There's a good chance you already know that web marketing for lawyers is going to define your success or otherwise over the next decade. If you're here, then hopefully you're keen to improve.
We were terrified of email for decades, preferring the safety of post and facsimile.
We let Facebook sail by untapped, while other more savvy marketers reaped the benefits.
And now we're still doing the same thing – it's history repeating itself.
The opportunities are nearly endless for a lawyer who is prepared to master and implement an effective digital marketing strategy in their practice.
But what, exactly, does that mean? What's “digital marketing”? Is it just playing around on the internet until something good happens?
What is Web Marketing for Lawyers?
If we accept that “web marketing” and “digital marketing” are pretty much the same thing, here's the Wiki entry:
Digital marketing is an umbrella term for the marketing of products or services using digital technologies, mainly on the Internet, but also including mobile phones, display advertising, and any other digital medium
Sadly that's a bit of a BIG PICTURE and doesn't offer a lot of tangible information that you can take and run with.
But for the moment, let's accept that web marketing for lawyers is going to be “stuff you lawyers involving technology” and move on from there to the bits that matter more.
What's the Role of Web Marketing for Lawyers?
That's fair – after all, there's enough to do in the day without just tacking more stuff onto the “list” without understanding the pieces.
So far as lawyers are concerned, digital marketing exists to help you achieve the age old marketing mantra: known, liked and trusted.
In that sense it's no different to offline marketing efforts. Think about it for a minute:
- the pamphlets that most firms still produce – they're to become “known”
- the calls you make, the coffees and lunches you go to are to help you become “liked”
- the articles you write and the presentations you give – these help you become “trusted”.
In digital marketing though we use different tools to achieve the same (or even bigger) results:
- you expand your network and make new contacts with social media efforts, search engine optimization strategies to capture new attention (known)
- you engage with people by email, social media and through the tone you adopt (liked)
- you produce valuable media in a form that your target clients like to consume, which helps them achieve their goals (trusted).
How is Web Marketing Different from Traditional Marketing?
If the strategy is the same, then what's the point?
The tools are different for a start, but that's not the primary issue.
There are two massive reasons why digital marketing should be a core part of your strategy:
With a dedicated and consistent approach to web marketing you can achieve exponentially greater results in less time then you can with traditional marketing. And over time, you'll also get to the point where people seek you out (inbound marketing), rather than you hunting them down (outbound marketing).
Does it mean you'll never have another face to face meeting? Of course not.
Nor does it mean you will give up lunching, speaking or telephone calls (which, in theory, could be “digital marketing” anyway!).
It's not a case of “either or” it's a case of “both and”.
But if you can reach an audience of 100,000 people inside your target market by tomorrow, and repeat that every week for the next 2 years, then the results you will see are going to be significantly greater than taking 6 months to arrange a speaking gig to 30 people and then sitting on your hands while you wait for that to roll around.
So What's a Lawyer to Do?
A digital marketing strategy for lawyers MUST effectively deal with these core areas:
- Your Platform – you've got to have a website. It's got to be effective (notice I didn't say “pretty” – I said effective)
- Content Marketing – any effective digital marketing strategy has to be centered around a well considered, properly executed, content marketing strategy
- Social Media – if you're just using social media as a publication platform and not as an opportunity to engage with your target market, then you aren't doing it right
- Email – if your platform is effective, then it should be capturing email addresses and permission to send people stuff – so what happens then? Do you have a strategy to nurture those people through to a position of engaging you as their lawyer? Or do they just get updates forever until they unsubscribe?
Are you and your firm genuinely committed to exploiting these opportunities? Or are you just dipping your toes in the water and wondering why you're not seeing results?