Solo and Small Law Firm Marketing Trends for 2018 (Latest Marketing Methods – Producing the Most New Clients)
This year, 2018, will continue to produce Significant frustration and downward Cost and revenue pressure on small and solo firms, due to three important factors:
Strong Website + Lead Generation
Sites that posted engaging content were also shown to have an average ‘time-on-site’ (the amount of time an average visitor stayed on their website) six times longer than their poorly-performing competitors, indicating an increased interest and involvement because of content written in ‘laymen’s terms’, frequently asked questions answered, videos embedded alongside content, and testimonials. Bankruptcy practitioners had the most testimonials, on average.
Follow up on Reviews
A recent study found that 67% of consumers are influenced by positive and negative reviews.
Mailing physical books to potential clients
First phone consult performed, appointment approved, potential client scheduled for in-office appointment 2-5 days hence. (36% reduction in ‘no-show’ speed) For the first time, ever, mobile traffic and searches has surpassed desktop and notebook traffic. Mobile traffic is expected to reach a 72 — 77% penetration by the end of 2018, which makes it a vital focus for all marketing channels.
Since YouTube is currently competing with Facebook for video consumption head-on, YouTube advertising costs are roughly 75 percent less expensive than Google AdWords, making them affordable for many businesses.
Newsletters that had legal-related content only had a typical ‘read rate’ or open rate of 19 percent
For the past 70 years or more referrals from word-of-mouth is one of the top ways for attorneys to get new clients. Things have changed, however, with the development of the Internet, along with the death of newspapers, Yellow Pages, many publications, and the rise of social networking.
Firms that had the maximum 4 and 5-star testimonials were most often shown at the 3-pack of Google Maps results. Additionally, firms that had website content and SEO work done to maximize the diversity of the keyword rankings were listed in the 3-pack top results nearly three times as often. (i.e. don’t focus solely on “Dallas divorce lawyer” but also “Best Dallas Divorce Lawyers”, “Custody Laws in Dallas”, and other related key words) Several companies mentioned that they focused on a list of 50+ questions prospective clients asked most often, using these questions as their rank targets.
Routine e-Newsletters to Past Clients
You have their telephone number or email address (advanced tactic — not detailed here)
For a long time getting the most links to a site was a sure way to achieve high search rankings in Google. Because it was so successful it started to be abused to the point where you could purchase 1,000 hyperlinks for $5 on Fiverr and other crowdsourcing websites. Google then changed its search algorithm to rank the quality of each link and disavowed countless hyperlinks murdering their search engine rankings.
Strategy#3: Regular, Ongoing Addition of Engaging Content to Your Firm’s Website
Firms reported using their books in the following ways:
Since more than 55% of all web searches are now mobile, you need to be certain that your website looks great on tablets, iPad, iPhone, Android, and other mobile phones. The simplest method is to get your website be “responsive”, allowing it to automatically display it in an optimized format for any device people use to look at your website.
The link is from a local business, or other entity (i.e. local newspaper, university, hospital, government agency)
From tests conducted by Speakeasy Marketing on attorney sites, an average re-targeting budget spend of $25 per week ($100 a month) was enough to garner two — 3 additional potential customer calls to an attorney.
The biggest companies in America have found it so effective, nearly 100% of the Fortune 2000 use it.
Firms that created relatively few, commercial-style videos, perceived YouTube to be of suspicious or zero value. Firms that relied on ‘talking head’, educational, single-question, brief (2-3 min) videos experienced the most benefit.
Successful companies reported receiving an average of 3 new links’ each month, and a 6-9 month period before they saw significant increases in website traffic, and new clients.
Although just 0.5% of law firms surveyed have experimented with YouTube advertising, campaigns run by Speakeasy Marketing, one other marketing and advertising firm, and two reporting law firms claim that the quantity of new customers attributable to YouTube advertising is important and highly profitable.
