With the arrival of a new year (and a new quarter), most of us find ourselves faced with a challenge: finding ways to “level up” from the year before. Without gaining any additional hours in your day, you must somehow reach new heights in your law firm, regardless of whether your law firm’s goals are tied to revenue, caseload, case outcomes, or staff size.
Accomplishing lofty goals requires discipline, strategy, and meticulous time management, but most of all, it requires stick-to-it-ive-ness.
It also requires you to work smarter, not harder. While that doesn’t necessarily mean working fewer hours, it means you have to be more conscientious about how you spend those hours, which requires you to audit the way you and your staff currently spend your time. If you’re aiming to achieve double (or triple!) digit revenue increases, make sure you’re investing your hours in strategies that work — while replacing those that don’t.
For those of you who are hoping to rev up your legal marketing strategy in 2018, here are five strategies you can implement to take things to the next level:
1. Facebook Messenger Chatbots
Incorporating AI tools in your business can free up your time immensely; if you can automate once man-powered processes, you can refocus your energy and attention on other tasks.
While some AI tools require extensive tech knowledge, there are now a plethora of ways you can use AI in your marketing strategy without having any knowledge of coding or computer science.
The most accessible of these AI tools is the Facebook Messenger chatbot, a fairly basic Facebook integration that has the power to drastically improve your current client experience. Using chatbots in your firm’s client experience and marketing strategy reduces friction and increases the likelihood that a potential client will reach out to your firm.
More than one billion people currently communicate on the Facebook Messenger platform; of those one billion users, 70% are willing to interact with a chatbot. When you consider that statistic, it may come as a shock that only around 5% of businesses actively use Facebook chatbots in their marketing strategy.
Chatbots can be used in a number of ways to provide a valuable client experience — they offer potential clients the immediate gratification of getting a quick response to their questions, allow you the opportunity to schedule consultations through the app, and can boost your conversion rate.
Dubious? Consider this: 53% of people who message businesses on Facebook say that being active and responsive on Facebook Messenger would make them more likely to work with that company.
Here are a few of the main ways you can leverage chatbots for your firm:
- Boost Response Time on Facebook
- Qualify Leads
- Schedule consultations
- Obtain insights
- Send out important announcements
Facebook Messenger chatbots are low cost, effective, and can be set up in just a few minutes. While Facebook has a native bot, the platform is not as feature-rich as some third party offerings, which allow you to integrate with various applications and get the most out of Messenger.
If you’re looking to set up a Facebook chatbot, here are a few platforms to explore:
- ManyChat (which we use at Crisp)
- Motion AI
- It’s Alive
2. Mobile-First Optimization
There are some big changes coming to Google’s search algorithm in 2018, which could have a significant impact on your rankings if your firm’s website is not optimized for mobile use.
Google used to crawl and rank websites based on a user’s desktop experience. However, beginning in 2018, Google will start to rank websites based primarily on the mobile experience, with the desktop interface ranked second.
What does that mean for you? It means if your firm’s website isn’t optimized for the mobile-first index, you may start to see a drop in website traffic as Google gives higher SEO placement to sites with a better mobile experience.
Here are some tips for ensuring you don’t lose any site traffic with the rise of the mobile-first index:
- Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights to ensure your website loads properly on mobile (websites that load in under 5 seconds on mobile see 70% longer time on site)
- Consider switching your blog over to Google AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) which will allow them to load faster
- Try optimizing keywords for voice search to boost chances of being found on mobile (incorporate long-tail keywords with organic language you would ask Siri/Alexa into your SEO strategy)
Optimizing for the mobile-first index doesn’t have to be a huge endeavor if your firm’s current website has a good user experience and site design. But, if you’ve been considering an update to your online presence, now may be an opportune time to do so.
3. Live Streaming Content
Live streaming content has caught on quickly on almost every social media channel, with live streaming options available on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and most other recording platforms (like GoToWebinar).
As the name implies, live streaming content is a video that you stream in real time, rather than recording it beforehand. It’s often times more casual, authentic, and interactive than pre-recorded footage, and is a great engagement tool for your online audience.
There are some significant advantages to both styles of video (live stream vs. pre-recorded), but on average, people will watch a live stream 3x longer than they’ll watch a pre-recorded video. To further support the growth of live stream content, 63% of the millennial demographic watched this style of content last year.
The social media giants are catching on to these trends and further promoting live content on social feeds, which is why you may occasionally receive a notification if someone you follow starts streaming a live video. Imagine the possible exposure your law firm could get if everyone who follows your firm’s page receives a push notification every time you go live on Facebook.
There are many ways you can use live video in your law firm, but to truly utilize live video as a conversion tool, you need to use it in a way that provides value to your target audience. Here are a few ideas for you to integrate live video into your marketing strategy in 2018:
- Host a weekly video series where you discuss relevant news topics that may be impacting your audience
- Answer your most common FAQs using Facebook Live, and then encourage viewers to submit their own questions to make the videos more interactive
- Humanize your firm by using live video to introduce various team members in a regular “Meet the Team” series
Unlike many other marketing strategies, live video is free (if streamed on a social media platform) and requires a relatively small time investment. If done properly, it’s a great way to engage with your audience and provide additional value to them beyond your standard blog post.
4. Video Marketing
When it comes to video marketing, it’s no longer a question of whether video is a worthwhile investment. It’s now a matter of how you can leverage this tool strategically within your firm.
