Your Clients Use the Internet to Make Decisions
Legal prospects are increasingly reliant on the internet for information about law firms and legal services, which means your potential clients are already researching you online. But simply publishing a website isn’t enough to engage today’s more sophisticated audiences. You need a robust, multi-platform marketing strategy that is engaging, fosters brand loyalty, and tracks user data.
The statistics are stunning:
- The internet is the top influencer in consumer decision-making
- Facebook influences 52% of consumer’s online and offline purchases — more than any other social media platform
- Between 2014 and 2016, LinkedIn content consumption increased by 21%
- Half of people surveyed follow a brand on social media
- Searches from mobile devices now surpass traditional computer-based searching
- 88% or more of consumers rely on online reviews when they make decisions, and the same number of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation
From quickly looking up a phone number to carefully researching a product or service, nearly every consumer’s first touchpoint is the internet.
How People Encounter Your Law Firm Online
People are using the internet to find your firm, assess potential solutions to their specific needs, and read what others are saying. To attract your ideal clients, you need to maintain your online presence comprehensively and strategically, so you can put your best foot forward before prospects make contact.
The simple truth is that the vast majority of your prospects have used the internet to make their decision before they ever actually communicated with someone at your firm on the phone, via chat, through email, or in person.
Many attorneys seem to be under the illusion that many (or even most) of their new clients come from word-of-mouth referrals. While this may have been true just a few years ago, it’s no longer the case. From 2005 to 2014, the percentage of people using the internet to find an attorney jumped from 7% to 38% while the percentage of people who asked a friend or relative dropped precipitously from 65% in 2005 to a mere 29% in 2014. And even those who do first learn of an attorney from a friend or relative will likely use the internet to find out more before they make contact.
When prospective clients use a search engine to learn more about a lawyer or firm, they do a lot more than just retrieve a phone number. Here’s the breakdown of consumer behavior after first learning of a firm:
29.5% visited the firm’s website
27.6% read the firm’s reviews on Google
18.4% read reviews elsewhere on the internet
10.6% viewed the map to see where the firm was located
4.1% looked at photos and the firm’s description on Google
9.8% call the firm first
- 29.5% visited the firm’s website
- 27.6% read the firm’s reviews on Google
- 18.4% read reviews elsewhere on the internet
- 10.6% viewed the map to see where the firm was located
- 4.1% looked at photos and the firm’s description on Google
How many people first called the firm for more information? A mere 9.8%. In fact, over 90% of your future clients will check the internet first before they reach out.
Nearly half of all legal consumers between the ages of 18 and 34 go to the internet first to research an attorney or firm. For those between the ages of 35 and 44, 41% go straight to the internet. And aside from those age 65 and older, every age group favors using the internet over asking a friend or family member. There’s no intuitive leap required: the internet is only going to become more important as a means of attracting new clients for your law firm.
Take Control of Your Digital Marketing and Online Presence
The fact that so many attorneys, perhaps including your major competitors, are holding on to the belief that the internet is secondary when it comes to lead generation presents an opportunity to seize a competitive edge — and quickly. Yet attorneys remain among the lowest investors in marketing. The average marketing budget for law firms ranges from 2.4 to 2.8% of gross revenue, while the industry average for businesses with less than $250 million in revenue is 9.1%.
Of course, digital marketing usually only accounts for a fraction of that total marketing budget. In our experience, the digital marketing budgets of many firms often misallocated on ineffective strategies with minimal ROI.
When you invest in a strategic digital marketing approach, you can monopolize on an industry-wide misunderstanding — not only of how clients end up on a law firm’s doorstep but also of the importance of online marketing in a modern context.
Build an Immersive and Agile Client Journey
At LaFleur, we love focusing in on the client journey, which is the process that leads a casual user to a promising lead to a loyal client. While much of this process happens organically, establishing strong marketing and client experience strategies can encourage clients to contact and retain your firm.
A strategically-planned client journey builds trust and loyalty. Prospective clients get a clear picture of your law firm’s values and culture across multiple platforms — including your website, your social media feeds, and various review sites. And when they reach out by completing a digital form, leaving a comment on social, or calling your firm directly, your response should be prompt and consistent with your brand.
However, many law firms have a scattershot digital marketing strategy. They buy an ad here or there. They occasionally blog, but they’re not always sharing their work across their social media feeds. They haven’t segmented their email drip campaigns — nor do they know where to even begin
And while your clients and leads expect attentive service (both face-to-face and online) a lot of law firms aren’t meeting these expectations. 42% of law firms take three or more days to respond to an online contact form fill, and 26% don’t track their leads at all! This gives you a remarkable opportunity to embrace a modern marketing strategy and build a robust client base.
In 2015, McKinsey & Company outlined five core functions that ensure a digital marketing operation’s success:
1. Consumer Insight:
You need to track and understand your leads and clients by building a comprehensive data set that can help you tailor your marketing strategies to their unique needs.
2. Exceptional Customer Service:
From the very first stage of a client’s journey, you need to offer personalized and attentive service.
3. Measure Your Performance:
Set key performance indicators and monitor them carefully, test your marketing strategies, and respond quickly to poorly-performing assets.
4. Set Clear Policies and Procedures:
Make sure everyone understands how to implement new systems and how law firm staff should interact on digital platforms.
4. Adopt Innovative Marketing Technologies:
Implement powerful systems that help integrate your digital marketing platforms and create a cohesive client experience from start to finish.
The McKinsey report went on to note that companies typically excel when they have a digital marketing “center of excellence” — a team of professionals who help track personas, build effective client journeys, and distribute their messaging across multiple platforms.
LaFleur: Your Law Firm’s Marketing Partner
At LaFleur, we work alongside our clients, helping them build brilliant websites and intuitive client journeys. We can help you with your comprehensive marketing needs, including email automation, lead tracking, social media strategy, paid advertising, and content marketing — among others. Our skilled team can serve as your law firm’s marketing center of excellence and help you reduce your marketing costs per lead.
From attorneys who haven’t yet created a website to lawyers with misgivings about their current marketing agency, we have helped law firms across the country realign their marketing efforts with the reality of user behavior in the internet age. Using best practices and data-driven innovation, we can help you take your marketing efforts to the next level and produce tangible results from your digital marketing strategy.
2012 Digital Influence Index shows internet as leading influence in consumer purchasing choices. (2012, January 31). Fleishman Hillard. Retrieved from http://fleishmanhillard.com/2012/01/31/2012-digital-influence-index-shows-internet-as-leading-influence-in-consumer-purchasing-choices/
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Internet is now the most popular way to find and research a lawyer, says FindLaw survey. (2014, April 7). Thomson Reuters. Retrieved from http://thomsonreuters.com/en/press-releases/2014/internet-lawyer-search-survey.html
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