In a blog on behalf of Legal Futures Associate ETSOS, David Kempster of Legal Eye discusses the importance of having a digital approach to your marketing.
Your firm’s 2015 marketing plan should now be in full swing. But if it doesn’t have the word ‘digital’ in it, you need to have a serious word with yourselves.
A big headline from 2014 came from Google, who revealed that 35% of all legal services searches are now done from mobile devices – with conveyancing at the forefront of search terms. It’s probably heading for half now.
With buoyant transactions, law firms late to the game must start investing in their digital footprint to capture conveyancing enquiries from a market that increasingly knows of no other way to search for services than online.
While a regular article and ad in the local newspaper is laudable, your first-time buyer, second-mover and downsizer are all sourcing and comparing services online. Friendship recommendation remains strong, but this is increasingly being influenced by social media and opinions ratings for firms.
Law firms need to adapt their marketing in much the same way that hotels and restaurants have done. They should harness hard won reputations by translating client testimonials, imaginative digital marketing campaigns and offers online through a comprehensive content programme.
Work on that website
This starts with the practice website – quite often a tale of woe for many firms. It must be mobile compatible (check that Google stat again), optimised for highly targeted keyword searches, with regularly changing content to ensure that you have clear search visibility.
Users are searching for fees as well as reassurance, so you must have a simple conveyancing quotation engines that lead to rapid follow-up. You must gear your business development teams to respond to these swiftly and maximise your lead funnel opportunities.
Enquiry forms must have a response in the evenings via nominated staff or mail automation that kick starts the lead management process. Potential clients search in the evenings and weekends, not weekdays between nine and five.
You need to offer more than just a quote tool though – you have to own the thought leadership for moving house, for affirming your professionalism and putting homebuyers/sellers minds at rest that you are a safe pair of hands and know what you are talking about. Your site must be highly responsive and showcase what you have to offer.
Aside from well-positioned copy about the firm, a two-minute video scores well on search listings (YouTube is now the number one search source for younger buyers). Content must also change more frequently, through updated news, blogs and social engagement, all of which increase link traffic and more local search.
The content must be simple, clear and lead to a call to action that must have tracking on it to key website pages so you can judge responsiveness and therefore return on investment. You need a different tone on Facebook and Twitter than you do on the website.
The management challenge
But do you have the management resource to maintain the marketing and keep your brand out there, while chasing conveyancing quotes and conversions? Almost certainly not. To be cost effective, consider outsourcing this activity, with clear controls and monitoring of traffic and results, to ensure success. It requires investment, sure – but it also works and it’s where the leads are for many law firms.
You also need to make sure that your data management is up to scrutiny too. Law firms have fallen foul of the Information Commissioners Office for misuse of personal data with their campaigns and for failure to adapt their websites to ensure compliance to required privacy standards. Again, these controls have to be factored into your operational plans.
Firms have undervalued the role of marketing within their cost budgets for too long. The market has changed and business development is increasingly digital. If this is not writ large on your boardroom whiteboard, then go grab a pen now.
For details on ETSOS’s regional events in March to find out ways to grow your conveyancing business, click here.