3 Reasons Lawyers Fail at Digital Marketing

3 Reasons Lawyers Fail at Digital Marketing


– Hi again folks, this is Chris Hargreaves from AModernProfessional.com
and welcome, to this episode. In the first episode I gave
you a bit of an overview about what kind of things we
were going to be talking about in this show and now I
want to focus on something that is close to my heart and
I’m going to try and do it without ranting too much
about it but it is this. Why are lawyers not seeing results in their digital marketing
space, why is it? There are a lot of lawyers
who now have websites, they probably have a Facebook page, and might have a couple
of social media accounts here and there and yet,
the consistent story that I hear is that most
lawyers are not seeing that many results from their
digital marketing efforts. So, what are we going to do about that? The first thing we’re going to do is identify why that might be happening and in future episodes we’re
going to build up a strategy that you can start to
adopt in your own practise, where you will start to see results. Now, the first thing I
want to be clear about is that, as I mentioned
in the earlier episode, this is a long-term strategy. Digital marketing and
really any form of marketing and relationship development
is a long-term strategy. It may be that you implement
a sophisticated digital marketing programme and
you see success very early, but it may not be that as well, and partly that will
come down to the effort you’re putting in but
partly it will come down to whether you’re doing it
correctly, or not correctly. It is in fact possible
to do the wrong thing and that might not
necessarily kill your efforts in digital marketing but it
might mean that you don’t see results for a much longer time. So obviously, we want to see
results as fast as we can but we need to be realistic
and accept the fact that you need to be patient,
you need to work hard and you need to be patient. That is no different to
any offline marketing and relationship development strategy that you’re going to see, patience and hard work,
it’s very important. So the second thing, before
I get into identifying these factors that see
law firms and lawyers fail in their digital marketing,
is to have a look at what digital marketing
actually includes. For many it’s going to
include a few things, and I explain these in the
first episode so I’m not going to get too much into these
but it’s going to include any activities that you
are engaging in online, which are designed to
attract people to you, to get them to trust you and to have you get business
from them in some way. I think it’s important that
we have that end goal in mind. It is designed to help you get a profit, it’s designed to help you get work. You need to build clients, you need to have people
referring you work, because that’s what your
practise is founded upon, you need to actually have work to do. That should be obvious and in
that sense it’s no different to any other online or
offline marketing strategy, it is designed to get people to do work, but it is in the online space, so we’re talking about
digital things here. So ordinarily, what’s it going to be? It’s going to be things you do
on your website or don’t do, it’s going to be how
you design your website, it’s going to be what you put on your website in terms of content. It’s going to involve social media, lawyers and social media
are a horrendous mix but lawyers and social media
need to become better friends because, if you’re going to implement a digital marketing strategy it is necessarily going to
have a social component. It might involve, also, an
email marketing strategy, if you have a good website strategy set up then you should be capturing
email addresses from people who are interested in what you have to say and that is really then
giving you permission to add value to them to
build that reservoir of trust so that you can eventually
ask them for the work or also eventually that they
will trust you enough to send you either their own work or
refer other people to you. So that is what we’re talking about and the question for today is why are lawyers not
seeing results in that space. I’ve got three big picture items
that I wanted to touch upon and I could talk about
all of these for hours, I’m going to try and avoid that because I know you’ve got things to do. Let’s start with the first,
and the first is this, most lawyers have no
digital marketing strategy. What do I mean? I mean they haven’t sat
down and actually documented a strategy about what they
are going to do online, why they are going to do it and how the things they are going to do are connected to the ultimate goal of becoming liked, known and trusted to a target client audience
or referral audience, to drive profitable
action by those people. Have you ever thought
about it in that space? I suspect you haven’t. What we find most lawyers and law firms do in terms of their
digital strategy is this, they spend a huge amount of
money on a custom built website, now there is problem number one. Firstly, they spend huge
amounts of money on it, you do not need to spend a
