Lawyers are incredibly busy people. In fact, they’re so busy, they rarely have time to take breath never mind think about marketing! If you’re a lawyer, you’ll know what I mean. Nose to the grindstone, handcuffed to the desk and at the beck and call of clients. Why on earth would you think about marketing to try to win even more business when you’re flat out already? To some, thinking about your law firm digital marketing strategy is about as important as knitting a space suit for your goldfish – an impressive feat, but one that won’t exactly help your legal practice reach new heights!
The print, broadcast and online media are awash with stories about AI taking over the world. In fact, you can’t go into LinkedIn without every second post being about AI this or AI that. One specific focus of AI is its use in the legal profession. So much so we now have the celebrated case of the US law firm who used AI to prepare a brief. The AI cited cases and summarised the judgements even though none of the cases existed! The lawyers even asked the AI to confirm the cases existed. Of course, The AI said they did – why not. It had already hallucinated about the cases so as far as the AI was concerned, they were real.
There is a consensus (and in some sectors a real fear) that AI will become pervasive. The legal profession is not immune from the advance of AI. Whilst you might be a small to medium sized law firm in the UK, you might well have heard of AI applications being rolled out and used by some of the larger UK law firms.
So, what has all this to do with your law firm digital marketing strategy?
Perhaps the first question to ask is does your law firm have a digital marketing strategy? Do you actually do any digital marketing? If not, you should. If you simply rely on residential conveyancing and clients falling through your door when passing, it isn’t a particularly joined up way of doing business! Oh, you might offer to prepare Wills for clients when they’ve moved into their new house. More likely, they’ll come to you and ask you if you can prepare Wills for them. But what happens in the future if an AI application on their phone can prepare a Will for them. In fact, what if it cross sells them a Power of Attorney at the same time? And this might happen sooner than you think!
Lawyers are generally reactive when it comes to generating new business. There is a massive dependency on client inertia in the belief that former clients will return because “we did such a good job the last time”! However, Internet search has been changing this over the years. Do you even measure your client retention rates?
Digital marketers are working to steal your clients
Digital marketers, like us, are working for law firms to attract your clients away from you. We’re doing it on purpose. Of course, we don’t know that they are your clients. We only know that you can’t be bothered keeping in touch with them between transactions so why should they bother to be loyal to you.
At the moment, if someone is looking for a legal service locally, they’ll probably ask Google. Google will then provide then with a list of links they can click on that might answer their questions. If you can’t be bothered keeping your website up to date or adding content about the services you provide, then why should Google bother to show your website to your client.
This is especially true when there are so many other websites with relevant information for the client. In fact, Google might have gotten so fed up that is no longer visits your website. Why should it update its index because nothing has changed since you first put it up! It’s not a good look, especially if your latest Blog or News article is dated August 2018! When was the last time you looked at your own website? Do you even remember what it looks like? Take a moment now and have a look. Are you embarrassed? Should you be embarrassed?
There are already people asking AI if they can prepare an offer to buy a house in Scotland. The effort I saw made not a bad fist of it. So, high street lawyers beware, that scary AI monster might just be out to steal your business too!
Let’s get back to your law firm digital marketing strategy
So, back to your law firm digital marketing strategy. Let’s just pretend that your law firm actually does any digital marketing (and there are lots of options). If you do any form of digital marketing, it is important that it’s joined up and that you measure its effectiveness. You need to know about the return you are making on your marketing investment. you then need to shape your law firm digital marketing strategy to suit.
We need to get back to basics and look at your law firm digital marketing strategy options. There are many digital marketing options and we will touch on some of these. It’s also essential to decide what you want to achieve and why before looking at the how. For that reason, we’ll start by looking at your goals. This is where you should think about what you’re trying to achieve.
Starting with your law firm digital marketing goals
Of course, a key goal of any marketing activity is to generate more profitable business. But we need to dig down into that generalisation and explain to ourselves what that actually means.
Clearly, a key goal is to win new clients for whom you will carry out profitable business.
Perhaps that’s two goals rolled into one.
Winning new clients is one thing. It’s another thing entirely to do the work profitably. If you’re winning loads of clients by offering free Wills, then clearly that’s not profitable.That’s unless you you use it as a loss leader to try to cross sell something else to them. For lawyers, cross selling is hard! Many law firms have offered a “free Will” service in the past. Why do that when the client is unlikely to value something they get for nothing.
