There was a time when simply having a website wasn’t enough—you needed to be knocking people over to your site in order to gain traction in the digital sphere. But, times have changed—allowing for an increase in popularity of platforms like Facebook and Instagram where businesses can grow through word of mouth marketing.
If you’re a solo or small law firm, you might be considering getting involved in online marketing. But, what exactly is online marketing, and how can you be sure that it’s right for your law firm? We sat down with Renee Boudreau, Director of Marketing at Blue Fountain Media, to get the basics on this ever-important subject.
What Is Online Marketing?
Put simply, online marketing is any type of marketing activity that occurs online—whether that’s through a website, social media account, or some other online presence.
If you’re not familiar, marketing is often considered a broad category that involves advertising, public relations, and sales. But, really, the only difference between traditional marketing and online marketing is the medium—with the latter often considered ‘digital marketing’ since its basis is in digital media.
Why Should Law Firms Get Involved In Online Marketing?
As we mentioned above, times have changed—allowing for an increase in the use of online marketing by law firms. So, if you’re not aware of what your competitors are doing, you’re at a distinct disadvantage. Knowing what online marketing strategies are working and what aren’t can help point your entire marketing strategy in the right direction.
In a nutshell, here are the top reasons why you should be getting involved in online marketing:
It Meets Customers Where They Are
One of the biggest draws of online marketing is that it allows you to connect with your customers when and where they are. Whether you have a website or blog, you can easily promote deals, offers, and new products through blogs and social media.
By being present in the places that your customers are, you give the impression that you’re a partner they can trust. Furthermore, you make sure to provide useful information and resources when they need it. For instance, if a consumer is searching for legal services in their area, you can connect them with a law firm that offers that specific type of service.
As a solo or small law firm, meeting clients in person isn’t really an option. But, by making yourself accessible online, you can establish a professional image that will attract potential clients.
More Effective Than Traditional Marketing
Unlike with traditional marketing tactics, which work on the basis of demographic and geographical information about your target audience (age, gender, and location), with online marketing you’re targeting the individual.
Since they’re discovering your site or social media account independently, you’re free to target the right audience and engage them on a personal level. But, at the same time, you want to make sure that those who visit your site or follow you on social media are aware that this is an opt-in audience and that they can unsubscribe anytime. This ensures that you’re only communicating with those who want to hear from you.
Additionally, since consumers discover content independently, you have the opportunity to engage with them based on their existing interest. For example, if you notice that a consumer has previously visited your competitor’s site, you can bring them back to your side with a special promotion or offer that relates to their previous interest.
Last but not least, we’d like to point out that online marketing provides you with the opportunity to test out new products and promotions without risking very much. If someone clicks on your product or service link and makes a purchase on the spot, you can immediately determine whether or not that ad was effective.
As you can see, each and every one of these benefits points to a distinct advantage of online marketing over traditional methods of marketing. So, if you’re looking for a way to make your law firm stand out, get involved in online marketing.
How Do I Create My Online Marketing Plan?
In order to get started, you’ll first want to sit down and create a list of all the major objectives that you have for your law firm’s online marketing. This can include anything from gaining more Twitter followers to boosting product sales.
Once you have that list, you can start to organize it into a more strategic plan. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the basics of marketing and how to measure the success of your plan. This should take no more than a few hours to accomplish. Once you’ve got that part taken care of, you can move on to the more intensive task of actually creating your plan.
What should your plan include? Well, it depends on what you hope to achieve. If you want to gain more Twitter followers, you’ll want to include things like how many daily tweets you plan on posting and what type of content you plan on sharing. Basically, you want to brainstorm everything that you can think of that would make your Twitter account more attractive to potential followers.
Once you have your plan in place, take some time to review it and make necessary tweaks. If you’re looking for a way to boost your product sales, you’ll want to consider what strategies you can employ to accomplish that. The same goes for Twitter—make sure that you’re following the right people and engaging with them on a regular basis.
Why The Hype Around Influencers And Online Influencers?
You might be familiar with the term ‘influencer’, though perhaps not in the context of marketing.
Simply put, an influencer is someone who possesses significant social media influence. Why is social media influencing so important? Think about it this way:
If you have someone who can significantly influence the buying decisions of people in your target audience, you can rest assured that they’ll have something good to say about your product or service. And since they’ll be promoting your product or service independently, you’re sure to gain some goodwill from these efforts.
The main goal of an influencer or online influencer is to gain as much ‘social capital’ as possible. This means gaining the attention of and establishing connections with people who have the power to influence the buying decisions of others. For example, if you’re an infuencer for skincare products, you want to focus on creating content that will encourage people to try your products and/or offer solutions for common problems.
To that end, make sure that you’re familiar with the basics of SEO or search engine optimization. This involves optimising your content (text and images) to appear higher in search results for relevant keywords. For example, if you want your website to appear for the keyword ‘law firm’, you’ll want to make sure that all your web pages are optimised for that keyphrase.
Now, you don’t need to become a marketing expert to do SEO—anyone with a basic knowledge of SEO can effectively create an attractive web page that will perform well for any keyword. Additionally, make sure to regularly review the organic search rankings for your website, ensuring that you stay ahead of the game.
Solo and small law firms can take advantage of influencers and online influencers just as much as larger firms. The main advantages are cost and effort. With influencers, you don’t need to hire an expensive marketing guru to get the job done. And, as a solo or small law firm, you want to make sure that you’re putting in the effort to establish your expertise and gain the recognition that you deserve.
Do I Need To Have A Personal Stake In This?
So far, we’ve mostly focused on the importance of getting involved in online marketing for your law firm. But, just as important as setting up a marketing plan is reviewing it regularly and making sure that you’re staying on track.
If you’re looking for ways to improve your law firm’s performance, it might not be enough to simply set up a web page and start tweeting. You’ll want to be sure that you’re implementing the right strategy and seeing the right results.
To that end, make sure that you’re measuring the success of your plan—both in terms of brand awareness and product sales. If you can garner the attention of a few key influencers in your industry, you can rest assured that your product or service will receive widespread recognition.
What Is The Difference Between Organic And Paid Search?
As we mentioned above, SEO refers to the process of optimising your content to appear higher in search results for relevant keywords. However, simply performing SEO isn’t going to bring you the results that you want—you’ll also need to consider paid search.