A study by UK based, international marketing agency Palladous, showed that half of East Coast Law firms had neglected basic strategies, such as completing their online profiles, and were missing out on sales and business as a result. In Greenwich Village a shocking 4.4% had completed all the essential steps to maximize their online presence.
With 85% of local customers finding businesses in their area using the internet according to a survey published on the Yelp blog, dating back to 2012, and more recent estimates putting the figure at closer to 90%, there’s no doubt that the slice of the market available to those businesses pursuing offline only strategies is shrinking. Some recent estimates put the 2015 figure at closer to 90%.
Despite this, many law firms, retain traditional marketing strategies that become more expensive and less effective over time – consumers drive past billboards while their passenger scrolls through Facebook, they grab their tablet device when the TV commercials run, or fast forward past them entirely with TiVo.
The study by Palladous revealed that just over half of law firms hadn’t even undertaken the basic steps to complete their online presence and get the best results. The worst performing region was Greenwich Village where just 4.4% had taken the time to complete their Yelp profile, and even the best performing region – Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia, saw a full third of firms without complete profiles.
Steve Brownlie, Consulting Director at Palladous, had this to say: “Ask a litigation lawyer what they would use a magic wand for, and the common answer is – get me more clients – but many fail to actually do the basics right online, enabling those clients to find them.”
Completing online profiles on these online sites can lead to outsized returns on time and money invested for law firms as many of the platforms offer free registration for a standard page. The most popular are the Google Local listing driven by their Google My Business product, and Yelp, but business owners should also claim and fix as many of their listings as possible.
Use of video, compelling text and photos wherever possible is another way to increase the lead generating power of these sites. They give the opportunity to have another presence on the web showcasing the law firm, partners and location.
Once the profiles are set up, reviews become one of the key factors in determining how successful an individual law firm’s presence will be. There are a number of products to help law firms become more organised with achieving reviews such as Get Five Stars. This allows business owners to navigate happy customers to the main listings sites to leave feedback, but capture negative feedback for the immediate attention of the owners. This allows firms to build a positive public image, and rebuild relationships with unhappy customers – combining to deliver stronger growth, as well as better customer retention.
Reviews have been shown to influence buying decisions of up to 90% of online searchers. Law firms without complete profiles on sites such as Yelp, and Google My Business, are less likely to secure these valuable reviews, and therefore less likely to secure future business from those sources.
Successful law firms should not, naturally, look to scale back on their already successful marketing activities, whether they are on or offline, but they should constantly evaluate where their money and time is being invested to ensure they take advantage of newer opportunities. When the barriers to entry are so low on most of these platforms, and the powerful impact they’re shown to have on nine out of ten consumers, it makes sense to take the online marketing of a law practice seriously.