But, just to cover our bases, here are a few statistics on the power of incorporating video into your legal marketing strategy:
- Businesses that use video in their content strategy see 41% more organic traffic than those who don’t
- 90% of users say videos are helpful in the decision-making process
- Videos can boost landing page conversions by 80%
- The average user spends 88% more time on websites that have video
Forbes predicts that video will be one of, if not the most, effective component of your 2018 marketing strategy. Are you convinced yet?
Video is so impactful because it can be an effective conversion tool at every stage of the buyer’s journey. It simultaneously allows you to engage, nurture, and convert leads, allows you to provide tons of value to your audience in a small amount of time, and it establishes brand authority. Perhaps most importantly, it humanizes your law firm by telling your unique story — this allows potential clients to get to know you as a person, rather than just as an attorney offering services.
To really put the power of storytelling into perspective, check out the legal brand video we produced for PILMMA attorney Dirk Derrick and his team, based in South Carolina. Pay attention to how emotionally compelling the video is, and how the client testimonial story weaves into his firm’s unique value proposition.
While there are a wide variety of videos you can use in your legal marketing strategy, we recommend three basic styles of video to rev up your 2018 marketing plan:
1. FAQ/Educational Video: Short, high-value videos that are founded in keyword research and are designed to drive traffic to your website.
2. Legal Brand Video: Longer video that communicates what makes your firm unique through emotional storytelling; sales-focused and conversion-driven
3. Testimonial Video: Allow your clients to speak for you by talking about their personal experience with your firm; highly engaging and relatable for prospective clients.
Each of these types of video fit into a different stage of the buyer’s journey. If fully implemented, you’ll have content that engages potential clients at every stage of awareness, whether they’re just researching what to do after an accident or they’re comparing local attorneys in their market.
The great thing about leveraging video in your marketing strategy is that there’s no shortage of potential – there are countless ways to incorporate legal video into your content distribution.
Here are just a handful of ways you can leverage legal video in your 2018 marketing strategy:
● Embed your video on your website homepage
● Upload your video to YouTube
● Upload your video to your firm’s Facebook page natively
● Include a link to your video on your Avvo profile
● Include a link and thumbnail of your video in your staff’s email signature
To read a full breakdown of how you can leverage legal video to grow your law firm, you can get our free eBook here.
5. Customer-Centric Content
If you want to produce content that converts, customer-centricity isn’t just a nice to have – it’s a need to have.
While most attorneys know they need content marketing in some capacity, few firms effectively focus their efforts, leading to an abundance of content with a scarcity of results to show for it.
The idea that every piece of content you produce should be designed with the customer in mind is crucial in understanding how some marketing strategies trump others. Your focus should be fixed on the client, not keyword research, SEO benefits, or conversion goals. If you create content that is laser focused on the needs and desires of your ideal client, optimal results will follow. In fact, 82% of consumers feel more connected to a brand after consuming relevant, engaging content.
If you fear that you’ve been producing content that isn’t customer-centric, you’re not alone: 80% of consumers feel that brands aren’t delivering relevant or targeted messages.
The good news is that this leaves a huge opportunity for you to step in and set yourself apart from the vast expanse of irrelevant content your ideal client is being exposed to on a daily basis.
Here’s a quick beginner’s guide to creating a customer-centric content marketing plan:
1. Develop your ideal client persona: If you could wake up every morning and represent the same person again and again, who would they be?
2. Identify your ideal client’s needs: With your ideal persona in mind, figure out what content they’re searching for and what problem they’re trying to solve. This will allow you to fine tune your content marketing efforts.
3. Create personalized content, distribute, repeat: Create personalized, educational content that adds significant value to your ideal client. Use data and past experience to determine how best to distribute the content, and continue to produce high-quality, valuable content.
Customer-centric content doesn’t just have to take the form of blog posts. Video can also be customer-centric, if you craft a customer-focused message. Rather than talking at length about your own skills and years of experience, you can use video as a medium to answer questions like:
● Why do you enjoy representing your clients?
● How does it feel when you’re able to help a client?
● Why are you uniquely qualified to represent clients in your practice area?
● What experiences have you had that show prospective clients you know what they’re going through?
Attorney Howard Spiva does a great job of incorporating a customer-focused message into his legal brand video. He’s able to simultaneously connect with potential clients through empathy and shared experiences while also boosting perceive brand authority through his client testimonials.
If it sounds like a lot of work, it might be. But, this effort will pay off in the long run, as you’ll eventually determine which type of content is most effective and invest your time and energy in the right channels. Just think about the time you’ll save by cutting the fat on your current content marketing efforts and getting rid of content that isn’t relevant to your ideal persona.
2018 is sure to be a powerhouse year in legal marketing, especially with the rise of exciting and accessible tools like AI and video marketing. While incorporating every one of these strategies may not be a realistic option for your firm in the new year, we’d encourage you to try at least one and see how it impacts your firm’s marketing efforts.
For a full breakdown of these strategies, including additional ways to implement them in your law firm, you can download our eBook here.
Michael Mogill is the Founder and CEO of Crisp Video Group (http://www.crispvideo.com/legal), a national legal video marketing company that produces high-quality and engaging legal videos for attorneys all over the country. Crisp Video is consistently recognized for creating engaging legal videos that help attorneys see a 2 to 10 times increase in average case values. By simply bringing in higher-value cases, attorneys who produce videos with Crisp Video see an average return on investment of 300% and routinely double and triple their revenue — sometimes within just 6 months. He has been featured in Forbes, Avvo, ABA, PILMMA, The Huffington Post, and The Wall Street Journal.