Editor’s note: At the beginning of each year Good2bSocial’s founder, Guy Alvarez, shares his thoughts in a blog post on digital marketing trends in the legal space for the year ahead. This year, practicing what he preaches, Guy uses a hot trending marketing format-podcasting-to share his thoughts.
Included in the top eight digital marketing trends are a couple of repeats from last year-podcasts and paid social-to stress the importance and adoption of these marketing formats and tactics. Law firms have to pay attention.
We’ve also seen a huge uptick in firms adopting marketing automation, getting more comfortable with Facebook Live and video in general, and the emergence of Semantic SEO.
1. Marketing Automation & Database Segmentation
More legal marketers are beginning to use marketing automation in order to reallocate time spent on repetitive tasks to the more mind-intensive, strategy based work. Law firms are realizing that they need a better way to track the successes of their marketing and business development campaigns. When analytics fail to provide enough data, automation platforms like Hubspot and Marketo can help you track and segment your clients. Utilizing these technologies is the easy part; there’s a lot that needs to be planned and content that needs to be created before you can begin implementing marketing automation in your firm.
2. Paid Social
Paid social media is starting to emerge as a valuable tool for law firms. Paid social enables a law firm to widen and sharpen their reach in a way that is simply not possible with organic social media. By supplementing organic social with a paid social media strategy for LinkedIn or Facebook, law firms can target a larger, but more focused audience.
3. Facebook Live and Smartphone Video
Video is nothing new. Law firms have been integrating video into their marketing strategies for the last decade, but smartphones are changing how they are produced. More firms are realizing that you don’t need expensive videography equipment to create engaging videos. Rather, shooting from smartphones can lead to more genuine, authentic content that can be produced quickly. In 2018, more law firms will experiment with the ability to create spontaneous videos that can be shared at the most timely moments.
Podcasts are experiencing a rebirth, making them more valuable and popular than ever. They are an easy opportunity for law firms to create original content in a format other than text. If you want to create podcasts for your law firm, it is important to differentiate yourself and have a content strategy in order to produce effective episodes for your audience.
5. Personalization in the client journey
In 2018, more legal marketers will be focused on the client journey. The client journey is important to understand because knowing where a client is in their journey can inform what kinds of content you offer them. Often prospective clients want to gather information before making decisions. Considering this, law firms can focus on offering knowledge before promoting their services. Content is able to provide value to clients throughout their journey and even beyond.
6. Digital marketing analytics
Marketers want to collect more information than what they’re currently getting from web analytics. This year, we will see the transition from aggregate to personalized analytics. Personalized analytics can show how individual users experience your content across all channels. From this, you can analyze what works and what doesn’t at the individual level. If you don’t have data like this, you can’t effectively personalize for the client’s journey
7. Semantic SEO
The world of organic search is changing as Google becomes smarter and its algorithm more intuitive. Semantic SEO looks at topics rather than focusing exclusively on keywords. Google is able to understand topics surrounding keywords which helps users find what they’re looking for. This is helpful for law firms who primarily deal with sophisticated concepts and ideas over singular keywords.
8. Data Collection
The crackdown on data collection in Europe is a reality which will affect many companies. The European laws restricting data collecting will affect the ability of firms to personalize the customer journey. Solutions for the effect of GDPR are still unknown and there are no easy answers. However, in 2018 we will see the true impact these regulations have on global law firms.
How do law firm marketers adopt some of these measures?
You don’t have to do it all just because there are so many new trends emerging. Instead use an agile approach which means trying one thing at a time and seeing how it works for your firm. Rather than approaching things as major, long term projects, do small experiments and learn from each.