Firms that reported the most success in accumulating the most reviews did the following:
(a ‘bounce’ means a visitor landed on a page, and left without visiting any other pages, without calling, without emailing, and without getting a lead).
- Sixty percent of top-performing law firms reported that they added new content to their websites on a monthly basis, while 32% of top-performing firms reported incorporating fresh articles on a weekly basis. (8 percent reported adding content every 6 months or less)
- Facebook currently claims 1.2 billion registered users that spend an average of 88 minutes every day on their website. Although law firms were encouraged to have a Facebook page and request ‘enjoys’, this strategy was proven to be ineffective or ‘effectiveness not understood’ by 96 percent of law firms.
E-mailing potential customers at all phases of the marketing process (steps outlined previously)
Because re-targeted individuals have already experienced and seen your internet presence and/or website, they are much more responsive than chilly traffic — they already know a little about you. Re-targeting is a major, up and coming marketing strategy for 2018. Yellow Pages, Newspaper ads, and a near complete reliance on referrals and word of mouth are affecting long-time practitioners (20+ years’ experience) up to five times more than younger attorneys (0 — 7 years’ experience), as a result of entrenched beliefs about marketing, and the fear of
utilizing internet-based technologies and marketing channels.
YouTube promises to revolutionize legal marketing, because it enables potential clients to see, hear, and get a sense of how you would represent them, allowing them to determine whom to call with a high level of confidence.
The typical ROI (return on investment) of a monthly e-newsletter was 5.7 to 1 By seeing something from you it reminds them of who you are, you’re kept ‘top of mind ‘so if they’re asked for an attorney recommendation, they can forward your newsletter and have some content to talk about also.
Visit your website
Amongst 600 law firms surveyed, the following marketing strategies were mentioned or observed to be most capable of attracting the most potential new clients:
As reported previously, in 2015, mobile visitors from iPads, tablets, Android and iPhone smartphones rose from 17% to 55% of all visits to legal websites. For the first time, ever, mobile searches and traffic has surpassed desktop and notebook traffic. Mobile traffic is expected to reach a 72 — 77% penetration by the end of 2018, making it a crucial focus for all marketing channels.
Attorneys that had non-mobile-friendly sites, or a separate mobile-version of their website reported a substantial reduction in their website traffic over 2015.
Attorney taking photos of themselves holding their publication — putting these images on their website
The most successful and visible places for testimonials were: the firm’s website, AVVO, Google+ and Yelp
Websites that posted engaging content were reported to experience 20-35% lower bounce rates
You can retarget people that:
- As mentioned previously in this article, YouTube now receives over 1 billion search requests daily, and reports that over 28% of all videos watched are ‘how-to’ or educational videos. Videos of this type include ones which answer legal questions in all practice areas.
- The link is from a related, or similar business (i.e. legal-related websites)
- Mentioning their books as part of the social media promotion
- They asked for testimonials at various milestones during active representation of a client’s situation (19 percent), vs. firms that waited until a case had successfully resolved before asking (81 percent)
Here is how it works, such as: You see Amazon and search for a camera. Then you visit other websites like Money.com, the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, or ESPN.com and an ad appears on this site for the exact same merchandise you just visited on Amazon. The technology that enables those ads to show up on other sites you visit is called ‘re-targeting’.
First phone consult performed, appointment declined, potential customer either said they would call back, or needed more attorneys to call, or had to “think about it” (12% growth in client callbacks)
The link was meritoriously earned, not compensated for (difficult to determine, but possible)
More specifically, attorneys surveyed reported that the following increases in conversion rates:
Fragmentation of media choice. Prospective clients now regularly use Facebook, Yelp, Google search, Google pay per click, Bing, Yahoo, AVVO, select sociable networking stations, YouTube, and other procedures for finding and evaluating attorneys. Incredibly, 84% of people surveyed claimed to have searched the internet for information about various attorneys before calling any specific firm. Attorneys that limit their marketing to one site or marketing channel are vulnerable to massive risk of disturbance at the whim of Google, Bing, Yahoo, AVVO, Yelp, or other programs. The most successful firms surveyed utilize an average of four marketing channels to attract clients.
