As the year draws to a close, most businesses are looking to the future. They’re asking themselves ‘What does 2017 hold for my brand?’ It is an important question because the fortunes of contemporary companies have become closely tied to rapidly shifting social and cultural trends.
The legal industry is no exception. With digital and mobile technologies playing an ever greater part in law firm marketing, companies must know how to adapt to current trends. The following predictions outline the developments that will shape law firm marketing in 2017.
1. Online Presence Is Everything
The company website will become the most important aspect of law firm advertising, rather than a supplementary tool to boost offline efforts. According to Hinge, 77% of legal firms now generate the majority of their business leads online. This means that companies will have to invest more time and expertise in creating a slick, super functional platform.
2. User Generated Ratings Dominate
Even legal firms are now subject to the rigors of user generated rating systems. These days, many consumers simply won’t consider a business unless they can access reviews and testimonials from previous customers. This is the case even if a firm is rated highly by industry leaders. Yelp, Google, Facebook and Avvo reviews hold a lot of value.
3. The Decline of Keyword Searches
According to Google, the popularity of branded keyword searches is on the decline. Instead, businesses are using non-branded long tail phrases to help users locate their content faster. For instance, ‘Illinois divorce lawyer for family with special needs,’ as opposed to simply ‘Illinois divorce lawyers.’
4. Conversions via Content Downloads
In 2017, a strategy that is sure to pick up pace is marketing via free content downloads. This is a clever way to persuade consumers to hand over their email addresses. You’re not just asking them to sign up for something – for your benefit – you’re actually offering a free tool or reward in return. This taps into the need for a stronger connection between brands and the market.
5. The Great Forum Revival
In many ways, forums can seem like a rather old fashioned form of marketing, but they continue to be very influential. In 2017, law firms should be taking advantage of this by posting valuable content on high authority sites. Not only does this create backlinks, it shows that the company is willing to engage with consumers, rather than just throwing advertising at them.
6. Social Media Reigns Supreme
It won’t come as a surprise to find that social media is expected to play a big part in law firm marketing next year. The average client spends 16 minutes every hour on social media, so this is a big opportunity to connect and motivate. Being able to get to know law firms, via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+ helps prospective customers identify companies that they believe share their values.