Legal marketing: 5 changes and 5 continuations

The internet has transformed the way that business operates. Even in traditional professions such as the legal world, finding clients now is less about a handshake in the country club and more about online presence.

The Avvo-LexBlog Legal Marketing Survey 2012 questioned over 1300 lawyers and legal marketing experts about their legal marketing techniques. Many of the results which came out were quite predictable. But it is also interesting to see that certain approaches to legal remain the same – albeit using different tools and platforms.

Here are 5 changes which have occurred in legal firm marketing in the past decade:

  1. Social media has dramatically transformed the way that law firms market services and the tools they use. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and so on – whichever you choose to use, social media is a powerful tool for connecting with clients and building your brand.
  2. Search engines have completely usurped the Yellow Pages. These days a few taps of a keyboard and a potential client will have information on all the lawyers in their area. Advertising in print media is often seen as making a loss for law firms.
  3. Search engine optimisation ranks your website against competitor websites and if you want to be at the top of Google then you’d better learn about SEO.
  4. Mean marketingis becoming the standard. As legal marketing moves into free channels online it is becoming a lot more aggressive to compete, with firms pushing their brand and using a range of tactics to gain the upper hand.
  5. Clients are better informed as a result of having done their own research online. They come to meetings prepared with a list of requirements and they’re ready to move onto the next law firm on their list if you can’t meet them.

While these developments have certainly transformed the way legal marketing operates in the 21st century, many basic principles of legal marketing remain the same. Here are 5 legal marketing techniques that show no signs of becoming redundant:

  1. Networking remains critical, whether you are meeting other practitioners personally or connection to others through LinkedIn. Online networking will never replace the value of a face-to-face connection, but it’s a great complementary tool.
  2. Relationships matter for client retention. Your personal rapport with a client will inform whether they keep coming back to you. This builds your brand at no extra cost, given these clients are then likely to give positive feedback and recommend you to others online.
  3. Word of mouth will always be incredibly powerful. It could be a recommendation between colleagues or an introduction from a friend; either way nurturing these relationships will always prove fruitful.
  4. Your legal brand is crucial to your success. This can be sculpted to the clients you are looking to serve, which is made more possible thanks to digital marketing. Combining this and a more traditional presence will help you develop your business’s presence online and offline.
  5. Time is scant and precious. Marketing and networking take up the time that you could be using to tackle that stack of case files to read. Digital media can help you save time, for example by tweeting on move. As technology develops however, precious time will always inevitably have to be devoted to learning new tools to keep up with the pace of change.
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