Another key goal might be to increase the number of clients for a specific service your firm provides. Most high street law firms make their money from residential conveyancing and private client work. Some might specialise in or include a smattering of family law or employment law in the mix. Most high street law firms will do some commercial conveyancing and maybe a bit of small company corporate work. The purpose of this is to let you see that many law firms are all doing more or less the same thing. What differentiates you from the competition? If you’re going to try to attract client to a particular practice area, how do you do that? And what return do you expect from it. You need to write that down so you know if it’s successful!
How about some more challenging goals?
Do you have a goal to try to make sure all your residential conveyancing clients have a Will. What about a Power of Attorney to? If you don’t, why not? It’s a good goal and would generate an awful lot of fee income.
What about a goal of offering the clients for whom you hold a Will a free Will review? Most firms decide to do this when the bottom has fallen out of the conveyancing market. This happened in 2008 and in previous recessions. Usually, firms got to about “H” in the alphabet before the property market picked up and they abandoned the process.
Client retention goals are particularly important and challenging. How do you know a client is still a client many years after your last contact with them. Do they still consider you to be their solicitor? Do you care? You might hold thousands of Wills for clients. You should know that around 20% of those clients are no longer at the address you have for them! They’ll have sold and moved on and you don’t know anything about it. And you’ll have lost out on a conveyancing sale and purchase fee and, potentially, an estate agency fee too!
How many clients you keep in touch with regularly is important for many reasons. Not least of these is to show the strength of your client base should you be selling an interest in the firm or looking to merge with another firm. Clearly, if you’re regularly in touch with clients, there’s more chance they’ll think of you if they need legal advice.
You might set a goal to get client referrals. Do you ever ask clients if they know of anyone who might be interested in the services you provide?
Identify Key Performance Indicators for the different strains of your law firm digital marketing strategy
As you can see, it’s important to start off with some idea of what you’re trying to achieve through your law firm digital marketing strategy. Now that you have the goals set out, we must work out how we measure them. We can do this using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
You need to use a range of tools to measure your performance.
You can use Google Analytics to measure the traffic visiting your website. In addition you should use Google Search Console to discover search terms people use to visit your website. You might also want to measure the number of enquiries you receive every month from your website.
Social Media platforms have built-in analytics giving you a whole range of measurements on your performance. Email marketing tools provide information on the performance of each email marketing campaign.
The range of KPIs you set will depend on your digital marketing strategy and the goals you set.
Across all these measurements, you will be looking to see an improvement month on month.
Create a spreadsheet to record your monthly KPIs to track your digital marketing strategy performance.
We’ll now delve into different metrics for each aspect of your potential digital marketing strategy.
Analyse your website traffic
Before we dive into specific measurements, you need ensure your website is registered for Google and Bing. Once you register your website, Google and Bing will send bots to crawl your website to index it. They will visit it regularly as long as your website continues to “move”. The more good quality, relevant and optimised content you add to your website, the better your website will perform.
It is important to keep your records consistent. For instance, don’t measure the statistics for the last 28 days one month and then for the last three months for a subsequent month.
There are also many complex and detailed measuring tools you can use to analyse your statistics, but for our purposes, we’ll use Google Analytics. It gives you tons of information and, best of all, it’s free!
You can access Google Analytics through your Google Account. You need to make sure your website is registered so the statistics can be recorded.
Start off in a straightforward way and check your headline statistics. Here are some of the key statistics you should check every month:
From the Analytics Home Screen:
- Number of users: this statistic shows the number of visitors to your website within the period set. This is particularly important where you want to check for the number of return visitors to your website.
- Number of new users: this statistic records the number of visitors who have not been to your website before. This shows you the number of new people who are coming to your website when compared to the total number of visitors recorded.
- Average Engagement Time: this is the average time visitors spent on your website. Clearly, the longer visitors stay on your website, the better.
From the Acquisitions Screen:
- Direct visitors: this figure records the number of visitors who came directly to your website by typing in your website URL
- Organic search: this indicates the number of visitors who came to your website through a Google Search link
- Organic Social: this records the number of visitors who have visited your website through a social media platform
- Referral: This shows the number of visitors who came from a referral source.
From the Engagement Screen:
- Average engagement time: this is the overall average of time people spend on your website. Your aim is to continuously increase engagement
- Pages visited: this is where you can start to dig into the detail of what visitors are looking at. You can record the number of views individual pages visited and the length of time visitors stayed on each page.
Over time, as your law firm digital marketing strategy develops, your statistics will develop to meet the expanding needs of your business.
Analyse your Search Performance
Again, this set of statistics looks at visitors to your website but from the perspective of Search. It focuses on visitors who find your website through Search. For the purposes of this article, we’ll focus on Google Search Console. You can also use Microsoft Webmaster Tools to record the same type of data for those who visit your website by using Microsoft’s Bing Search Engine.
