A Brief Summary of Digital Marketing for Law Firms

If marketing is about matching the law firm’s capabilities with the needs of the client, digital marketing is about the organisation matching its online capabilities with those of the client.

For example:

Online client needs
Organisation’s online capabilities
To find the organisation’s website
Develop website, keyword strategy, search engine optimisation (SEO) and pay per click advertising (PPC)
To gain information about the organisation
Develop information-rich website
To find initial information about solving a legal problem
Provide expert opinion on general legal problems through content marketing
To engage with the organisation
Develop social media presence

Effective digital marketing means getting closer to existing and prospective clients and online ‘influencers’. Online influencers are individuals and organisations, such as specialist journalists, legal bloggers and market commentators whose opinions are particularly respected. Ultimately, digital marketing is about understanding these audiences better, and getting involved in a dialogue that will help your organisation to identify, anticipate and satisfy online needs efficiently and effectively.

Develop a digital marketing strategy

Your strategy should state how you will achieve your objectives.

For example, if one of your organisation’s objectives is about acquiring new clients, then your digital marketing strategy should include a focus on generating leads and building brand awareness online.

The digital marketing strategy should include the following information:

  • Objectives: what are the digital goals to be achieved?
  • Strategy: how will the digital objectives be achieved?
  • Tactics: Which tools will be used to achieve the objectives?
  • Evaluation: how will the tactics be measured/evaluated against the objectives?

Set digital objectives

You must be clear why you are embarking on digital marketing, and the areas on which you want to focus. A good model for setting digital marketing objectives is the following:

Digital marketing objective
How objective is achieved
Example objective
Sell – increase sales
Achieved by engaging with clients you cannot acquire offline (e.g. location restrictions)
Achieve 10% increase in new clients online

Serve – add more value
Achieved by giving clients extra benefits online (e.g. client login area for free legal forms download)
Increase client retention rate by 20%
Speak – engage with clients
Achieved by creating a dialogue through the organisation’s website, blog or email.
Grow lead generation by 5% by increasing website visitors
Save – reduce costs
Achieved through saving on traditional marketing costs v digital costs (e.g. by moving from direct mail to email shots)
Reduce costs of marketing by 20%
Sizzle – increase brand awareness
Achieved through providing a new experience online
Achieve 20% increase in new clients online over next 3 years

Digital marketing objectives should:

  • Tie in to your firm’s business objectives.
  • Ideally be measurable, so it is clear if and when they have been achieved.

Define your tactics and evaluation methods

Once you are clear on the objectives and your strategy, you need to consider your tactics.

In this section, we will look at the key digital tactics available and assess these tactics in terms of suitability and relevance to your objectives. The relative strength of each tacticl is dependent on the nature of the objectives that have been set. For example, new client acquisition may be best driven by pay per click (PPC), while email is often considered one of the most effective tactics for increasing sales from existing clients.

Website

This is the practice of building and managing a website to acquire and retain clients.

The legal service provider’s website acts as the central information hub containing legal service content. The website is often the final destination for traffic flowing from the organisation’s social media, search marketing, email and PPC routes. The website plays a pivotal role in converting traffic into offline leads and then into new business. The website also acts as client retention tool through providing added value through content marketing.

Content marketing

This is the practice of the creation, sharing and publication of content in order to acquire and retain clients.

Content is created by the organisation’s employees which often forms the basis of website, blog and email marketing. This information can be presented in a variety of formats, including news, video, white papers, e-books, infographics, case studies, how-to guides, question and answer articles, photos, etc. Content can then be shared via social media and email. Search engines find and categorise the organisations and present the content to search engine users according to keywords used.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

This is the practice of optimising a website and the organisation’s content in order to rank higher in search engine results pages. SEO involves working within the parameters set by search engines to ensure that they index it when people enter a search term that is relevant for a product or service.

SEO has a key role to play in acquisition, as it ensures your organisation’s offering will appear in the search results, allowing you to reach potential clients. A site that is optimised for the search engines is also a site that is clear, relevant and well designed. These elements
ensure a good user experience, meaning that SEO plays a role in retention too.

Social Media

Social media, also known as consumer generated media or Web 2.0 are media (in the form of text, visuals and audio) created to be shared.
From a strategic perspective, social media is useful for branding, raising awareness of the organisation’s brand story and allowing the client to become involved in the story through collaboration. Social media platforms also play a role in building awareness, due to their shareable, viral nature. They can also provide crowd-sourced feedback via open graphs and social analytics systems.

Email Marketing

A form of direct marketing that uses electronic means to deliver the organisation’s messages to its audience. It is extremely cost-effective, highly targeted, customisable on a mass scale and completely measurable – all of which make it one of the most powerful digital marketing tactics.
Email marketing is a tool for building relationships with both potential and existing clients. It should maximise the retention and value of these clients.

PPC

In a pay per click or PPC system of advertising, the advertiser pays for each click on their advert. It is most often used for the advertising on search engine results pages: it is also used in banner advertising where the advertiser pays per click on their banner.

The attraction of PPC advertising is that it is keyword based. This means an advert will appear in response to the search terms entered by the user.

PPC plays a role in acquisition and retention of clients. It allows the advertiser to reach people who are already in the buying cycle or are expressing interest in what they have to offer.

It is important to know whether your tactics are effective and that they are achieving your objectives. The frequency of measurement will vary according to the objective.

Measurement can be through a system of key performance indicators (KPIs).

These should include:

  • How each tactic will be measured
  • How frequently the tactic will be measured and reported
  • Who will carry out the measurement
  • Who will receive the KPI reports
  • Who will be responsible for making recommendations based on the KPI results
  • Who will be responsible for undertaking the actions arising from recommendations

Business developed, leads generated, conversions and engagement levels are the most common measure of digital activity. Many of the metrics concerning website visitor behaviour are available from Google Analytics. Collection by other information systems or processes is required for key measures such as sales, subscriptions and conversion rates. Standard practice should ensure that data from the different sources is compiled into a monthly or weekly report for review by the appropriate people in your organisation.

Sample KPIs relating to digital marketing:

Level of business

  • New clients won, Hourly units worked
  • Revenue generated

Leads/enquiries

  • Unique website visitors
  • Repeat visitors
  • Actual/physical enquiries
  • Value of enquiries

Conversions

  • From enquiries
  • From registrations (a) white papers (b) newsletters
  • Email subscriptions

Churn rates

  • Unsubscribes (a) emails (b) newsletters

Engagement levels on social media platforms

  • Engagement ratio sum of ‘shares’, ‘Likes’ and comments

Remember

  • Where marketing is about matching the legal service provider’s capabilities with the needs of the client, digital marketing is about the organisation matching its online capabilities with those of the client.
  • Effective digital marketing means getting closer to existing and target clients and online ‘influencers’.
  • Effective digital marketing is best achieved by first devising a digital strategy.

 

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