Modern legal marketing has never been more interesting and rewarding. Attorneys who embrace new forms of marketing can showcase their talents and communicate in ways that were unavailable just 10 years ago. With a few key relationships and resources, a practice may be transformed.
Below, we outline key law firm marketing tools that can immediately enhance your law firm marketing efforts.
Invest in content marketing.
The best place to get started is to invest your time in learning about content marketing. After spending countless hours researching content marketing, I have learned the most from those who do it well. Here are several places to find good information:
- Hubspot: Hubspot Website
Hubspot offers a turnkey on line marketing solution. While their website is informative in its own right, the information found in their blogs is top notch. Hubspot also offers quality content and a number of helpful downloads, including graphics templates and other information to improve the appearance of distributed content.
While all of the content on these sites is free, it should be noted that it will take an email address and potentially the completion of a short survey to download content from these content marketers. In some cases, consumers of this content may be directly contacted about the services offered by these marketers.
- Content Marketing Institute: CMI Website
Providing a good definition of content marketing and several useful guides to assist in your learning process, I have found the information on CMI’s site to be helpful. Lawyers may need some help adapting to this site’s general approach to legal marketing, but the essentials are available on this site.
Being able to identify and emulate quality content marketers is a great place to start.
Both lawyers and their clients/potential clients are busy. Lawyers must differentiate their content to stand out from the clutter of information. What is important to clients and potential clients? With the little time they have to create content, it is important for lawyers to be strategic, creating relevant content that provides the most value to targeted audiences.
When a strategy is in place, your firm is more likely to bring the right content to the right audiences at the right time.
Develop Key Relationships.
With a basic understanding of modern content marketing and a general content strategy in place, it is important to identify and develop key resources and relationships in the following areas:
- Web development
- Graphics and social media support
- Editorial support
- Content Development
- Content Distribution
My preference is to develop relationships with people who directly benefit from my success. In this way, a team approach is developed, and everyone succeeds.
A central focus of content marketing is to drive traffic to a firm’s website. A website that supports a firm’s content marketing strategy is critical. I can personally attest to the pain of having published a great piece, only to realize that my website was weak on the substance of the published piece. That won’t happen again.
In addition to the normal items found on most firm websites, a library of resources and blog can increase web traffic. The website’s “look” is important, and ease of use is critical. Landing pages, which are pages prospective clients land on as a result of a search or following a link from some other source, should include opportunities for them to engage. For example, providing visitors with downloadable context such as a PowerPoint from a recent seminar is ideal.
Developing an engaging website and optimizing it for maximum search impact is an ongoing process that will require a relationship with a good web developer. My clients have achieved the best results with web developers that actively market in content.
Graphics and Social Media Support
As the saying goes “you can’t judge a book by its cover” is true, but a good cover sure helps. Most potential clients are inundated with content, emails and other information. A good title and an attractive visual presentation are two critical elements necessary to draw attention and stand above the clutter.
It takes valuable time to select and apply graphics and to post optimally on the various social media outlets and email applications. Additionally, researching new outlets to distribute content and improving the effectiveness of existing outlets, is time-consuming.
At first, it may be difficult to find these resources, but LinkedIn is a great place to start. Other places to look for referrals include the firm’s IT consultants and service providers, web developers and peer contacts.
Even lawyers need editorial support. Law firms are loaded with smart people. Some of them write well and some do not. Editorial support that goes beyond the obvious grammatical checking is ideal. One outside source for editorial support I like is Grammarly.com.
Grammarly offers an app as an add-on to Word or Outlook. It can also be run online by uploading a piece into their app. Grammarly will check contextual spelling, grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, style, vocabulary and plagiarism.
Many may remember the canned newsletters that could be purchased complete with a firm logo. As these types of newsletters were for mass consumption, they were not unique and did little to indicate the capability of a firm or an individual attorney.
Tempting as it may be to publish boilerplate content with a logo on it, I recommend developing original content. Yes, it is more challenging to create quality content on a consistent basis, but communicating the way an attorney thinks or the way a firm approaches a legal problem is enhanced by original content.
Along with a blog, social media outlets are essential to reaching a large audience. I have invested most of my time developing a LinkedIn presence as I target attorneys and law firms. I find LinkedIn Groups particularly useful for distributing content.
As the cost is essentially free, other worthwhile social networking opportunities to consider and maximize include Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest. A word of caution: all of these networks take time to build and manage, and a good social media resource is extremely helpful.
Direct email marketing is also an option. Client alerts and newsletters are considered very valuable to clients. There are several quality email marketing services that assist with everything from presentation support, contact development, analytical tools, along with tools for ensuring that any unwanted email is easily discontinued.
Analytics is another essential component of modern marketing success. Web analytics refers to the collection and analysis of a website’s traffic data. A good analytics tool, which is an add-on to a firm’s website, collects information on visitors, actions while on the site, the origin of visitor –search, etc., locale, time on the site, number of visits, etc.
Reviewing these data, in addition to the analytics collected by LinkedIn and other social media outlets, will provide useful insight into reader interest. For example, my personal experience indicates that when I offer assistance in marketing and lateral hire areas, traffic to my website, blog and other social media accounts increases.
Attorneys who are fortunate to practice with progressive firms will have an edge. However, overcoming internal resistance to changing the firm’s website or marketing approach, for that matter, will be a challenge for many. Fear of change is often strongest among the most successful lawyers in the firm and often these people are in leadership within the firm. These personalities have typically developed or inherited a large book of business and have not had to worry about client development in a long time.
This type of internal resistance sometimes requires outside advice and support to overcome. At the very least, the ability to demonstrate the benefits of a content marketing approach and the ability to put together a strong business case is essential to developing your modern law firm marketing strategy.