Recent Research into Digital Marketing in the Legal Sector
Written by Kyle McCarthy
In the spring of 2015, Econsultancy conducted a survey of over 150 marketing, digital, and communications professionals that focused on digital marketing as it related to the legal sector. This research centered on content marketing, mobile platforms, analytics and communication, and client behavior to determine a baseline for current activity, priorities, and best practices. The study highlighted a few interesting trends and some innovative shifts in outdated approaches to digital marketing.
Digital Marketing Budgets
It’s not surprising that marketing staffs and budgets have increased significantly over the past year (43% and 35%, respectively), but what is surprising is that most survey participants reported that their digital marketing budget represents only between 1-20% of their overall marketing budget. Despite the seemingly inevitable trend toward digital becoming the dominant marketing form, many firms remain hesitant to make the leap, citing questionable ROI, an adherence to more traditional forms of marketing, and the culture of their firm. However, the top three forms of digital marketing as ranked by the participants are content marketing, email marketing, and data management. Social media came in a close fourth, and the importance of that channel is sure to rise in coming years.
Content Marketing Works
More and more, legal professionals are realizing that hosting good content on their various websites results in an increase in quality leads. As such, content creation is now considered the second-most appealing skill for firms seeking an external marketing resource. Additionally, content marketing was cited as the most important digital marketing component for legal firms.
Given that most firms rely heavily on their websites, blogs, and social media platforms to build their reputation and generate leads, it makes sense that content creation is such a vital component of their marketing strategy, and this survey emphasizes the need for even more proliferation of quality, informative content.
Mobile Is Finally Launching
We’ve been hearing about it for years, but it appears that mobile advertising is finally poised to make a giant leap in the near future. This likely has a lot to do with last spring’s “Mobilegeddon” and the pending “Penguin Algorithm” rollout, but given the ubiquity of mobile devices in the modern marketing landscape, it’s hard to determine which is the cause and which is the effect.
Half of those surveyed were of the opinion that their firms were adequately optimized for mobile despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of large firms have yet to update to responsive websites. Obviously, this is a troubling bit of information, as it points toward a disconnect between these firms’ satisfaction with their digital marketing efforts and their understanding of those efforts.
While referrals and business development remain extremely important in attracting new clients, customer interactions and behaviors are changing. While only 24% of respondents are currently using automated email campaigns, clients are still flocking to digital marketing assets to verify credibility, research practice areas, and request consultations.
As customers begin to trust emerging technology and digital applications, online communication and interaction continues to increase. Of course, as more potential clients rush to digital platforms, competition has also been heightened. Online reviews (both textual and video) have become one of the leading ways to increase client base. Therefore, it’s important that firms follow up with satisfied clients to receive quality testimonials and broadcast those positive reviews across all of their digital platforms.
For those firms who have been lagging in their approach to their digital audience, there are a few minor adjustments you can make to drastically increase your reach, interaction, and retention. It’s important that you focus on what you can do for your clients more than your personal accomplishments and credentials. Not that broadcasting those things aren’t an excellent way to increase consumer confidence and build your firm’s reputation, but ultimately, clients want to know what separates you from the pack when it comes to the services you can provide them.
It’s also important to remember that your clients want to receive relevant information in a way that is easily digestible. Cut down on the confusing, esoteric legal jargon and make an effort to empathize with prospective clients. Appeal to their unique circumstances by adopting your rhetorical approach to specific practice areas and providing personal, detailed testimonials prominently displayed throughout your digital platforms.
For those firms that have been debating whether to enlist the services of a marketing agency or that are unsure about how to best optimize their existing strategy, LaFleur can assess your needs, enhance your campaigns, and improve your ROI. We specialize in providing the highest quality content, and our automation platform streamlines your marketing efforts across the board. Please call us at (888) 222-1512 to learn more about how we can help your law firm transition into a digital marketing force.
Business leadership guide: digital marketing in the legal sector. (2015, Jun. 22). The Lawyer. Retrieved from http://www.thelawyer.com/home/business-leadership-guide-digital-marketing-in-the-legal-sector/3036465.article
Pantekoek, K. (2015, Feb. 4). Is your law firm making these 5 digital mistakes? Legal Solutions. Retrieved from http://blog.legalsolutions.thomsonreuters.com/practice-management-2/is-your-law-firm-making-these-5-digital-marketing-mistakes/