It is important to consider how important Bing may become in competition with Google given that ChatGPT is now embedded in Bing. That is likely to attract new users to Bing search as opposed to Google.
You should also match the period over which you collect these statistics to those you collect through Google Analytics. For example, if you are recording statistics in Google Analytics over 28 days, record the statistics from Google Search Console over the same period.
Here are some of the metrics you might consider important:
- Total clicks: this provides the total number of clicks through from Google Search to your website
- Total impressions: this is the number of times searchers saw a link to your website in Google Search
- Average Click Through Rate (CTR): this is the percentage of times searchers who saw a link to your website and clicked through it
- Average position: this is the average position of the pages of your website where they appear in Google Search.
The lower section of the Performance screen in Google Search Console will provide a great deal of further information on Search Queries, Pages visited and the number of impressions and clicks and more. You can also track the search query to the pages visited.
Measure your Social Media Engagement
There is no point in promoting your Social Media Pages as part of your law firm digital marketing strategy if you don’t record and analyse the statistics. You may use several different Social Media platforms. Whilst the reporting terms for each are a little different, they generally mean the same thing. Here are some things you might want to track in your analytics:
- Number of page likes/follows: this is the number of people who have liked or followed your page
- Shares and Comments: record the number of shares and comments made for each of your posts. This will help you work out the kinds of things people engage with on your page
These are fairly basis statistics and do not take into account any measurements you will use if you decide to use Social Media Advertising.
Track your email marketing metrics
Email marketing should be a key element of your law firm digital marketing strategy. Keeping in touch with existing clients between transactions is critical. Email Newsletters are a quick and effective way to build client loyalty, gain client referrals and win new business.
You will be interested in the following measurements:
- Number of people who opened your email: this might not always be the best metric because it tends to trigger when someone simply looks at your email in passing;
- Click through numbers: this is, perhaps, the most important metric;
- Top 10 openers: who are the top 10 people who opened your email and how many times did they open it;
- Links clicked: this is a list of unique links people clicked along with the total number of times the link was clicked.
You can drill down into the performance of your campaign using the reporting tools in your email marketing platform.
Analyse your Content Marketing statistics
Part of your law firm digital marketing strategy should involve continuously adding content to your website. You can then check which pages receive the most hits. You can also check which are shared with people and whether there are any backlinks to them. Importantly, if you embed an enquiry form on a page, monitor the number of people who enquire about the service.
Check on the overall number of enquiries you receive from your website and whether these are relevant to the types of services you provide. The better the content on your website, the more relevant the enquiries you will receive.
Measure the performance of your paid advertising campaigns
If you use Google Ads, Microsoft Advertising, Facebook Ads or LinkedIn promotions, you must monitor their performance.
It is important to specify the outcome you wish before you embark on a paid advertising campaign. You must understand the difference between Search Ads and Social Media Ads. If you want to find out more, you should check out our Facebook Ads vs Google Ads to understand the difference.
Each of these types of Ad platforms have their own range of statistics you can use to measure the performance of your campaigns. Make sure you install the relevant tracking codes on your website so your campaign can provide accurate information.
Again, you will be looking for the extent of interaction with your website and, importantly, conversions. These are events you specify. They might be as simple as completion of an enquiry form or provision of an email address. You can set different conversion events to trigger in your results.
The statistics you record in your paid for advertising enables you to refine your campaign to make it more effective. You should be looking for at least 300 clicks every month from Google Ads to gain a regular flow of new enquiries about your services.
Aim for continuous improvement of your law firm digital marketing strategy
Whichever combination of activity you incorporate into your law firm digital marketing strategy, it’s important to strive for continuous improvement. Look at what is working and do more of it. Look at what isn’t working and either improve it, learn more about it or drop it.
Always think about what you are trying to achieve. If you are doing this yourself and your results aren’t great, consider engaging a marketing specialist. Make sure they deal exclusively with the legal profession. Be wary of dealing with non-legal marketing firms because they might struggle to provide you with the content you need. Whatever you do, do not spend lots of money for little or no return!
Your law firm digital marketing strategy – a marathon, not a sprint
There are no quick fixes or magic bullets when it comes to your law firm digital marketing strategy. To get the results, you need to do the grunt work. Your strategy needs to be created, managed and monitored. If you are a busy lawyer, this can be a massive challenge and, at times, an impossible one! And if you let us help, you might just get round to knitting that space suit for your goldfish!
If you have any questions or need help developing your strategy, we’re only a phone call or email away. We work only with law firms. We help our law firm clients not only develop their digital marketing strategy but execute it too! All you need to do is pick up the phone and call us on 07855 838395 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.