The phrase “digital marketing” encompasses many things and has changed over the last decade.
Digital Marketing for Attorneys Evolves
Marketing for legal services has a short history compared to other products and services. Before the 1970s, rules prohibited attorney advertising. And once permitted, many people saw things like TV ads and billboards as crass, even desperate. But public opinion changes, as do the methods for attracting its attention. While an ever-diminishing number of attorneys buy ads in the Yellow Pages, digital marketing spending grows by leaps and bounds. Every new or growing law firm needs a website to attract and inform potential clients.
Fred Cohen, Founder and CEO of Omnizant, recalls that, a decade ago, when attorneys thought of their website, they imagined an online business card. More recently, they noticed that their firm website could be a powerful tool for client generation. But, in some ways, firms have now over-corrected, seeing all marketing as digital and neglecting traditional tools.
Omnizant’s approach balances the traditional and digital functions of a marketing agency. Omnizant helps with positioning, messaging, and differentiation—traditional marketing functions, while blending in powerful digital capabilities for maximum visibility. As Fred puts it, “[Attorneys] have gotten past the idea that lawyers shouldn’t market or have an active web presence seeking clients.”
Goals of a Law Firm Website
When working with a firm on its website, Fred and his team aim to build a site that answers three foundational questions:
- What unique value proposition and experience does the firm offer prospective clients?
- How does the firm view its relationship with the client?
- What is the firm’s approach to a matter?
In answering each of these questions, the firm, with Omnizant’s help, tells a compelling story. The goal is to create a website that serves as a learning experience. Potential clients can then determine whether the firm is a good fit.
In addition to a robust and purposeful website, Omnizant works with the firm to determine its target client and how to identify those prospects. As Fred says, a marketing agency should help drive relevant traffic to your website, not sheer numbers. Success is more than a high search engine optimization (SEO) rank. Law firms need a holistic approach to get your message in front of the right people to let them know you can help them.
People shopping for legal services today are sophisticated consumers and know they have many options. When they select an attorney, it’s both an overt assessment (e.g., does the firm meet my stated needs) and subliminal, a practical and emotional decision. Communicate a cohesive branding message with words, imagery, and color to reach both sides.
The Future of Legal Marketing
Automation is coming for marketing. This alarms some, given the rudimentary state of firms’ marketing efforts. While artificial intelligence (AI) grabs the headlines, many firms don’t have sound marketing fundamentals. Too few firms use customer relations management (CRM) software, pipeline tracking, or lead attribution software. These long-standing technologies are nascent, even in mid-sized firms.
Once your firm has the basics in place, Fred says, then it’s time to think about marketing automation. The purpose of automated marketing efforts, such as “drip” campaigns specialized for a persona or client profile, is to keep the law firm “top of mind.”
It’s hard enough to be a good lawyer without worrying about the minutia of what good marketing entails. Omnizant is a great partner for growth-minded firms, which it defines not as simply “more clients,” but rather “better clients” or “specific clients.” Their approach harkens back to tailoring the firm’s website and overall branding to attract clients that match its value proposition.
Where to Start
Holistic firm marketing may seem overwhelming, but Fred offered advice to get started even before you engage Omnizant or another agency.
- Know what you are good at and passionate about.
- Figure out what information you have available to share with prospects.
- Don’t become obsessed with search engine ranking scores. Ranking improvements come with high-quality content. Long-form content, in the range of 4,000 to 6,000 words, generates more traffic. This is especially true with the advent of AI, which can flood search engines with short content.
- Although long-form writing is advantageous, one should give finite responses to finite questions where possible. Be concise where appropriate.
- Attribute website content to a specific author whenever possible. Search engines value authorship, proof that a human wrote the piece because it adds credibility and defends against a flood of AI-written dreck. Bylines add to the “authority of authorship” and improve the firm’s visibility in search results.
Last updated May 22nd, 2023