Exploring Multi-Channel Marketing for Law Firms
Would you believe that you can actually learn something from those bombastic lawyer billboards on the highway? Your firm doesn’t need them to thrive; they are usually overdone and they are rarely optimized for growth, but they can teach even the most experienced law firm a valuable lesson in marketing channels.
“Channels” are different avenues for you to reach your potential clients. That advertisement you see at the top of your search engine, the tweet you read this morning, and even the local community event that you attend for networking are all examples of channels. The issue with channels today is that they aren’t as linear as they once were. Before the internet, law firms acquired clients through networking in their community, getting referrals from colleagues, writing for a publication, and publishing newsletters. That is how firms established their authority in their local community, and while they still have their merits, they should only be components of a broader channel strategy.
Today’s consumers, even when hunting for legal counsel (and whether they are sophisticated or not), are skeptical and do their own research. Even if you’re the undisputed leader in your practice area, your potential clients need to confirm that fact for themselves.
Just last week a firm reached out to me and said that they lost a potentially multi-million dollar client who was referred to the firm. Why? They checked that firm’s web presence and its online presence didn’t match the professional quality they were seeking - even though it was an AV-rated firm - so they moved on. Keep in mind that even though the legal industry is somewhat slow to adopt new technology and methods, your clients are used to interacting with other industries in a daily personal context. Don’t let your lack of (or less-than-current) online presence break the authority that your firm has accrued through traditional channels.
Anywhere a prospective client might research your firm is actually a marketing channel which your law firm can control (to varying degrees) in order to reinforce your position as the authority in your practice area. In most instances, your ideal client will use more than one channel to research your firm. After all, you could have found this article from a repost on social media, a search engine, or an email from a colleague, so how can you possibly choose just one 'right' channel for your firm? Today’s attorneys need to market across multiple channels in order to appeal to their ideal clients and be present at their time of need.
The multi-channel approach
Traditionally, the center of new business at a law firm was the front desk, but today, the center of new business is your website. You should consider your website both your storefront and your central command. Visitors arrive at your website through social media posts, shared blog posts, word-of-mouth, your business card, search engines and a dozen other different channels. Having a channel mix is step one to optimizing your new central command, but you should take steps to make sure each channel is effective.
Best Practices for Multi-channel Marketing:
Consistent Messaging – Keep in mind that prospective clients can learn about your firm from any and all channels, so your messaging has to be consistent. If your branding on your website is inconsistent with the messaging on your social media, you create a brand disconnect which will damage the trust you’re trying to build. Plan your messaging around a central concept, keeping your firm’s competitive value in mind.
Capture Leads – Regardless of how you create your multi-channel marketing strategy, you’re spending money and time to bring visitors to your website. Don’t assume that because you left them a phone number that they’re going to use it. Use lead forms, live chat, and direct contact email options to give your prospective client every chance to reach out to you. On the backend, track their contact information, the pages they view, the content they download, and other evidence that gives you context as to the best way to offer your services.
Measure Channel Success – Too often we see firms who can’t tell us their current key performance indicators for their marketing strategy. Worse still, some firms aren’t measuring their performance at all. You can’t improve a strategy or determine which channels are most effective for your firm unless you have a clear view of how marketing changes are directly impacting your bottom line.
Keep your strategy in focus – It’s easy to stray from your strategy in favor of a quick win or abandon it altogether when you don’t see your revenue skyrocket. The cold truth is, sustainable growth is built slowly with sound strategy and strong foundations. That’s why you network for your firm, and that’s why a well built multi-channel marketing strategy works. Don’t bend to temporary peaks or valleys in your marketing metrics, but instead evaluate your strategy across trends and time periods.
Multi-channel marketing strategies are necessary to grow or maintain any business larger than a temporary upstart. Your firm is no different, and your firm is here today because it is built on strong traditional foundations of networking and referrals. Retain your authority and establish yourself as a dominant presence in your practice area through your firm’s own multi-channel marketing strategy.