What do you know about marketing a law firm?

Everyone needs to put thought into their marketing strategy. Yes, even you, law firm owner. This means you need to think about what you’re doing to generate traffic to your website, and what’s on your website that engages your potential client and keeps them coming back for more. Legal marketing takes work, and the longer you wait to perfect your strategy, the more time your competitors have to dominate your market.

First, do you even have a website? Are you getting them to pick up the phone and give you a call? How do you do this? If you don’t do this, how are you going to start?

This blog is structured so that after reading it, you’ll have the necessary knowledge to at least get started on crafting a general marketing strategy for your law firm. Keep in mind that no two marketing strategies are identical. Your law firm has a unique fingerprint. But so does your competitor, so you need to be ahead of the game.

First, let’s cover the who, what, when, where, and why — the basics — of legal marketing.

The Basics of Legal Marketing

Why should a client hire you?

After all, there are more than a million attorneys in the country. What makes you special?

Answer: Your marketing strategy. At Crisp, we constantly say that the best cases go to the best marketers, not the best lawyers. get your name out there, make clients fans, and then turn them into clients.

The Who

Who matters in legal marketing?

YOU.

You are the one who will ultimately pay the price for neglecting your marketing strategy — or not having one at all. Consider how your law firm appears to someone in the research stage of the buying process. Are you appealing to their emotions with your storytelling?

Think about the situations your potential clients find themselves in. As a lawyer, your typical client is someone most likely experiencing a tough time, possibly the hardest time of his or her life. Make sure your branding and voice appeal to someone struggling to choose an attorney they feel is qualified to represent them. Differentiate yourself from your competition.

Who else matters in legal marketing (and marketing in general)?

Your client.

You should have an avatar client in mind. This is your ideal client. Someone you beg and pray walks through your doors.

If you don’t know where to begin, ask yourself a few questions:

  1. What demographic are you trying to reach?
  2. Who is a real-life person within that demographic?
  3. What does that person want to see in a law firm? How are they most vulnerable?

Keep your avatar client top of mind when you’re planning your marketing efforts, and gear your efforts toward them.

The What

There are a lot of “whats” in legal marketing. Consider that law is much different from corporate marketing. You’re not selling a shiny new product. Instead, you’re selling yourself. This presents an interesting challenge: you know your firm, so it should be easy to embrace your selling points and present them to your potential clients. But you may also run into the issue of not being able to convey your message in a way that appeals to your ideal audience.

Like we mentioned, there are a lot of “whats” involved in marketing: what kind of campaigns you should run, what kind of website design you should utilize, what content should you have on your site… and the list goes on.

Consider the “whats” the concrete things you can do in order to attract people to you. What can you do that a potential client can see, read, share, or otherwise engage with?

The When

When should you be thinking about your legal marketing strategy, and when should you start implementing your marketing tasks? The answer to both of these questions is “NOW!”. The longer you wait to get started crafting a solid marketing plan, the harder it will be to catch up to your competitors who have already been thinking about their marketing.

Additionally, you should be thinking about marketing all the time.

The Where

Where does marketing matter? Everywhere. Think about the last time you were in a public place. You probably saw a billboard. You probably heard a radio commercial. You probably saw a TV commercial. These are intentional marketing events carefully crafted to catch attention at every turn.

Your marketing strategy should be similar in that it should capture and retain your viewers’ attentions. Don’t lose an opportunity with lazy marketing. Be everywhere by leveraging all sorts of marketing channels, examples of which we cover in this blog.

The Why

To make a long answer short: Money. Moolah. Sweet, sweet cash dollars. Whatever your name for it, money kind of makes the world go ‘round. Your marketing strategy is your first step toward excelling and bringing in high-value cases with high return on investment or face planting in the mud with low-value cases, low return on investment, and no prospects.

The How

How do you market? More specifically, how do you market your law firm? That’s the million dollar question. This blog is going to be full of tips and tricks for marketing your law firm in a digital world.

Getting Started with Law Firm Content Marketing

At the end of this monster blog, you will be able to begin optimizing your marketing strategy.

Let’s dive in.

First Steps: Introduce (Or Optimize) Your Blog

When you or someone on your team writes a blog for your website, how many places do you publish it? If you say, “Just the blog”, I’ve got good news and bad news for you.