huge amount of money on it, I’ve seen custom built websites
that are no better than the $500 website you can get
from the smaller operation. So, we overspend on that
side of things and what we underspend on, is deciding what
our website is actually for. Go to any big law firm’s
website, go to their homepage and ask yourself this question. What does this law firm want me to do when I get to their homepage. And my guess is, you’ll
have no idea for many. You might find a good one but
the vast majority have no clue what they want you to do when
you get to their homepage, they have gone for information dump, and so normally what you will find, is you will find some nice pithy quotes that may or not be attributed to anyone and you will find a million links to practise areas, to people, to searches, to contacts, to publications
and various other things, and it’s because they haven’t decided what they want you to do,
they have no strategy, they obviously want you to hire them, but how are they funnelling you into a process designed
to get you to that point where you’re actually prepared
to hire them as your lawyers? What they’re hoping you will
do, is of course click around, read about their stuff,
read some of their articles, sign up to one of their
newsletters, but that’s hope, it’s not designed in a good
way to get you to that position so they haven’t strategized
their website design. Now that gets compounded then, with this, random acts of content. Most law firms produce
huge amounts of content, I don’t need to convince any
lawyer that producing content is something that we should
be doing but they produce content without any kind
of strategy behind it, they’re engaged in random acts of content and usually they get their
professional staff to write their content, there is no
instruction about a strategy, if there is a strategy
it’s usually not shared with the lawyers who are
actually writing the articles or the law clerks writing the articles. Most law firms adopt a quick,
let’s do an update strategy and I’ve got to tell you, that’s actually not a
strategy of any kind. Waiting for something to happen and then rushing out an update
on it is not a strategy, it’s not something that you should avoid, I’m not against writing
updates, I think they can be very useful if something
complicated has happened and you want to add value
to a particular audience, then writing an update on it is great but that is not a strategy. A strategy needs to work even if something external doesn’t happen and so most people have not developed a content marketing strategy,
instead what they’ve done is they have just gone quick,
we need to write an article, random acts of content and
whether it’s an article, a video or podcast, it
doesn’t really matter, there is no strategy
behind it, there is no arc, they don’t know what
their customer journey is, they don’t know what their
clients are looking for, what questions they’re actually asking, and they don’t know how
to get people from A to B, from this point of I’ve
only just heard of you, what have you got for me, to wow, that information
you gave me was amazing. Now if they are lucky enough
to actually have someone on an email list, then what
then is the email strategy? This person has given you
a very valuable asset, they have given you their email address, and permission to communicate with them, what are you doing with that? And I’ll tell you again, most
law firms and most lawyers have no strategy to deal
with that situation. What you get is updates, and that comes right back to
what I just said about content. If I am a new person just
signed up to your newsletter and I know very little about you, why would you not send
me six or 12 or 18 emails over the next six to nine to 12 months, gently introducing me to the topic that I expressed interest
in, not other topics, if I expressed interest in insolvency, then I don’t want you to send
me updates about family law, I might, but I haven’t
expressed interest in that, you’ve got to hone in on these
people and you’ve got to say, where are they at now, and
where do they want to be and how can I help them get there? That would be an email marketing strategy, but instead all they get is updates, and so they sign up and
then sometime later, it’s not usually clear, because
of course, you’ve got no strategy, you’ve got to wait
for the update to happen, they’ll get an email with
here’s our latest newsletter, with 637 things in it,
please read them all and then call us for further information. That’s not a strategy,
so no email strategy. And then, of course, there’s
no social media strategy. Law firms are notoriously
terrible at social media and lawyers are not far behind. Individual lawyers, there are
some who are actually seeing significant results on social media, I know you may find that hard to believe, depending on where you’re
positioned at at the moment and what you think about all of this in terms of digital marketing, but what there is, is a
fundamental misunderstanding, still, about what social media is for. We line through the social
