Law firms must utilize the most efficient marketing techniques to remain relevant and succeed in today’s competitive market. Since consumers are more in control of what information they receive and how they receive it, inbound marketing is an effective method of marketing that can help a law firm to get ahead of the pack.
What is inbound marketing?
Inbound marketing, according to the experts at HubSpot, is all about creating great content and being found. We are accustomed to traditional outbound marketing tactics such as advertisements, brochures, print mail and event sponsorships whose purpose is to reach out to a wide audience with a particular message. Inbound marketing, on the other hand, includes newer marketing strategies such as blogging, social media and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) whose purpose is to attract and bring in a targeted audience with quality content.
Inbound marketing strategies are value-based and are non-disruptive in nature, which means that value is offered to the client and their engagement is voluntary. Inbound marketing draws in clients and potential clients who are interested in what your firm has to offer. They engage with the firm through its website or social media because they see the value and want that relationship. Properly executed inbound marketing strategies are incredible equalizers for small and mid-sized firms because they afford an opportunity to demonstrate competence using the same platform as their much-larger competitors.
As someone who perpetually developing an inbound marketing strategy, I can attest that it is a process of trial and error. First, you must learn – and keep learning – what is important to your clients and potential clients, and then produce high-quality content to meet their expectations. Continuing and growing these relationships requires ever-improving, ever-evolving content. This is analogous to the value that a law firm must deliver to keep pace in an increasingly competitive legal marketplace.
Inbound Marketing Components
The heart of an inbound marketing strategy is a blog supported by e-books, downloadable reports, guides, infographics, webinars, email services, video and social media. To implement an effective inbound marketing strategy, firms must be trained in the fundamentals in at least the following areas:
- Blog content promotion;
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ; and
- Social media.
Inbound Marketing Support
As inbound marketing strategies are substantive, support is required to ensure the process is ongoing and that quality content is consistently created. This support comes in the form of talented people, training, software, editorial and graphics support. I recommend one marketing support person for every seven active inbound marketers (at least 5 hours a week). As new technologies and changes in client workflows continue to disrupt the legal secretary’s job there exists an opportunity for retraining in a marketing support role.
Allocating resources to marketing initiatives that are generally not well understood can be a struggle for most firms. The good news is that most law firms generally spend 2-4% of their revenue on what is described as business development, and much of the funds needed to support an inbound marketing strategy can come from a simple reallocation of existing expenditures.