The good news is that you have a massive opportunity to generate more leads from your content.

The bad news is that you’ve been wasting high-value content by only publishing it to your blog.

I’d like to introduce you to the concept of repurposing your website content: finding new ways to leverage existing content in various forms and sharing it to your social and online platforms.

Repurposing content falls in line with a popular content marketing mantra: write less, promote more.

If you can spend more time creating high-quality content and then identify strategic ways to repurpose that content, you’ll see better results from your efforts.

Much like recycling, repurposing content allows you to take a piece of content and transform it into something else that provides just as much value and utility as the original content.

It allows you to breathe new life into that blog post that’s been sitting in the archives of your website, which puts it back in front of your target audience and drives additional traffic to your website.

Before we address a few ways to repurpose your website’s content, I’d like to address any fears you have about getting hit with a Google SEO penalty for duplicate content. Worry not – Google doesn’t see repurposed content as duplicate content, as you aren’t directly copying the original blog post. Rather, you’re trying to drive more awareness to your firm, so it isn’t considered a violation of Google guidelines.

Here are a few ways you can repurpose a blog post to drive additional traffic to your site and generate leads:

1. Create an infographic from the post

To put this in perspective, let’s imagine you wrote a blog post titled, “The 10 Things You Need to Know After a Car Accident.” You could pull each of the 10 facts and create an infographic which summarizes the blog, which you could then share on social media, re-post on your website or share in an email newsletter.

Here’s an example of a visually enticing infographic:

2. Break up the content and share in a social media post

You could create a series of social media posts from a blog topic or create one longer post that summarizes the topics from the blog, just as you could with an infographic. At the end of the post, you can link to the original blog, which drives more traffic back to your site.

Make sure to design an eye-catching graphic to go with the post, such as a quote graphic that includes one of your topics.

Let’s say you publish your blog post on things to know after a car accident, and in the post, you include a powerful statistic on how many car accidents happen every day. That kind of short “snackable” content is the perfect content to share on social media.

3. Create a video about the content

Many of you know video is important to an effective marketing strategy but may not know where to start. Rather than agonizing over what to create videos about, turn back to the content on your site that’s generated the most traffic.

Almost 60% of people would rather watch a video than read text, so if you create a video covering the same information you published in your blog, you’ve now got a powerful engagement tool. You can share it on social media or even embed it at the top of the original blog post to offer your audience two ways to consume the information.

4. Craft an email blast around the blog

This suggestion is more of a promotion strategy than a repurposing strategy, but still accomplishes the goal of driving traffic to your website.

When you’ve published a blog you’re particularly proud of, send out an eBlast that links to the new content with an overview of what your audience can expect to learn from the content.

If you’ve got a few new blogs, feel free to share all of them in a “blog digest” style eBlast.

Make sure to use unique tracking links in the eBlast so you can properly attribute the traffic you drive to the blog from your email.

5. Upgrade your blog and promote it as gated content

If you invest some extra time in taking your blog content to the next level, you can repurpose it as a whitepaper or ebook and push it out on your site as gated content (content that requires contact information in exchange for a download). That way you can collect your site visitors’ contact information in exchange for a free download, so you can begin nurturing them and potentially convert them into clients.

Don’t just turn your blog into a PDF and require a download form, though – make sure you add additional value to the post that merits getting someone’s email address. Try looking for additional supporting evidence, adding in graphics, and actionable ways your audience can apply that information to their situation.

We’d also recommend including a call-to-action at the end of the white paper that promotes your firm as an authority in that field, with an interactive hyperlink so they can click straight to your firm’s contact page.

6. Republish your existing content

No, we don’t mean republishing an old blog with a new title and calling it a day. Let’s say you put together a comprehensive guide in the last year covering everything a person would need to know about hiring an attorney.

That kind of evergreen content can still be applicable to your audience but may require some updating. You can run a site analysis that identifies which blog posts on your site receive the most traffic, and then you can select a handful to update and re-publish.

Make sure to indicate that you’ve updated the content – you can even keep the original publication date and include a line that says, “This post was updated on X date, X year.”

