For over a decade, Noisy Little Monkey has worked with law firms to help them get more from their marketing budgets. In many of the conversations we’ve had with senior partners, marketing teams and business development teams over the years, we’ve come across some flawed beliefs about what works when it comes to digital marketing for law firms.
This blog - which was originally published in the May 2019 edition of Intercontinental Finance and Law magazine - aims to debunk those assumptions about what successful lead generation for law firms looks like...
Myth One: Displaying your phone number on every page of your website leads to more business
Short answer: it doesn’t. Your phone number should live on your Contact Page alongside the details of your global offices. In order to capture online enquiries, you should use a form which feeds into your CRM and captures details of where the lead has come from (be it Google, LinkedIn, The Law Society, etc.). Using an embedded form will also allow you to report on how many of your site visitors convert into enquiries. You’ll then know for certain how many of these online enquiries have turned into new clients.
Forward-thinking marketers will want to deploy a chat bot. As most people in the early research stages of looking for a solicitor won’t be interested in speaking to a human, chat bots function as a highly convenient piece of automated software which will nudge your site visitors gently through your qualification process without your fee earners needing to lift a finger!
Myth Two: People just don't Google the types of services you sell
This just isn’t true - after all, people aren’t searching the web 3.5 billion times a day for nothing! Search engines give you the platform to showcase your unique services to the world. The very foundation of inbound marketing is that you attract customers to your website by writing relevant and useful content which provides a solution to a problem your potential clients are already typing into Google.
Agricultural firms shouldn’t limit themselves to paying for the phrase ‘agricultural lawyer’ or similar in Google Search Ads: this is an expensive and competitive market. Instead, focus on writing regular content which provides solutions to the pain points of your potential clients such as ‘conversion of agricultural buildings into residential use’. This will increase your visibility in the competitive online sphere. Don’t forget to do your keyword research so you know what your prospective clients are actually searching for. You might also want to take a look at this blog about best practice SEO for solicitors.
Myth Three: Lawyers personally generate the majority of new enquiries themselves
There’s no underestimating the value of networking, but not every new client is gained through these means. What inbound marketing tells us about the buyer’s journey is that your prospective clients are realising and researching their problem before they find you: their solution.
Solicitors from your firm may know your prospects through personal relationships or potential clients could be following your firm on social media. Either way, these interactions may have happened many months ago and, though they will have played a role in your prospect’s decision to hire you for legal representation, it won’t have been the deciding factor.
Clients frequently find law firms through search engines and a good CRM system will recognise and record that. However, we often find the way CRM systems register leads and describe sources is different from how the fee earner would record it. Usually, potential new clients will have searched for a law firm on Google and a CRM system well-integrated into your Case Management System (CMS) will track the lead accurately, allowing your marketing team to clearly see which activity leads to which sales.
Myth Four: People only buy from you based on recommendations
Recommendations are a really successful marketing tool - who wouldn’t trust a referral of a loyal client or friend? - but they’re not the silver bullet. Displaying social proof and trust signals like testimonials and reviews on your website supports word-of-mouth recommendations.
When your prospect is ready to start learning more about the potential solutions to their problem, make sure that your website is stocked up with the collateral they need. Think along the lines of webinars, eBooks and case studies and you’ll be on the right track. Don’t forget to capture an email address via a form when someone signs up to receive this content - the way you capture these details will help you convert a new prospect into a qualified lead (in a GDPR friendly, of course…)!
Myth Five: Email marketing works
People are not interested in receiving cold, unpersonalised and generic emails from law firms. What they do want is a timely and relevant email addressing their specific legal problem - and this is how you can make email marketing work.
Here’s an example: when someone downloads content from your website, you can use a series of automated emails to engage with your contact in a meaningful way and gently nurture them through your sales process. And by meaningful we mean, not spamming them with ‘exciting’ news that one of your senior partners has completed the Marathon des Sables, but with more of this valuable content we keep referring to.
Myth Six: Your firm's events bring you new clients
Of course, events are brilliant: they bring you closer to connections who have already heard or worked with you, but it’s crucial to remember that they’re part of a bigger ecosystem. They boost brand awareness and build your reputation, but they also bolster your account management strategy with your existing clients - don’t leave them on the wayside!
When searching for legal events, potential clients are often more likely to attend those hosted by ILA, IBA, ECIL, etc. So be realistic about who you’re trying to target and what you’re trying to achieve with your events, because they can bring you a better lifetime value from existing clients and are great opportunities to cross sell or upsell services.