Traditionally the legal sector was not one to employ aggressive digital marketing strategies to promote its varied products and services.
Today, this approach has had to change exponentially. And the reasons are relatively simple. The online consumer buying process has undergone a major shift. So much so in fact that CEB reports that 57% of a purchase decision is already made before a potential client even gets in touch with your business.
Online users are becoming smarter due to the influx and impact of content driven digital marketing strategies being delivered to them by businesses who’ve realised that traditional marketing is becoming less and less effective.
The connection between social media use and client success in terms of establishing credibility, driving engagement and achieving competitive advantage is being widely recognised.
Access to and information on highly targeted online traffic relevant to a law firm’s area of expertise has become easier to attain with the added assistance of critical web data such as social media and site analytics.
What does this actually mean for legal firms or lawyers?
Prospective clients are searching for, consuming, self-educating and engaging with whatever content they manage to find online before making the decision to retain your services. If you are not making available to them the information they need, you will find yourself eliminated from the buying process and not even know it.
The takeaway? Your firm is not the first point of contact in the purchasing cycle anymore. It’s the last. So if you’re not providing the content that potential clients are looking for, chances are, they won’t know you’re even there.
Tactical Content and SEO strategies have never become more critical
As with any other industry competing in the digital arena, law firms are constantly looking for ways to establish themselves as thought leaders in their particular niche, generate new leads and ultimately expand their client base.
In order to achieve this, producing and disseminating content through a range of digital channels has long been a staple activity within the legal world. But the challenge facing many lawyers today is the ability to create the most compelling content that distinguishes them from the unexceptional or outright appalling content flooding the internet continuously.
Takeaway: The struggle of making oneself stand out to a target audience that is already experiencing information overload is significant.
What then does a law firm or lawyer do?
In terms of Content, utilise the following methodologies:
- Focus on your niche. Position yourself as an influencer and thought leader on the legal issues you know well. Produce content with this principle in mind. And over time, potential clients will turn to you for expert advice on what you know best.
- Identify your buyer personas, your target audience essentially – and write for them. Ensure your content contains useful high quality information that addresses their needs and concerns. And ensure that you do it in a way that is easily understood. Not everyone understands legal jargon in the same way you do. So keep your content uncomplicated.
- Establish what online platforms you need to be publishing your posts on. This means knowing where your audience is located and understanding the idiosyncrasies of each channel through which your content will be distributed. You want maximum exposure. This means knowing where to place your content and by what mean
- Use a mix of content. Engaging your audience is not only achieved through articles or blogs. Create other forms of content, be it infographics, videos, pictures, case studies or E-books, and more. In this way, you will be able to cater to a broader potential client base whose methods of absorbing information differ considerably.
- Analyse your results. This means measuring the success of your content online and evaluating what you can do to improve it. Utilise analytics tools to measure traffic to your site; time on site; the number of social shares, comments, likes and followers; blog visits; new subscribers; and so forth. In this way, you will be able to monitor your firms ROI in real time and re-evaluate content marketing strategies accordingly.
What then are the SEO considerations a legal website needs to integrate into their overall content marketing strategies?
Whilst producing authentic top tier quality content is vital, incorporating lawyer specific SEO practices into your website is just as important so as to improve your search engine ranking position for keyword phrases.
These are the SEO strategies you should consider implementing:
- Your law firm has a niche area of expertise and it’s on this that your SEO strategy needs to be built. Differentiating yourself from your competitors will enable you to develop a lawyer-centric SEO approach that caters to your specific business objectives and that will target the market you are seeking to attract.
- Focus on the technical on-site aspects of SEO too. Pay attention to keyword use, title tags, meta descriptions, internal linking structure, sitemap installation, and more, on your website. If you don’t have a dedicated member of staff equipped to monitor these elements, consider using the services of SEO specialists who can devise an on-site SEO architecture that will enhance your firm’s position in search results.
- Incorporate strategic keywords into your website. But don’t go overboard. Google’s algorithm has become that little bit smarter. It can detect keyword-stuffing overkill and will punish you for it but pushing you down in search engine rankings. So be authentic in your content creation. Use relevant keywords that are specific to your area of legal expertise but keep it natural. You readers will love you for it too.
- Use link-building sources. As Moz suggests, using links from a site that is perceived to be popular and important ‘will help you earn trust and authority with search engines’. Moz also purports that ‘for search engines that crawl the vast metropolis of the web, links are the streets between pages. Using sophisticated link analysis, the engines can discover how pages are related to each other and in what ways’. This is true.
- Make sure your website is workable, user and mobile friendly. Nobody likes a site that is difficult to navigate. It’s time consuming and frustrating. Today’s consumers have the attention span of something less than zero seconds it would seem. This means you need to ensure your site is capable of not only being heard above your competitors, but can also convert visitors to actual clients. This can only be achieved through a great user experience. Anything less than epic will see your potential audience’s attention being re-diverted incredibly quickly.
The takeaway here is that there needs to be an integrated synergy between Content and SEO strategies for the two need each other like the Bonny and Clyde of old Hollywood.