Don’t forget to share the content again on all of your social platforms to encourage your audience to revisit the page and view your refreshed content!

Repurposing your evergreen website content allows you to continue to drive content to your website without investing additional hours in creating a surplus of content. If you focus more time on identifying creative ways to get your content in front of more people (in whatever form it may take) you’ll see better results from the content you publish and you’ll enhance your firm’s perceived authority.

If your audience sees that you take the time to create videos, white papers, infographics, social media posts, and blogs, it will show that you’re more invested in providing value to them than your competitors (regardless of whether or not all of the content focuses on the same topic).

Leveraging Video in Your Marketing Strategy

Speaking of video, consider integrating video as a huge part of your marketing strategy.

When it comes to video marketing, it’s no longer a question of whether video is a worthwhile investment. It’s now a matter of how you can leverage this tool strategically within your firm.

But, just to cover our bases, here are a few statistics on the power of incorporating video into your legal marketing strategy:

  • Businesses that use video in their content strategy see 41% more organic traffic than those who don’t
  • 90% of users say videos are helpful in the decision-making process
  • Videos can boost landing page conversions by 80%
  • The average user spends 88% more time on websites that have video
  • Forbes predicts that video will be one of, if not the most, effective component of your marketing strategy.

Are you convinced yet?

Video is so impactful because it can be an effective conversion tool at every stage of the buyer’s journey.

It simultaneously allows you to engage, nurture, and convert leads, allows you to provide tons of value to your audience in a small amount of time, and it establishes brand authority.

Perhaps most importantly, it humanizes your law firm by telling your unique story — this allows potential clients to get to know you as a person, rather than just as an attorney offering services.

To really put the power of storytelling into perspective, check out the legal brand video we produced for Attorney Dirk Derrick and his team, based in South Carolina. Pay attention to how emotionally compelling the video is, and how the client testimonial story weaves into his firm’s unique value proposition.

 

While there are a wide variety of videos you can use in your legal marketing strategy, we recommend three basic styles of video to rev up your 2018 marketing plan:

  • FAQ/Educational Video: Short, high-value videos that are founded in keyword research and are designed to drive traffic to your website
  • Legal Brand Video: Longer video that communicates what makes your firm unique through emotional storytelling; sales-focused and conversion-driven
  • Testimonial Video: Allow your clients to speak for you by talking about their personal experience with your firm; highly engaging and relatable for prospective clients

Each of these types of video fit into a different stage of the buyer’s journey. If fully implemented, you’ll have content that engages potential clients at every stage of awareness, whether they’re just researching what to do after an accident or they’re comparing local attorneys in their market.

The great thing about leveraging video in your marketing strategy is that there’s no shortage of potential – there are countless ways to incorporate legal video into your content distribution.

Here are just a handful of ways you can leverage legal video in your marketing strategy:

  • Embed your video on your website homepage
  • Upload your video to YouTube
  • Upload your video to your firm’s Facebook page natively
  • Include a link to your video on your Avvo profile
  • Include a link and thumbnail of your video in your staff’s email signature

Ready to get started? Tap into the power of legal video marketing with your free guide!

So you have a blog and you’ve got video. Now what?

Having a blog is not enough. Not even having an amazing blog is enough. You have to have a way to communicate to people that you have an amazing blog.

What’s a great way to go about this? Glad you asked! No need to stand on a mountain with a megaphone or stand on the roadside with one of those spinning signs announcing to passersby that your blog deserves to be read. All you need to do is master the art of email marketing.

Let’s get started.

Getting Started with Email Marketing

270 billion. That’s how many emails are exchanged every single day worldwide. With an estimated 3.7 billion email users in the world, that’s approximately 73 emails per person every day – many of us, myself included, probably receive more than that.

The average email open rate in the legal industry is around 21%. So, if we safely estimate your potential clients and colleagues receive 100 emails a day, they’re only opening 21 of them. It would also be a safe estimate to say that your email marketing efforts may end up in the 79 daily unopened emails.

If email outreach is a large part of your business, but you aren’t pleased with the metrics you’re seeing, it may be time to incorporate a few new strategies. I’ve outlined a handful of email marketing best practices you can follow in order to see improved deliverability, open rates, and conversion rates from your email efforts while also saving you time.