and we just focus on the media and so social media, for most law firms, has become a publication platform only rather than an amazing
opportunity for engagement and so I’m going to get
to social media strategy as part of these episodes,
but if you have no strategy behind your social media use, that dovetails in with your email strategy and dovetails in with
your content strategy and dovetails in with
your website strategy, then you just haven’t
thought through the process. And so my challenge to you, for this big ticket item number one, which is that lawyers have no strategy for their digital marketing, is this, have you actually documented a strategy that goes across all of
those subject matters I’ve spoken about and
if so, are you using it? I am not a fan of strategies
that take two days, you know, you go out to
this expensive resort, you have a big dinner,
supposedly you’re generating your strategy for the next
year, lots of talk happens, something might get written down and then it gets put in
a drawer and put away. When I say you need a
strategy, what I mean is you need a strategy that
you actually refer to and that you constantly utilise, everything needs to refer
back to your strategy. Your strategy cannot go in a drawer and stay there for 12
months, you dig it out, dust it off and then go ah,
I didn’t do any of that, gee I wish I’d remembered
I had that document, that’s not a strategy, that’s
just wasting your time. If you’re going to generate a strategy, it needs to be something
you’re prepared to actually do and refer to and refine,
sometimes your strategy might not work and you need to change it but you need to give it time
to develop as well and refine. So, no strategy. Big ticket item number two
as to why most lawyers aren’t seeing digital marketing and
content marketing results, is they haven’t refined
themselves, their practise areas, their target clients or their content. What am I talking about? You might identify that
you have a strategy, you want to generate
an article every month, or something like that
but you need to refine what it is you’re doing
and you need to refine everything down to a fair
amount of particulars. The first thing you need to
refine is what you actually do and how you’re going to position yourself. Positioning yourself in the market is critically important for
any kind of digital marketing because if you come out
to me and you tell me that you are the country’s greatest expert in personal injuries,
insurance, insolvency, taxation, hospitality, property, business
sales, transactional work and town planning, then
I don’t believe you. It is very difficult for
you to position yourself as an expert in all of those areas because I just don’t believe
that someone would be an expert in all of those things and in particular, I don’t believe that you
are telling me the truth and it erodes your trust
if you’re going to claim to be an expert in all of those areas. Now, you might be an expert
in all of those areas, you might have 40 years’
experience and you might be able to do all of those things very, very well but in terms of positioning,
how are you going to refine any other message if you’re not 100% clear on exactly what you want to be doing? And the two biggest questions here, are what are you most passionate about and what kinds of people
can you help the most? That’s a good way to start if you’re having trouble with this. Now most lawyers are
afraid that they’re going to scare people off,
and I want to tell you that you need to be prepared
to scare people off, or at the very least
you need to be prepared to repel the people who you’re not, necessarily, that interested in capturing. It doesn’t mean you don’t
do that work anymore, perhaps you should say
no to some kinds of work, perhaps you should eliminate
some practise areas so you can genuinely refine your practise, but I’m not saying you must do that, I’m saying it’s worthwhile thinking about, but in terms of positioning,
you need to refine what you do. You then need to refine who you do it for. If you can’t describe your
client or your desired client in a fair amount of
detail, what do they like, what do they read about,
what are they interested in, then you can’t develop a
content marketing strategy because you don’t know enough about them. So you need to refine your client and we’ll get into more
detail about that later. You also need to then refine your content, you need to have a journey
that you are taking your prospective client on
so that you can help them get from A to B, and I
mentioned this before, the best way to have a
content marketing strategy is to look at where is the person now, and where am I wanting
to help them get to, and it might be knowledge,
it might be an understanding of a process, it might
be how to do x, y and z, it might be how best to
utilise legal services, whatever it is, how can you
help them get from A to B and then fill in the
blanks, one step at a time, each step is a piece of content and that content can then be helpful, that is a content marketing strategy and that’s how you refine
it but you can’t refine it until you know what it is
you’re positioned to do and who it is you’re doing it for because you don’t know then
