It’s hard to believe it’s been a full 6 months since we’ve been in the midst of COVID-19 really getting into gear. The effects have affected many industries in their own unique ways. Live music, one of my favorite ways to occupy free time, is going to be reeling for what seems like an eternity. Home gardening kits and fitness equipment took off like pre-split Tesla though. It seems like legal was split in the middle with different unique variables within its own industry. Criminal and PI lawyers saw (most) cases drop off by as much as 80%, where Family and Bankruptcy lawyers were looking towards new opportunities in the near future.
We’ve heard it all over the past 6 months as far as how to look at this as an opportunity (hard to get that optimistic with this much uncertainty, but it turns out there were many opportunities that did present themselves, and still will for the remainder of the year). There was a lot of talk about paid social media being the way to go (it wasn’t) and that Google Ads would become significantly cheaper (it didn’t), but it was more so a collection of many smaller efforts that pushed law firms through the potential lows they were expecting. Some of it was the early/premature reopenings of parts of the country, but in most instances, it was continuing to push through tried and true campaigns, many of which I’ll be discussing in this blog.
To start, let’s look at some trends in different areas of the country, looking at areas that were sooner to “reopen” vs. those that have been phasing into what we could consider the day-to-day.
In all reality, the slump may have occurred for no longer than 2 months for some lawyers. In areas of the country where things weren’t quite “open” yet, the slump may have lasted 3-4 months. But those that scaled back immediately on their marketing and business development didn’t always benefit from the initial conservatism compared to those that stayed the course.
I’ll be candid here – most of our clients hit a slump for 1-2 months and many are better off as a whole from the business they’re getting organically. Here’s an example:
Getting Past the Initial Prerequisites
We’ve been offering video consults via Zoom and showing off “we are 100% operational at this time” for months. The client experience caters to remote experience as much as possible. So what really separated what we did from what others were suggesting?
Understanding the Change in Search Behaviors
You’ve probably heard all about how much people were all over their Facebooks, Twitters, and Instagrams during the past 6 months — as much as 30% more on average. We did a study to show if people were making more purchasing decisions or if professional services presented themselves at the right time to capture more business during this time. The answer was nada. Social media is absolutely primed for social remarketing though, which we’d encourage, but the change in search behaviors had to do more with the dramatic changes in the keywords people were using.
What about when it comes to searching for criminal defense? We’ve seen explosions in traffic from people looking for gun restoration rights. How about professional licenses and certifications that need legal assistance? Definitely happening in higher volumes. What about Family Law (custody battles during COVID)? Estate Planning, Trusts, and Wills? All have tremendously different implications coupled with “remote,” “online”, or “COVID-19.” Though I’m sure people are sick of hearing the phrase itself, the implications that follow are prepended or appended to a huge chunk of the keywords. As far as where people search? Pretty status quo – people use Google as always and prefer the mix of websites and directories, although people will nearly never respond that they know directories by name prior to the search, just a heads up. (insert link to an article about directories).
Continuing to Push Out Quality Content – Possibly at a Higher Rate
As people’s search queries become more long-tailed because of voice search and behavior changes, it becomes increasingly important to augment content plans surrounding your website. Most law firms that do consistent blogging and also dominate high positions on SERPs for quality keywords have moved away from the days of regurgitating local news and are now answering peoples’ questions thoroughly (using much of the research we may conduct from what you’ve learned above). Nearly 80% of blogs in a sample of 250 we looked at posted 4+ times a month on average and spent the majority of their time writing about specific questions their potential and current clients may have.
The law firms that really won in the past 6 months kept their content going and even turned up the volume. Pages, articles, and blogs all came together to answer questions, reassure clients, and position themselves stronger online than the firms that were letting off the gas to evaluate their marketing options.
Being the First to Take Advantage of New Trends
In addition to the changes in new keywords, pushing content out consistently, and keeping the ship straight marketing-wise, new products surfaced like Local Service Ads which have begun to produce the results that firms had anticipated. To learn more about LSAs, check out the following articles here and here. Other trends are FAQ structured data (and we anticipate Authorship making a comeback, where in a way it kind of has), setting up your website properly for Core Web Vitals, and staying on top of the citations and updates for your Google My Business listings. Putting off any one of these things may not have a huge impact on your firm; however, if you start falling behind on it all, you’ll find it difficult to catch up.
Taking Downtime to Audit Vendors and Technologies
When was the last time you updated your chat software, intake process, or after-hours vendor? Have you vetted anyone else out there for your internal processes to see if there’s anything new that could save you a couple bucks? It’s still worthwhile now, even if you’re back in the swing of things with your caseload again, to evaluate if everything internally is working the best that it can and if there are any gaps to fill.
Becoming More Familiar with the Marketing Being Done
There is an overwhelming amount of content out there, from videos to podcasts to guides, on what marketing is working these days, especially in regards to the new landscape that we’ve found ourselves in the past 6 months. As far as what we have put out, we recommend the following resources:
- Checkmate: Stop Being a Pawn to Paid Lead Strategies
- Legal Mastermind Podcast
- Legal Mastermind Facebook Group
- 10 Types of Content You Could Execute Right Now
- Should Law Firms Engage in Paid Links to Ensure Their SEO Works?
Interested in who we follow? Check out the following organizations:
- Powerful Innovative Legal Marketing & Management Association (PILMMA)
- Circle of Legal Trust
- In Camera Podcast
Ready to Slump-Proof Your Legal Marketing? Talk to Us
When you have a supportive marketing team and a creative strategy, there’s less opportunity to feel a slump from unexpected forces like COVID-19. If you’re finding it challenging to write content and tend to your overall marketing plan, contact us for a free legal marketing consultation.