Getting digital marketing strategies adopted and implemented within a law firm is not without its challenges. According to our Law Firm Digital Marketing Survey conducted in September 2018, the biggest roadblock is convincing firm leadership to try new tactics, with 57% of firms citing this as an obstacle. Also, just over half of the firms surveyed reported lacking the time to expand digital efforts, likely due to overburdened marketing staff. Forty-one percent of respondents reported another challenge – keeping up with the rapid changes in best practices for marketing a law firm due to new algorithms, platforms, and new technologies offered by established players and startups, no surprise given the large need for marketing training within these firms.
Despite the many challenges of marketing a law firm, digital marketing is crucial for your firm since the average person spends so much time online, including hours on end connected via their smartphone. Here are some of the most effective solutions to overcome the various challenges that law firms face when marketing a law firm to potential clients.
What are Some Common Challenges of Marketing a Law Firm?
There are many challenges legal marketers may face in the legal industry, such as:
- Not getting a return on investment with costly channels
- Not being able to prove the importance of marketing to higher-ups
- Trying to keep up with the ever-changing scope of legal marketing
- Maintaining a sufficient budget
- Leveraging new tactics successfully (without the ‘throwing something at the wall and hoping it sticks’ method)
- Recruiting talent
- Knowing which tools to use
- Getting beat out by your competitors
- Lack of time
How to Overcome Challenges When Marketing a Law Firm
1. Provide Marketing Education
The first step to easing your firm into widespread acceptance of digital marketing is to train both marketing staff and attorneys. You need to take steps to ensure that you and your marketing team all understand digital marketing, at least at a basic level. This will help lead to a consensus when it comes to decision-making as well as an enthusiasm for digital marketing. Some simple yet effective methods of giving your team marketing education include presentations at a retreat, online courses, meetings, and providing reading materials.
In the educational materials, emphasize that marketing a law firm is based on building relationships and personal contacts. You should also make it clear that lawyers can take slightly different approaches to marketing based on their strengths and individual knowledge.
2. Measure and Share Success
Law firms are not likely to invest in new marketing strategies without data to support their effectiveness. Since success stories regarding your marketing provide motivation for your team and the necessary attention from firm leadership, it’s essential that you measure the impact of your digital marketing efforts. Just calculating the website visits or social media engagements is not enough. Partners want to see concrete proof of ROI and despite what some legal marketers think, this is possible. There are many legal marketing tools that allow you to analyze and report on the direct impact emails, content, and social media messages have on bringing in new clients and converting prospects.
3. Get Input from Clients
When it comes to digital marketing, your clients are an extremely useful resource for understanding your target audience. They will be able to tell you about their experiences with your firm and deliver an honest assessment of what worked well and what they suggest you change. The simplest method of getting client input is via a survey or something similar. If clients are interested, you could even have one or two speak during your marketing training retreat. Attorneys’ main motivation is generating new leads and bringing in new clients. By using real clients to prove the value of digital, attorneys are more likely to understand the need for investing in this form of marketing.
4. Leverage Technology
There are quite a few marketing technologies out there that can not only make your life easier but also help improve the ROI of your marketing plan and help you gain an edge against your competitors. Many law firms are hesitant to utilize data to its fullest extent, and they often get left behind once top-ranking firms hop on the trend. For example, one of the latest data technologies- intent data- allows law firms to view the intent of buyers based on their online activities. Imagine how much more streamlined and cost-efficient your marketing efforts could be with the knowledge of who will convert and when? Leveraging this type of technology is an easy and cost-effective way to overcome many marketing challenges.
If you’d like an in-depth overview of how law firms can harness the power of intent data, register for this free webinar: How Law Firms Can Use Intent Data to Enhance Their Marketing and Business Development Efforts.)
5. Outsource When Needed
It’s okay to admit you don’t have it all figured out. In fact, digital marketing has become such a vast and ever-changing field, that even many solo marketers aren’t experts on everything. Consider outsourcing a few of your deliverables. One of the best ways to make improvements when marketing a firm is to outsource when necessary. For example, SEO is a very time-consuming, slow-moving strategy. And Google’s never-ending updates make ‘becoming an expert’ on search engines quite a tall order. So, consider seeking out a legal marketing agency or search engine optimization expert to help you in the departments you don’t have time to become an expert in. And surprisingly, this can even lead to saved money as now you’re not investing money into wasted efforts or hiring more employees for your own department.
6. Leverage Your Employees
Are you low on social media engagement? Are you not getting as many referrals? Behind on writing blogs? Well, other members of your team may be able to help you with this. It’s no secret that lawyers are very busy people, but there are many ways they can aid you in your marketing and business development efforts that take very little effort. For example, you can use a platform like SocialHP to make it easy for your lawyers to reshare your social media posts and blog posts in order to up engagement. Or consider coaching your lawyers on business development, so their meetings with clients will lead to more revenue for the firm in the long run.
7. Understand What’s a Myth and What’s an Actual Concern
Many marketers avoid certain tactics or ideas because they believe it’s not worth their time or money. But believe it or not, many of your fears or beliefs, although grounded in some truth, may just be a gross exaggeration of what will actually happen if you try new tactics. Here are 8 myths debunked:
8. Automate, Automate, Automate
Marketing automation is not a new idea, but many law firms are not leveraging it as much as they should. With a robust marketing automation system, such as HubSpot, you can automate a number of tasks, and in the end improve the ROI of your efforts, free up time for your team, and improve your relationships with your prospective clients. You can automate emails based on users’ actions, schedule social media posts at the best-performing times for your pages, organize your database into segments for increased ROI, and much more. You should always look for opportunities to automate and leverage them whenever possible.
9. Consider Advertising
It’s no secret that digital fatigue is on the horizon and many consumers are numb to traditional advertisements of legal services. And on top of that, due to the great cost of traditional ads like TV or billboards, many law firms shy away from advertising altogether because they feel it’s too expensive. However, there are many cost-efficient forms of advertising, such as paid social media ads or Google PPC ads, that allow you to cap the cost and work within whatever budget you have.
For most legal marketers our survey results are not surprising. Law firm marketing teams are struggling to implement digital marketing initiatives due to a lack of buy-in from firm leadership and a lack of education. However, through proper training, in-depth measurement, and client feedback, legal marketers can effectively overcome the many challenges they face when it comes to digital marketing. If your firm needs help to implement a new digital marketing strategy, we’re here to help with a free consultation.
This post has been edited and republished from Feb. 8, 2019.