While many law firms understand that they need to be "on the Internet," they usually do little to engage their target audience. Today's prospective clients are more sophisticated and informed than ever before. Information is available 24/7, no matter where you are or what you're doing. It's imperative that law firms create a marketing strategy that speaks to the problems their clients and potential clients are facing. Everyone is talking about digital marketing or online marketing or inbound marketing and they’re asking a lot of questions:
- Is your law firm doing PPC?
- What should I do about SEO?
- Should my firm blog?
- What are you posting on Facebook?
- Are you using video?
- How do I get my firm on the first page of Google?
These are all good questions and even good tactics, but what you don’t see here is a strategy…a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term goal. A strategy takes the guesswork out of the process and saves both time and money. It defines what you want to achieve and what tactics you’re going to use to get there. Without a digital marketing strategy, your law firm is just throwing everything at the wall and hoping something sticks.
Marketing is about the big picture and a strong digital marketing strategy takes time, thought, experience, research, analysis, insight, creativity, brainstorming, testing, and measuring. If you’re skipping this strategy step and just relying on tactics, activities, and tasks, then you’re probably wasting time and budget and possibly harming your brand and the firm’s reputation. Without a strategic plan in place, you’re flying by the seat of your pants, crossing your fingers, and hoping for the best.
Strategy and tactics…what’s the difference?
Strategy is the who, what, where, when, and why.
Tactics are the how…the activities you’re going to use to achieve your digital marketing goals.
Strategy always comes first. It is unique to your law firm. It defines your goals and objectives and the direction your digital marketing should take. Your over-all strategy will give you an understanding of your potential client, their behaviors, and how best to deliver your marketing message to them. It serves as your marketing blueprint and needs to be flexible and adaptable, as the digital marketing landscape is continually changing. Once your strategy is in place, you’ll know which tactics or activities are most useful to fulfill your goals and drive new clients to your firm.
Start with the “end” in mind
To create a successful digital marketing strategy, you need to be able to answer these four questions:
- Who is my target client?
- What is their pain point?
- How can my law firm solve their problem?
- What does my firm need to do to help them find me online?
Understand who you’re talking to
Create buyer personas. A buyer persona is a composite sketch of your ideal client and will help you visualize their needs, pain points, and how your law firm can help them solve a problem. Each fully realized persona will help you market and engage a potential customer with the appropriate information that they are seeking. Use your firm’s ideal customers as a starting point. Your goal is to flesh out a strong understanding of who each persona is and their needs and preferences. Once you’ve developed that understanding your law firm can effectively use the right tactics to engage prospective clients researching law firms and looking for information. At a minimum, you need to be able to understand the following about each persona.
- What are the demographics of your prospective client?
- What are they interested in learning about and why?
- Where online do they do their research and find information?
- How active is your ideal client on social media?
- Which channels do they like and use to find relevant information?
The more information and understanding you have about your target audience and ideal clients, the better you can create a marketing strategy and use tactics that serve them.
Find the pain points and solve a problem
Now that you know who your ideal client is, you need to understand their pain point(s). Nobody has the desire to hire an attorney and nobody ever contacted a law firm “just because.” Potential clients contact a law firm to solve a problem and a true pain point isn’t a problem that can wait or solve itself. It’s a serious, pull-your-hair-out, have-to-get-this-solved-right-now kind of problem. Your potential clients’ pain points may be large or small, immediate or long term, but until you understand their motivation, you can’t market to them successfully. To understand a potential client's pain, you need to be able to prove to them that you understand:
- How the pain affects your ideal client personally?
- That your firm has a good understanding of this pain point?
- That you have the knowledge and expertise to successfully solve this problem?
- That your firm has solved this problem many times before.
Become a trusted resource
- Over 95% of people seeking legal advice use the internet first to find answers.
- Over 70% of people who begin a legal search online, end of contacting the law office via phone.
- 74% of people who visit a law firm's website during a search for information, take action.
A strong digital marketing strategy can increase your reach to your target audience, exponentially, and help you convert them into clients. It's not enough to just show up anymore. Know who you’re marketing to and what pain or problems you can alleviate. A well thought out strategy will help you be the law firm that is able to engage and answer the questions and concerns potential clients are seeking online, and nurture prospective clients during the decision making process. Your goal is to attract and engage visitors, create value and awareness, and build trust and credibility. Don't try tactic after tactic, spinning your wheels and hoping for the best. Create a digital marketing strategy that will attract new clients like a magnet.
Located in McLean, Virginia, just minutes from Washington, DC, Bethesda, MD, and all of Northern Virginia (NoVA) we have been helping businesses locally, and across the U.S., leverage digital marketing since 2003. Our mission is to help our clients grow their revenue and brand awareness with strategies that integrate outstanding websites, valuable content, a strong social media presence, and state of the art advertising and promotion.
With industry veterans possessing over 30 years of experience in translating technology into business tools, we have the background to guide you through the process of building traffic, sites and sales through all your web properties.