Three Secrets to Legal Marketing Success
In 2022, law firms have access to more marketing tools than ever before. Deciding which to utilise and build upon is not a simple task, but one that all lawyers and firms must tackle in order to reach new clients. Lawyer Monthly marketing manager James Gardner has identified three crucial growth fields to give law firms a leg up in their marketing.
At the beginning of the year we laid out our Legal Marketing Trends Outlook for 2022, outlining the marketing avenues that will be crucial for law firms’ continued growth in the new year. Those avenues (websites, SEO and social media) comprise some of the best tools for growing a law firm’s client base in an increasingly digital world.
This month we will build upon our earlier advice. Read on to take a deeper dive into the marketing techniques that, when used in conjunction with the above digital platforms, will help your firm to thrive even in a time of heightened competition and uncertainty.
1) Video, Video, Short Form Video (& Audio)
Video is not going away and it is important to consider it when planning your legal marketing strategy for this year, as consumers are increasingly looking to absorb information through video. While some will put the time into reading a long blog post, others who may not have the time will likely prefer and engage more with video content. It has been found that 89% of legal marketers maintain that they get good ROI with video, so it is well worth the effort to at least explore the idea. Another advantage of looking towards video is that only 24% of law firms currently use video marketing, allowing you to get ahead of potential competitors in the field.
However, video is one of the most time-consuming and daunting areas of content that you can attempt – which is why we think that short form video could be the answer to your legal marketing prayers. People are not generally watching many ten-minute videos going into depth on complex legal subjects, but they are gravitating towards shorter (under one minute), more irreverent videos from businesses. Think Instagram Reels and TikTok. Even Youtube have now released ‘Youtube Shorts’, which are one-minute videos that co-exist with their longer form counterparts. These sorts of videos can be perfect ways to humanise your law firm and not only inform and entertain, but also show potential clients a new side to lawyers, opening up new audiences.
People are not generally watching many ten-minute videos going into depth on complex legal subjects, but they are gravitating towards shorter (under one minute), more irreverent videos from businesses.
If you are new to video it is easy to be put off. But there are dozens of great tools to help you start and you can look at several different methods. Many law firms will create animated explainer videos, while others will create their own videos of themselves in front of the camera. Which method you choose may well boil down to whether or not you are comfortable in front of the camera. But the key method to help you on your way is to follow this simple plan:
Understand your audience. Get some data on your existing clients – your target audience – and figure out what they like. Similar to researching keywords, this will help shape your video content.
Define your topic. Figure out what you want your video to be about and make sure it matches up with the audience information you researched earlier.
Write a script. Some people may be lucky enough to simply improvise and produce engaging, funny and enlightening content. Sadly, it does not quite come that naturally for the majority of us. This is where a script helps. Much like writing good content, concentrate on matching what you are saying to your video topic and hone it to contain the information your audience wants in an entertaining manner.
Put time into production. In order for your video to appeal, it is worth putting in a little bit of effort when it comes to recording. Modern camera phones will do a perfectly good job of recording the video in high quality, but if you are talking to the camera (and depending on how professional you want it to look), it may be worth looking at getting a tripod. Make sure the microphone records sound clearly; no one likes a video where you cannot hear what is being said. Lastly, pay attention to the lighting. You do not have to spend a fortune on a lighting rig, but do make sure the room you are shooting in is well-lit.
Make it look good. Once you have shot your video, you need to edit it and make it look great. The good news is that what was once a Herculean task out of reach for many of us is now simple thanks to a variety of online video tools and even native editing features within many social media channels. Popular tools for editing on the fly which allow you to include your company logo and add titles and music include Invideo, Biteable and Wevideo. These can elevate your video content to a whole new level for a small monthly fee.
Distribute it where it needs to be. After going to all the effort of making a great video, do not simply pop it online in a random place. Use the correct channels! If you have created an irreverent jokey take on a legal matter, think about putting it on social media. If it is more serious, then get it on your website as well. And do not overlook YouTube; it remains one of the world’s biggest search engines with over 3 billion searches per month and a major channel that you need to be using to distribute your videos.
Much like writing good content, concentrate on matching what you are saying to your video topic and hone it to contain the information your audience wants in an entertaining manner.
What about audio?
If you are getting into video, then we would also strongly urge you to consider audio. Audio content is on the rise. In fact, if recent trends continue, podcasts in the UK alone are tipped to reach 20 million listeners per month by 2024, which is why you should be considering getting into the space early.
Similarly to video, the idea will be similar: if you create audio content that matches your target audiences intent and queries then you will undoubtedly begin to gain traction. Again, contrary to what many people think, you can create great audio content with nothing more than a smartphone, but getting a mic is not a bad idea either. Another option for doing a podcast is to record your Zoom chat and use the audio from that. If you are struggling for topics, use the video planner above. Consider podcasts that inform your target customers, such as Q&A interviews on subjects that will help to educate listeners.
If you do not have the stamina for podcasts, that does not mean you should simply discount audio as a channel for lead generation. Audio adverts are also on the rise and, much like many other channels, can be targeted. 74% of adults aged 18 to 54 are streaming news, podcasts and music each month, so there is a very rich vein of advertising potential to tap into.
2) Use Data to Help Your Marketing Strategy
For many, marketing can be overwhelming at the best of times, and when you introduce a plethora of statistics, measurements and data it becomes insurmountable. But with 90% of leading marketers saying that personalisation contributes to profitability it is clear that taking the time to analyse and use data to drive your campaigns is key to a successful legal marketing strategy. In fact, according to Forbes, companies harnessing data-driven marketing are six times more profitable than those who are not. Clearly, it is time to embrace the data to win more clients. But how do you go about using data to get the most out of your marketing?