Facebook Advertising to Get Clients, Not ‘Likes’
Lawyers who authored a “How-to Survive a DUI Arrest”, “What to do if involved in a Car Accident”, and other consumer-based novels, reported an average increase of 22 percent of the percentage of possible customers who retained them in all stages of the marketing lifecycle.
Posting book contents on their website in article format (8-15 articles’ generated = 7,000 words)
According to Google’s quality guidelines, accidentally leaked 18 months ago, quality links have the following characteristics:
Obtaining Legal-Related Backlinks to Your Website
Downloadable e-book on their site (such as lead-capture form of title, telephone#, email)
Receive your newsletter
3 percent of law firms surveyed reported using re-targeting, though none used tracking data like dedicated phone numbers or special landing pages or sites to ascertain its ROI.
Search engines have publicly stated that sites that continually add value, educational content to searchers often draw 3 to 9 times’ more traffic over a 12 month period than static sites.
Firms that sent a newsletter quarterly, reported that an average ROI of only 1.4 to 1
YouTube, owned by Google, is currently the second largest search engine in the world (Google is the largest).
Since YouTube is perceived as a search engine (just like Google), prospective clients use keywords to search for ‘how-to’ videos, and also for videos which provide answers to legal questions. Lawyers who made over 50 videos, on average, reported a significant number of additional customers retained solely due to their YouTube videos.
The link was given from a website that was in good standing with Google (not a ‘spammy’ site)
Probably the most underutilized and many successful methods of getting more visitors to your site is called retargeting. You’ve seen it several times, but until now, not realized what was happening.
Often overlooked is how do your emails look when read from a mobile device. Stats show 75% of people read a substantial percent of all their emails from a mobile device.
First phone consult performed, potential client showed up for in-office appointment, given retainer paperwork, and client retained. (5% increase in customers kept, given an already high retention rate at this stage)
Maximizing Google Maps Rankings for Dozens of Keywords
89% of companies surveyed reported a 1 in 190 unsubscribe request rate over a 1 year period
In April of 2015, Google publicly stated that it would give preference in its search results to sites that are mobile friendly and penalize websites that were not mobile friendly.
They used a 2-tier strategy, first offering a survey, then requesting positive respondents for reviews.
Only 7% of firms surveyed had one or more specific, Facebook campaigns offering educational videos, articles, and direct marketing advertisements in the newsfeed of individuals targeted demographically, geographically (within a 15 mile radius of the firm’s office(s)), and based on interests.
Though this practice was demonized by lots of people, because of Google’s insistence that links should be ‘naturally made’ vs. solicited, successful companies, without exception, reported participating in active link building.
A survey of over 78 Google Maps’ listings in major metros across the USA revealed that top-ranking companies had an average of nine, 5-star reviews. Assessing this statistic to top restaurants (average of 238 reviews) and dentists (average of 27 reviews), lawyers have a relatively low threshold required to rank well in Google Maps.
Firms that sent a yearly newsletter reported ‘no results’ in their newsletter
Since 2013, over 138,500 law firm websites reported losing 60 — 100 percent of the search engine traffic, attributing their reduction to a ‘Google penalty’.
Firms that reported sending an e-newsletter to past clients reported the following:
Businesses that sent a monthly newsletter obtained a mean of 2.1 new customers per thousand recipients per month.
They consistently asked for testimonials from all past clients, asking an average of 2.8 times over a period of one month.
Average conversion rates for legal sites (a conversion means that a visitor either called, emailed, or started a live-chat session) were reported to be a measly 0.33%, meaning 1 in 300 visitors became a lead, compared to top-performing websites that reported a conversion rate of 1.03 percent (meaning approximately 1 in 100 visitors became a lead — 3x the rate of badly performing websites).