Automated Drip Campaigns

Automated drip campaigns are one of the most integral components of an effective email strategy. In addition to saving you time by automating the vast majority of your reach outs, it ensures consistent communication with your target audience.

Automated drip campaigns are emails that are triggered by your audience’s behaviors. For example, when they subscribe to your content, submit a contact form, book a consultation, or opt-in to receive an eBook, they will get enrolled in a drip campaign that sends them a series of emails over a specified time period.

4 Tips to Mastering Email Marketing in Your Law Firm

You can include a variety of content in these emails, but the content should be reflective of whatever they opted in to receive. The follow-up email they receive after submitting a contact form to book a consultation should be different than the follow-up email they receive after downloading a whitepaper.

The goal of a drip campaign is to nurture the recipient: you provide value over time, rather than focusing on an immediate sale. As the sequence progresses, you can include more conversion-focused content.

List Segmentation

If you specialize in multiple practice areas or different case types within the personal injury umbrella, list segmentation will be incredibly beneficial to your email marketing.

The purpose of list segmentation is pretty straightforward: segmenting your email subscriber list into multiple lists based on demographic, lifecycle stage, case type, location, or other important characteristics.

A popular joke in email marketing is that you wouldn’t try to sell a bald man a hairbrush, so why try to do the same thing in your email marketing? The meaning behind this is that you shouldn’t be sending your entire email list the same type of messaging, but rather sending them content uniquely tailored to their persona.

So you can send a blog digest with car accident tips to anyone who’s reached out to you about an accident, and a separate email with workplace injury tips to anyone who’s reached out about the latter.

This improves open rates and conversion rates because your content is very specific to the needs of each individual audience.

Monitor Deliverability

Depending on the volume of emails your law firm sends, you may have noticed issues with email deliverability. Either they’re not making it into the inbox (and instead are being filtered to the dreaded promotions folder) or they’re not making it altogether, and instead, are landing in the spam folder.

How do you stay out of the spam folder? By monitoring your deliverability. Without getting too deep into the science of email (which is a conversation you should eventually have with whoever handles your website domain) there are a few things you can do to ensure your deliverability is optimized:

Track your delivery rates across various email hosting platforms to see if one is causing issues (i.e. if Outlook is marking your email as spam but Gmail isn’t).

  • Avoid using sales-y language in your subject lines, which triggers the Spam algorithm
  • Don’t mention anything about large cash settlements or include dollar signs in your email, which also triggers the Spam algorithm
  • Keep an eye on the size of any images you include and compress them using a site like tinypng
  • Maintain an 80:20 text-to-image ratio in your emails (the Paretto Principle)

If you want to take it one step further into email deliverability, you can look into ensuring your DKIM/SPF are set up properly. If you use Shared IPs to send emails, make sure none of them are listed on any blacklists. You can also set up separate subdomains for various email types (i.e. a subdomain for appointment confirmations and a separate subdomain for marketing emails).

Follow the 80/20 rule

The 80/20 rule is a major marketing philosophy that applies to every piece of content you produce but is particularly applicable to email marketing.

4 Tips to Mastering Email Marketing in Your Law Firm

While it’s derived from the Pareto Principle, it means something a bit different in your email marketing. Following the 80/20 rule of email marketing means that 80% of the content you send out should be value-focused, and only 20% of the content should be promotional.

If you don’t follow this ratio, you risk coming across as spammy, which affects both engagement and deliverability.

Following the 80/20 rule should apply to your entire email sequence, but you can also apply it to individual emails. If you have a 10-email drip sequence, you should be providing high-value content in 8 of those emails and use 2 to outline the value your law firm can provide clients.

Within the individual emails, you can dedicate 80% of the email real estate to high-value or educational content, but ensure you include a call-to-action (that’s the remaining 20%).

The 80/20 rule is a good rule of thumb for every piece of content you produce. It ensures you’re constantly focused on engaging your potential clients, but it also ensures you’re providing them ample opportunities to convert.

Email marketing is still a highly effective way to generate leads, but it requires you to stay on top of your metrics and monitor your deliverability. With industry open rates as low as they are, the odds are already stacked against you as an email marketer. However, if you implement the above best practices, you’ll put yourself on the path to success.

