Everywhere you turn you hear that digital marketing should be part of every firm’s marketing plan. What’s mentioned less often these days, however, is the importance of using a variety of old and new marketing tactics to meet customers where they are—both online and off. The key to all of your marketing should be synergy. Your message should be simple, straightforward and branded to who you are. Here are nine online and marketing essentials that will make a huge difference in your overall marketing strategy:
- Websites: Your firm’s website is the primary place clients go to learn more about your firm and to connect with you in the first place. Keep it interesting with fresh content, highly interactive pages, a client friendly experience and up to date educational information.
- Mobile Marketing: Today’s clients use smartphones, so you must have a mobile-friendly website. Learn tactics for engaging smartphone users. If your site isn’t mobile friendly, you’ll lose a substantial portion of your interested potential clients. Think of ways to encourage mobile users to connect with/share with and encourage other mobile users. Instagram and Snapchat can become big marketing tools for your firm.
- SEO & SEM: Optimizing for keywords and on-page SEOwill boost traffic to your website and, ideally, your firm. SEM campaigns like Google AdWords put you in front of targeted audiences—on the budget that works best for you. But, today SEO and SEM mean so much more. Finding your law firm organically in a search may require a little nudge with a re-purposing campaign through Facebook, a regular Google PPC campaign. And of course, you can’t forget all the work that goes into the SEO campaign, content addition, Blogging, Facebook posts, e-blasts, and the list goes on!
- Email: Email marketingputs your firm news in your client’s inboxes for relatively cheap. Programs like Emma and MailChimp make it easy for beginners to design professional email marketing campaigns. These campaigns are what I just referred to above as e-blasts/e-newsletters. It all depends upon how long they are/how much information you elect to include. The purpose of these is simple to keep you and your firm top of mind. It serves as a constant reminder that you helped your client in a time of need and if they ever find themselves in that place again (or if any of the friends or family do) then they should remember to call you first. As far as costs go, this is one of those that gets my thumbs up for giving you the most bang for your buck!
- Social Media: Facebook, Twitter and Instagramare still a key way to talk with and attract new customers. Social media also allows you to put your client service on public display. These are also a wonderful way to communicate in the language of millennials. You may not think that millennials are your market/demographic WRONG!!! They are! So, you need to wake up and figure out how to speak their language. In addition, Facebook and Twitter aren’t just for millennials – they are used very highly by the baby boomers who are again, what? Your demographic! So, the sooner you figure out how to use these mediums to maximize your marketing the sooner you’ll have a great portion of the market share.
- Business Listings: List your firm on listings siteslike Google My Business, Facebook for Business, YP.com and Manta to get in front of more Google searchers. This is great for SEO. Google will recognize you more and so will your potential clients.
- Word-of-Mouth: This tactic works in the real world and online. Ask clients and colleagues to refer others or share news about your firm. This is referral marketing and is truly the lifeblood of your firm. It is the cheapest form of marketing. You should make it the central part of your marketing efforts. All of your traditional marketing efforts and some of your online efforts should feed into your referral marketing. Everyone in your office should be committed to and understand the importance of referral marketing and what they can do to make it happen or what part they play in it.
- Community Involvement: Get involved in your community through events, sponsorships or taking part in local volunteer drives. This is also very important. People do business with people. They especially do business with people they know and like and who they see as part of their community. Often times people are intimidated by attorneys. They are afraid to go talk to them because they don’t feel worthy. When you are seen participating in community activities your potential clients see you as one of them. They see you as an ordinary man/woman and they can relate to you, find you approachable. They will also tell their friends and family. (More referral marketing).
- Newsletters: Much like e-blasts – this is a way to keep your law firm top of mind. It is a fairly inexpensive way to reach out to current and resent clients to remind them that you’re there and happy to help them (or their family and friends). I’m sure you’re wondering who still reads newsletters, many of your clients still read newsletters. Again, be familiar with you demographic, look at their age, and where they live.
- Promotional Items/Gifts – People have never tired of getting T-shirts, pens, cups/mugs, pizza cutters, Koozies, water bottles, key chains, and the list goes on! You clients feel special when they get something from you. They feel acknowledged and wanted. They feel special. When you think of your client experience you want your clients to feel a lot of things and number one on that list is SPECIAL. So, these trinkets may cost you more than you’d like to start out with, but in the long run they will bring you back referrals a plenty due to the client experience they help to create.
- Print: Your firm will likely need some sort of printed materials, be it business cards, signage, brochures, client kits, event banners or print ads in a local publication. Polished and modern print materials will improve the quality of your marketing. The key to any print items is that they MUST be BRANDED. It isn’t sufficient that the all be on the same color paper with the same color ink. I mean that your logo should represent who you are. It should send a message about you your firm is from the moment a potential client interacts with your firm in some way, be it on the internet or the phone or sees a brochure or gets a business card. IT all has to send the same message. A mixed message leaves a potential client confused and uncertain about who you are, what to do next, how you will handle their case and if you can help them at all. The BRAND is the VERY FIRST place you should start when you first set up your firm. It can change over time, but only after deep and serious deliberation and consideration. Remember this is who you are and how you are seen by the world.
- The last and probably the most important marketing tool you have is your client experience. Just like your brand, it is WHO YOU ARE. From the very first time a client meets/interacts with you firm all the way through their case, long after they’ve settled this is their client experience. Just like a first impression, you never get a second chance to “do over” a client’s experience. Everything about how you and your entire staff handle their case is their client experience. This is why this is your #1 marketing tool. If you get this right, you could have a client for life, their family’s cases for life, their friend’s cases for life, their friend’s friend’s cases, and so on and so on, etc. etc., it works exponentially. All it takes is a seamless case management system, courteous, trained and professional staff, a nice atmosphere, compassionate and empathetic attorneys (who are also very talented), lots of information and education in a language that they speak and lots of honest and regular communication. The little touches can take you over the top like walking your clients to their car in the rain with an umbrella, having notes in their file about recent surgeries and/or family events and inquiring about them, or simply making a note of their last drink served in the waiting room and offering it to them when they arrive he next time. But, the most important thing you can so is treat them well and to handle their case effectively, efficiently and to communicate with them.
If I had to narrow it down, I would say, that these are the “golden rules” of marketing. If you utilize just 3-5 of these this year, I can assure you that you’ll begin to see a tremendous difference in the growth of your firm. Marketing isn’t magic. It’s really common sense. It’s really all about following the golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Because if you do, clients will come.