The legal sector has changed. Gone are the days of the referral and the Masonic handshake. Today, law firm leaders are well aware of the need to market their firm digitally, and some are ahead of the curve by using innovative methods like video and even ‘voice’ marketing. Deciding which methods work and which are a waste of money is crucial to your success.

First of all, make sure your website is mobile friendly—not only do a majority of people search on handheld devices, Google actually prioritises brands that are mobile-optimised through mobile-first indexing. Lots of firms are lagging behind in this, which could have a direct impact on revenue. For instance, if enquiry forms aren’t responsive to phones or tablets, you could be missing out on new enquiries.

Once that is done, video marketing should be your next priority. Visual marketing strategies incorporate images, infographics, and in some cases memes, but video is still the fastest growing. According to tech giant Cisco, video will make up 80% of internet traffic by the end of 2019.

By capitalising on this trend, your firm can demonstrate its work and values to prospects and current clients. Webinars, livestreams, and engaging, educational videos or animations extend the reach of your firm’s content to a much wider audience.

Your firm can promote these ‘multi-touch’ multi-platform campaigns via social media, allowing for a faster growth in brand awareness. Video is ideal for the modern client on a smartphone, and gives a clear call to action. According to market intelligence company Aberdeen, “video users [can] grow their revenue 49% faster year-over-year”.

Another high-tech avenue worth exploring is the use of a chatbot. The technology may well still be in its infancy, but there are plenty of opportunities to use a chatbot for marketing in the legal sector.

A chatbot, utilised as a client-facing ‘receptionist’ can relay information about your firm to visitors of your site 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It can also collect information from visitors, to work out who they need to speak to within the firm—but in doing this can also collate business data.

This gives you the opportunity to learn about your audience, such as the main queries they have, and any solutions you provide will be based on this data. And according to Salesforce, 69% of consumers actually prefer to speak to a bot when dealing with simple information.

Chatbots also work as a brand building tool, because in these memorable exchanges, the bot is essentially showing clients and prospects that your firm is forward thinking and technologically savvy.

In the consumer market, chatbots are ‘personified’ by Alexa, Siri and Cortana, but the intelligence behind these AI bots is ‘voice’ search. Voice search is another trend that over the next few years will expand into the legal market.

One thing to remember is that a voice search uses longer search terms than a desktop search engine—so instead of typing ‘criminal law firm’ into Google, you might say, “Google, find me a London law firm that specialises in criminal cases”. Sentences need to be optimised for a conversational tone, so your content will need to include more questioning words, rather than just keywords.

Voice is much more accessible than typing on a small screen (even mobile optimised websites), so optimising your marketing channels for voice, alongside engaging video content and a chatbot is a future-proof strategy to stay top of mind.

The next step in legal marketing is already upon us, and it is simply a question of when, not if, your firm chooses to take it.  

By Peter Carr, Content Lead at professional services marketing agency Propero Partners

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