OK. So you’ve got a basic idea of the steps you should be taking and what you should be doing to at least get started. Now, let’s cover a tricky concept: marketing to millennials.

This doesn’t have to be scary. We must say, millennials are not that bad. We have unique attention spans, but that’s simply a product of being raised in the age of the internet. So, to be a smart marketer, you have to leverage all aspects of having an online presence.

How do you do this? Simple.

Figure out how to reach your avatar client.

Targeting Your Ideal Client

This isn’t as hard as it sounds. You may be thinking “I want to appeal to every type of client!” But that’s just not true.

Let’s say you’re a personal injury attorney specializing in trucking accidents. This is a fairly niche area, so your marketing efforts should say “I’m the best trucking accident attorney because of X, Y, and Z” rather than “I’m a great lawyer.”

How to Market Your Law Firm to Millennials

The millennial generation is one of the most diverse and complex generations in the nation. Not only is it difficult to connect with them (unless you’re retweeting, #hashtagging, or dishing out avocado toast), it’s also difficult to determine how to convince them to hire you as an attorney.

As easy as it can be to stereotype the millennial generation, you can’t underestimate their ability (or buying power). They outnumber Baby Boomers as the largest living generation, and they make up 35% of the current workforce.

If you’re not adapting your marketing to appeal to the 80 million+ millennials in the US, you’re relying on an outdated method of client interaction and marketing. This means you’re missing out on a valuable segment of the market, which could cost you both cases and clients.

Let’s face it: the legal marketing landscape is changing. If you want to appeal to a younger demographic, you have to identify new ways to get and keep your ideal client’s attention.

Here are 6 strategies you can leverage to connect with (and convert) the millennial demographic.

1. Social Media

1 in 3 millennials feel a stronger connection to brands that have a strong social media presence, and 2 out of 3 millennials use social media to research companies. You can’t deny the power of social media – with more than 1.9 billion users, Facebook alone is an omnipresent platform on which to market your law firm.

The key to a successful social media strategy is consistency and quality content. It also involves optimizing content for each platform. For example, you shouldn’t share Youtube links to Facebook – the algorithm will push your content lower on the newsfeed because it prefers (and promotes) native content.
Meanwhile, Google’s search rankings will promote Youtube videos in the search index, but not Facebook.

It may take a few additional steps, but optimizing your social content for the platform you’re using will increase organic reach, meaning more people will see your posts.

Want to learn more? Download our free eBook, The Social Media Cheat Sheet for Law Firms, here!

You should also make an effort to engage with your audience on social media by responding to comments, answering messages promptly, and liking or sharing user-generated content (such as posts that tag your law firm).

Want to chat with your social media audience in real time? Live streaming is a great way to do so.

2. Live Streaming Content

Live streaming content has caught on quickly on almost every social media channel, with live streaming options available on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and most other recording platforms (like GoToWebinar).

As the name implies, live streaming content is a video that you stream in real time, rather than recording it beforehand. It’s often times more casual, authentic, and interactive than pre-recorded footage, and is a great engagement tool for your online audience.

There are some significant advantages to both styles of video (live stream vs. pre-recorded), but on average, people will watch a live stream 3x longer than they’ll watch a pre-recorded video. To further support the growth of live stream content, 63% of the millennial demographic watched this style of content last year.

The social media giants are catching on to these trends and further promoting live content on social feeds, which is why you may occasionally receive a notification if someone you follow starts streaming a live video. Imagine the possible exposure your law firm could get if everyone who follows your firm’s page receives a push notification every time you go live on Facebook.

There are many ways you can use live video in your law firm, but to truly utilize live video as a conversion tool, you need to use it in a way that provides value to your target audience. Here are a few ideas for you to integrate live video into your marketing strategy:

  • Host a weekly video series where you discuss relevant news topics that may be impacting your audience
  • Answer your most common FAQs using Facebook Live, and then encourage viewers to submit their own questions to make the videos more interactive
  • Humanize your firm by using live video to introduce various team members in a regular “Meet the Team” series

Unlike many other marketing strategies, live video is free (if streamed on a social media platform) and requires a relatively small time investment. If done properly, it’s a great way to engage with your audience and provide additional value to them beyond your standard blog post.

