There is a tectonic shift occurring in the legal industry seeing a plethora of start-ups and existing firms recalibrate their business models to create a new value proposition to a rapidly changing market.
However, for the more traditional law firm, all isn’t lost, but it requires some focus on their existing brand and marketing strategies, particularly online.
Make sure your website is mobile responsive.
It’s a little weird to be suggesting to law firms in late 2016 to ensure they have a website that is mobile responsive, but I’m regularly surprised by the number of firms that have not have given the responsiveness of one of their major marketing assets enough attention.
Why does it need to be mobile responsive?
Notwithstanding the fact that in the according to the ABS data of February this year, 86% of households in Australia were accessing online frequently via their mobile devices, Google is now penalising websites that are non-responsive.
If you’re not sure if your website is considered responsive by Google’s standards, then test it here: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly
Better still, jump on your own phone and see what you think!
Be Client Focused
How well does your firm’s website respond to the myriad of questions circling in the mind of a potential client?
UX (user experience) Design is a phenomenon that is not only challenging web and mobile design aesthetics but also content.
A great way to become client-centric in your marketing is to create a persona of a typical client for each practice area of your firm and then entertain and respond to the questions that are keeping them awake at night.
For example, in relation to family law, Judy may be the persona of your typical client. How old is Judy? Has she got children? Where does she live? What’s her education level? Has she experienced domestic violence? What is her property pool?
If Judy was contemplating separation, based on your answers to the above questions and the many more that you would develop, you would be in a better position to start crafting content for her that she can relate to. You may recalibrate the family law practice area on your website to respond to the questions that she has, shaping your website to act almost like a concierge service, guiding Judy along the way. Your navigation on this page may start with, “Are you Contemplating Separation” followed by, “Have You Recently Separated,” “Taking Care of the Kids After Separation” etc. Each navigation title then will respond to the enquiry.
In keeping with that concierge methodology, we recently concluded all content for one of our clients with, “Read this Next.” This strategy is useful in not only ensuring the reader becomes well informed, but you can ultimately guide the reader to pages that are primarily geared for conversion, or in other words turning the reader into a client.
I know this all sounds great in practice, but your burning question is who is going to write the content? We recommend that you spread the content writing among your lawyers, set some deadlines for it and ask them to title the article with “why, how, when, who, what etc” or “the 7 things you need to know about…” This will give you the best chance to have the content sounding like it’s been written for clients and not other lawyers.
Do Things Differently
Seriously, there is nothing that you cannot do, subject to legislative or regulatory impediments, to make your firm stand out from competitors.
Break up the content on your website with audio podcasts and videos. It’s a great way of deepening the engagement with potential clients, but keep them short and for God sake, don’t do them on your iPhone, or if you must, purchase a Rode SmartLav Lavalier microphone so at least you’ll sound good! Great audio can considerably lift an ordinary video!
Look at your current website through the eyes of a potential client. Is it matching the user experience from what consumers are used to in other industries? Comparatively speaking, the legal industry typically lags behind in brand and marketing, you’re far better placed to seek inspiration from the banking and health insurance sectors who are being seriously disrupted by a number of agile, brand-conscious incumbents.
What you will notice through doing this exercise is that the design aesthetics and content is so client focused and there is extensive use of Live Chat (the ability to chat immediately with someone). On the latter point alone, the many firms that we work with who are running Live Chat are receiving great work out of it!
Your Competitors Aren’t Local
I can rattle off at least a dozen start-ups that are looking to take work from your legal practice and probably are already. The notion that potential clients won’t look elsewhere for legal help has now become a myth. Law firms or aggregators that look more like e-commerce businesses are offering your clients great quality, peer-reviewed lawyers, fixed fee legals and online and often, instant accessibility.
In responding to the threat, your firm needs to embrace the change and reshape your own value proposition to a clearly changing market.
In closing, it’s not difficult to make your firm remarkable (worthy of a positive remark), though it takes some work and commitment on the part of your firm and ultimately, it starts and ends with becoming acutely focussed on the journey of the potential, current and past client and leaving nothing to chance!
And…..always start with a strategy!