutions.

The popularity of voice search engines is only growing, so the voice search AI and legal firm marketing’s bond will be much stronger in the coming years. According to Ben Trott of Marketing Lawyers, “Voice search will be the next major marketing force in the legal industry. It’s not expensive for firms to start getting on board with the changes and adapting their marketing strategies now to stay ahead of the game on a trend that certainly looks like it is here to stay.”

Geo-Fencing

Geo-Fencing

Geo-fencing is location-based AI technology that uses Global Positioning System (GPS) or Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) to construct a virtual boundary or fence around a specific location. This tech has great potential for marketing, which is why lawyers have started using this technology to market to potential clients who may require legal services based on the places they visit.

Legal marketers are using geofencing to create campaigns that target those who visit specific sites. Once they are intercepted by the AI, it delivers website ads or sponsored offers directly to their phones or computers for a specific period. This powerful marketing tool tracks an individual’s activity and leverages that information to deliver hyper-targeted products or services tailored specifically for them.

For example, a DUI lawyer can set up geofences around specific bars and clubs, a medical malpractice lawyer can do the same around hospitals, and a personal injury lawyer can set a geofence around target collision repair centers. Some geofencing AI can also use predictive analytics algorithms to forecast a user’s location by studying their routine and trends, and send them offers even before they leave their house.

Local Page Pop conducted a couple of case studies recently to study the impact of geo fencing AI and legal firm marketing. In these studies, they incorporated geo-fencing and geo retargeting to deliver targeted ads, influence prospective leads, and study the click-through rates (CTR). The subjects of the two case studies were named Local Law Office and Injury Attorney Offices.

The former’s campaign lasted five weeks in a metropolitan area (San Francisco Bay), and garnered 162,000 impressions (in the first four weeks) along with 395 clicks, resulting in 0.20% CTR. The latter’s campaign ran for four months in Harlingen, which has a small market size. Its campaign gained 550,033 impressions, 2,510 clicks, with a CTR of 0.46%. Both studies prove the effectiveness of geo-fencing in legal marketing.

Geo-fencing AI and legal firm marketing together can work to gather leads and convert them unlike any other form of marketing tactics, making this one of the most powerful marketing tools. Geo-fencing AI and its predictive analytics take offer-personability to another level, and the industry is expected to grow by over 27% by 2022. Surprisingly, the industry average CTR performance is nearly 2X that of other marketing strategies, cementing geo fencing as a gamechanger for legal firms and lawyers.

Future of AI and Legal Firm Marketing

Future of AI and Legal Firm Marketing

There is a lot of fear regarding artificial intelligence in the modern world. Some of those fears are valid, like it being a threat to jobs or privacy, but some are quite far-fetched, like it being a threat to humanity itself. There is no doubt that there are some disadvantages to artificial intelligence. One, it is expensive to maintain and may require complex machines and frequent upgrades. Two, it is a threat to over 800 million jobs, according to McKinsey Global Institute. Three, AI tools like geo-fencing are a massive concern for privacy that needs to be addressed with the right legal framework to avoid misuse. 

Despite AI’s disadvantages, it is undeniable that machines are far better and more efficient than humans, which is especially true for the legal industry, as illustrated by JPMorgan’s COIN technology.

Apart from predictive analytics, big and small data collaboration, and minimizing the time required for research and due diligence, AI is helping the legal industry take giant leaps when it comes to marketing. This is especially true for countries like Canada and the US that have over 70% of the population using smartphones.

Lawyers and legal firms are excited to see where the AI tech will go in the future. It has enabled the industry to study their customer base like never before, gather massive amounts of information, develop effective marketing strategies based on predictive analytics, and hyper-target the most fruitful leads in just the last few years. With many startups trying to “disrupt” the marketing industry every year, the future looks promising for AI-backed legal firm marketing.

Artificial intelligence is infiltrating the legal industry and changing the way it functions. Smart legal marketers are leveraging the benefits of AI-based tools to bring in more leads. For the rest, there is no better time than now to invest in AI marketing for legal firms.

Ali Salman is an online marketing strategist who have worked with Coca-Cola, Extreme Pita, Mucho Burrito, KIA, Honda and other Fortune 500 companies. Ali Salman now heads Rapid Boost Marketing - Canada's fastest growing search marketing agency. RBM clients include Fortune 500's and medium size businesses across North America. Ali as RBM CMO leads his team in building and managing quality, high-performing and cost-effective interactive campaigns and programs for our company's customers and partners. In his career, he has significantly improved campaign performance for large brands such as Government of Alberta, Liberal Party, Workopolis, Cathay Pacific, as well as medium to large retailers and high-tech B2B-enterprise niches. Ali and his team develop online promotional concepts that spark viral growth through search and social media for RBM clients, devising strategies that use search engines and more to reach key demographic segments in the ways they're most likely to be receptive. Ali Salman also oversees corporate marketing initiatives for Rapid Boost Marketing, including strategic communications counsel, public and analyst relations and client education programming.

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