It can be easy to get swept up in the latest buzz and refocus your marketing efforts to sync up with these new tools and systems. While these all have a place in legal marketing, it’s more important to know how to use them so they benefit your firm the most.
SEO consultants like to pitch firms on the idea that they can generate oodles of new clients by raising the firms’ Google search results. Unfortunately, we don’t control Google, and I always prefer doing the things we can control. So here are my top six ways to tame the latest in tech and make the most of data to meet your marketing needs.
1. Embrace personalization
“Personalization” has been a marketing buzzword for several years, and for good reason. In a world where we are constantly bombarded with ads and messages, personalization helps cut through the noise and make a deeper connection with potential clients. This year, personalization will be more important than ever.
To personalize your marketing, start by collecting data on your clients and prospects. This could include information like their industry, job title, location, and past interactions with your firm. Use this data to segment your audience and tailor your marketing messages to their specific needs and interests.
For example, targeted email campaigns, personalized landing pages on your website, and even customized webinars or videos are great, engaging options. Bone up on the legal, ethical, and privacy rules relating to data collection and storage practices, especially in jurisdictions with especially strict guidelines in this area.
2. Invest in video content
Video content has been on the rise for several years now, and in 2023 it will be more important than ever. Studies show that clients prefer video over other forms of content, and search engines prioritize video in their algorithms. Google loves (and owns) YouTube, which is the internet’s second most popular search engine. Additionally, video provides an opportunity to showcase your firm’s culture and values in an engaging and memorable way.
To create effective video content, start by identifying your audience and the types of content they are most likely to engage with. This could include short educational videos, client testimonials, or even behind-the-scenes footage of your firm. Make sure your videos are high-quality and provide real value to your target audience.
It’s easier than ever to produce video. You can shoot high-quality movies on a shoestring budget with a simple tabletop tripod and your smartphone in a conference room with natural light. But just because it’s easy to shoot doesn’t mean it’s easy to watch. Remember, we fast-forward through professionally produced TV commercials starring beloved celebrities. Consider why a prospective client would volunteer to watch a law firm’s amateur infomercial starring one of its ERISA lawyers?
If you have a concept for your own video, consider whether you’d be enthralled by it if it were about a local real estate or accounting firm. If not, perhaps try something else, and, at minimum, consider getting outside creative help. Make it worth watching.
3. Leverage social media
Social media will remain an essential tool for legal marketers in 2023. Not only does it provide an opportunity to connect with potential clients (and a place to share those videos you’ve just made), but it also helps establish your firm as a thought leader in your industry.
To use this medium effectively, start by identifying your target audience and the types of content they are most likely to engage with. This could include sharing useful industry news or providing valuable insights into legal topics. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new types of content or platforms.
For example, TikTok, Instagram and Clubhouse are emerging marketing platforms for law firms that could be worth exploring in 2023, particularly if you have younger clients, like criminal defense or personal injury practices.
4. Utilize chatbots
Chatbots have been around for several years now, and they’re quickly becoming even more sophisticated. Using AI, chatbots can provide a more human-like experience for users, answering frequently asked questions, and even scheduling appointments.
To implement chatbots in your legal marketing, start by identifying the most common questions or concerns your clients have. Then, work with a developer to create a chatbot that can provide answers to these questions in a timely and accurate manner. Make sure your chatbot is easy to use and integrates seamlessly with your website and other marketing channels.
“It can be easy to get swept up in the latest buzz and refocus your marketing efforts to sync up with these new tools and systems. While these all have a place in legal marketing, it’s more important to know how to use them so they benefit your firm the most.”
Also, stay tuned to new developments in AI technology. Right now there’s ChatGPT, but as of publication, Microsoft’s Bing has released a preview of its AI-enhanced functionality that could turn the search industry on its head. Stay on top of that issue and help your lawyers do the same. Can you get ahead of the curve?
5. Prioritize accessibility
In 2023, accessibility will be a top concern for clients. With more people relying on digital channels to connect with businesses, it’s important to ensure that your website and other marketing materials are accessible to everyone, regardless of their abilities.
To prioritize accessibility, conduct an audit of your website to identify any areas that may be difficult for people with disabilities to navigate. This could include issues with color contrast, font size or screen-reader compatibility.
Work with a web developer to make necessary changes to improve accessibility and ensure your other marketing materials — like videos and social media posts — are also accessible. Better still, consider whether you can go the extra mile and make your materials more accessible than your competitors and use that as a differentiator. It’s both good marketing and the decent thing to do.
6. Focus on the local search
As more people turn to search engines to find local businesses, it’s important to prioritize local SEO in your legal marketing strategy. This means ensuring that your website and other online profiles are optimized for local keywords and that you are listed in relevant directories and search engines.
To optimize for local search, start by identifying the keywords that are most relevant to your practice and your location. Mirror the exact language on your website to the specific searches your targets will use. Use these keywords in your website content, meta tags and other online profiles, like Google My Business.
Ensure your firm’s address and contact information are consistent across all online directories and encourage your satisfied clients to leave reviews on platforms like Yelp, Lawyers.com, and Avvo when they’re at their absolute happiest. Email them the link with an effusive thank you note and humble request for a review.
In conclusion, 2023 will be an exciting and challenging year for legal marketers. By staying ahead of the curve and adapting to new trends and technologies, ALA members can drive growth and success for their firms.