Set goals for your data-driven marketing campaign. As with every other marketing campaign, you need a goal. Otherwise, you will just be collecting data for no reason. Setting your goal to match the data allows you to collect the right information, which will inform your next steps and show where to look and what insights you will need to run a successful campaign.
For example, think of last month’s example of a divorce lawyer in London. If you want to plan a marketing campaign, you could massively improve performance by seeking out the historical data of when people are most likely to file for divorce. Do more women instigate it more often than men? What is the most common age of people filing for divorce in your location? All of these answers can help to give you insight and mould your campaign.
As with every other marketing campaign, you need a goal.
Use data to gain insight into your target audience. Whether you realise it or not, your law firm will already be collecting a wealth of data on your current and potential clients that you can use to shape your marketing campaigns. If you know that 95% of your existing clients live within a 15-mile radius of your law firm, then why would you waste budget on national campaigns? Use data from your CRM to create customer profiles and then implement them into your marketing plans. Most marketing channels now have simple yet unbelievably advanced tools to allow you to target your potential customers. Finding out who needs to see your adverts could be the difference between wasting money and delivering new clients.
Do not ignore insights and analytics – use them. It is not just the CRM that can help you find out more about your customers. If you have a website and social media channels, you already have access to a myriad of data points on your customers. This can seem overwhelming, but do not be put off. Google Analytics is free and contains a wealth of information on your website that is a lot easier to find than you may think. Similarly on social media, you can receive comprehensive free insights on both Facebook and Instagram that can even narrow down the time of day when people are most active on your pages.
Organise your data. In order to get the most out of your data, it is a great idea to get it organised. How you organise the data is up to you – you can use spreadsheets or something like Google’s Data Studio. But if you do not keep it organised and easy to find, you will give up very quickly and end up not using it, which will lead to missed opportunities.
Track and analyse as you go. It is very important to keep tracking and analysing the data as your campaign rolls out. Look out for reasons why your campaign may not be working, or conversely keep a note of what is working.
Avoid being overwhelmed. All of the above can seem overwhelming, especially if you have not used data-driven marketing before, so start small. Pick one campaign on one channel to test it out. Once you have found your feet, you can build on the technique.
Pick one campaign on one channel to test it out.
3) Do Not be Afraid to Go Local
A recent 2021 survey highlighted that the second most successful channel for bringing in leads to law firms was Google Local Ad Services. This emphasises the importance of ‘going local’ with marketing. Too many law firms become blinded by the lure of channels that offer national advertising when they should be focusing on their doorstep.
In the same survey, Google Ads also ranked as the channel that most law firms were looking to remove from their marketing strategy in 2022, and I would wager that this is because the majority of them are targeting nationally when their client base is local. Local marketing does not mean ‘pop a flyer through some doors in your local town’ (although it could). Most of the services that you may use already – Google Ads, Facebook, Youtube, Instagram and email – can be specifically targeted at a local audience. Here are a few top tips to help you go local:
Localise your website. Kill two birds with one stone and add local information to your website by adding a range of local keywords and information that will appeal directly to your target local audience. For example, instead of ‘Best Divorce Lawyer’ use ‘Best Divorce Lawyer I North London’. Websites are still the channels delivering most leads for law firms in 2021, so set your website up to appeal to your target local audience. This will also massively help with local SEO, which can be vital to helping your local marketing strategy.
Get on local listings. Get out there and claim all the directory listings you can. Many of them, like Google My Business, are free and offer an invaluable source of information and reviews. Again, although Google and Trustpilot may be national, 59% of people use them as source of information when deciding on services. Other sites to consider are Yelp, Yellow Pages, Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Foursquare depending on your location.
Claim your space, fill it out correctly and ask your clients to submit nice reviews. Those local reviews will have a great influence on other potential clients, and referrals and word-of-mouth marketing are still some of the strongest channels available to your business.
Too many law firms become blinded by the lure of channels that offer national advertising when they should be focusing on their doorstep.
Localise your paid advertising. If you are using any form of paid advertising, you have to start targeting better and more locally. So much money is wasted by law firms by paying for clicks from people who are located hundreds of miles away. All the major paid marketing channels such as Google Ads, Facebook and Twitter offer phenomenally detailed local targeting options that you need to use. Figure out who your local target audience are and select them when you build your audience.
But do not stop there. Write your copy and design your advert for a local audience. Mention your location in the ad copy and include it in the snippets. Add your telephone number. All of these will encourage more people near to you to get in touch.
Get local on Social. Does your law firm use social media? Are you going local on it? If not, why not? Most social media channels allow you to tag locations and other local entities and use local hashtags, which will showcase your local credentials. You can also use it to engage with the surrounding community, councils and people and get your virtual face in the local picture.
Use local marketing channels. In the race towards digitalisation, many law firms have forgotten the power of traditional local marketing channels and the impact they can have on client retention, loyalty, lead generation and reputation – all of which are vital to running a successful law firm. Use local marketing channels that you might have abandoned when you thought everyone went online. Many of these are often also incredibly cost-effective compared to other marketing campaigns. Some local marketing campaigns could include:
- Locally distributed print marketing materials such as flyers.
- Billboards in your area.
- Sponsoring local events or sports teams.
- Print advertising in local magazines and newsletters.
All of the above cost a lot less than you might think and will increase your brand awareness for customers who are on your doorstep.
Be Brave With Your Marketing This Year
As we mentioned last month, there is a real risk of biting off more than you can chew if you try to do all of the above at once. Starting small and building up is almost always the best option, and the one that is most likely to generate leads in the long run. So long as you put yourself out there and give your platforms the time investment they need, you should soon have a solid launch pad for your legal marketing to grow.