Identifying the Problems
People in cities all across this great country are searching for things. They are searching online, using desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. These are simple facts that have been beaten over the heads of business owners for several years now. But let’s change just a few key words and see where we end up.
People in rural communities across this great country are searching for things. They are searching online, using desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. These are simple facts that have been beaten over the heads of urban and suburban business owners for years now.
Minor difference in language; huge ramifications for your firm.
Marketers and sales organizations are aggressively catering to businesses in metropolitan areas, but there doesn’t appear to have been a lot of attention given to “Small Town America.” When you live in rural areas, researching goods and services can be much more time consuming. You might have to drive several hours or more to meet the right attorney, or purchase the model of pickup you want, or buy a new suit to wear to an upcoming wedding.
Knowing where to go is important, but it’s also important for local businesses to be appearing in the online research process. Perhaps Jack wouldn’t have to drive to “The City” to buy a new refrigerator or pickup truck if those retailers had an effective digital presence. And, if he wouldn’t have to make that three-hour drive, you might have just gained new business while making life easier on your customer.
Creating Digital Marketing Solutions
The Internet isn’t just about finding a deep freeze or where to get a good deal on a used crew-cab pickup for your farm or ranch; the Internet is a place for people to find critical services for their personal lives and businesses. Family lawyers, estate administrators, business law, and injury attorneys are all needed in rural America, but local attorneys fail to establish a consistent online presence when ranch owners, bankers, barbers, and others are looking for competent legal representation to address their specific legal problems.
In many of the more rural states – particularly in the West and the Midwest – attorneys skilled in Oil & Gas law are essential. If you own a productive or fertile piece of land that an oil company wants to drill, it’s important to retain a skilled, experienced attorney to protect your personal interests as a landowner. Additionally, renegotiating a lease contract can help provide provisions to protect your buildings, livestock, crops – things that may not have been included in the oil company’s original offer.
In states where rural necessities encompass a major portion of the overall need, the majority of law practices that people can find and research online are located in larger cities – Cheyenne, Bozeman, The Sioux Empire in South Dakota, Oklahoma City, etc. But if rural and small town law practices invested in marketing that was effective at the local, small town, and rural level, they would be better serving those communities surrounding their practices while also becoming more profitable.
Smaller firms can flex larger muscles through digital marketing, though effective tactics in small towns and rural environments will emphasize different strategies than their big city counterparts. For instance, social media, while important for any firm, is especially important in small communities as a way to build digital rapport and trust that will encourage people to visit your practice for help. Content marketing is also important for rural law firms – just as it was for John Deere when that company founded Furrow magazine in 1895 – and the focus of a firm’s content, such as a blog or website, should reflect the environment in which they are operating.
(Rural) Digital Marketing Matters
What does all this mean? It means that digital marketing matters – regardless of location. No matter where you live or where your practice is located, you can incorporate several digital marketing strategies to increase your caseload by building or optimizing your website and adding additional online assets, such as pay-per-click advertising and social media.
Law firms can help protect people in small towns. Effective marketing allows more people to find the right attorney, and it’s important to remember that many rural families prefer to work with someone closer to home.
It helps that internet access and technology adoption are on the rise in rural communities. According to a Pew Research Center study, only 42% of rural adults were using the Internet in 2000. By 2015, that number had increased to 78%.
People are looking. Can they find your practice? Does your presence online inspire confidence, or are people more apt to drive hours just to find someone who is investing in effective digital marketing? If you’re interested in growing your practice, please contact LaFleur today. We offer a full suite of digital marketing tools and are eager to help you build your firm and appeal to your local base.