Every digital marketing channel has a place in your marketing mix, but which is the most effective for your law firm? The answer will depend on your time frame, budget, and goals.
Marketing is all about getting your brand’s message out to potential clients. You want a consistent and effective message that keeps the sales pipeline flowing, bringing in a steady stream of potential new clients. Marketing channels are the individual pathways you use to speak directly to your client base. In the old days, these would be things like billboards, commercials on TV and radio, or bus benches. While these can still play a role, the modern market is all about digital channels.
The most effective way to engage your potential clients is online. Digital marketing has matured into a scientifically engineered methodology that enables you to precision-target your clients and track your advertising spend through the entire process. Digital marketing consists of several unique channels, all of which have their own advantages. To be effective, you need to utilize all of them in a strategy that synergizes well with each one.
Website & SEO
Your website should be thought of as your digital office space. It’s that important for your overall strategy, and should be designed, built, and maintained with that same level of care. More people will see your site than ever set eyes on your physical office, and your site is going to be the first contact for the vast majority of your clients.
As for your site itself, the old-style “brochure” sites are no longer a viable option. Those were simple advertisements for your offices and some contact information. To properly serve as a first step on a client’s journey, it needs to be built to generate leads.
We have many articles on the topic of a lead-generating website that can dig down into the details for you. At the most basic level, your site needs to act as a sales funnel, escorting visitors to a lead-generation form that you will answer in a short period.
As you might have guessed, the site itself is only one part of the equation. The other is SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. A great website is no use if no one can find it, and SEO is the process of ensuring your site appears as close to the top of relevant searches as possible. You need to be invested in a robust SEO strategy to compete in the digital landscape.
No matter what else you are, you are a content creator. Content is merely a blanket term for any kind of media delivery system: blog, video, podcast, or anything else. You should have an easier time of it than most, as you do a job that much of the population finds interesting and you have specialized knowledge. Still, it’s an uphill battle.
You need to create some form of content that reaches an audience, and there’s a good chance you won’t manage this out of the gate. The good news is the longer you’re at it, the better you get. With some experimentation and practice, you should be able to figure out a formula that works for you. Once you do, monitor your channels and stay alert for any drop-offs, as this could be a sign your audience is ready for something new.
One of the best ways to determine what your audience wants to consume can be found with keyword research tools such as Google Keyword Planner. These tools show you what keyphrases people are searching for, similar keyphrases, and the competition for those keyphrases. Once you find keyphrases that match your audience’s search intent, you can create content that meets their needs.
The purpose of content marketing is to consistently engage with your audience while giving them not only a place to engage with you but a topic that makes that engagement easier. By starting and maintaining conversations in your comments, you build rapport and trust with your client base. This is also an excellent place to demonstrate your knowledge, cementing your status as a trusted source.
Lastly, content marketing is a critical aspect of SEO. Content that proves valuable to a consistent audience will naturally boost your search rankings. Always remember, the goal is to create content that an audience will find through an organic search.
While much of SEO happens on your site, you can still help your SEO on other sites. Your goal is to be featured on other sites that then link to your own. The underlying idea is that this wealth of appearances helps your overall reputation, which in turn works directly for the SEO metrics on your site.
Much of off-site SEO (also called “off-page SEO”) depends on being featured elsewhere. Maybe you write a guest post on someone else’s blog, or you guest on a legal podcast, or you’re an expert on a legal video. In any one of these options, you are part of someone else’s content marketing, which in turn benefits your off-site SEO. Another angle is having these sites link to yours, usually through a specific piece of content that adroitly expresses a point they would like to reference.
Paid Search, usually known as Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising, involves putting an advertisement in the top few results of a relevant online search. You pay every time someone clicks on your ad, hence the name Pay-Per-Click.
You bid on specific search terms, with the most in-demand terms carrying the highest prices. For law firms, the most general keywords tend to be extremely expensive and lead to generalized informational websites. Law firms are best off bidding on more specific long-tail keywords, as these tend to be less expensive and more effective at targeting a specific client base.
Paid search is a vital component of any digital marketing strategy, but it’s one you have to keep your eye on. As with every other channel, ROI should be consistently monitored, and you should be ready to alter your strategy at any time.
Social media has the prime advantage of being able to engage your client base where they already are. You can build trust by interacting with those who interact with your posts, and generally presenting a human face for your firm.
Social media marketing can be extraordinarily effective for those who know how to use the platforms. You need a social media strategy that is effective and consistent, portraying your law firm in not just a positive but specific light. What is the personality of your firm? This is what your social media marketing should lean on.
Every platform has some way to pay to ensure your posts will feature in users’ feeds. It’s best to start slow with this kind of thing as you learn. You should be on all the major platforms, even as those are presently in flux. You’ll likely find one that works best for you and lean into it. Never abandon the others, but feel free to use the one most heavily that gives you results.
Email marketing has been a consistent digital marketing channel since the beginning. You need to send personalized and targeted emails to people on your mailing list. Many firms accomplish this via automation, but however it’s done, you need to do it.
Group your clients into separate email lists, enabling more precise targeting. Groupings can be done geographically, or in any other form of demographic separation. Whatever helps you speak to their needs.
Using an email marketing service provider is your best bet once your list grows beyond the basics. You’ll find that you’re better able to track the multitude of addresses in this way.
Which Channel is Best?
The short answer is all of them. A great digital marketing strategy will include some activity in each channel. The question is how much you should concentrate on each one.
The answer comes down to your specific goals, budget, and timeframe. Lead-generating websites, search optimization, and content marketing are cost-effective and will yield great long-term results. Paid advertising will quickly reach a large audience, but can be very expensive.
At Lead Science, we’ve done the research for twenty years, narrowing down the precise strengths of each channel and which engages different demographics most effectively. Schedule your Lead Science Discovery Call today. We’ll show you how your firm can leverage every channel to build your firm into a digital powerhouse.