In today’s world, where the world is moving towards better options for everything and immense competition out there, you cannot afford to lag. When it comes to promoting your attorney and law service-based business, the traditional forms of marketing may seem ideal. While they tend to be “classic”, there are better ways to move ahead and compete with similar service providers. We are talking about digital marketing (you must have surely heard about it). Without any beating around the bush, we’ll move on to explaining the upsides of digital marketing for law firms.
Makes You Available
All the businesses do their bit to achieve the primary goal. For some, the goal may be to create brand awareness, while others might want to sell their products and services. But once the audiences know about the existence of your business, you have taken a step towards success. Now, what if people want to know more about your law firm at odd hours of the day? The first thing they’ll do is turn to Google. But what if they look up and don’t find anything on the internet? At the very moment, you’ll lose that potential client. This is the primary reason that you need to be present online. And the biggest benefit of digital marketing for law firms is that it makes you available throughout, no matter when and from where your potential clients search about you. And even if people aren’t looking for you in specific, the right digital marketing techniques will bring up your name when people look for a business like you – let’s say law companies in Edmonton or law-related service providers in Calgary. This isn’t possible with traditional means of marketing. If you consider outdoor signs, people will have to go to the place where they are put up or visit your office to know more. And if it’s TV or radio ads, they’ll have to wait till they are aired the next time. With digital marketing tactics like making a useful website, claiming Google My Business listing, and creating perfect social media profiles, you can provide most of the information that they may need before they get in touch with you. And this information is available at any hour of the day or night.
Not a Rocket Science
The world is going digital, and digital marketing will soon be the future of marketing and advertising. Digital marketing for law firms isn’t a difficult thing to do. But yes, you have to be careful and design the right marketing strategies to be successful. Look at the way people use digital channels. Whenever you need to find some information, you turn to Google for the same. Your existing and potential clients are no different when they start to research the services that can help them solve their biggest problems. This means that your target audience is already using search engines for various purposes. And most of the experiences start with a usual search on the internet. Let’s take another scenario. Today, large masses use various social media channels for different purposes. Some use it for leisure, some to socialize, while some do it for their business’s progress. The point is that most of your target audiences are using at least one channel. This means that targeting these people on social media via well-designed social media marketing tactics won’t be difficult. All you have to do is capture their attention and communicate with them. Once they get in touch with you, things will be a lot easier. You just have to amplify your efforts so that they appear better on the channels that your audiences are already using, and that’s how you can expect digital marketing success.
Talking about the traditional means of marketing first, you cannot engage or communicate with your target audiences. TV ads, newspaper ads and news, radio ads and jingles, outdoor marketing signs, etc. are just one way of communicating. You don’t “talk” to your existing and potential clients to understand what they need and want from a law firm. You need to wait out for the responses to come in before you can plan your next step. This is a long and tedious process. But when you consider digital marketing, it allows you to engage your audience in real-time. You can chat and discuss a lot about your law firm with the actual audience immediately.
The average bounce rate on websites increased, and the attention span of visitors is dropping. When visitors to a website do not immediately find what they are looking for, they leave for an alternative. Which is why you need to ensure continuous engagement framework. Effective digital marketing for law firms will allow you to stay competitive and relevant by engaging with customers through different digital media channels. These platforms can allow to answer customer questions, alleviate misconceptions, and even generate sales. This can be achieved via regular useful blog posts, newsletters, shows, promotions, and special offers. This is how digital marketing allows you to engage with your audiences in countless ways and give you opportunities several times. Make sure you are up for taking this responsibility of regularly engaging to stay on top of your competitors in the law industry.
Countless Means Available
Another benefit of digital marketing for law firms is that you can choose from the countless options and opportunities available. If you are just starting with digital marketing for law firms, you can start from a few of them, be successful, and then move on to other channels and means. A lot of these channels are free to use and offer several methods of promoting and marketing your services. And others that involve a cost, the cost is affordable and low, lower than most traditional means of marketing. Listed below is a guide for you to learn and familiarize yourself with the various channels that are available at our disposal.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is the lifeblood of a thriving, effective digital marketing strategy. SEO involves several activities to boost rankings, including keyword research, making use of both on-page and off-page optimization, linkable asset creation, organic link building, advertising, and more.
