We recently blogged our top 7 online marketing tips for professional services companies for the year. Here are our top digital marketing tips for law firms, lawyers and other businesses to get the most from their online marketing efforts and investment.
1. Get your social on!
Twitter now has over 500 million users, 340 million tweets and 1.6 billion search queries per day. LinkedIn has over 175 professional members, 10 million of whom work in the UK. Google+ has over 400 million members (albeit with less activity than other networks). We blogged in Legal Futures earlier this year about how social media is the new golf course for law firms. However, a recent study by the Law Society of Scotland, conducted by Ipsos MORI, revealed that only 24% of solicitors in Scotland use LinkedIn on a daily or weekly basis and only 7% tweet on a weekly basis. There’s a buzz about social media for a reason and we're likely to continue to see a continued increase in the way social channels are used for business purposes. For the more advanced users, we will see an increase in more targeted interactions within niche communities and it will be important to align strategies accordingly. For further reading, see our top 7 benefits of social media for law firms here.
2. Review your website
With many different online platforms becoming more prominent – particularly social networks such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Pinterest etc - lawyers and legal marketers have many options as to where they spend most of their online marketing time. While there are great opportunities, your website should still be the hub of all of our digital marketing activities (Think like an octopus!)
So, make sure your website works for you as best as it can. Consider if it has the right calls to action – is it obvious what you want the visitor to do? Is it optimised for search? Is it updated regularly? Will you be found if someone types in relevant search phrases in Google? Can you measure where visitors are coming from? Can you determine who signed up for your newsletter from your website? Who then made an online enquiry? Who then became a client? All relevant questions you should be considering. We provide a free initial web analysis conducted over the phone. No matter how good you think your website may look, it might not be meeting all of your objectives. Tel: 0845 620 5664.
3. Cut your reliance on claims management companies to send you leads
This one applies mainly to personal injury law firms and lawyers, but there are lessons for other solicitors and businesses. There will be a huge legal shake-up as the ban on personal injury referrals comes into force. Notwithstanding the ban, cutting your reliance on claims management companies (CMCs) early and putting more investment into long-term online business generation strategies will be important if you’re to beat the competition. See our comments in our article in Legal Futures: “Is Google the answer to the referral fee ban?” and our comments in the Solicitors Journal: “How to cash in on the referral fee ban” .
4. Realise the potential with smartphone and tablets
The number of people who access the Internet through their PCs will shrink slightly over the next four years, with numbers of mobile users steadily increasing. And mobile search is increasingly rapidly. Mobile searches continue to increase compared with desktop searches. Searches for lawyers are included in this. Responsive web design, or at least optimising your website for both smartphone and tablet, was one of the big things to look out for in years past and it's going to be even more important in the future.
5. Keep up to date with Google and other search engine algorithm updates
We recently saw some of the most significant Google algorithm updates in recent years. The Panda, Penguin and Exact-Match-Domain updates transformed SEO strategies across the world. It meant that those using black hat techniques were bombed out of the main search rankings and those who provided valuable content, presenting well to search engines, jumped above their competitors. We're likely to see further significant search engine changes and it’s important that you, or your SEO providers, stay on top of the changes. And don't just think about search engine optimisation. Social media optimisation is a growing specialism - think about SEO within LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and your other social networks. The leading SEO blogs such as SEOMoz or Search Engine Land are some of the most useful sources of analysis and comment. If you get an SEO book for your Christmas, consider a lot of it to be out of date soon!
6. Blog like never before
This tip is mentioned above in various places, but content – contextual content that is - really will be king in the coming years. If you don’t have a consistent blogging or content generation strategy in place you will be losing out online. And don’t forget, content isn’t just about words – an image can, metaphorically, display 1,000 words and a video can do much more than that – see, for instance, our ABS Video on The Orange Rag: do you want a divorce to go with that burger?
7. Have a plan
As per our tip number 7 for 2012, we still don’t think this needs an explanation. Strategy and planning are crucial to avoid you wasting your time and investment online.
If you'd like to discuss any of the above in more detail and how your firm can beat the competition, please telephone 0845 620 5664 or complete our online enquiry form today.