Working as a marketer for a law firm of any size means one thing – you have a lot on your plate. You’re likely known as the office social media, public relations, content and SEO expert. Oh, and you’re also the go-to person for all brand and competitor information.
Easy, right? Not quite.
It’s a delicate balancing act – one of strategy, schedules, creativity and yes, a lot of reporting. With so many moving parts, it’s hard to figure out what to focus on first. To help get you started, here are five tips for staying inspired and organized in this busy world of legal marketing.
#1 Lean on Free Resources
As the saying goes, the best things in life are free, and that’s especially true when they help you on the job.
Whether you want to analyze your firm’s competition or study up on the latest Facebook advertising rules, you don’t need to start from scratch. There are a variety of resources available online to use as your foundation.
Here are some of FindLaw’s free resources to help get you started:
- Website Audit Tool – Examines and grades the performance of legal websites
- Downloadable Resources – Repository of customizable templates, how-tos and tips
- White Papers – In-depth research on legal marketing trends
- Playbooks – Expert insights and techniques on digital marketing
- Webcasts – Online presentations by legal marketing and advertising professionals
#2 Run A/B Tests
Do you want to tweak the landing page copy of your latest pay-per-click ad? Are you thinking about switching the call-to-action button on your website from orange to blue?
Don’t make changes without measuring their impact.
Running an A/B test (also known as a split test) allows you to compare two versions of a webpage against each other to see which option performs better. This process removes “gut decision” changes, measuring actual behavior of your prospects for a more data-driven decision process.
There are a variety of elements you can test on your firm’s website, including:
- Headline or sub-head text
- Call-to-action buttons or text
- Contact form layout or labels
- Anchor link text
- Paragraph text
- Order of content
Once you narrow in on a problem area and what you want to test, hypothesize why this change will bring your firm positive results. For example, if you were looking to increase click performance of a display advertisement, your hypothesis would read: “Changing the CTA text from ‘Schedule a Consultation’ to ‘Contact Now’ on our display advertisement will make it easier to read and therefore improve click-through rates.”
Then it’s time to test. Talk to your website owner or use a test tool such as Google Analytics to create a control (unaltered) and challenger (modified) version of your website. Split your audience up evenly, decide how long the test will run and off you go. After it’s ended, analyze the results to figure out if the proposed changes met your hypothesis. If not, rework the test and try again.
#3 Plan Out Your Content
When you’re busy, something inevitably slips through the cracks. Mitigate that risk by planning your blog and social media content strategy early in the year. When you have topics and deadlines in place, you are able to offer up more strategic content to prospects, which in turn helps improve efficiency and often even SEO efforts.
Keep a content calendar. This will make the process of mapping out your 2019 content strategy much easier. Start with general monthly themes and go more granular. If your firm specializes in tax law, jot down a theme you want to stick to on a monthly basis. For instance, you could focus on tax deductions in February, law changes to be aware of in March, and so on. Once you have a general idea of where you’re going, it’s easier to come up with the details surrounding each blog, Facebook post, video and so on.
Use a social media management tool. It doesn’t matter if your firm is new to Facebook or on all the latest platforms, a social media management tool is necessary to stay organized and on schedule. Sites like Sprout Social and Hootsuite allow you to monitor, schedule and review analytics of multiple social accounts, providing a convenient way to manage various streams of content.
Get your own content calendar template.
#4 Focus on Design
According to Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab, nearly 50 percent of people say a website’s design is the number one criteria discerning the credibility of a company. With that in mind, how does your firm’s site measure up?
If you’re looking to modify your website (after running an A/B test of course), here are some recommendations to improve the design:
- Rely on images rather than text
- Avoid animation or rotating sliders
- Use a minimum font size of 16px for optimal readability
- Always link the firm’s logo to the website homepage
- Avoid long chunks of text (keep paragraphs to four lines or less)
- Include strong headline with your unique value proposition
- Hyperlink all phone numbers and emails
#5 Maintain a Referral Network
R&G Technologies found that referral leads convert 30 percent better than leads generated from other marketing channels. And according to the U.S. Consumer Legal Needs Survey, 42 percent of legal consumers consider recommendations a top priority. That means a solid referral network should be essential to your firm’s marketing strategy – and your everyday routine.
If you don’t have one already, build a referral database in your practice management system (or a simple Excel spreadsheet if your firm doesn’t use one). Include the following information:
- Job title
- Referral fee (Y/N)
- Last contact date
- Main topics of conversation
Your work doesn’t stop there. Just like everything in marketing, it’s about cultivating these relationships. Set monthly referral goals for yourself so this network becomes part of your routine. These can look like:
- Schedule dinner with top five referral sources
- Send five to eight handwritten cards
- Send email blast to all referrals with firm updates
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