The previous weeks have marked a new era in the legal industry and in business operations as a whole. The coming weeks will present still further developments. With a new and unprecedented pandemic making its way through our country – and lawmakers and healthcare professionals doing their best to curb the spread – we are faced with challenges unlike any we’ve seen before. The good news? Well, for one: we are all in this together. The other piece of good news is the same that comes with any hurdle: it can be viewed as an opportunity. Even though our current challenges present new problems and roadblocks, they also lead to a prime environment for innovation, adoption, and reflection. As COVID-19 continues to progress, legal marketers can shift their attention to the following strategies to help keep the firm moving forward.
This is the perfect time to fine-tune your overall marketing strategy
Chances are, things within your firm (at least non-billable activities) are going to slow down for a while. Perhaps you’re operating in a state with a “shelter in place” order happening. Or, maybe you’re working from home for an indefinite period of time. Either way, it will feel good to make forward motion in whatever way you can right now. So many legal marketing departments don’t have the bandwidth to sit down and look at their strategy and correct course because they are putting out day-to-day fires. Now is the perfect opportunity. This can be a great time to pull your team together virtually, giving you all a common goal and focus though you might be remote.
If you do have some spare time, pull out all of your strategy documents, content calendars, and KPIs. Take time to do a deep dive and analyze your recent numbers. What’s working and what’s not? What do you need to change when things are back to running normally, to see better results? Now is a great time to readdress any promotions that are lagging, close creative gaps, or increase thought leadership and social media content.
Address shifting client needs in an age of uncertainty
In this rapidly developing situation, the priorities of your law firm’s clients and prospects are undoubtedly shifting. The information they’re consuming has shifted and they’re most likely feeling more vulnerable and perhaps in crisis-mode. Thus, it’s an important time to steer your firm’s focus. Consider your client personas and how they might change during this time of uncertainty. Will new needs arise? Perhaps their current priorities will be placed on the back-burner as new, more pressing actions are needed. This is a great time to pull the minds (but not the bodies) of your team together and think about the ways your client needs are going to change – and how you can address those needs now and in the coming months.
Is this pandemic going to change any information your firm shares, or the way you share it? For example, firms that deal with unemployment law will likely be getting a lot of questions over the coming months. If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to shift your promotional messaging with a heavier focus on particular practice areas that are top-of-mind for people. You may even think about revising your website to make sure your navigation to any content on that subject is front and center and easy to find, along with contact information for anyone who specializes in that area within your firm.
Make updates to your website
During this time of uncertainty, legal marketers may have extra time on their hands to give their website a thorough evaluation. First and foremost, ensure the site is mobile friendly. Mobile was always a huge factor in web performance, since 75% of smartphone users expect to get the information they’re looking for immediately on their device. Now people are being asked to do so much of their jobs from home, that they’ll ramp up their use of digital tools even more. This is a great opportunity to enhance your website and make sure it’s generating a positive user experience for people visiting your website and blog posts with their mobile device.
When assessing the state of your website, don’t forget to evaluate the user experience (UX), content and design. Check your load times and be sure pages are responsive. Is the navigation clear? Is it ADA compliant? Are CTAs pronounced? You can even run some focus groups right now. You can do this by preparing a list of tasks and questions and having your team members run through them, remarking on which steps they took and how easily they found each item on the website. This is a great request for a currently remote workforce.
Update your SEO strategy
Along with the actions above set aside some time in your day to audit aspects of your SEO to see where your efforts may be lacking. You can begin with our technical checklist, to be sure the back-end components are up to speed and not causing you any issues. Now would also be a good time to perform a keyword audit. Remember, the “right” keywords change over time, so even if you went through this exercise last year, it’s worth doing again now.
Lastly, it’s no secret that Google loves fresh content. Take this time to refresh and republish some of your evergreen blog posts to give yourself an improved freshness score and increase the effectiveness of your SEO efforts. Download our free eBook for more tips and tricks to boost your search engine traffic: ‘SEO for Law Firm Websites’.
Create a virtual education content plan
Just as you might be learning new ways to work remotely, so are other people all over the country. Whether for personal or business needs, individuals still need to obtain answers to their questions over the coming weeks and months. In this era of ‘social distancing’ it’s important to develop new ways of sharing your thought leadership and expertise.
Along with a traditional content plan where blogs and articles are promoted, consider coming up with a plan for more modern methods of educating your law firm’s target audience. Fortunately, technology has never been more accessible than it is today, making it simple for lawyers and legal marketers alike to lean in to podcasts and webinars. With no geographical barriers, both are great digital mediums for reaching and educating a wide audience. They are convenient, engaging, and webinars are particularly great lead generation magnets. See: How to Plan and Promote a Law Firm Webinar.
During these unprecedented times, savvy law firm marketers will use data to optimize more than ever, not less. If legal marketers turn the challenges they are facing today in this age of uncertainty, into opportunities for sustainability and growth, they’ll find that their law firm is better positioned than the competition for years to come.
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