Few industries are as heavily-regulated when it comes to their words and actions online as law offices and law firms. Many lawyers hesitate to do anything online beyond a basic website and the occasional Facebook post, worried that being too active, casual, or even just too interesting could lead them to be subject to review or even potential punishment.
We have 5 digital marketing best practices for law firms to help you get started.
Tip #1: Identify what you hope to accomplish. Then make a plan.
There are several reasons that a law firm might be interested in digital marketing:
- Expanding their reach to find new potential clients
- Connecting with other legal professionals for networking or referrals
- Engaging with current clients through email marketing, social media, and more
- Building credibility through blog posts and other content
- Updating organizational involvement and achievements
- And more
Before you know how to achieve these goals, you have to know which is most important to you.
What Do You Hope to Accomplish?
Different social media platforms work best for different law firms. LinkedIn may be most effective for larger firms looking primarily for referral or networking opportunities, while Facebook might be the go-to for a small firm primarily seeking new clients.
Once you map out where you are now and where you hope to be, you'll have a better idea where to begin crafting a digital marketing strategy.
Tip #2: Prioritize engagement throughout your site and social media platforms.
Let us be blunt. The internet does not exist to be your megaphone. Was that too blunt? We're really trying to say, don't just tell everyone how great you are. Potential clients love to know that a law firm is successful, but they also want to know that any attorney they choose to work with will be interested in listening—and responding—to them, too.
They want a conversation, where they aren't just told you're the best - they're shown why.
Are You "Social" on Social Media?
Make it a priority to respond to queries or interactions on social media. This should take up about 1/3 of your social media activity, with another 1/3 dedicated to promotional content (sharing your blogs, updates on your law firm, etc), and the final 1/3 linking to outside content.
These numbers aren't set in stone, so feel free to find the right balance for you. It's more about building an ongoing relationship that keeps you on their minds.
Very few people love a soapbox. Nearly everybody loves finding the answers to their questions before they even ask.
Tip #3: Update your website regularly, and keep things informative and consistent.
Thanks to the sheer size of the digital marketplace, people needing a solution to a problem (they want a book on parenting "spirited children," the need HVAC services, they were the victim of a hit-and-run...), are now able to do nearly all their research online before making a decision.
Three things will be almost sure to drive your potential clients away from your law office's website:
- It's not user-friendly
- It's out of date
- It doesn't give them any specifics and information isn't consistent
These three problems are simple to fix, if you're willing to put the time and effort into the solution.
Is Your Everything Up to Date?
Don't let your website fall apart. This happens more often than businesses like to admit. They purchase web design services, but don't think to also include updates. Their shiny new website rapidly becomes dated as design technology changes. What once seemed like a great "first impression" is instead the online equivalent of a neon sign missing half its lightbulbs in a bad mafia movie. Regular website updates keep things fresh and user-friendly.
Tell your potential clients what they need to know right away. Your website should spell out in detail exactly which areas of law you practice in, specific situations each category represents, and how you'd work with potential clients who contact you.
Try to give website visitors an accurate idea of what will happen from the first moment they contact you about their case. The legal field is full of hoops to jump through: simplifying things now makes your clients more likely to stick with you.
Tip #4: Break down complicated regulations down into easy guidelines everyone can follow.
Lawyers are regulated by state, so there's no one-size-fits-all guideline to follow. Each state's bar association will have its own guidelines concerning online advertising, and you should know every single of them to avoid trouble in the future. How can you pursue digital marketing best practices without overstepping?
It's simple! Well, sort of.
Have You Read Your Regulations?
I recommend printing out a paper copy of your online advertising guidelines. Highlighter in hand, mark up every single sentence that describes an action your office must take. (Example: "Every email must contain the words ADVERTISING MATERIAL, in all caps, in the following locations.")
Copy every highlighted sentence or paragraph into a separate document. This should help you condense what are often pretty lengthy rules into comparatively smaller guidelines.
Finally, turn that document into the shortest series of bullet points you can. Print out a copy that everyone who will have anything to do with your website or social media knows to follow.
You should be able to maintain an active online presence without stepping over any ethical lines.
Tip #5: Let your clients get to know your office long before they arrive.
The world of marketing has changed since the internet came into being. One of the biggest changes has been a prospect's need to have a conversation rather than be sold to. This goes for every single product or service someone pays for, including hiring a lawyer.
Your potential clients are interested in knowing that you're good at what you do, but they also want to see you—and know that you see them—as a human being, too.
Can Potential Clients See You, Or Just Your Firm?
Consider using video marketing to do short profiles of attorneys. Have them introduce themselves, give a brief description of what they do ("I'm an attorney working primarily in Personal Injury"), and a personal anecdote or fact while they're at it.
These videos give your clients the relief of recognizing an attorney's face at a first meeting, and also provide a great way to help new clients feel more at ease.
Rather than too intimidated to even contact you, your potential client should feel like they're heading into an office full of knowledgeable, experienced, interesting people who not only can help them solve their legal problems, they actually want to.
Digital Marketing for Law Firms Requires Serious Strategy.
Searching for a digital marketing team for law firms? You need a company you can trust to have experience and understanding with how law firms operate and the important regulations that control how they market themselves online.
At Waypost Marketing, we're ready to help you find and connect with potential clients and stay top of mind for if and when they're searching for legal representation. Give us a call at (864) 288-6162 or just click the banner below to schedule your consultation: