RECAP of the 2018 Law Firm Digital Marketing Survey: Trends & Best Practices
The Legal Marketing Association (LMA) in conjunction with Good2bSocial conducted a survey, and follow up webinar, regarding digital marketing trends and best practices amongst law firms. The survey asked legal marketers about their law firm digital marketing strategies to raise awareness of their firm, its practice groups to generate new business opportunities from prospective and existing clients.
Guy Alvarez, CEO of Good2bSocial lead the discussion with guest presenters Jay Plum, Director of Communications at Bracewell LLP and Jeff Berardi, CMO of K&L Gates LLP who shared their thoughts and experiences with digital marketing at their firms.
Key points from the webinar for legal marketing teams:
- There are many opportunities in digital marketing that law firms can utilize to raise awareness and generate new business.
- Legal marketers face challenges when implementing digital marketing programs and the resolutions to those obstacles.
- Leading firms measure the success of their digital marketing campaigns.
After kicking off the webinar by introducing the presenters and reviewing the learning outcomes, Guy Alvarez, our moderator, asked both Jay and Jeff what their firm’s current approach to digital marketing was.
Jay responded first and explained that his firm was primarily focused on supporting brand efforts. Jay added that they secondarily want to make sure they are using different social and digital marketing platforms to support the firm’s content marketing efforts and promote the firm as a thought leader.
Following up, Jeff agreed with Jay and explained that his firm’s focus is along those same lines. Although he included that they were focused on making sure the content they generate is relevant and valuable for their target audience. he also made a point to say that creating a greater degree of engagement was a key objective in their efforts.
Guy wrapped up and said that he was happy to hear that both firms were focusing on engagement because for a period of time he felt digital was looked at as just as another platform to distribute content. He feels digital serves as a fantastic opportunity to create and have conversations.
Law Firm Digital Marketing Opportunities
Guy then transitioned into the opportunities in digital marketing and asked Jay and Jeff for their thoughts. Jeff spoke first about the opportunity to bridge the gap between the different functions of his team and the unique ability to shift from a general broadcast to a narrower more targeted approach.
Jay stated that his firm sees a valuable opportunity to extend the reach of their marketing team by creating brand ambassadors. He feels that if his firm’s employees can become ambassadors on various social media platforms they can avoid communication via an ‘anonymous corporate identity’.
Alvarez agreed while referencing the survey by noting that law firm marketing teams should strive to meet all of these objectives. Guy added a note here that as firms become more sophisticated they should expect to be reaching multiple goals. They would then be able to focus attention towards the bottom line by asking questions such as:
- Are your digital marketing efforts generating new business opportunities?
- Is there an increase in work from existing clients?
These are the pertinent questions that need to be asked when evaluating the final success of digital marketing efforts.
After discussing the opportunities in digital marketing, Guy shifted the conversation over to the challenges. He asked, “What are some of the biggest challenges you face when you’re trying to implement law firm digital marketing strategies?”
Jeff answered by saying that there is so much to do. He sees a problem in sifting through the range of options in a way that makes sense for his firm and industry. Another issue is pushing the envelope when trying new things. His firm doesn’t have processes or controls in place to ensure they are dotting their i’s and crossing their t’s. He finished with a short note about having trouble communicating effectively within a large complex organization.
For Jay and his firm the main challenge is keeping up with the rapid developments in technology and best practices.
The Legal Marketing Association survey showed that lack of buy in from firm leadership was their biggest challenge:
Jeff and Jay both felt that convincing firm leadership to try new tactics is a challenge and best done through continuous education and the communication of results. They both stated that conveying the impact of digital marketing on the bottom line is a vital component when communicating to leadership.
According to our presenters there are a few questions legal marketers need to be asking:
- Is your firm measuring ROI?
- Are you analyzing the data you’re collecting and if so, how are you doing it?
- Are you communicating the impact of your digital campaigns accurately?
Social Media for Law Firms
When it comes to the topic of social media for law firm digital marketing, it’s is no surprise that LinkedIn remains the top channel.
Both Jeff and Jay agreed that LinkedIn is the most important platform for their business in a general business communication sense. Although, Jay noted, Twitter is equally important to his firm to communicate with industry leaders. He explained that twitter serves as the best platform for them to engage with thought leaders, journalists, and bloggers. Whereas Jeff explained that his focus is joining the Instagram community as he is seeing the potential of that platform.
It is important to highlight that Jeff, Jay, and Guy all spoke optimistically regarding Instagram. They feel Instagram has replaced Facebook as the social media platform preference for millennials. Therefore, it has become the platform where firms can search for and acquire talent. Due to its visual nature it is easier to communicate things like culture and community involvement.
To recap, all social media platforms need to be utilized in the appropriate manner in order to reach your target audience. Start with your objectives (talent acquisition, thought leadership, etc.) and then decide which social media platform provides the best pathway to your goals.
Measurement & Analytics
How are you measuring the success of your law firm digital marketing campaigns and what are you doing with that data?
The main takeaway is that simply measuring data is not enough. All three speakers agreed that conducting a deep analysis of the data collected is necessary. Alvarez explained that the idea is to study the data in order to create a model to optimize future content production.
When looking through the data some questions you should be asking questions are:
- What relationships exist between your successful pieces of content?
- How can you change your strategies in the future to optimize engagement and effectiveness?
- Bottom line – what works and why?
Some conclusions might be obvious, but like Guy said, the cold hard data in front of you cements those fundamental strategies. Guy also made a point to suggest tying actions to results on a campaign basis. By working on a campaign basis rather than a firm wide basis you can create more actionable insights. The goal is to find the most tangible results possible. (tying back into overcoming pushback from leadership)
Here are the survey results for measuring the success of law firm digital marketing:
The webinar was finally wrapped up with Guy answering some questions from the listeners.
One of the listeners mentioned that everything discussed seemed resource intensive. In their case they only had a small team of three and were curious how they could optimize a strategy with that in mind.
Guy responded by recommending that they start small. He said they should focus on one thing at a time, whether that is social, SEO, etc. He also added that it would be a good idea to first dial in who their target audience is and go from there.
Legal marketers of both large, medium and small firms are continually learning and adapting to the changing environment around us. Which is exactly why conducting surveys like this, that include social media for law firms, is so important for understanding the landscape around us.
A big thank you to Guy Alvarez at Good2bSocial and the LMA for hosting this informative webinar and to Jeff Berardi, and Jay Plum for adding their valuable input and for answering our questions!