Every year, MMM proposes 10 trending business development and digital marketing techniques to get a leg up on the competition moving into the next year. The article for 2022 can be seen here, but the recap is as follows:
- Having a Strong Business-Oriented Stance for Their Law Firm: Embracing business principles and disciplines, such as hiring non-legal professionals such as Operations Managers, and implementing systems such as EOS.
- Segmentation and Tracking of New Potential Clients: Tracking leads as closely as possible, which isn’t just segmenting leads by social, organic, word of mouth etc., but also knowing which pages of the website are converting the most traffic.
- Taking a Close Look at Paid Marketing Campaigns: Google Ads have always been under close scrutiny, but what about LSAs? Even if this is a cost-per-lead program, what are the resources and personnel hours being expended dealing with unqualified leads?
- Introducing Proper CRO to Digital Assets: Understanding that it isn’t always about getting more traffic to the website but rather converting the existing qualified traffic you are receiving.
- Expanding Their Geographic Presence: The multi-location strategy is alive and well—the means of approval is what has changed the most over the past 6 months.
- Continuing to Increase Social Validation: Social validation will always be key for people researching your firm, starting with Google My Business / Google Business Profile. This carries over to other platforms such as Yelp and other social platforms.
- Understanding Vanity Keywords Are Vainer Than Ever: Short-tail keywords are still important, but as consumer search behavior changes over time, will this always be the ultimate measurement of the keyword performance of a campaign?
- Preparing for Changes in Consumer and Computing Behavior: Google algorithm updates have been subtle over the past year, up until the past few months. There are sweeping changes occurring more on the local content scale.
- Having a Comprehensive Technical Audit Performed for Their Website: No matter how experienced a digital marketing expert is, a fresh perspective is always welcomed for additional perspective and input on your website. It’s important to have access to several experienced professionals to give different insights periodically.
- Partnering With Transparent, Honest Vendors That Will Help Them Succeed: It’s more important than ever to have marketing vendors that are reporting on everything pertaining to your campaign, not just the data that puts them in a positive light.
While much of this applies to 2023 and beyond, below are some more specific ideas for this upcoming year.
10 Ways Law Firms Will Win in 2023
Now that we have the previous 10 covered, MMM is excited to present the next 10 concepts that will position you for pre-eminent success in 2023.
Narrative-Driven Content for Conversions
When we’re immersed in our own way of communicating business for years, we may lose sight of what clear, concise messaging looks like for our potential clients. “Storybranding” has become a popular approach to some of the main pages of your website (homepage, practice area pages) to create a narrative where your firm is a guide through a legal issue. This approach has been helping law firms build trust with prospective clients and remove boundaries to their approachability.
In How Content Marketing Works: A Step-by-Step Guide, we talk in more detail about strong content marketing techniques and provide examples of what this different approach to content accomplishes for law firm websites.
It’s Actually Not Too Late to Start a Podcast
As of today, there are over 2 million different podcasts to listen to online. In 2021, there were roughly 850,000 podcasts. A bit over 10 years ago, there may have been one or two dozen. If it seems too late to start a podcast, you should consider what “too late” means either way. A law firm podcast isn’t going to necessarily pick up momentum in the mainstream, but it can certainly be another source of valuable content for your current and prospective clientele.
Consider the forms of content that are available and how they’ve evolved over time: blogs and pages for textual content, video for visual, etcetera. Even infographics have proved useful for consumers to digest information. Podcasts are just the next iteration of providing information, and since they’re next in line in the long lineage of content marketing, they’re basically the most trending format you have available at this place in time.
Learn more in the podcast Robert Ingalls – A Guide to Creating a Podcast for Your Firm.
Maximizing the Potential of Your GMB/GBP Locations
Google My Business (now Google Business Profile, but who’s keeping up) has been an absolute rock as far as generating quality organic leads for local businesses. It’s hard to believe that about 10 years ago, the map pack had 5-7 listings in most searches. Consumers still consistently gravitate toward these search results, becoming disenfranchised by LSAs even though they both possess similar qualities such as social validation and visuals exceeding text. They’ve also become exceedingly difficult to get approved and to optimize with wave after wave of GBP algorithm updates.
What’s most interesting about GMB is the fact that their visibility (or local search, as quoted in the Local SEO circles) is almost always viewed as one-dimensional when they’re multi-dimensional. Though we’ve even tracked local one-dimensionally by looking at keywords in multiple cities and zip codes, there’s no substitute for getting the visualization you need by using new-ish local tracking products such as Local Viking or Local Falcon.
We’ve doubled down on our own Local SEO capabilities by launching MMMx, which works solely on GBP portfolios using proven strategies created by SEOs working within some of the most prominent franchises around the country.