3. Mobile Search Optimization

There are some big changes coming to Google’s search algorithm, which could have a significant impact on your rankings if your firm’s website is not optimized for mobile use.

Google used to crawl and rank websites based on a user’s desktop experience. However, as of this year, Google will start to rank websites based primarily on the mobile experience, with the desktop interface ranked second.

What does that mean for you? It means if your firm’s website isn’t optimized for the mobile-first index, you may start to see a drop in website traffic as Google gives higher SEO placement to sites with a better mobile experience.

Here are some tips for ensuring you don’t lose any site traffic with the rise of the mobile-first index:

  • Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights to ensure your website loads properly on mobile (websites that load in under 5 seconds on mobile see 70% longer time on site)
  • Consider switching your blog over to Google AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) which will allow them to load faster
  • Try optimizing keywords for voice search to boost chances of being found on mobile (incorporate long-tail keywords with organic language you would ask Siri/Alexa into your SEO strategy)
  • Optimizing for the mobile-first index doesn’t have to be a huge endeavor if your firm’s current website has a good user experience and site design. But, if you’ve been considering an update to your online presence, now may be an opportune time to do so.

4. Instant Gratification

When millennials are researching your law firm, they want answers fast. Provide them with instant gratification by making yourself available on all channels. Maintaining a quick response time is a good rule of thumb regardless of the demographic you’re targeting: there is a 10x decrease in the odds of making contact with a lead if you take longer than 5 minutes to respond to them.

However, it isn’t realistic to think that you’ll be sitting by your computer at all hours waiting to respond to incoming messages on every channel. That’s why an automated tool like a chatbot can be a useful tool to screen incoming leads, book appointments, and answer questions without having to physically monitor your messages.

5. Chatbots

Chatbots represent the first large-scale appearance of AI technology in real life. They’re a low-cost way to improve your response time on both your website and social media (Facebook in particular). With more than one billion people using Facebook Messenger every day, and more than 100,000 bots chatting with those people, there’s a big opportunity to take advantage of.

Incorporating AI tools in your business can free up your time immensely; if you can automate once man-powered processes, you can refocus your energy and attention on other tasks.

While some AI tools require extensive tech knowledge, there are now a plethora of ways you can use AI in your marketing strategy without having any knowledge of coding or computer science.

The most accessible of these AI tools is the Facebook Messenger chatbot, a fairly basic Facebook integration that has the power to drastically improve your current client experience. Using chatbots in your firm’s client experience and marketing strategy reduces friction and increases the likelihood that a potential client will reach out to your firm.

Want to learn more? Download our free eBook, The Social Media Cheat Sheet for Law Firms, here!

If you’re looking to implement a bot on your website, we’d recommend looking into Drift, which we use at Crisp. Drift allows you to book appointments with leads directly from the chat without manual intervention.

Popular Facebook chatbot builders, which walk you through setting up your sequences and build the bot for you, include ManyChat (which we use at Crisp), Motion AI, Chatfuel, It’s Alive, and more. The chatbot business is booming, so while there are plenty of options for you to choose from, make sure you explore each to find out which works best for your firm, whether it involves:

  • Price
  • Ease of access
  • Integration with other programs
  • Required knowledge of coding
  • The best chatbot platforms offer online tutorials and customer support to make the process easy to use, so before you know it you’ll be on your way to building your own bot!

More than one billion people currently communicate on the Facebook Messenger platform; of those one billion users, 70% are willing to interact with a chatbot. When you consider that statistic, it may come as a shock that only around 5% of businesses actively use Facebook chatbots in their marketing strategy.

Chatbots can be used in a number of ways to provide a valuable client experience — they offer potential clients the immediate gratification of getting a quick response to their questions, allow you the opportunity to schedule consultations through the app, and can boost your conversion rate.

Doubtful? Consider this: 53% of people who message businesses on Facebook say that being active and responsive on Facebook Messenger would make them more likely to work with that company.

