No business could have predicted what 2020 was going to look like when determining marketing and advertising budgets for the year. If anything, it looked to be a competitive landscape for firms looking to secure media placements during a busy election year. For many firms, especially those dealing with personal injury, a temporary decrease in business due to fewer cars on the road and other factors has created the need to re-evaluate marketing efforts.
While this is an uncertain time for many firms, there are smart ways to re-prioritize marketing strategies and re-align marketing, advertising and event spend.
Here are five areas of marketing that you can focus on during this time:
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
Even if business is slow, it’s still important to maintain visibility for when a client needs your services. According to 1SEO.com, 96% of people looking for legal advice use a search engine and 74% visit a firm’s website. And in the current environment, people are at home using their computers more than before.
Re-allocating funds such as events expenses into a more robust SEO and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising strategy can help firms stay ‘above the fold.’ Paul Hernandez, partner at Kalfus & Nachman says “I increased my PPC budget because, for those who are looking, I want to be in the top three.”
Recent trends in the legal industry show an increase in direct phone calls from search. Be sure to have a plan in place to answer and track these calls as they may represent great leads.
It’s also important to optimize your firm’s website for search. What are the most commonly asked questions from your clients? Does your website answer those questions? If not, set up an FAQ page so clients can find your firm’s information organically when searching for answers to their questions online.
You can also build authority through free tools like this backlink checker from Ahrefs. There, you’re able to plug in your firm’s website URL and see backlinks and referring domains. You can compare your firm to competitive firms in your area to see if there are any missed opportunities. Then, you can ask those sites if they would list your firm in their directories or sites.
- Word-of-mouth marketing
According to BrightLocal.com, the average person reads 10 reviews before feeling able to trust a business. Your current and former clients may have some free time while quarantined. Use that as an opportunity to encourage them (via newsletter, email or personal phone outreach) to review your firm on websites including legal review sites and Google, Yelp and Facebook.
Setting up a Google My Business account is a free way to gain exposure. Make sure you allocate time to respond to the reviews that you receive.
- Social media
Research shows that over half of consumers would be likely to hire a lawyer with an active social presence and that percentage skyrockets for millennials, with 72% looking to social.
According to a survey from the American Bar Association (ABA), 80% of firms maintain a social media presence and among them, LinkedIn is the leading platform. LinkedIn has become a place where people, including your prospective clients, go for business articles. Make sure your firm has a presence and shares relevant news.
A Facebook presence is equally important as it is a place where clients can submit reviews of your firm and communicate with you via Facebook Messenger. Keep in mind that Facebook will deem your business page as “very responsive” when your response time is within 15 minutes and your response rate is at about 90% or higher. If your response rate is poor, potential clients could assume they’d have the same experience working with you.
- Television and video
With virtually no sports on television and temporarily-closed businesses pulling TV ads, advertising spots are now an affordable way to build your firm’s brand. Even if you aren’t advertising on TV, Cisco predicts that by 2022, 82% of global internet traffic will come from video streaming and downloads. Creating video ads can help you connect with customers.
Creating video content is a great way to get in front of clients and potential clients, especially if you can share helpful tips. If your firm utilizes this valuable platform, there are small investments worth making. Ring lights, widely used by social influencers, can make a big impact at a low cost. High-quality audio equipment will also professionalize your video efforts.
A few other tips to consider when creating videos are to create an outline with three key points you want your audience to take away from the video and to include a call to action at the end of the video. If you’re posting videos to YouTube, make sure the videos are optimized for search so potential clients will find you. You can add keywords and descriptive text when uploading videos.
Maintaining a blog can help your firm demonstrate its expertise and help potential clients find you. Research shows that companies that blog receive 97% more links to their websites and 434% more indexed pages.
If you already have a good blog strategy, consider expanding the expertise of your partners and attorneys through guest posts on other websites.
One way to find websites open to guest post submissions on your topic (e.g. personal injury) is to use the “inurl” command, which tells Google to look for keywords. Perform a simple search: inurl: “personal injury” + “write for us” or inurl: “personal injury” + “guest post” to find websites you can contact.