Challenges & Opportunities for the Legal Sector 2016
Despite more than 30% of companies increasing marketing staff and marketing budgets since 2014, digital budgets remain a small proportion of marketing spend for many law firms. Using a report from Econsultancy and The Lawyer, as well as our own experience with our clients in the law sector, we have been looking at what opportunities there are for law firms in the sphere of digital marketing in 2016 and beyond.
Overview: Law Firms and DigitalIn the report co-authored by EConsultancy and The Lawyer magazine, it was found that:
only 16% of respondents used Paid Search as part of their digital marketing campaigns; while some 59% used SEO for natural search trafficThis presents an excellent opportunity to get ahead of the competition. Savvy law firms are embracing newer advertising channels such as social media and larger networks.
The Challenge: CompetitionThe law sector is highly competitive, we empathise – we work in a similarly competitive industry! The key is to find your differentiation and ensure that these are communicated to the right people at the right time. When choosing online advertising or promotion, knowing your audiences and their behaviour is paramount. As more law firms are turning to digital to reach wider audiences and make quicker conversions, competition is on the rise.
The Opportunity:Now is the time to develop a digital strategy. Whilst only 16% of law firms were carrying out paid search marketing in the survey, that number will surely rise, as will competition. Making digital a part of your overall marketing plan now will ease you into the inevitable shift to digital (it’s already happened in most industries). Paying particular attention to the four stages of a customer journey:
Attract – Awareness and research
Convert – Finding a number of potential law firms, considering which one to choose
Close – The final decision
Delight – Where customers become advocates (pun not intended!) for your firm.
The Challenge: High CPCsIt’s true that some legal keywords are in the Top 100 most expensive. Recently, SEMRush created a list of the most expensive keywords (single keyword and long-tail keywords) in the UK. In reality, the bulk of the list is dominated by gambling search terms. But some more specific longtail keywords from the legal sector found their way into the top 100:
The Opportunity:It’s worth noting that these are average prices in highly competitive and specific legal areas; the whole point of employing a digital marketing agency or an in-house marketer is to look at ways to reduce this cost, or to increase conversions to achieve a better ROI.
The Challenge: Mobile OptimisationMobile remains an untapped resource; only 4 of the top 20 firms in The Lawyer 200 list have responsive websites (that is, a website that automatically re-formats itself to be readable on different devices such as tablets and smartphones). People are five times more likely to leave a site that isn’t mobile-friendly.
The Opportunity:This is one of the easiest ways to improve visibility across search (paid and organic). Because of the high number of agencies without mobile-friendly sites, this is your chance to immediately get ahead of the competition. Google looks favourably upon mobile-friendly sites and will often list them higher than those sites which are not responsive.
The Argument for Paid Search/SEO vs. Traditional MediaThis is where digital marketing can provide more than traditional marketing. With print, tv and radio advertising you are able to target your audience somewhat, but you will always be paying for extra views from people other than your target market. With digital advertising you are in control, you can accurately measure the results and your return on investment and can pause/stop/start campaigns with immediate effect. Quick reasons to choose digital:
- Easier to control budgets; cheaper to reach wide audience compared to TV/Radio/Print
- More accurate – it is far easier to pinpoint the people you want to show your advertising to.
- Reach a wider audience, more regularly than print media.
- Measurable – every step of the process is measured and can be analysed to find out what works and what doesn’t
- Digital allows you to be available to clients 24/7 – your ads run and potential clients can find you even when your office shuts.
Case StudySince taking over their AdWords management, we have achieved some great things with one new law firm client in just the first 60 days of working together:
- ClickThrough Rate has increased by 224.4%
- Conversion rate has increased by 19.2%
- Conversions have increased by 84%