Here are a few of the main ways you can leverage chatbots for your firm:

  • Boost response time on Facebook
  • Qualify leads
  • Schedule consultations
  • Obtain insights
  • Send out important announcements

Facebook Messenger chatbots are low cost, effective, and can be set up in just a few minutes. While Facebook has a native bot, the platform is not as feature-rich as some third party offerings, which allow you to integrate with various applications and get the most out of Messenger.

If you’re looking to set up a Facebook chatbot, here are a few platforms to explore:

6. Customer-Centric Content

If you want to produce content that converts, customer-centricity isn’t just a nice to have – it’s a need to have.

While most attorneys know they need content marketing in some capacity, few firms effectively focus their efforts, leading to an abundance of content with a scarcity of results to show for it.

The idea that every piece of content you produce should be designed with the customer in mind is crucial in understanding how some marketing strategies trump others. Your focus should be fixed on the client, not keyword research, SEO benefits, or conversion goals. If you create content that is laser-focused on the needs and desires of your ideal client, optimal results will follow. In fact, 82% of consumers feel more connected to a brand after consuming relevant, engaging content.

If you fear that you’ve been producing content that isn’t customer-centric, you’re not alone: 80% of consumers feel that brands aren’t delivering relevant or targeted messages.

The good news is that this leaves a huge opportunity for you to step in and set yourself apart from the vast expanse of irrelevant content your ideal client is being exposed to on a daily basis.

Here’s a quick beginner’s guide to creating a customer-centric content marketing plan:

Develop your ideal client persona: If you could wake up every morning and represent the same person again and again, who would they be?

Identify your ideal client’s needs: With your ideal persona in mind, figure out what content they’re searching for and what problem they’re trying to solve. This will allow you to fine tune your content marketing efforts.

Create personalized content, distribute, repeat: Create personalized, educational content that adds significant value to your ideal client. Use data and past experience to determine how best to distribute the content, and continue to produce high-quality, valuable content.

Customer-centric content doesn’t just have to take the form of blog posts. Video can also be customer-centric, if you craft a customer-focused message. Rather than talking at length about your own skills and years of experience, you can use video as a medium to answer questions like:

  • Why do you enjoy representing your clients?
  • How does it feel when you’re able to help a client?
  • Why are you uniquely qualified to represent clients in your practice area?
  • What experiences have you had that show prospective clients you know what they’re going through?

Similarly, you must consider how your audience views content. Since most people are viewing content on a mobile device, appropriately optimize your content to be viewed in such a way.

There are some big changes coming to Google’s search algorithm in 2018, which could have a significant impact on your rankings if your firm’s website is not optimized for mobile use.

Google used to crawl and rank websites based on a user’s desktop experience. However, beginning in 2018, Google will start to rank websites based primarily on the mobile experience, with the desktop interface ranked second.

What does that mean for you? It means if your firm’s website isn’t optimized for the mobile-first index, you may start to see a drop in website traffic as Google gives higher SEO placement to sites with a better mobile experience.

Here are some tips for ensuring you don’t lose any site traffic with the rise of the mobile-first index:

  • Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights to ensure your website loads properly on mobile (websites that load in under 5 seconds on mobile see 70% longer time on site)
  • Consider switching your blog over to Google AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) which will allow them to load faster
  • Try optimizing keywords for voice search to boost chances of being found on mobile (incorporate long-tail keywords with organic language you would ask Siri/Alexa into your SEO strategy)

Optimizing for the mobile-first index doesn’t have to be a huge endeavor if your firm’s current website has a good user experience and site design. But, if you’ve been considering an update to your online presence, now may be an opportune time to do so.

Attorney Howard Spiva does a great job of incorporating a customer-focused message into his legal brand video. He’s able to simultaneously connect with potential clients through empathy and shared experiences while also boosting perceive brand authority through his client testimonials.

 

7. Social Proof

The reason social proof is such a powerful influence in the millennial decision-making process is that it allows us to make a relatively informed decision or ease doubt in ambiguous situations — not because we have experience in the situation, but because we’ve trusted the experiences of others to guide in our own decision making.

It’s why online reviews on Google or Amazon are such a powerful selling tool, and why sites like Yelp play a huge role in deciding where we’re going out to dinner this weekend. In fact, 70% of Americans will trust a review from someone they don’t even know, and 63% of Americans are more likely to purchase something from a website that includes customer reviews.

