‘Transformative’ isn’t a word used to typically describe the professional services industry. The same is even more apt when analysing the digital efforts emerging from the law sector. Below Craig Johnson at Kagool discusses the opportunities for digital marketing in the legal sphere.
Often falling short of today’s fast-paced online world, law practices can be seen leaving themselves open to the risk of being usurped by innovative, forward-thinking competitors who get it right because, it’s fair to say, they would be in a minority.
But what’s the key? Understanding your customers should come first and foremost when implementing a strategy of any type. Your customers already have a propensity to turn to digital as second nature – whether to consume news, communicate with friends, or research for work. So if you’re not using digital to attract them, you’re not appealing to their instinct, meaning you’re less likely to see them convert into a customer.
Simply by implementing an effective digital strategy, law practices will arm themselves with the tools and capacity to develop more effective teams, achieve stronger results and secure long-term new business.
Want to know how to get started? Read on.
With thousands of potential customers searching Google for law firms each day, SEO should be at the forefront of a digital strategy, but few get it right. This offers a great opportunity for a team that is dedicated to doing it well.
Granted, there is a wealth of search terms associated with law, for example, but it shouldn’t be feared. Do your research, create content around the most relevant search terms for your business offering, and upload it to your site’s architecture. That way, when your customers are looking for advice and support, they’re more likely to visit your site over a competitor’s.
Tip: Analyse the keywords and phrases used by prospective customers when searching Google and identify the terms targeted by competitors. These should be the core areas for your digital content plan.
To encourage a potential customer to engage with you, you have to evoke a reaction of some form – whether that’s happiness, laughter, anger or tears. Creating and utilising the right content on your online channels will encourage your target audience to associate with you, because they align themselves with your messaging in some shape or form.
Regular blog posts are a great starting point to position you as a thought leader, but need to be based on more than just facts. Sharing your opinion on current affairs (only where relevant), or changes to your industry that affect your customer will bring out the personality behind your brand and it’s this that will make them see you’re the brand for them.
Tip: After uploading a piece of content to your blog, amplify it via your social media channels, send it as an e-newsletter to your database, and post it to a director’s LinkedIn profile. The more times your content is noticed, the more likely you are to attract customers.
Just like when they’re checking out a restaurant, new film to watch at the cinema or gift for a loved one, if a customer wants an honest review or to find out more, they will take to social media. Therefore it’s imperative your social media offering is transparent, informative and relevant, without being at all salesy.
Having an ‘always on’ presence on social media shows your customers you’re available, and opens the door for dialogue with customers.
Tip: For those working in law, social media is key to customer engagement and advocacy, as well as being a powerful recruitment tool. Engage in debate on social media and establish your organisation as an authority in your areas of expertise.
Personalisation is expected as the norm – social media, ecommerce sites and even TV channels give users tailored content, so the general consumer finds it hard to engage with anything that doesn’t offer a personalised interface as standard.
Customers don’t tend to visit your website simply to browse – they come with intent. By quickly identifying their need for visiting your site, you can present them with content that makes them more likely to take their enquiry a step further, and therefore have a better chance of converting. Something as simple as showing users content that is relevant to their location, or previous viewing habits, puts you miles ahead.
By personalising content to users, your website will be more relevant and will increase the chances of conversion. This will prevent customers dropping off your site and seeking out the competition.
Tip: Platforms like Sitecore help professional services marketers to quickly and easily personalise content to meet users specific needs and deliver a great experience.
Those using your services are, more often than not, facing a challenging time in their lives. So nothing is more reassuring, or instils more confidence that they’re using the right organisation, than a previous customer telling them you’re a brilliant firm to work with. Because while every situation is different, there are commonalities across the reasons people reach out to use your services, so you’re more likely to secure a new client if they know you’re experienced in dealing with their issue.
Tip: Encourage previous customers to spend two minutes writing a Google or Trust Pilot review, or a case study for your website, and share these again via your social media channels so they’re getting maximum exposure. If you struggle securing reviews, incentivise it with a small amount of prizes – it’s amazing what people will do for a freebie!