Posted by Chris Davidson, a director of Legal Futures Associate Moore Legal Technology
Are any or all the items in the list below among your law firm’s primary business objectives for the months ahead?
- Increasing your turnover;
- Enhancing your brand;
- Improving your efficiency; and
- Future proofing your firm.
If your online presence isn’t directly contributing to your law firm’s success, then you are missing out on an opportunity that your competitors will be readying themselves to take advantage of.
During this time of unprecedented change in the legal sector, you need to be more visible, instantly appealing, and shouting from the roof tops about how you offer a different, better, service than your competition.
There is no shortage of articles available online telling you how you can achieve the above. However, we know what makes lawyers tick and leads click, so we’ve taken the liberty of cutting through the noise created by agencies with no experience of the legal sector and have included below eight tips that will help your firm thrive.
1. Content. Still crucial
The phrase ‘Content is king’ is still as relevant as it’s ever been. Content is crucial to the success of any online activity designed to help you generate more business.
Developing robust quantities of relevant, authoritative, on-brand, targeted content will help you present better to search engines, convince potential instructing agents that you are the solicitor for them and help increase the number of enquiries you receive via your website.
2. Mobile matters
In 2017, having a mobile friendly web presence should be taken as a given, particularly with Google stating its intention to roll out a ‘mobile-first’ index, making mobile pages the default pages for ranking purposes.
However, our experience tells us that this isn’t the case. With the number of people searching for a legal service from a mobile device increasing all the time and the fact that Google have been penalising ‘non-mobile friendly’ sites in search since April 2015, optimising your website for mobile searches is no longer optional; it’s mandatory.
3. Increasing your visibility – search engine optimisation
If anybody ever tells you that search engine optimisation (SEO) is dead, don’t believe them. SEO best practice may change, that is true, and it’s important to remain aligned with it, but if you are not well presented to search engines from a technical SEO perspective, you won’t generate business from the internet.
Without wanting to go in to too much detail here, it doesn’t matter how good your website looks if search engines are ignoring it due to a lack of optimisation. For example:
- Are your images optimised with Alt Text?
- Are you using heading tags?
- Is your meta data optimised?
- Are your URL structures optimised?
- Does your content contain relevant keywords?
- Are you undertaking off page optimisation activity such as high-value link building, local citation building and social bookmarking?
Properly taken care of, all of the above will put you in a far better position from which to leverage the internet for the generation of new business.
4. Picking your low-hanging fruit – email marketing
It’s amazing how few of the firms we speak to take advantage of their existing client contact database; people who already know and trust you. Sending out an email newsletter to current clients who may have a limited understanding of the scope of your services will help to keep you front of mind for such a time as when they require the services of a solicitor again.
Maintaining contact between instructions also helps to create a stronger relationship by building a sense of trust and familiarity with your brand or business.
5. Strike when the iron’s hot – marketing automation
Underpinning your website with a marketing automation platform will allow you to build relationships with potential instructing agents before attempting to engage them in a transactional conversation.
Understanding when potential clients within your sales pipeline are ready to instruct a solicitor allows you to contact them ahead of your competition. Based upon their engagement with targeted, nurturing content, you can focus your valuable resource where it will have the greatest chance of seeing results.
This type of demand generation activity, together with a robust inbound marketing plan, will ensure that your pipeline remains healthy and that you are having the right conversations with the right people at the right time. Your time is valuable. You don’t want to waste it speaking to people who aren’t ready to instruct. Marketing automation can help.
6. Looking for an instant hit? Pay per click advertising
Utilised within the context of an overarching growth strategy and for particular areas of practice and times of year, PPC is a great way to achieve high visibility and quick results by driving additional conversion focused traffic to your website.
7. Knowing is better than guessing, part 1 – Conversion optimisation
You have a fully optimised, mobile-friendly, content-rich website in place. Your targeted PPC campaign is up and running. Your traffic levels are heading north, as are your enquiries – let’s sit back and relax.
Now is the time for the appliance of science to continually squeeze your activities to drive more and more enquiries. Through split testing, you can determine what is working and what is not, with a view to doing more and more of what is working on an ongoing basis.
Getting into a mindset of split-testing as much as possible will help you to continually move the needle forward in terms of performance. If you aren’t continually trying to improve your campaigns, your results will most likely be as they’ve always been and, indeed, you may end up losing ground to competitors who are working harder at improving their online marketing than you are.
8. Knowing is better than guessing, part 2 – Diving into data
Do you know how many leads your website generates for you each month? Do you know how many of those leads turn into new instructions? Are the leads of a good quality? What is your internal conversion rate? What is your biggest barrier to conversion?
To make sensible business decisions, to determine the long-term value of your marketing outlay, and to generate more and better quality leads, you need to continually analyse, review and improve.
The easier a metric is to assess in, for example, Google Analytics, the less utility it has. The basics, things like visits, page views, bounce rate and so on offer little meaningful information.
The next level of analytics for law firms is to build up a detailed picture of user behaviour before they make an enquiry. How do users navigate the site? Which pages do they most commonly visit? Which pages are driving enquiries and which pages are not?
Metrics such as rankings and traffic are nothing more than vanity metrics unless the phone is ringing. It’s time to dive deeper.