There are four types of social proof you can leverage:

  • Expert Proof: Expert proof is when an established authority in your industry recommends your services. When other attorneys in your market refer clients to you, that’s expert proof. When attorneys rate you on Avvo, that’s also expert proof. You can take advantage of this valuable form of social proof by encouraging your colleagues to review you online, and returning the favor to them.
  • User Proof: User proof is when your current clients, or those who “use” your services, recommend you to others based on their personal experience with your firm. You should try to incorporate user proof across all channels: Facebook, your website, Google, and more. (Pro Tip: Incorporating video testimonials in your social proof strategy makes your user testimonials more impactful by humanizing the testimony and making it more engaging)
  • The wisdom of the crowd: The saying “the more, the merrier” is apt to describe this form of social proof. When a large group of people begins to endorse your brand (i.e. you have 100+ reviews on Google, Facebook, etc.) it has a powerful influence on the decision-making process of potential clients. To put this in perspective: if you were deciding between two identical products on Amazon, and one product had 4,890 5-star reviews, and the second product only had 27, which are you purchasing
  • Certification: A certification is a powerful social proof, and within the legal industry, this includes board certifications, advanced degrees, and other forms of continued education that establish you as an expert in your field. You should publicize these certifications on your website, but don’t let them overshadow your client testimonials – potential clients will be swayed by your past client’s words more so than they would by an advanced certification.

You may have already known that client testimonials are an important part of the decision-making process, but it’s also important to realize how those testimonials play into the larger psychological phenomenon known as social proof.

If you begin to place a stronger emphasis on client testimonials in your marketing strategy, display them prominently on your website, and incorporate compelling visual content into your social proof strategy, you will begin to notice higher conversion rates as potential clients reach the end of the decision-making process.

8. Social Responsibility

Social responsibility is the term for any initiatives or philanthropic efforts a company makes to improve environmental or social wellbeing. Millennials feel stronger connections to brands that publicly promote their social initiatives – in fact, 81% of millennials believe that companies or corporations should make public commitments to improve their communities.
Wondering which companies do this well? Look to TOMS or Target. TOMS donates a pair of shoes to someone in need for every pair that’s purchased, and Target has donated well over $1 billion to education initiatives over the past 8 years.

While you don’t have to donate over $1 billion to persuade millennials to believe in your brand, you should make an effort to be involved in your community. Whether it’s sponsoring a local youth team, running your own canned food drive, or hosting community events, it’s important to display civic engagement.

The goal of these strategies is not to make your services the real value —but the experience of working with you as the real value.

So while you don’t need to make a Snapchat for your law firm, you should be focused on consistently providing value to your audience through the content you create. Additionally, make sure that you invest back in your community, and don’t be afraid to promote those civic engagements to your audience.

The millennial demographic can be tricky to understand, but it mostly boils down to authenticity and engagement. Millennials want to support (and work with) companies that engage with them, clearly communicate their story, and commit to providing value to their audience.

Wrap Up

Accomplishing lofty goals with your law firm marketing requires discipline, strategy, and meticulous time management, but most of all, it requires sticktoitiveness.

It also requires you to work smarter, not harder. While that doesn’t necessarily mean working fewer hours, it means you have to be more conscientious about how you spend those hours, which requires you to audit the way you and your staff currently spend your time. If you’re aiming to achieve double (or triple!) digit revenue increases, make sure you’re investing your hours in strategies that work — while replacing those that don’t.

If it sounds like a lot of work, it might be. But, this effort will pay off in the long run, as you’ll eventually determine which type of content is most effective and invest your time and energy in the right channels.

Just think about the time you’ll save by cutting the fat on your current content marketing efforts and getting rid of content that isn’t relevant to your ideal persona.

While incorporating every one of these strategies may not be a realistic option for your firm immediately, we’d encourage you to try at least one and see how it impacts your firm’s marketing efforts.

And that’s it! Consider this blog a beginner’s guide to a pretty solid marketing strategy. We mentioned that all marketing needs and strategies are different law firm to law firm, so it’s important to consider your location and ideal client when you’re gearing up to start taking marketing seriously.

We hope you found this helpful. Be sure to reach out to Crisp with any questions you may have about legal marketing!


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