Posted by Chris Davidson, a director at Legal Futures Associate Moore Legal Technology 
In recent months, the internet has been your shop window more than ever before. As we begin to see a move towards an easing of personal and professional restrictions, we thought now would be a good time to update our digital marketing ‘top tips’.
Ensure your website is fit for purpose
Your website should be the beating heart of your law firm’s marketing. It is often a customer’s first impression of your firm. It is a shopfront (particularly at this time), a salesperson and a source of new business. It is an asset which will continue to deliver value and one which requires ongoing care and attention.
If you want to use the internet more effectively to protect and grow your business, getting your website right should be your first priority.
Your website should be: contemporary in its approach to design and user experience; customer focused; aligned with the expectations of a digitally savvy audience; mobile friendly; kept up-to-date; content rich; search engine friendly; quick to load; and flexible and scalable.
Use effective technology (and use it effectively)
We have all had to adapt our working practices recently. The fast-tracking of relevant technologies has been key to engaging with customers and prospects alike.
As people’s experiences and expectations of engaging with their lawyer online become ever more sophisticated, reverting to traditional methods of communicating with customers and prospects isn’t going to cut it.
If you have not already, we would strongly recommend considering improving your online customer experience by implementing a variety of technologies that have been around for a while without significant adoption within the legal sector, such as:
- Provide visitors to your site who may want to speak to a solicitor as soon as possible an immediacy of engagement by introducing live chat functionality;
- Allow people to schedule time with you that is mutually convenient by integrating appointment setting software with relevant online touchpoints such as website bios, relevant service-related landing pages, etc;
- Increase your efficiency by carrying out initial client consultations via a video conferencing platform such as Zoom, which automatically integrates with Google calendars, Outlook and Exchange, allowing you to send meeting invites, with links and joining instructions; and
- Make it easier for your customers to pay you by introducing online payment functionality within your site.
Don’t have all your eggs in one digital marketing basket
When it comes to digital marketing today, putting all your eggs in one basket could limit the success of your law firm’s online presence. You need to use different marketing channels together within the context of an overarching marketing strategy.
Depending on your target audience/audience segments, you may need to look at a blended approach of inbound and outbound marketing, lead generation and demand generation tactics, paid search, and organic search etc.
For example, inbound marketing is when people demonstrate their intent to buy a service, or product through their internet search terms and arrive at your site as a result.
While we are happy to say that relevant metrics (search volume, traffic and enquiries) are beginning to trend in the right direction again, online search traffic for many legal services during lockdown dropped significantly.
This meant that, if your law firm’s marketing efforts relied almost entirely on search engines, then the last three months would have been pretty tough.
Firms that employ a multi-channel approach to their marketing, for example taking advantage of existing client and prospect databases via outbound marketing (reaching out to your intended audience with high-value information to win their trust) found themselves with another, more direct, route to new business.
If you have not already, now is a good time to think more carefully about your digital marketing strategy and channel diversification.
Knowing is better than guessing: understand your marketing 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 and to determine the long-term value of your marketing outlay, you to need to continually analyse, review and improve
One of the main benefits of digital marketing is that very quickly you ascertain what works and what does not. You repeat what works and avoid what does not, and, as a result, your marketing efforts get better and more efficient.
Understanding your marketing data allows you to be targeted, measured, and avoid wasting valuable resources on activities that do not provide a return.
Follow up your leads
Dealing with enquiries can often be viewed as an ‘admin’ task. And not just any admin task, one that is frequently delegated to employees who may have the least to gain from converting an enquiry – those who are further down the salary bracket or who might be least engaged with the long-term health or growth of the business.
Enquiry handling should be viewed squarely as a business development task. After all, what is the point of investing your hard-earned cash in generating new enquiries if the leads are not being given the best chance of converting?
It is not unusual for us to have the following conversation with a customer:
MLT: According to our data, you’ve had a good month enquiry wise. How have you found it?
Customer: Not sure if we’ve opened any new files from website enquiries, to be honest.
MLT: That doesn’t sound right based on the number of enquiries. Let’s look at some of them. This looks like a solid enquiry for [insert practice area] – what happened with that?
Customer: Ah, yes, our receptionist received that call and passed to [insert name of fee-earner].
MLT: Great. Then what happened with the enquiry?
Most businesses follow up once, twice, or maybe three times. However, in our experience (and backed up by statistics), as many as 80% of sales happen after the fifth follow-up or contact.
The right number of check-ins, reminders, and delivery of more helpful insight during the sales process (and having a process in place to ensure that happens consistently) is transformational to prospects of success.
Following recent requests from a number of law firms who are keen to keep things moving forward for their firms at this time, we have developed our quick set up Your Law Firm Success™ – 2020 Toolkit .
This has been created to deliver business continuity and growth and to help you make your firm more efficient and more robust now and for the future.