Are You Still Not Open 24 Hours?
A survey we conducted at the beginning of this year found that our clients were receiving around 15% of their first-time calls (that appeared to be prospective clients, not other lawyers or vendors) after-hours; that includes the time between 5 PM and 9 AM Monday through Friday and all day on Saturday and Sunday.
What that means is that if there isn’t an after-hours solution in place for your law firm, you could very well be missing out on one out of six of your potential clients. This number tended to be somewhat higher for criminal defense law firms and lower for personal injury. There is a correlation with the sense of urgency that the consumer tends to be in.
When it comes to being “Open 24 Hours,” the ease with which you can get started with a third party is enough to consider it. There are dozens of vendors catering to legal alone, and they will professionally and courteously represent your firm. Many law firms use these vendors for call overflow as well. Some law firms completely rely on these vendors for all calls, allowing for their in-house team to focus on other aspects of the business and let an expert team provide high-quality customer service on their behalf.
Originality on Your Website Is Not Just Content
Let’s all have a goal for 2023 to no longer have stock imagery take over prominent parts of our website. Though most consumers would prefer some imagery over no imagery, having pictures of your actual office and team instead of stock imagery of an office and team will be an uptick for your website. Additionally, Google may recognize it as unique content instead of duplicated.
When you think about it, we spend so much time writing unique content for every blog, page, and article on our website. Why would it be any different for the images we use? It is also relatively inexpensive to have a local photographer do an entire day shoot of your exterior, interior, attorneys, candid shots, and unique pictures around town, so you have your own exclusive library for your website. Not a big project to have an edge over many other lawyers in your community.
Learn more about the benefits of unique content in the article Why Are We Content With Duplicate Content on Our Website?
Demanding Consultative Marketing From Your Marketing Partners
Legal marketing is tough. I’ve mentioned over the years that it is tough enough for an agency to compete unless they have substantial legal resources and talent to run the campaign. Now it seems that your team, or at least your team’s leadership, should have come from a strong legal background as well.
Fulfilling a scope of work efficiently and effectively is great. However, a marketing partner has to think beyond simply the delivery of your service, but rather what opportunities present themselves specifically to your law firm. Are you in a growing region that could benefit from virtual offices on the outskirts to get more local visibility? Are they aware of the trending legal directories and organizations you should be a part of? Can they distinguish between Child Support and Child Custody to make a meaningful, properly messaged campaign? The need for a partner when it comes to marketing is transcending simply being a vendor.
Setting Aside Time for Business/Marketing Education and Involvement
It’s difficult to manage to be a lawyer and a business owner at the same time, but there are thousands of lawyers that are doing this every day. They’re getting info from podcasts, snippets from emails, guidance from articles (hopefully like this one), joining mastermind groups, and attending webinars and conferences.
There are a few ways to incrementally get more involved in the business development aspects of your law firm, and if you’re so inclined, the following articles may help you get started on that thought process.
Developing Young Talent for Your Firm’s Future
In addition to general business development, law firms are focusing more and more on personnel development, especially for the younger ones. I’m not a particular expert on how to develop younger lawyers to become long-term assets for your law firm, but in the following podcast, you’ll learn plenty to get you thinking about what it may look like for your own firm.
Creating SOPs for More Aspects of Your Operations
Since we love talking about EOS here, no form of documenting processes is complete without standard operating procedures (SOPs). You can see how it is mentioned in any system or process-oriented environment in this piece, The Checklist Manifesto – the book.
The more you document the best practices for doing anything within your firm, the easier it is to onboard new employees and correct the seemingly endless variations of how employees execute tasks internally. You can use text, video, audio, slideshows—whatever it takes to document and store all of your SOPs. We’re even using Triannual as our solution for organizing all of the procedural work we do internally.
Preparing for 2024 and Beyond
It isn’t a typo—thinking ahead to not just next year, but the year after opens up an entirely new line of thinking when it comes to strategy and planning. Do you want more office locations in 2024? What about your team, will you hire your first COO or in-house marketing person then? The questions won’t be the same as next year since 2023 is fast approaching and much closer to the short term, but allowing yourself to ask yourself questions another year ahead makes for several more interesting questions.
If you’re looking for the most effective way to get a leg up on the competition, the digital marketing experts at Market My Market are standing by to assist. Our team, which specializes in concepts from top-of-the-line content writing to best-in-class SEO analysts, will be with you every step of the way to ensure your website rises to the top of search results and converts readers to customers. To discuss how Market My Market can help your business today, contact us at (866) 634-4441 or complete our contact form today.