## Update January 2nd 2019: We’ve just published Ken’s own take on marketing and managing a law firm in 2019. See Law Firm Marketing in 2019

Is your legal marketing strategy ready for the future?

Don’t wait until January 1st to make your legal marketing resolutions. As 2019 looms closer, savvy law firms are gearing up to hit the ground running. They know that in the year ahead, personal injury clients will be even more mobile, more tech-savvy, and more demanding that their attorneys keep up.

Fortunately, we’re also seeing more creative ways to catch and hold our audience’s attention. Intelligent new techniques can integrate your marketing goals with your case management software, firm management strategies, and your firm’s values. They combine high-tech with age-old techniques. And they’re key to remaining relevant in the years ahead.

We predict 5 continuing trends for legal marketing in 2019: it will be mobile, visual, vocal, local, data-rich, and just the beginning. Here’s what each of those will look like, along with tips to ensure your firm is ready for the future:

1. Mobile

Your website may look lovely on a large computer screen, but how does it fare on the tiny ones? Check out PILMMA’s article on Creating a Mobile Friendly Law Firm Website for even more information.

63% of all internet traffic is now happening on mobile phones and tablets. That number is growing. With this trend in mind, Google moved this year to prioritize mobile-friendly websites in its search results.

Need to analyze your website’s mobile accessibility? A good starting place is Google’s own Mobile-Friendly Test. Not only will you diagnose your website’s insufficiencies, but the site will also give you a basic framework to understand how you can rank higher in their search results.

And the focus on mobile shouldn’t end with websites. Weave mobile access into each stage of your potential client’s experience with you and your firm.

  • Integrate your intake forms to allow potential clients to immediately send an attorney details about their incident, directly from their smartphone, at any time of any day.
  • Bring them onboard with mobile-centric e-signature platforms, like VineSign.
  • Throughout their experience, ensure they have the ability to text their legal team.

By 2021, mobile data use is expected to be seven times what it was in 2016. Ride this wave of growth to bring a boost to your law practice.

2. Visual

Eyesight is the most advanced of all our senses. Smart marketers take advantage of our inborn visual thirst with images, infographics, memes, and more. But the biggest change in visual marketing strategies in 2019 will be the continued growth of video.

Video is expected to make up an astonishing 80% of all online traffic by the end of the year. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has called its growth “a megatrend on the same order as mobile.”

Videos are a powerful way to demonstrate your mission, values, and unique brand to potential clients. Forget the cliche ad, where an attorney stands stiffly in front of a shelf of leather-bound books and says what attorneys always say. Explore more engaging genres and venues, like social media livestreams, webinars, webcasts, or animated shorts educating potential clients about a legal issue.

The market analysts at Aberdeen have found that marketers who use video increase their revenue 49% faster than those who don’t. Begin working now to create the videos that will catch your future clients’ eyes.

3. Vocal

Whether they’re named Siri or Alexa, smart speakers have entered the homes of 43 million people in the U.S. That’s 18% of the country and growing. Even more people are using voice search on their phones.

It’s a trend that transcends age demographics. While young people have shown themselves eager early adopters of vocal technologies, older folks find the voice searches more accessible than typing on tiny screens.

How can you ensure your marketing materials can keep up with this trend? Keep in mind that voice searches are more conversational than written searches, using a language that’s natural and informal. Tech analyst Purna Virji reports that vocal searches are often longer than text searches. Instead of two or three keywords, vocal searches are often complete phrases. This should change the way we think about keywords: instead of the two-word phrase, consider longer key phrases, anchored in a more conversational tone.

Vocal searches also include more questioning words. While a text search might be “injury attorney fees”, a vocal search is more likely to ask “what are an injury attorney’s fees?” Virji recommends including more of questioning words in your content to appear in these searches.

In addition to searches, more people are using vocal technologies to send texts. Clients and potential clients will often feel far more comfortable dictating a text through voice commands than calling someone. Once again, ensure you give them the ability to text you.

4. Local

A few years ago, popular searches for legal services included cities, neighborhoods, or zip codes. In 2015, Google witnessed a huge boost in searches with the qualifier “near me.” Since then, all of these location phrases have petered off.

But that’s not because people are less interested in the locality. Just the opposite: we’ve become hyperlocal. Our technology is so good at keeping track of our location that we no longer even bother to specify that we want something close to us.

Good legal marketing needs to make sure its online presence is well-rooted in the locality. Make sure your content includes location keywords, including in its titles. And verify and edit your firm’s information through Google My Business. This makes sure the free profile provided in maps and searches is valuable and appealing to potential clients.

Now is also a good time to encourage more clients to leave reviews for your services — while adhering to all advertising ethics guidelines.

5. Data-rich

John Wanamaker

In the late 1800s, marketing pioneer John Wanamaker reportedly confessed: “Half of the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

Well over a century later, too many law firms face the same quandary. They spread their marketing funds across a slew of channels and pray that only half of it will be wasted.

It doesn’t have to be this way. There are tools to help attorneys track and analyze marketing campaigns. The year ahead will see even more law firms taking control of their own data to guide their decisions and supercharge their marketing efforts.

These advanced reporting capacities can be part of your case management software. This allows you to understand the return on investment for your campaigns and watch how responses to different channels grow or shrink over time. And most importantly, with all the data in case management software, you can track cases through their life cycle, understanding the ultimate value of cases gained through different marketing techniques.

Make 2019 the year you break out of Wanamaker’s marketing woes. Learn which advertising is a waste and invest in the systems that work.

Only the Beginning

Amid all the new technologies reshaping legal marketing, experts are also emphasizing a return to an age-old value: follow-through.

Quite frankly, it’s easier to write the right keywords or make a flashy video than it is to forge a relationship with a potential client. But the best advertising in the world doesn’t matter if you fail to convert interested leads into loyal clients.

Even old-fashioned persistence can use the help of newfangled tech. Advanced case management software also functions as a Client Relationship Management (CRM) system. It can keep you oriented to the potential clients at each stage of the pipeline. It can help you create focused automatic taskflows to ensure timely, regular follow-up with potential clients. It can even automatically generate emails for you to send to remind potential clients you’re interested in serving them.

Getting the attention of a potential client is only the beginning. Your potential clients want an attorney who’s responsive, communicative, and engaging. Dedicate yourself to regular follow-up and you’ll win more loyalty than the best SEO campaign.

## Update January 2nd 2019: We’ve just published Ken’s own take on marketing and managing a law firm in 2019. See Law Firm Marketing in 2019

About the Author

ryan anderson, filevine, management software

Ryan M. Anderson is the Founder and CEO of Filevine™, which is the top-rated case management system for attorneys according to the independent review site Capterra. From its Launch in 2015, Filevine has focused on first-to-market innovation and award-winning design.

Ryan is a proud husband and father of 5 children all under the age of 11. Before starting Filevine, Ryan was a Founding Partner at Bighorn Law, a western-states law firm focusing on personal injury, mass torts and employment class-action. As a lawyer, Ryan personally litigated hundreds of cases, including numerous successful trials and 7-figure settlements.