How Law Firms Should be Marketing During the Coronavirus Outbreak
We speak to leading legal marketing experts to help you market your law firm effectively at this time. Here's 5 great tips to help you get started and focus your marketing activities during the Covid-19 crisis.
The Coronavirus has, as of today, impacted over 120 countries worldwide and every lawyer and law firm will be feeling the impact, both professionally and personally as governments clamour to gain some semblance of control over the situation, shifting strategies and trying to prop up businesses and economies across the globe while keeping populations safe. But at a time when so much seems out of your control, there are opportunities to manage your law firm marketing strategy to guide you through a potentially difficult time and even seize opportunities amidst the crisis.
We’re doing a 2 part series to help you continue to market your law firm effectively. Today we’ll go through 5 great tips to help you get started and focus your marketing activities during a crisis.
So how should your law firm be marketing during the Coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak?
- Don’t Panic and Don’t Abandon Marketing
It seems that the world is in a perpetual state of panic, news channels and social media are littered with news, updates and even wild conspiracy theories about the Coronavirus. But it’s very important to take measured steps when it comes to marketing at this time. On average law firms spend around 2% of their annual budget on legal marketing and if you are running a marketing for growth campaign then your marketing budget is likely to be around 7% of that, and now is not the time to think about cutting that budget, although the urge to do so is strong. Cutting your budget would be an over-reaction that could be costly to your law firm in the long run. It is also worth noting that if every competitor law firm cuts its marketing budget, that leaves a gap in the market for you. Take the time to conduct a mini audit of what you’re spending and realign your budget rather than abandon it.
For example, you may allocate a certain amount to event marketing, but with all the events being cancelled, rather than pocket that budget, why not re-route it to a digital space such as Google PPC, which is still going to be an active marketing channel during this time.
- Think Digital
In the above point, we used the example of events being cancelled, and for a lot of law firms there will be budget allocated to marketing activities that will no longer be relevant, such as:
- Event Marketing – With the majority of events cancelled, Event marketing, for now, is a no go.
- Print Marketing – Let’s be honest, you probably won’t need all 5000 of those new business cards right now.
- Seminars – As much as speaking to an empty room might be less daunting than speaking to 250 people, it’s not going to do your lead generation any good.
- Networking – Can you network with no one else there? Not in person you can’t.
But, as aforementioned, at a time where much of the working world has been moved onto the online workspace many law firms will choose to keep the money saved from cancelled events in the bank, you can potentially move ahead of them by focussing your efforts on digital marketing. The demands on the internet are expected to increase during this current Covid-19 crisis, so use the abundance of additional users online to your advantage. Focus your efforts on:
- Content Marketing (blogs etc.) – Now is the time to get writing your content and keeping your news feed up to date with the latest advice, tips and tricks in your practice area. Plus, if you can focus on topical news, such as the Coronavirus, you’re likely to get more hits.
- SEO – Take some time to evaluate and update your SEO while things are quiet.
- Pay Per Click – With everyone online and searching for information, now is a great time to place your law firm in those results.
- Email Marketing – Reach your current and potential customers with specific offers, new content that will remind them you’re still there and the best people to engage with.
- Social Media – In a crisis, people flock to social media for updates and information and some light relief. Use that to your advantage. Be active.
All of the digital channels above are likely to be seeing higher volumes of usage in the coming weeks, so if you position your law firm in these places with your marketing, you’ll be ensuring visibility in front of your clients at a time when others are hiding.
There are other digital methods you can use to market yourself during this time. For example, add a chatbot to your website to ensure that you’re making contact with any visitors.
- Target Your Content for the SERPs
Right now, people are searching for as much information on the Coronavirus and its impact. Trends in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) relating to working from home, employment law, sick pay, tenancy rights etc. are all through the roof. Use your knowledge in these areas to be the business that provides the answers to the questions your clients are desperately searching for. People are confused and scared, so let them find your calm voice of authority and information and they will instantly recognise your law firm as a worthwhile practice.
When you create your content, at the moment, think about the titles and keywords you’re using. Ensure that you’re not just focussing on one keyword in your content, utilise long-tail keywords and remember that Google and the other search engines love relevance and so make sure your news article or blog is relevant to the search query you think your customers will be looking for.
- Don’t Try and Take Advantage of a Crisis
While we are discussing the reasons why you should continue to market during the Coronavirus pandemic, one course of action that we would strongly recommend you avoid is exploiting the situation, like this pharmacy who were selling Calpol for £20. With that in mind we would suggest you avoid:
Price gouging – Don’t hike the prices of your services related to the Coronavirus. Customers are looking to you for trust and guidance, not to be taken advantage of.
Creating ‘new products and services’ that don’t exist – Creating ‘new’ services marketed to help people during a crisis that aren’t new or useful at all, only serve to take advantage of vulnerable and scared customers and that will lead to bad relationships and reputations.
Panic Inducing Content – Instead of trying to pray on fear and worry with alarmist blogs and emails, be the voice of reassurance and guidance. This is a time to help not frighten. Your customers will thank you in the long run.
It’s important to recognise that every touchpoint with your customer is a form of marketing and customers will remember if you were the law firm that attempted to scare them into a service they neither wanted nor needed at a time of global panic and confusion. So instead, be the law firm that helped them with good advice and service when they needed it and that’s what they’ll remember long after the crisis subsides.
- Go Local
Everyone’s world has just got a little bit smaller, so now is the perfect time to ensure that you are set-up for Local Search Marketing. If you haven’t already got a Google My Business, get one, it is a great way to advertise your business for free, thanks to Google. You can add all your business details, get reviews from customers (recommendations are still the number one way clients choose law firms) and make sure you update the hours if they’ve changed because of Covid-19. Make sure your customers are aware of how and when they can reach you in the local area.
For more advanced local search marketing why not tailor some of your content and SEO for those in your local area and build in some localised Google PPC campaigns to narrow your focus now that your target customer base may have significantly shrunk.
Hopefully this should allow your law firm to make a good start on planning your marketing strategy during these challenging circumstances. Come back Monday for the second part of our guide to marketing your law firm during the Coronavirus thanks to our friends at ClickLaw Marketing