The traditional email marketing is still an effective way to build and maintain rapport with potential clients and maintain relationships with existing customers. Email marketing campaigns are relatively fast to create and send and can be customized and tailored to a specific target audience of your marketing campaign.
Content is at the heart of every digital marketing campaign. With useful, high-quality and very relevant content, your website and other digital marketing types can gain immense results. Some of the common types of content include blogs, articles, web page content, newsletters, podcasts, videos, images, infographics, GIFs, and a lot more.
Social Media Marketing
Do we even talk about this? Countless social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Pinterest, MySpace, etc. allow you to share opinions, advertise brands, market services, and reach local and global audiences. Apart from sharing content, you can even run online ads and sponsored posts on each of these platforms.
This involves all the related marketing activities from banner placements to landing pages. Probably the best thing about affiliate marketing is that it has no upfront cost and you can decide on the terms and rates you pay to the affiliates.
These online ads appear when people look for you or businesses like yours. PPC ads deliver highly targeted traffic of potential customers within a concise period. This method is driven by how much you are willing to invest in bidding and placing ad placements, as well as how much you are willing to pay for acquiring one customer.
Websites are essential digital channels for every company operating today. They are workhorses for communicating and selling to potential customers. But creating a website isn’t where the task ends. You need to optimize it with quality content, attractive graphics, the right web pages, responsiveness, shareability and a lot more so that it ranks higher.
Apart from these, some other types of digital marketing for law firms include display advertising, video marketing, smartphone marketing, and viral marketing that can be used for various channels mentioned above.
Pro Tip: How to Select the Right Channels
Digital marketing channels have three categories－brand awareness, lead generation, and direct sales. Depending on your business goals, you might need to include all three digital marketing categories into your strategy. You will also want to consider the following:
Target audience: Who are they? What channels do they engage on?
Budget: What is your budget towards each channel? What ROI do you expect?
Competitor benchmarking: What channels are they using? Are they successful?
Determining the above business objectives is the critical first step in creating your strategy.
When you put up a hoarding talking about the seasonal discount on your estate planning services, who is the target audience? Of course, the people who live in the area and travel there regularly or less often. But what about people from other neighbourhoods? What about people in different cities? You can’t expect them to visit the area and see what discounts you are offering. Also, in that limited area, you will hardly get any clients looking for estate planning services as these aren’t something people may require regularly. This way, your investment in the hoarding goes in vain as only limited people avail of these discounts. And what if you were trying to target people from across the city? Targeting them with a single hoarding is impossible. That’s where digital marketing can work in your favour. Digital marketing for law firms allows you to make your efforts visible globally. Ad campaigns, search engine marketing tactics, social media posts, well-designed website, regular blogs, and other efforts can be viewed by people from across the globe when done right. This gives small start-ups and even bigger organizations the rare opportunity to go global via the immense exposure provided. All you have to do is target the right audiences while are making the most of your digital marketing ideas. Also, targeting and segmenting the audience will help you in gaining better results.
Precise Targeting and Segmentation
Let’s take, for instance, outdoor marketing options again. While putting up a hoarding, you sure decide who the target audience will be. If the content is about criminal cases, your target audience will be adults and older adults who may need an attorney or lawyer to fight their criminal-type cases or share information about such cases. But are they the only people to whom the hoarding will be exposed? Surely not. Anyone and everyone can view the hoarding while driving or walking. This can be a benefit as you may get a lead that is beyond your target market. However, the point is that this hoarding can even go unnoticed by someone who may be interested. And the consequence will be a waste of resources. This doesn’t happen with digital marketing. Even blogs, websites, social media posts, emails, PPC ads, and other digital vehicles are visible to all. But if you want, you can target only a set of audiences for better results. With digital marketing for law firms, you can ensure that the right consumers are viewing your content. SEO allows you to reach those consumers who are searching the web for content and topics that are relevant to your business. PPC, display, and social media advertising enables you to target those who are most likely to be interested in your law-related services based on demographic information and general characteristics. While creating ads, you are required to choose the region, age, gender, occupation, and other factors on the basis on which you can decide whom you wish to target. By making your ads more targeted, i.e. selecting fewer but potentially interested people for your ads, you even lower your budget. This way, you can work to get more for your marketing budget and resources.
