21st Century Lawyer: Embracing Digital Marketing
Digital marketing is one of the business development tools that law firms should use to grow their practice and secure more clients. Digital marketing is the marketing of products and services using digital technologies such as the internet. Besides generating new clients, it can also be used to demonstrate lawyer’s proficiency in their areas of practice.
In this era of the internet, access to information and communication has been made much easier and almost everything can be found online. The internet serves many purposes for example entertainment, commerce, and research. Lawyers therefore need to make themselves visible online such that prospective clients can easily engage them.
There are various digital marketing tools that lawyers can make use of to grow their practice. This article will highlight some of the tools.
Potential Digital Marketing Tools:
As a marketing tool, a website is essential as it enables law firms to interact with as many people as possible both locally and internationally. Potential clients will usually first check out a law firm’s online presence to obtain more information about it. A law firm’s online portrayal can be a determinant factor in a client’s decision as to whether to engage a firm’s services or not. A website is therefore a great way to give a good first impression to prospective clients. Law firms can use websites to demonstrate their expertise in their areas of practice by using the website as a platform for publication of the Firm’s literary works to portray a favourable image to clients.
Law firms should be strategic and ensure that their websites have prominent ranking on search engines such as google and as a result be easy to find. A number of law firms in Uganda have websites therefore a firm looking to market itself online must ensure that its website appears on the first page of search results. This is referred to as search engine optimization (SEO). SEO does not happen magically; it is a process and it may take some time to attain online reputation.
One of the most important ways of obtaining SEO is creating original, quality and thoughtful content that is regularly updated. Content is king in SEO. A law firm website should offer value to its customers through informative, educative and relevant content for example through blogging. This will ensure that users have a reason to visit the web page in the first place.
Generating unique and interesting content may sometimes be difficult given that there is nothing new under the sun, but producing client oriented content may be a way to achieve this. Clients are one of the biggest determinants of legal practice and getting them to trust you with their work depends on how knowledgeable you are. Lawyers can update clients on the changes in the law and the impact that these changes may have on clients’ businesses and lives. This should be done in plain simple writing that can easily be understood by clients.
A law firm can also use practical tools to boost its content creation such as:
- Google Alerts: Google Alerts is a content change detection and notification service that sends emails to the user when it finds new results that match the user’s search items e.g. blog posts. It can be used to keep up to date with new advancements. Lawyers can use google alerts to find posts about trending topics and move the discussion forward by writing from a different point of view.
- Google Trends: Google Trends allows users to see trending topics at any given time and location in the world. With Google trends, Lawyers get an insight in the search patterns of their prospective clients. Lawyers can then focus their writings on such areas.
- HubSpot Blog Topic Generator: This tool is helpful in generating possible blog topic ideas.
- Hemingway App: The Hemingway App is an editor tool that improves the clarity and readability of a piece of writing, ensuring the message does not get lost in a wordy prose.
When writing, lawyers should use relevant key words that people are likely to use when searching for a lawyer’s practice area. Use of relevant key words demonstrates to Google that the writer has comprehensively covered a topic and thus improve his/her ranking on the search engine. Google Key word Planner is a handy tool in identifying key words.
As much as writing great content is important, sharing that content is equally important. People will never know about the quality of a law firm’s work if they have never had a chance to see it. Therefore website content should be shared on other platforms such as social media where people regularly interact. Content that is socially shared is usually regarded as more relevant and trustworthy and ranks highly on google and other search engines.
B. Social Media
Social media sites like Facebook and twitter are great avenues for lawyers to market themselves. They can be used to drive traffic to a firm’s websites when website content is shared on these social media sites thereby exhibiting a law firm’s proficiency.
Social media gives lawyers an opportunity to directly communicate with their clients and receive feedback on important issues. It can also be used to build trust and develop a law firm’s brand. A firm that has got very good reviews on social media will imply to prospective clients that it is indeed good at what it does.
To maximize the benefits of social media, the social media sites should be regularly updated and this should be the initiative of everyone in the law firm.
The 21st Century lawyer must embrace digital marketing so as to remain relevant in today’s digital age.
Jemimah Mushabe – Legal Associate