Looking back at the past year, my law firm clients executed some amazing digital marketing strategies that resulted in phenomenal success. While many campaigns were home runs, others failed completely. But the beauty of digital marketing is our ability to measure the difference between a win and a fail. Knowing what worked and what didn’t helps us formulate future campaigns and strategies. Here are some of the highlights from 2014.
Let’s first take a look at what worked well.
This deserves a top spot in my list of winners. Several Jaffe clients developed mobile versions of their websites this year. The results were powerful. Not only did organic search traffic increase significantly across the board (up to 30 percent in some cases), but engagement data also shows mobile visitors were better able to navigate and perform desired tasks. And that meant higher conversion rates – more contact forms submitted, more content sharing on social media and more phones ringing with new business.
Google has been highly transparent about its stance on mobile: Websites with mobile-friendly versions will rank better in search results. Google has even given us a mobile-friendly testing tool and recently rolled out a mobile-friendly label. If you haven’t “mobilized” your site yet, you’re losing website traffic and potential clients.
On many different levels, blogging scored big. Consistent blogging:
- Positions attorneys as authorities in their fields
- Drives website traffic and improves SEO
- Provides original content to share on social media and repurpose across the Internet
Law firms that published high-quality, thoughtful content saw website traffic soar. Make sure your law firm publishes its unique blog content on your firm’s domain or your firm’s blogging domain. Use third-party aggregate sites like JD Supra, Lexology and Mondaq to amplify your distribution efforts. (Don’t use third-party sites as your primary blog publisher.) Your firm needs to own its original content to receive full credit from search engines. Also, select topics that are relevant and allow you to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise. And don’t forget to include keywords that your target market would use to search for your blog.
LinkedIn for Lawyers
Of all the social media sites, LinkedIn continues to be the winner for attorneys. Whether your goal is to drive business development or build brand awareness, your target market frequents LinkedIn. By creating an all-star profile and engaging in relevant LinkedIn groups, this online networking tool connected many of my clients with their desired audiences.
On a firm level, company pages seemed to chug along – metrics were not overwhelmingly brilliant, but law firms that built and maintained LinkedIn company pages seemed to drive website traffic and online engagement. Despite having a horrible user interface, LinkedIn launched a quick view of data within a company page stream. This makes it really easy to see which updates are resonating … and which aren’t.
Moving on to what failed in digital marketing ...
Law Firm Facebook Pages
I really wish this digital channel worked for legal services marketing. But I’m not seeing it. (If you know of an amazing law firm Facebook Page, please share it in the comment below.) With 1.35 billion active monthly users, Facebook obviously reaches your target market and has the functionality to put your content in front of them. It just seems that people do not want to engage with law firm marketing messages in their Facebook streams.
Even though Facebook Pages failed, I did see some success with individual attorneys using their Facebook profiles to distribute their blogs and other website content. However, many lawyers don’t want to blend their work lives and personal lives, making this a difficult medium to use across the board.
The ugly duckling of social media didn’t see a miraculous transformation this year. Google killed its authorship rich snippets this past summer, leaving very few reasons to leverage Google+. Apart from using Google+ to verify and optimize your law firm Places listing, most firms and attorneys don’t want to waste their time. As an SEO person, I see the value in Google+ but haven’t seen any Google+ Pages for law firms that are rocking it. There are several Google+ attorney profiles, but word on the Google+ street is that lawyers are probably wasting their time trying to dig up business on Google+.
Failing to Analyze Metrics
Note that’s analyze, not gather. With so many options these days for digital marketing measurement tools, it seems that many law firms get stuck in a paralysis-by-analysis mode. They want to measure a myriad of metrics and research multiple tools that promise the world. But data in itself means nothing. Pick one or two or five measurement tools, and start digging into the data. Don’t be distracted by shiny new products that promise to automate, consolidate and amalgamate your latest marketing campaign metrics. Know what you need to measure and how you’re going to measure it, and then roll up your sleeves.
Let’s take what we learned in 2014 and apply that knowledge to 2015. I would love to hear what your greatest legal marketing successes and failures were in 2014. Comment below, or shoot an email to me, Melanie Trudeau, at firstname.lastname@example.org.