Now that we’re more than 25 percent of the way through the calendar year, we’re beginning to get a feel for the shape legal marketing is taking in 2020. We’re also gaining some insights into how the industry is setting up for the immediate future. For law firms and attorneys, strategizing with these trends in mind will only enhance online marketing ROI.
For law firms, marketing can be more challenging than it is in other businesses and industries. This is true for a number of reasons:
Yet despite these challenges and constraints, the best law firms consistently point back to marketing as one of their keys to success. They’ll also tell you that it’s important to stay up to date on the latest trends.
In the world of digital marketing, trends can come and go in a matter of weeks. So rather than focusing on quick tricks and questionable hacks, we’re going to drill down and emphasize the biggest legal marketing trends of the year that are both effective and sustainable. Take a look:
Content will always be the fuel that keeps a firm’s marketing engine running. But today’s trend is no longer about quantity of content, but quality. Law firms are waking up to the idea that it’s better to invest in a few quality pieces of content each quarter than dozens of shallow pieces that generate minimal results.
In particular, law firms should focus on developing sticky, resourceful content that is useful to the reader – i.e. a prospective client. Content marketing is no longer solely about plugging keywords into your website to generate better search rankings. Today’s content needs to satisfy both humans and search crawlers – with the emphasis on the former.
Quality content and link building go hand in hand. In order to increase your law firm’s online visibility, you have to develop content that’s conducive to backlinks.
Link building is one-part relationships and one-part content development. You need the right relationships with other bloggers, website owners, journalists, and industry insiders to gain access to their publishing platforms. You also need the right content so that people outside of your immediate network naturally link back to your website and feed you “SEO juice.”
SEO has evolved tremendously over the past five years, yet most law firms are still stuck in the past. Today’s most successful firms have recognized this shift and are now focused on semantic search.
Semantic search is a search engine’s way of generating the most natural and contextual results for queries. Instead of using a basic algorithm to deliver results that rank for cut and dry keywords, semantic search accounts for things like user intent and the relationship between words. In essence, it’s Google’s attempt to understand natural language like any human would.
For law firms, the shift to semantic search is very important. The impact is far-reaching, but let’s focus on one key element: voice search.
With the rise of Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and other AI-assistants, the number of voice searches has risen dramatically in recent months. In fact, 33 percent of high-income households now use voice search “frequently” or “very frequently.” By optimizing your content marketing to account for semantic search habits – i.e. making it more conversational – you can tap into these searches.
According to the most recent Bloomberg Law and the Legal Marketing Association study, nothing replaces face-to-face time with clients. Both legal marketing professionals and attorneys rank firm-hosted events and client meetings as the most effective tactics for generating new business.
While social media and digital content are primary tools for law firm marketing, make sure you don’t forget about the value of meeting prospects in person and directly communicating with your clients. Try to schedule at least one in-person event every quarter.
Podcasts are extremely popular right now. And because of the unique way in which they communicate to people, they represent a complementary marketing medium for law firms that are seeking increased exposure and relatability.
You don’t necessarily need to launch your own podcast. In fact, the better strategy is to find out which podcasts are most popular among your target audience and to look for opportunities to intersect. Advertising is one option, but an even better approach is to offer yourself up as an interviewee or resource for the show.
When a podcaster interviews you on their show, you get the benefit of speaking to thousands of people in a very direct manner. You’ll also enjoy the added perk of backlinks to your website through the promotion of the podcast episode.
Stale marketing strategies are ineffective at best and wasteful at worst. Unfortunately, many law firms don’t place enough emphasis on innovating their approach to marketing.
As a result, they end up wasting their resources and limiting their ability to generate new leads.
The writing is on the wall for 2019 and beyond. If you want your law firm marketing strategies to be successful, you need to leverage some of the latest trends.