This article was first published in Marketing the Law Firm, published by Law Journal Newsletters.
The new normal under the plague has put pressure on law firms to simply operate, as well as thrive. However, law firms have a unique opportunity during the COVID-19 outbreak to capture new files and business.
The most effective business development tactics — in-person events like networking, seminars, and speeches — are no longer available. However, web traffic has exploded and news websites have seen a 64% increase in total traffic since the plague hit home.
Now is the time to use a personal touch and double down on digital marketing.
Call current and past clients to check in on how they are coping. It's never been more important to connect with people. Many clients are frightened, sheltering at home, and are looking for reassurance. Check in on how they feel. Clients will remember the phone call and know that they are not alone in the plague. These calls are about establishing rapport, not direct selling. Nevertheless, they do produce new business.
Tactics to consider are calling your best 15 to 20 clients to let them know that you are thinking about them. It's a wonderful gesture and will keep attorneys top of mind in the event they require your services.
Turn your attorneys into visible experts online. A marketer's goal is to create brand awareness, educate audiences, and build credibility and trust. This is important because, over the last five years, client loyalty is down 20%. Meanwhile, online searches have jumped 66%, and 72% of potential clients will use digital sources to evaluate service providers. (Source)
Well-recognized thought leaders always get more business. Lawyer bios on the firm website should have, at a minimum, professional photography, extensive detail and a list of key accomplishments. Their bios should have a link to their notable cases — told as stories, not one-line bullet points — and link to videos and podcasts of the expert speaking.
- Adding personal information and pictures to humanize the attorney.
- Focus on a legal niche, which is a “micro monopoly.”
- Case histories should be success stories that summarize a result for a client, indicate the dollar amount involved, and include a call to action.
Present an Online Broadcast: Webinars are the second-most effective form of legal marketing, after in-person meetings. The most popular platform is Zoom, which is free. Close to two thirds (63%) of B2B marketers are using webinars for lead nurturing and reactivation.
Zoom has exploded — active users in March 2020 were 151% higher on average from a year earlier. Zoom has become the hot new way for people to connect while social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic. Attorneys can turn on their webcams to be seen by attendees, PowerPoint slides can be shared, polls can easily be set up and recordings are automatic.
The platform is easy to learn and use. It works for small meetings where attendees can see and hear each other, as well as meetings with 100 people, where attendees can see and hear only the presenters. Sessions can be recorded and Zoom offers meeting analytics. However, with a free account, online sessions timeout at 40 minutes. I recommend the $40 Webinar add-on, which has numerous security settings to prevent Zoombombing by hackers.
Forget GoToWebinar, which is outmoded and much more complicated to operate.
Add new content to your website. If you're blogging only once a month, you're not creating enough content. Google loves blogs and clients find the content in blog posts useful. Blogs build authority and are highly shareable. 57% of marketers say they've gained clients specifically through blogging. A blog you write today will still be generating leads five years from now.
Quantity counts. 65% of potential clients will read 3 to 7 blog posts before contacting your firm. Marketing expert Dan Jaffe, CEO of LawLytics.com, recommends that attorneys write three blog posts per week, at least 750 words long. With each blog post, announce the post on the following platforms: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Another tactic is to create Ebooks, a type of long-form content often made available as PDF downloads. Ebooks are excellent ways to share your knowledge and expertise on a given topic. Benefits of Ebooks include lead-generation, establishing authority, growing email lists, and beefing up your overall content offer.
Get into a video studio. Online video accounts for 80% percent of all web traffic because most people would rather watch a video than reading text on a website.
With video, lawyers can get viewers to know, trust, and like them. Post the videos on YouTube, Facebook, and your law firm's website for the maximum effect. Remember that 75% of people are more likely to make a purchase after watching a video.
Marketers should hire a videographer to create an in-house video studio in a dedicated room (without windows), and install lights, a background setting, and lapel microphones.
Just like Ebooks and blog posts, the main aim of a video should be to give value to your audience by answering questions, providing solutions, addressing pain points. Videos should run between 2-3 minutes and should include a call to action at the end, sending viewers to a landing page or your website. Marketers can upload a video to sites like Vimeo, YouTube, and Facebook to increase exposure, and embed the video link in complementary blog posts.
Get social on social media. Connecting with people of social media is highly valuable.
In one survey, 54% of consumers said they'd be likely to hire a lawyer with an active social media presence. Among millennials, 72% would.
Focus on Facebook and LinkedIn and skip other social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Reddit. Facebook is by far the most effective social media platform and is meant for sharing and engaging in conversations. 71% of American adults use Facebook.
Facebook is the perfect place to repost blogs, videos, and new material from the firm website.
LinkedIn has only 25% of the active users that Facebook has, but your target audience for B2B marketing is there. LinkedIn is better for lead generation. LinkedIn is used for business communications and has features like including status updates, blogging capabilities, and private messages.
During the worldwide pandemic, don't panic and don't abandon marketing. By emphasizing digital marketing, and acting while others hesitate, marketers can capture new market share and assure the firm's success when we recover from the crisis.
Larry Bodine is the Sr. Legal Marketing Strategist for LawLytics.com. A member of Marketing the Law Firm's Board of Editors, he can be reached at [email protected] and 520-577-9759.