Not only does marketing over digital platforms allow campaigns to be targeted at specific customers, but it also allows for customer segmentation. Segmentation is the process in which large customer groups are further broken down into smaller groups of customers according to a particular classification. Segmentation increases the chances of more business, as well as cut down on cost. Let’s say you have to run two advertisement campaigns, one each for estate planning and for law services. You can break down your target market into these two categories. Once you have two buckets of different or overlapping target audiences, you can target the right people with the best-suited campaigns.
Nurture Potential Clients
There’s a common thing between traditional marketing and digital marketing for law firms. Not everybody who sees your company’s name, advertisement, social media post, website, or hoarding will walk into your office and avail your services. They will need some time to get to know you better. They’ll need a lot of information before they opt you for what they are looking for. If you put up a hoarding for a month, a person may look at it every day, get curious about your law company, and then get in touch with you to know more. The same way, you need to nurture your target audience through your digital marketing techniques. You need to keep them engaged and rebrand yourself to be on top of their mind. Eventually, you can make them convert and choose your services. Regular online ads, email marketing, social media postings, and regular blogs are a few of the countless ways to keep your leads stuck to your law firm.
Easy to Measure
With traditional marketing, you have to wait for weeks, sometimes even months before the boosts start to turn up. Here is where digital marketing for law firms wins. You can see everything in real-time, including the number of visitors, the most active time of the day, conversion rates, bounce rates, and so on. Digital marketing analytics takes the guesswork out of determining whether your marketing is actually working. By measuring your digital marketing campaigns in real-time, you can see which tactics are working and which are not. When you have the result handy in real-time, you waste no time taking action.
Let’s take another example. Consider your location of the business. Can you tell how many footfalls happened in a day, how many people showed interest in your services, how many leads turned to clients, and how many existing clients approached for more work? Maybe, you can give a few data. But which traditional marketing efforts have gained you more footfalls in your office; Is its newspaper advertisement, billboard, the collateral you distributed? You can never know this! As mentioned above, digital marketing analytics can help you understand impressions, clicks, conversion, sales etc. for each medium you use. This way, you come to know how well your digital marketing tactics are working. And measuring these numbers isn’t so difficult. Talking about social media channels, each one of them has its own analytics and insights options that you can read. Also, most of them provide charts and graphs for better representation of your posts’ performance.
As mentioned above, traditional marketing tactics may take too long to give you an idea of what’s working well and what’s not. You have to wait for a long time to understand the response people have for the traditional ads on the usual mediums. Plus, the investment in traditional marketing is much more than digital marketing. This means that you lose your money and time in designing the strategy, wait to understand the performance, and when things don’t work well, you spend more resources to design something better. And even if things go in your favour, you will have to invest more to continue the techniques. This entire cycle is a time-consuming one that wastes a lot of resources. Talking about digital marketing for law firms, most of the things happen quickly. You put up advertisements, see how they perform, and then take the right step-next. The knowledge of the performance of an ad will inform you on how to proceed. For an ad campaign that is performing well, it is easy to invest more in it with just a click. But for an ad that is not delivering as expected, it can be adjusted accordingly or stopped altogether with ease and in time. This helps in putting forward something that will really work for your law firm. But there’s a catch here. To understand the success of your blogs, you still have to give some time. But as soon as you understand their effectiveness, you can take the right action immediately and tweak them accordingly.
A Complete Mix of Mediums
With digital marketing, you aren’t only limited to one medium. You can make the most out of one medium, get the responses, and use them for the next medium. This looks a bit confusing, doesn’t it? Let us simplify it for you. Let’s say you have a pop-up on your law company’s website that asks visitors to sign up for your newsletters, offers, and other information. A lot of people who will be interested in the services you provide or who just wish to know more about the law industry will sign up. They will sign up, which means you’ll get their contact details like email ids and phone numbers. You may even ask for their location. This way, you can build your own database. Now using this database, you can up your email marketing game and also send out messages as required. You can also use the information to direct ads directly to these people. As you can see, your efforts put on one digital marketing front will help you create a smart strategy for different mediums. Likewise, you can easily reach to people who saw your Google ads, then reach them on Facebook with a special offer and follow up with email marketing. You can build an attractive customer cycle and engage with them, which is suitable for your law and estate planning business.
This isn’t possible with traditional marketing. When you handout flyers, it’s one-way communication. Even if you ask people to wait and share their details until you note everything down, it won’t be very advantageous. The number one problem is that people don’t tend to wait and hear what you have to say. And if they do, they’ll be hesitant to share their details. The process of making a database out of your efforts is a time-consuming one. And in several traditional marketing mediums, getting details is not even possible.
No Annoyance for People
When you compare digital marketing for law firms with traditional ways to market and advertise those firms, digital marketing has the upper hand in being less annoying. In other words, digital marketing is less intrusive for existing and potential clients. Let’s see how traditional marketing works. People buying the newspaper do not buy it for the ads in it. People listen to the radio for music and the weather forecast. Not to forget the radio is a dying concept already. People watch television for their favourite shows and tend to switch channels during the breaks. People buying magazines go for it for the content list which does not include the ads. So, it is safe to say, traditional advertising mostly goes ignored. And if not ignored, then people will surely find these ads to be forced on them with their usual behaviour of reading, listening, and watching.
On the other hand, digital marketing provides freedom to avoid anything that annoys or disturbs the clients. Your customers can choose whether they want to see online ads or not. It is not shoved into their face on purpose, apart from the annoying pop-up ads, of course. They can choose to ignore that email as long as they want, and even unsubscribe if needed. They can choose to opt out of social media discussions on a particular brand page. You can also target interested audience as the social networking sites keep a tab on what they look for on the internet. This way, your law firm isn’t seen as an annoying brand trying to get into the minds of people. Instead, if people don’t opt out of your online ads, you have a chance to leave an impression and gain some leads.
Cheaper and More Cost-effective
Cost and budget are indeed some of the most important factors that any business has to consider while advertising and marketing. Marketing and advertising cost is one of the major financial burdens that businesses have to bear. While big businesses may not have so much trouble doling out millions for marketing and advertising, for small businesses, this may be an unbearable nightmare. When it comes to traditional marketing, it’s very difficult for small- and mid-sized and newly established law firms with limited budgets to compete with larger businesses for ad space. If you have tried your hand at usual marketing methods, you already know how costly it is to advertise in a newspaper or magazine or air on television and radio. Putting up outdoor signs is no cheap business, either. Digital marketing for law firms offers a more affordable alternative.
If you are just posting on social media, it has no cost involved. But if you are targeting ads and sponsoring posts and tweets, you will have to pay a nominal amount based on the targeting options you choose. This cost is much, much less compared to outdoor marketing or TV advertisements. The same applies to PPC ads. With just a little investment, you can subscribe to an email marketing provider and send transactional or direct emails to thousands of customers on your mailing list. Website designing and development can be a serious expense, but it is totally worth every penny you pay as the website will remain forever, and an awesome website has countless benefits in the long run. Blog creation is still a low-cost method of creating fresh and helpful content regularly. Talking about search engine listings, they are free to claim! Digital marketing offers a substantial return on small investments. And for all the benefits mentioned above, the investment you make for digital marketing is truly efficient as you get sureshot results from the steps you take digitally.
Traditional marketing rules do not necessarily apply in current scenarios. However, there are new markets and new doors of opportunities made available – that are only accessible through digital marketing channels. Now that you know so much about digital marketing for law firms, do you still need more reasons to consider it for your business? Surely not! Then take the next step. Hire a digital marketing company around you that can help you decide what will work best for your business. And accordingly, the company and you can design a digital marketing strategy to kickstart and take your law service-based business ahead.
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.