digital-marketingThe competition for legal services is at an all-time high. As more lawyers decide to eschew working at large firms and opt instead to open boutiques or hang their own shingle, marketing and business development strategies are increasing in importance.

Digital marketing, which is traditionally comprised of search engine optimization, social media, search advertising, social advertising and email marketing, is a popular business development strategy for law firms, because it allows them to accurately target their intended audience, customize their messages, measure their results in an effective manner and stay within a reasonable budget.

If you are a lawyer or legal marketer who is just starting to understand how digital marketing works and how to use it to generate more leads and clients, or if you have been working on digital marketing for some time but are not achieving meaningful business results, then perhaps it’s time to take a look at what your competitors are doing.

Whether you are trying to increase the number of clicks on your pay-per-click campaign, rank higher for certain key words on search engines or are looking to increase your reach and engagement on social media, the good news is that there are now tools available that let you see what your competitors are doing with their online marketing strategies. They also allow you to learn how much money they are spending on pay-per-click campaigns and which keywords they are targeting for both paid search advertising and organic SEO.

Here are some of the tools legal marketers can use to research their competitors:

SpyFu – SpyFu enables marketers to find out the search marketing secret formula of their most successful competitors. Users can search for any domain and see every place they’ve shown up on Google — every keyword they’ve bought on Adwords, every organic SEO rank, and every ad variation in the last 10 years. This tool allows marketers to improve their SEO rankings by tapping into their competitors’ keyword strategies. It also allows law firms to discover their competitors most lucrative keywords, eliminate bad keywords and find the best copy for ads. There are three pricing plans available with this tool ranging from $49/month to $139/month.

SEMrush – SEMrush bills itself as the world’s leading competitive research service for online marketing. Because it’s a global company, it provides research and analysis in 17 different languages and includes 29 different geographic regions. The platform allows marketers to conduct organic research to discover competitors’ best keywords and to discover new organic competitors. The tool also allows you to uncover your competitors’ ad strategies and budget and analyze their ad copy and keywords. Marketers are also able to do a back-links analysis and conduct video advertising research in order to create an effective video campaign. SEMrush has three different pricing options ranging from $69.95/month to $549.95/month

Compete.Com – Compete.com has two different self-service platforms: PRO and PRO Enterprise. The platform enables marketing professionals to discover business opportunities, monitor the competition and benchmark performance. PRO’s consumer behavior data enables marketers to discover which online marketing strategies work best in their industry, which tactics fail and how to uncover opportunities. The platform also has an API that enables developers to integrate the PRO data into other applications and competitive intelligence tools.

Digital marketing is complex and requires marketers to experiment and test different strategies and methods. Having access to data that enables you to learn what the competition is doing is extremely valuable. Data alone however is not sufficient. Marketers need to be able to understand the data and apply it to their particular campaigns and strategies.

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