The base criteria for sound legal counsel and representation, be it in courtrooms or boardrooms, has rapidly expanded in recent years. To attract a potential client off the street and, more realistically, one who’s on a steady scroll down their “best lawyers in my area” search engine results, you are required to keep up with and strategically utilize the legal industry’s innovations.
It’s quite telling that the American Bar Association’s TechReport 2022 revealed that 25% of surveyed lawyers were not aware that a website can be used to schedule a client consultation. Then again, most respondents were not even actually convinced that their websites helped them retain clients. Perhaps that insight shares a commonality with the finding that only 25% of respondents observed that a client was encouraged enough to hire them directly through their own website. (You do not have to be tech-savvy to wonder, “Well, were the websites good?”)
Lacking the conveniences brought by now-everyday technologies negatively affects your service. Websites, it must be stressed, are no longer digital placeholders—they are a front-facing aspect of your practice, with just as much responsibility and potential drawing power as a manned reception desk full of informational pamphlets, industry awards, attorney profiles, winning case histories, and past client recommendations.
You must also take care of your blind spots regarding emerging innovations since some may prove detrimental to your industry competitiveness and reputation before.
Website creation and maintenance join social media use, PPC advertising, and SEO practices to round out the popular digital marketing strategies that legal professionals have at their disposal. How effective these methods are depends partly on why and how they are used. In the CallRail report, although many law firms identified social media as the best marketing method, they found email marketing more effective in lead conversion.
Keeping up with trends in communications technology is not just putting floppy disks in storage and replacing them with tiny robots. Knowing how to use those trends gives you an advantage in legal marketing. At a time when one in four of your colleagues is unsure if their websites can schedule appointments, what can you do to make that potential client scrolling through their “top lawyer near me” list pause and click through to you?
Trend 1: Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Automation
AI essentially involves a system that is able to replicate human learning and decision-making processes. Through the use of machine learning and algorithms, AI-driven systems are able to accomplish human tasks with greater speed and minimal effort.
Automation is one of the tasks that can be applied to legal digital marketing. Through AI and automation, the following Internet-based marketing practices for law firms can be optimized and streamlined:
Chatbot-powered websites - AI-based chatbots are more capable of user interaction and human-task mimicry compared to conventional bots.
PPC advertising - Keyword research, bid placement, and budget analysis can be run with minimal intervention, thereby saving on manpower costs.
Email marketing - Customized reminder emails can be deployed to generate sales.
How AI is transforming legal digital marketing processes
Some of the legal digital marketing processes that AI has greatly improved are market insight data analysis, personalized content creation, and customer service.
One of AI’s revolutionary impacts on marketing is efficiency, which works on a law firm’s whole business ecosystem, including human capital. For instance, legal teams can focus on strategizing – a crucial task in the industry – instead of spending time on repetitive tasks.
Examples of AI-powered tools and software in legal marketing
Some of the many AI-powered tools and software used in legal marketing are:
Westlaw Edge - an online research service and proprietary database for legal practitioners. Using this tool, law firms can market their services as one that is technology-adept, data-driven, and future-focused.
ChatGPT and generative AI - language models that transform content marketing for lawyers. These can be utilized to create social media posts, answer legal questions, and interact with clients quickly.
CosmoLex software - a cloud-based client-relationship management software. It helps law firms launch profit-based marketing campaigns, track prospective clients, and improve client retention.
Benefits and challenges of implementing AI in legal marketing
The whole legal marketing lifecycle that runs on AI can give a law firm an edge in the market, given its constantly shifting landscape, complexity, and competitiveness.
However, with benefits come difficulties and challenges. The use of technology such as AI has some ethical ramifications, such as bias, privacy violations, and data breaches. In certain scenarios, it creates a limited understanding of context as well as the loss of human interaction that may be a detriment to client service.
Trend 2: Personalization and Data-Driven Strategies
Law firms used to rely on traditional marketing methods such as surveys and market research to analyze customer profiles, which in turn produced generalized results. Now, with cutting-edge technologies such as AI, they can obtain a thorough understanding of customer behaviors, characteristics, and preferences. These technologies can sift through massive amounts of client data culled from traditional and online sources, drastically reducing turnaround time and errors.
This enables legal marketers to accurately tailor campaigns such as email marketing, social media posts, and SEO that fit potential clients’ needs and expectations.
The importance of tailoring marketing efforts to individual clients
Because the legal field is built to fulfill needs and goals, customizing marketing programs according to each potential client’s situation makes sense. It places the law firm as a possible answer to the needs of the client, thereby engaging their attention.
