As a digital marketing strategist for dozens of law firms and attorneys around the country, I often get similar questions from my clients. Whether you’re a member of a large law firm marketing department, a solo marketer at a mid-size firm or an attorney with an interest in marketing, here are answers to some of your most-asked questions.
Should our firm be on TikTok?
As with any marketing channel, the first question you need to ask about TikTok is, “Can I reach my desired audience on this channel in an effective way?” If the answer is yes, the challenge will be to develop clever, creative campaigns that raise the visibility of the firm or an attorney and conform to the style of content on TikTok.
While TikTok might have started out as a social media platform for people to showcase their latest dance moves, the platform has evolved into a place where users share all kinds of creative visual content. Look at what two recent Harvard Law graduates started doing on TikTok: Maclen and Ashleigh have garnered more than 550,000 followers and 10.6 million likes by answering common legal questions. It’s quirky, it’s fun and people love it.
Our website is eight years old. Should we redesign it?
While it might be tempting to trash your entire website and start from scratch, first —
before deciding to undertake a complete website redesign — consider whether refreshing design elements or upgrading functionality would bring it up to date. With custom-built websites costing between $30,000 and $150,000, a scaled-down approach would be much easier on your marketing budget.
Ask yourself if redesigning your home page, updating your navigation structure, or revising attorney bio pages with edited content and new headshots will make your site more visually appealing, interesting and easier to navigate. Most open-source content management systems like WordPress and Drupal are kept secure and compatible with regular developer updates to make design and functionality changes straightforward without the need to completely develop a new website.
Can we share third-party content on our LinkedIn profile or on our firm page?
Sharing articles, images or videos from online sources other than your law firm is a good way to position yourself or your firm as a thought leader. Providing insight or analysis about a topic will also showcase your experience and knowledge, and increase the chances of engagement with your posts. When sourcing content to share, though, make sure you pull from reliable and high-quality websites as your posts will reflect on you and provide full attribution to the original source/outlet and author.
How often can we send a law firm email newsletter/legal alert?
When looking at your frequency model, consider sending your campaigns to segments of your email list. For instance, if you have a client alert or newsletter about a certain subject, you should send it only to the contacts in your database who are tagged to that practice area. If your message is helpful and informational, people will appreciate your emails and not search for the unsubscribe link.
Your email database is one of the firm’s most valuable marketing assets, so protecting against list shrinkage should be a top priority. Depending on the quality of your database, you will almost always get unsubscribes when you send an email campaign. Therefore, a higher frequency of campaigns will simultaneously lead to a higher number of unsubscribes. To ensure the lowest possible unsubscribe rate, every email campaign should provide information of value, be visually appealing and be sent on a day/time when your audience is least likely to unsubscribe (i.e., not late on Friday afternoons).
Our firm has a one-star review on Google. Can we take it down?
Obviously, negative reviews can damage your personal reputation and your firm’s perceived trustworthiness — and a pattern of negative reviews compounds the reputational damage. Since online reviews are highly visible in Google search results, your current and potential client base will undoubtedly see them when conducting basic online research.
Reviews cannot be removed if you simply disagree with or don’t like them. However, if a review violates Google’s content policy, you can report it from your Google Business account, a Google search results page or a Google Maps listing. Once a report has been triggered, Google will assess the review and remove it if it violates their content policy.
If Google will not remove a review, you can respond to the negative review and encourage the reviewer to contact the firm offline, via a phone number or email address. The goal is to show that the firm is responsive and takes feedback seriously. At the same time, get the conversation offline so a back-and-forth conversation isn’t happening publicly.
How do we measure the success of our marketing program?
With digital marketing (your firm website, social media channels, email marketing platform, digital ads), your platforms should all have built-in analytics tracking, allowing you to measure impressions, visits, clicks and other interactions. Website traffic platforms like Google Analytics can provide deep insights that allow you to drill down into site interactions, changes over time, geographic and demographic data, and other valuable metrics. Social media platforms (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter) or social sharing platforms (Hootsuite, Buffer) all have analytics tracking that is somewhat limited but still provides metrics on post performance, audience engagement and best times to share. Use this data to find trends and inform your future digital marketing strategy.
For offline initiatives (outside signage, collateral pieces or sponsorships), consider using QR codes or custom domain names so you can measure interactions with your offline assets.
Is it worth submitting attorneys for legal rankings and recognitions? How do I know if a ranking is credible?
There are thousands of legitimate U.S. and international rankings, lists, surveys and awards that recognize lawyers. The key is to prioritize the rankings that align most closely with your marketing and business development goals, and then optimize your time and effort to prepare the submissions. Look for ways to recycle/reuse submission information in client alerts, articles, media relations or other thought leadership pieces.
Beware of solicitations to participate in pay-to-play “awards” and think twice before purchasing the plaques and promotional items that really don’t do much to increase your visibility or reputation.
Should our law firm website have video?
Producing video content for your law firm can be more complicated than developing other types of content, but it’s often worth the effort. Videos provide a medium for your audience to see what the firm stands for, get a sense of an attorney’s personality and consume information quickly. The type of videos you create should align with your overall marketing strategy. For instance, if you are looking to recruit new attorneys, you would consider producing a video that showcases what it’s like to work at the firm with short testimonials from practice heads, new hires and the managing partner.
Video content can go well beyond just filling a spot on your website. Showcase videos on social media to increase post engagement and grow your social media following, or use video in a pitch meeting to explain a process that’s unique to your firm.
While I’ve just scratched the surface here, I hope you’ve either learned something new or found reassurance that your marketing instincts are correct. If there are questions that I’ve missed, please feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com.
This article originally appeared online for The National Law Review on March 24, 2022.