7 Digital Marketing Trends Critical to Law Firm Marketing Success in 2017
Are you on top of the latest digital marketing trends for law firms today? If not, you are missing critical opportunities to capture leads and build your online reputation so that prospects searching for the kind of law you practice can find you.
The first quarter of the year is already behind us, but you still have time to develop a law firm marketing program to help you capitalize on the most current online marketing trends. These include:
Google has confirmed that nearly 60% of searches are now from mobile devices. In fact, mobile is so important that Google is quickly moving to what it calls mobile-first indexing -- meaning that its search algorithm has been adjusted to use the mobile version of a site’s content first to display sites in search rankings. When you’ve searched on Google, you’ve probably noticed the designation “AMP” in your search results. This stands for “accelerated mobile pages” and is a signal to users that a site is mobile-friendly.
So what can you do to ensure your law firm’s mobile pages are AMP-worthy?
Use responsive site design -- this is the proverbial no-brainer. If your website uses responsive design, that means your content will be served up correctly whether the user is on a desktop, tablet or smartphone. Basically, the website’s code recognizes which device the user is on, and serves up the content for that particular device. This is the easiest way to ensure your visitors enjoy a great user experience and that the search engines will reward you with a better ranking.
Maximize page speed -- no one likes to wait for anything these days, and a slow-loading site is the kiss of death for your prospects and your search engine rankings. You can increase page speed by optimizing content. Test your site now at Google’s Mobile Friendly Test.
Include local search -- be sure you have Google Maps as well as local search terms on your site so search engines can quickly peg your location and visitors can find you quickly and easily. Most local searches are conducted on a mobile device.
- Lower Load Time.
Load time -- how many seconds it takes for your website to appear on desktop and mobile devices -- can impact your digital marketing in two important ways. First, a slow load time can reduce the number of leads you convert -- in fact, Google research has shown that even a one second delay can reduce your conversion rate by seven percent. Second, a slow loading site can adversely impact your search rankings.
- Online Reviews.
Since 2010, search engine marketing company BrightLocal has conducted its annual Local Consumer Review Survey to gauge how consumers read and use online reviews. According to the 2016 survey:
- 84% of consumers said they trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
- 54% of consumers will visit the website of a company with positive online reviews.
- 74% of consumers said that positive online reviews make then trust a company.
- 73% of consumers said they find reviews older than three months are not relevant.
- 58% of consumers said they pay the most attention to a company’s star rating.
- 90% of consumers said they form an opinion of a business by reading less than 10 reviews.
- 70% of consumers said they would post a review of a business if they were asked to do so.
- 32% of consumers said that reputation matters the most when choosing an attorney.
Google also uses online reviews as social proof when ranking website pages, so showcasing your positive online reviews helps your search engine rankings as well.
- Use Video.
It has been estimated that 74% of all Internet traffic will be from online video in 2017, which is not surprising when you learn that Pew Internet Project research shows that 78% of Internet users over the age of 18 watch videos online.
There is simply no better format for delivering your message to prospects than video. It’s the closest you can come to face-to-face prospecting, allowing you complete control over your messaging. You should be using videos liberally on your website and social media networks.
- Community Outreach.
Leverage your offline community activities by posting videos and photos to your website and social media pages. Be sure to tag the events and groups you sponsor and ask them to reciprocate so you benefit from those trust-building backlinks that also help you with your search ranking.
- Content Counts.
By now you know you should have great content on your website that leaves no doubt in the visitor’s mind exactly what it is that you do. But recent research by serpIQ has discovered that size matters too! In fact, the pages that rank highest in search contain 2,000 or more words of content.
Creating long-form content should not be a problem for you if you simply focus on the issues that your clients want to know more about. Take the top questions you are asked about frequently and develop articles that answer them. Supplement these with graphics, photos and video as well as prominent calls-to-action to capture online leads.
- Have a Great Intake System.
Everything you do online will count for naught unless you have a great client intake system to take people from prospects to appointments to clients. It all starts with having the right personnel with a background in sales that can respond to leads quickly -- leads can go from hot to cold in less than an hour!
Your intake process should also include an automated series of emails for appointment reminders, rescheduling if an appointment is missed, and a continued soft sell after the initial appointment if the prospect hasn’t made a decision yet to hire you.
In addition, be sure you have a measurement system in place so you can determine your digital marketing ROI. Double down on the things that are working for you and eliminate whatever isn’t delivering the results you want.