Given that each individual’s situation is unique, a one-size-fits-all approach to legal marketing may fall short of client expectations. A customized approach, however, builds trust and establishes the law firm as a reliable advocate.
Case studies of successful personalized digital marketing campaigns
Software marketing company HubSpot has reported case studies of how brand names such as ProWritingAid and Amazon successfully used personalized digital marketing campaigns. Legal marketers can take cues from these cases to pull off rewarding campaigns.
For example, ProWritingAid used customized email marketing to provide users with weekly grammar and style suggestions. On the other hand, Amazon employed product curation so well that blogger customers reported how much Amazon’s recommendation features exceeded their shopping expectations.
Applied to legal marketing, personalization tactics like trigger emails, also known as transactional emails, can bolster customer leads. Trigger emails are prompts automatically sent to website visitors when they perform certain actions, such as filling out a form or signing up for a legal webinar. Personalization must be carefully applied so that these emails do not end up spammy or irrelevant to the client.
Utilizing data analytics to drive legal marketing decision-making
Data analytics provide a good understanding of how a legal digital marketing strategy is performing and help draw effective, actionable insights. A case in point would be tracking traffic statistics on paid search and social media channels. Through analytics, the best-performing channel can be identified, prompting a higher spending budget to be allocated for it.
The success of analytics comes from taking the correct data and perceiving each metric as part of a bigger marketing context. While each metric offers its own snapshot, it is when taken together as a collective that legal marketers are able to formulate the best action plan.
For example, tracking key performance indicators such as organic web traffic, local SEO presence, and keyword rankings is indispensable for implementing strategies. However, collective data from these initiatives forms the basis of return on marketing investment efforts such as budget allocation and strategy development.
Trend 3: Voice Search and Mobile Optimization
Two of the most important trends in legal digital marketing are voice search and mobile optimization. These two trends are inextricably linked, as both involve similar methods employed in smart devices.
When these are executed right, it could result in a law firm’s website gaining better user experience and SEO rankings, leading to mobile dominance.
It is expected that in 2024, Americans will spend more time on their smartphones (279 minutes) than before (276 minutes), according to Statista. The same online resource for statistics also reports that voice search users will increase to 2.4 billion in the same year.
The rise of voice assistants and its impact on legal marketing
Major technology makers are increasingly equipping their newest smart device products with AI-powered assistants such as Apple's Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Google Assistant. This leads to more and more consumers discovering and adopting voice assistants when looking for services online. Added to this, voice search is preferable to text-based searches due to its convenience and more accurate results.
To capture a niche in this burgeoning market, law firms must be quickly discoverable online through voice searches and optimize their digital marketing strategies accordingly.
Best practices for optimizing content for voice search
The following are some of the best practices for voice search optimization:
Specialized keyword research and targeting - Content must contain keywords such as long-tail, question, and conversational keywords.
FAQ-style content creation - This involves the development of a FAQ-style page that anticipates what questions users may be asking or information they may be looking for.
Multilingual feature addition - This feature helps create a positive user experience for multilingual users.
To complement such improvements in content, a law firm’s website must also be mobile-friendly and local-SEO friendly to capture local traffic.
The importance of mobile-friendly websites and user experience
Mobile-friendly websites often result in a better user experience, leading to higher engagement and possible customer conversion.
For websites to be mobile-friendly, they must have easier-to-read texts, touch-friendly buttons, and navigable layouts.
Law firms that do not have these features and mobile responsive websites that load fast and have user-friendly designs may lose a user over to a competitor with better websites.
Trend 4: Content Marketing Using Video and Storytelling
Video and storytelling must be in every law firm’s content marketing arsenal. According to data from video animation company Wyzowl, 88% of consumers are convinced to buy a product after watching the company’s video. Yet, despite its popularity as a marketing tool, it has not fully gained traction in the legal field, with data from TechReport 2023 showing that only 30% of the respondents are using it.
Lawyers are usually hired based on trust. What better way to foster understanding and communicate trust than to employ storytelling through the visual medium? It allows lawyers to connect emotionally with potential clients, inspire action, and earn their trust. This can be done by creating informative videos, providing insights, and sharing successful stories.
Think about harnessing different platforms—Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube—to reach a wider audience. Ultimately, this depends on the law firm’s practice, clients, and competition.
Creating valuable and educational content to establish thought leadership
Thought leadership for lawyers involves the delivery of authentic content to share wisdom with others. Such can be done by creating educational content that provides practical solutions and relevant information, especially on complex legal topics. Understand that it does not merely entail churning out content but integrating unique insights and a nuanced understanding of legal matters.
