In the golden age of attorneys before the 1977 Bates v State Bar of Arizona Supreme Court decision made lawyer advertising legal, practice marketing comprised word of mouth, actual social networking and other first-person methods. But since then ads and a host of other mainstream marketing methods became available to the legal profession. So which ones should an IP firm employ in the search for new clients? Which might be advisable to avoid? How much of this should happen in-house or get outsourced?
A famous adage counsels that all politics is local, meaning that solutions to problems have the most effect close to home. As a corollary, a retail channel marketing outreach to IP clients could serve IP firms as well. And on the internet, local search engine optimization (SEO) for IP boutiques, arguably specialist SMBs and solopreneurs, presents a new golden opportunity, according to some experts. For example, Google has a section called the Local Pack that displays search results close to the user. But like all things Google SEO, it always changes.
Its Mobile World your Site needs to be improved
Among professionals, those practicing law may most understand the necessity to access the internet from a smartphone, tablet or laptop. Whether from court, an administrative site or on the road, they do not seem to use their desktop computers as much anymore. In general, mobile internet traffic began to exceed PC volume in 2014. Google followed suit in 2015 with its mobile algorithm change that ranks mobile-friendly pages higher in search engine results. And so IP lawyers need to ensure their sites have client mobility in mind, according to digital marketing experts.“If a website isn’t mobile-friendly, it’s an issue,” says Michael Mignogna, CEO, Minyona, a boutique digital marketing agency. “Add to that including contact information—phone number, contact form—on the homepage for view on mobile devices, and the results are fantastic. For many attorneys, new clients come by word of mouth, so when those people find the website, it’s important that they can easily reach out.”
Blocking, E-mail Newsletter & Content Marketing
All the writing IP lawyers do, such as crafting patents and trade secrets and enforceable non-compete agreements, does little to prepare them for content marketing. Realistically, their day jobs keep them too busy with no time left for inbound activities. So outside help could be a no-brainer.
“Outsourcing can work for all types of law firms if done correctly,” says Kelly Jamrozy, owner, KBJ Writing, a content writing company that helps businesses build their online presence. “Small law firms with a small budget just need to temper their expectations. There are agencies that can help them with marketing, just as there are for larger firms with larger budgets. The only time I might not recommend outsourcing for a firm with an unpredictable budget that has someone on staff with marketing experience.”
And for outsourced content for attorneys, a general strategy that proves economical comes down to repurposing material, according to Jamrozy. “Many of my clients use newsletters, and in some cases, just refashion their old blogs into monthly emails,” she says.
They will not necessarily read it if you blog it
While blogging remains a potent implement for awareness building and SEO, by itself it cannot succeed. If your content marketing has a foundation built on the Field of Dreams model so that if you build it clients will read it and contact you, get ready for disappointment. Without a content distribution strategy, they will not come. You need to have your content duplicated and disseminated by surrogates in multiple channels to succeed, according to legal marketing experts.
“Law firms need to use a process known as marketing gravity to help articulate their value and become a brand,” says Drew Stevens, Ph.D., president, Stevens Consulting, which focuses on business growth strategies for law firms. “Marketing gravity is a systematic integrated process of online and traditional media that aids a law firm with establishing its presence in the community. Most importantly, the value requires reproduction so those who understand and appreciate it tell others.”
Social Media Practise for IP
To distribute content, one of the first methods IP practices should pursue remains social media. Marketing professionals who work with law firms can recommend a range of platforms including standbys Facebook and Twitter. Any content marketing strategy should incorporate those outlets, but depending on its formulation additional networks could help, according to the experts.
For example, some firms have Facebook and Instagram pages and schedule content from twice a week to every day, as well as manage Facebook advertising, according to Sean Azari, principal, Breakthrough Social, creative ad and branding specialist for a variety of businesses including law firms. And Azari not only talks the talk but also walks the walk, having produced a YouTube video on how lawyers can use social media to promote their brands.
And IP firms can even gain by using social media to promote large events that not only appeal to a big cross-section of the populace but also interest niche audiences. For example, consider Santucci Priore, P.L., an intellectual property law firm, which represents the Ultra Music Festival in Miami, the most famous electronic music festival in the world, according to Michael Santucci, managing partner.