Staying competitive means embracing digital marketing, but not all industries are adopting the tools of the new millennium at the same pace. In the legal sector, for example, only 60 percent of small law firms have websites, much less a digital strategy. The negative side of this neglect is that many firms are falling behind the curve on lead cultivation and social engagement—the flip side is that making even a small change can put you ahead of the competition. Read on for five ways to up your marketing game.

  • Referrals, reimagined – Traditionally, law firms have earned clients through word-of-mouth and networking with other providers—like bankers or accountants—who can refer their services. While this tried and true method is still effective, it’s also limited in scope. The advent of social media and content marketing has changed the referral game. Writing weekly or monthly articles and sharing them on social platforms like LinkedIn, or in forums frequented by clients, can help you reach a much larger audience—and people who read and enjoy your work will be more likely to refer you to others.
  • Specialized agencies – If you’re in a smaller firm, you might not have the internal resources to build and curate a lead-generating website, produce content, and track visitors. In this case, outsourcing to a specialized marketing firm could be the answer—freeing you up to focus on your primary work. For a monthly fee, many of your marketing needs can be met by a single vendor, and the increases in qualified leads can easily make these kinds of agencies worth the investment.
  • Measurable methods – Technology makes it easier than ever to track where client calls and referrals are coming from. Google Adwords and Analytics track the kinds of ads, keywords, and searches that pay off the most, letting you hone your efforts and your messaging to your niche. A customer relationship management (CRM) platform like Salesforce can also help you track client interactions and data to help you follow up. And CallTrackingMetrics can help you follow customer journeys from online to offline phone calls, tracing which channels work the best—and because CTM integrates with AdWords and Salesforce, you can access all your data from a single platform.
  • Responsiveness – Winning the client is often a matter of being available when they need you. If your firm doesn’t answer calls as they come in—even after-hours—or respond to a query on your website right away, the prospect will move on to the next number or site in their search results. To compete, you need tools that forward calls to available agents, alert you to form submissions, and help you connect with clients the moment they reach out. CallTrackingMetrics, for instance, connects callers with the correct person without long waits or frustrating transfers, and can alert you in real time via text or email when forms are completed online. Remember, all the targeted marketing in the world won’t matter if you’re not responding in time.
  • Search optimization – 96 percent of people seeking legal advice begin with a search engine. If you’re not proactive about turning up in those search results, you’re not getting as many clients as you could—or should—be getting. Just keep in mind there are right and wrong ways to optimize your website for search; duplicating content and keyword stuffing won’t help you. Rather, deliver valuable content on a consistent basis, use relevant keywords, and make sure all of your online photos are tagged and labelled.

Trying new online marketing techniques can feel intimidating, but remember that you don’t have to do it all. In fact, choosing one or two focal areas can often be more effective, as consistency is key. Commit to making a change and make sure to measure effectiveness over time—you might be surprised at how much the needle shifts.