where to engage with people and that’s where refining
your social media comes in as well, if you
can’t refine your clients and you don’t know what they do and you’re not sure what you stand for and how you help people,
then you can’t engage with people on social media. And so you need to refine
your clients first, you need to refine your content first and then you can start
to help people on social. You can engage with them, you can start developing
relationships with them and that’s how social media works as well. So number two is a lack of refinement. The third and final thing
I wanted to touch on, in this particular episode,
is a lack of empowerment and principally this deals
with firms that have more staff so if you’re a solo practitioner then this might apply to you slightly less but I genuinely believe
that the first large firm, say 50 or more lawyers, who
actually empowers their staff, trains their staff, gives their
staff the necessary tools, the necessary autonomy
and the necessary freedom to embark on their own
personal branding exercise, they will win and they will win so quickly but most law firms are still
obsessed with their own brand, they don’t understand that they
don’t have a brand anymore, they have 50 brands, they have 100 brands and you can capitalise so much more on 100 brands than you can on one. I don’t care what shade of blue
you’ve picked in your logo, I don’t care whether it’s blue and green, I don’t care what it
stands for in particular, I don’t care about much of that at all. If you had 50 brands, each
touching base with different categories of people, building
relationships with people, on average people have about
250 to 300 close-ish contacts in their personal life, if
every single one of your lawyers was consistently building
relationships with those 250 to 300 people, how much
scale would you see in terms of your opportunity for growth? But here is the reality, most firms do the exact opposite. They put the barriers up, rather than taking the barriers down, they don’t train their staff
properly in those areas and they certainly don’t
empower their staff. What they do is they put policies in place that actively prevent their
staff from taking any form of risk from engaging in
any form of authenticity, everything needs to funnel through someone rather than not and the
result is that people actually just don’t do it at all, the result is people put
it in the too hard basket because so many barriers are thrown up that you’re not capable
of empowering your staff if what you’re really
doing with your policies is preventing your staff. Now I know there is risk there, I know someone might go
out and do something stupid but the fact is, if you’re not
prepared to take that risk, then you shouldn’t be letting that person have a telephone call with
anyone, you shouldn’t be letting that person ever go out
to coffee unsupervised, you shouldn’t be letting
that person go to lunch, so why would you put up
barriers in the digital space that you’re not putting
up in the offline space? Answer me that question. Why is online so much more risky to you? Why are you so much more
terrified of online strategy than you are of offline strategy? Because almost no firm would
stop a young, aspiring lawyer from going out to coffee
with a contact of theirs but they absolutely would stop that person from putting in an
unauthorised post on LinkedIn about their practise area without
it going through channels. Do you think that that person
won’t say the exact same thing out loud to the person
they’re having coffee with? So why are you terrified? You’re terrified because
you’re protecting your brand because you haven’t yet accepted that that person is a
brand in and of themselves and if you can help them build their brand then you will see the
benefits at the other end. So, those are my three big ticket items. Why are lawyers failing in
digital marketing space? It’s because of three big picture things. There is no strategy, they haven’t gone and put in a documented,
actionable strategy that they actually refer to and refine. Number two is that there is no refinement, they have not refined what
they do, they have not refined who they do it for and
they have not refined how they’re going to engage with those people. And number three is
there’s no empowerment, you’ve got to empower yourself, you’ve got to empower
your staff and that way you will see the results, that
is how lawyers and law firms should be engaging in digital marketing. Most aren’t, but over
the next few episodes what we’re going to do is
we’re going to see exactly how you can be going about
building your digital marketing, your relationship building
in an online space. So stay tuned and I’ll see
you in the next episode. As always, leave a
review, leave a ranking, I appreciate your
feedback, leave a comment, let me know what you’d
like me to deal with. AModernProfessional.com/YouTube
for the YouTube channel and AModernProfessional.com/iTunes
for the iTunes channel, head there, leave a review, and I’ll see you in the next episode.

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