The advertising industry largely relies on third-party consumer data. Obtaining information about prospective clients from third-party providers allows law firms to reach beyond their existing audiences and grow. Expanded insights about audience preferences and behaviors enable law firms to fine-tune their ad campaigns and create more personalized experiences.
But between the crackdown on third-party cookies by Google, the slew of privacy policies hitting state-level legislatures and the European Union’s GDPR, law firms can no longer solely rely on third-party data to inform their go-to-market strategies.
As a result, first-party data has emerged as a critical asset to law firms, both big and small. First-party data offers powerful insights, is completely free and tends to be more accurate than data provided by third parties.
Here are nine creative ways law firms can get ahead of the curve and start gathering and leveraging their first-party data.
What is first-party data and how does it help law firm marketing departments?
Data that is collected directly by your law firm is called first-party data. It is information that individuals have opted-into providing and can be used to help you build a robust consumer profile. In essence, by monitoring how users interact with your law firm online, you can offer them more of what they want – and less of what will not interest, or even alienate, them.
Not collecting and leveraging first-party data is a missed opportunity for law firms. While other types of data are also valuable, first-party data should be a priority in data analysis because of its relevance and quality. It helps law firms understand their target audience better, locate missed opportunities and create innovative personalized strategies to increase ROI. First-party data helps law firms with the following benefits:
- Improve performance/ return on investment (ROI)
- Accuracy and data quality
- Lends to more precise targeting
- Improved measurement and attribution
Perhaps the most effective example of marketing through first-party data is Amazon. We’ve likely all purchased something from the behemoth at one time or other. Even if a conversion was not completed, you may have browsed a few products. Amazon uses this data to build personalized recommendations on your next visit.
Creative ways for law firms to capture first-party data
First-party data is used to build a profile so that you can more effectively market to individuals. All in all, first-party data must be collected progressively over a period of time, over multiple touchpoints and interactions. But how do you collect that data? Try these tactics.
1. Add tracking pixels to your website
Tracking pixels are tiny pixels that users won’t notice. These are installed in websites through coding and collate first-party data about user habits. You’ll be able to see pages visited, etc. Unlike a cookie, the pixel is native to your site and captures data from every visit.
2. Leverage a chatbot feature
Chatbots are becoming increasingly popular. While many people would prefer to contact a real person for complex discussions, for their initial inquiry a chatbot may suffice. At the very least, a chatbot will capture a lead that you can follow up with later. This will aid in targeted marketing and user personalization in the future.
3. Use progressive fields in website forms
Progressive profiling technology, a feature that is usually an extension of dynamic form fields, allows you to set up iterative forms that enable you to designate which questions appear based on what you already know about a particular lead. That way, every time a lead fills out a form, you are progressively collecting valuable new information about them while keeping your forms short and easy to complete.
4. Use lead gen forms in your advertising
A simple way to collect user information is by using lead gen forms in your ads. There are many channels offering lead gen options. LinkedIn and Facebook are probably the most common options that come to mind, but don’t forget about Google. Depending on your firm’s niche, you can use lead gen forms to collect as much or as little information needed to make an impact on your marketing strategies.
5. Just ask
Using polls and surveys (via email, social media, etc.) to get inside the head of your prospects and clients is a crucial piece of any program. After all, the easiest way to understand your customers’ needs and interests is to ask them directly. People appreciate being asked their opinion, but more than that, they appreciate sharing their experience.
6. Offer – and encourage – registration
You might consider having people register as a user on your website. Use this information to provide a more personalized experience. Perhaps registration offers increased convenience, such as viewing their invoices or seeing case details. Or, you might keep some content registration-only so that users can get premium items like templates or checklists only upon registration. The trick is to make it very simple to register – just a few fields.
7. Host events
These provide a great opportunity to collect information, through registration. Whether you offer a webinar, a topical panel, an executive dinner, or an online Q & A, people will expect to register. You will then have not only their contact information, but a glimpse into the subjects and event formats that interest them. Events are also a great way to highlight your expertise, your philosophy, and your values – which makes people more likely to part with their contact information through other channels as well.
8. Create more client-centric content
Not only does different content offer new reasons for your target audience to visit your site, but blogs and client alerts also provide key insights into what your visitors may be interested in as they navigate through different topics.
9. Invest in a customer data platform (CDP)
Many law firms struggle to maximize the capabilities of their first-party data because that information can be disorganized and disjointed. This is where a customer data platform (CDP) comes in handy. A CDP compiles all of your law firm’s first party data into an organized, centralized system so you can assemble comprehensive profiles of your ideal clients. As you gather this information over time, your client profiles will grow and produce more detailed and useful insights that can be leveraged to launch highly targeted and personalized campaigns strategies.
There’s no doubt that high-quality data is essential to the success of your firm’s marketing strategy. Yet with changes to data policies and consumer behavior, the viability, and reliability of your law firm’s first-party data matters more than ever. Law firms that invest in developing an effective first-party data strategy and implement the right tools to leverage it, will be better positioned to preserve and grow their client relationships in a more privacy-focused future.
Contact us today to learn the best ways to capture and leverage your law firm’s first-party data to run effective digital marketing campaigns.