When incorporated into legal digital marketing initiatives, thought leadership establishes a law firm as a go-to resource in their field. Potential clients may view the firm as a credible and authoritative resource that can take care of their needs.
A good example of thought leadership marketing is a business lawyer publishing an article on financial industry reforms to expand financing options for startups.
Utilizing different media, such as blogs, podcasts, and videos
Depending on the goal, one way to maximize content marketing projects is to utilize various media, such as podcasts, blogs, newsletters, and videos. The following table quickly summarizes the suitable media for each marketing goal:
Suitable marketing media
Getting online visibility
Videos, infographics, social media
Standing out from competitors
Infographics, custom-tailored articles
Engaging the audience
Social media, videos, podcasts
The most favorable mix of various media must be tailored to the law firm’s strengths and the preferences of its target audience. To check the efficacy of this mix, the performance of the media must be periodically measured against realized goals.
Keep in mind the value of regularly updating content, not only for search engine rankings but also for a law firm’s online presence to stay relevant for its audience.
How video content can be leveraged for legal marketing
Videos can be used by a law firm in many ways, including producing client testimonial reels, FAQ YouTube shorts, and legal-how-to explainer videos. In addition to having quality content, videos must also contain proper tags, captions, and SEO-friendly titles to rank on search engines.
Tips for creating engaging and informative videos for legal services
Video marketing may soon be a commonplace tool in the legal industry. For a law firm’s efforts to stand out from the rest, here are some tips:
Leverage conversational videos.
Optimize for mobile always.
Collaborate with brand evangelists and influencers.
Trend 5: Influencer and Social Media Marketing
Influencer marketing for law firms is a form of thought leadership strategy that entails collaborating with a well-known individual who has amassed a following on social media. Influencers can be well-known lawyers, journalists, law students or professors, and industry leaders who have forged trust and rapport with their followers.
Tapping into the influencer’s prestige and credibility can be a huge boost for a law firm's ability to reach a wide audience and amass influence. It is different from stereotypical marketing tactics because, in the legal field, it is always built on trust.
How influencers can be used to promote legal services
Influencers can talk about a law firm’s services, mission, and advocacy on their social media accounts. This can help law firms humanize their brands, promote their services, and establish their reputation.
An example of this would be a lawyer guesting on an influencer’s podcast to talk about legal problems in the community. Another example would be working with journalists to talk about how recent legislative reforms affect the public’s legal issues.
When choosing an influencer to work with, a law firm must consider that the influencer’s values and ethics align with theirs. Establishing a good working relationship is key to the success of this marketing strategy.
Best practices for implementing influencer marketing strategies
Influencer marketing is an up-and-coming strategy yet to be fully utilized in the legal industry. Here are some best practices that can further influencer marketing initiatives:
Exercise due diligence in influencer selection.
Build strong connections.
Focus on authenticity.
Leverage different platforms.
Optimize for search engines.
Prioritize informative and original content.
Closely checking the progress of this strategy is also paramount. Otherwise, initiatives can be ineffective and costly and potentially harm a reputation.
The role of social media in building and engaging with clients
Social media is where the world interacts nowadays, so it follows that it is an important tool for influencer marketing. It can attract potential clients, connect with the community, and strengthen connections. Above all, it is crucial to the effectiveness of a law firm’s digital footprint, including traffic and search engine visibility.
Bear in mind that the right social media platform is essential to the success of this marketing strategy. For example, a divorce lawyer can use Facebook for their business model of direct-to-client service. On the other hand, LinkedIn works well for a business law firm aiming to provide educational assistance to B2B clients.
Conclusion and Taking Action
Well-planned legal marketing strategies combined with timely implementation are ways to foolproof digital marketing efforts. These include identifying achievable marketing goals, becoming part of legal communities, and keeping abreast of legal marketing trends.
Partnering with a digital marketer or marketing agency that is a good fit can also be the best way to get started with applying these trends. It may also be invaluable when there is a need for improvement in current marketing projects.
Recap of key trends driving innovation in legal marketing
The key trends discussed in this article are:
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation.
Personalization and data-driven strategies.
Voice search and mobile optimization.
Content marketing using video and storytelling.
Influencer and social media marketing.
Understanding these key trends as well as mastering the fundamentals of legal marketing are vital to success.
In today’s digital era, staying adaptable is paramount amid rapid technological advancement, market upheavals, and globalization. Having current and accurate information and being consistent contribute to a firm’s business success, competitiveness, and growth.
The trends discussed here will increasingly become a staple or an effective marketing strategy for many legal practitioners. Because of this, practitioners are reminded to review their current marketing efforts to stay ahead of the competition.
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