Change is inevitable, no? I think Bob Dylan’s song "The Times They Are A-Changin'” hits the nail on the head … no matter what decade we are in.
Think about marketing for a moment. Has your law firm marketing strategy and execution changed since you started your practice? Some firms who’ve been around for 20 years would obviously say yes, but even newer firms of only 1-5 years would have to admit that marketing changes all the time. What works today may not work tomorrow.
What Influences Changes in Marketing?
There are many factors that influence changes in your marketing, but here are a few key players when it comes to changes in law firm marketing:
- Demographics/Target Market – Who you want to market to/where your firm serves clients.
- Consumer Behavior – How your clients or prospects engage or respond to marketing.
- Technology – How your marketing message is distributed and received.
- Changes in the Law or Practice – Federal or state law changes/changes in your practice areas.
- Competition – What “the other guy” is doing to attract more business.
All of these will influence the way you market your own practice, and all of these can change at any given moment. Regardless of how you adapt to these changes – through digital marketing, internal staffing, networking, etc. – there is one tool you can use to address all of these issues that often gets left in the “olden days” – and that is CONTENT.
Your content strategy is very important, so if you 1) don’t have a content strategy or 2) haven’t updated your content in years, you may be missing the mark and falling behind.
Forbes shared great advice this week on updating your content marketing in an article titled “5 Ways Your Content Marketing Needs To Grow Up.”
Get a Written Content Strategy
Verbalize and write down what your content strategy is going to be. As the article says:
Most businesses can’t afford to continually create new content just for the sake of creating content; a mature content strategy will ensure that content is being used effectively as a way to achieve pre-determined business goals.
It’s not enough just to have practice area content any more. There is so much information being pushed out on a daily basis that people just do not have the time to read it all. Your content has to be effective – it has to have a purpose. If you have a strategy in place, you can refer back to it each time you are ready to push out another communication or make changes to your marketing. This keeps your messages consistent and streamlined.
Yes, you need a mobile-friendly website. But the “think mobile” concept doesn’t end there. You need to understand how mobile affects your marketing content. Remember how Consumer Behavior influences marketing? How does a mobile-user view and interact with your marketing? Consumers now are viewing information on mobile devices, scrolling and tapping along as they go. Make sure your content is legible, easily accessible, engaging from the get-go, and conveys your message right away. Otherwise, they are going to move to the next thing in one swift swipe of their screen.
Content Has a Life Cycle
This is not a one-and-done thing. Although you can reuse content (and you should), you still need to address the life cycle of your messages. Plan, create, publish, distribute and then analyze your results. Was it effective? Should you make any tweaks to it? Can you reuse this message, or is it outdated now? Remember, your content needs to have a purpose. And once that purpose is fulfilled or no longer applies, it’s time to move on.
How Are Consumers (or Clients) Using Your Content?
This goes beyond how they are viewing your content (such a mobile above), and dives into the reason they are looking. Where are they in the buying process? Are they researching information or ready to set up an appointment? If they are ready to call you, are you making it easy for them? Does your message help guide them down the right path? Make sure your content complements the consumer’s place in the Customer Journey.
Be conscious of preferred content format too, such as inclinations to watch video, view information on social media, or the need for a consistent touch-point via email.
Tell Your Story
Why? Your story creates the emotional connection that a client or prospect needs. Have you heard of the phrase “show, don’t tell”? This is key when it comes to law firm marketing. Legal terms often leave people confused and overwhelmed. But if they can understand your story, this form of communication passively sells your practice without a direct plug. I think the article said it best:
“We are, as a species, addicted to story. Even when the body goes to sleep, the minds stays up all night, telling itself stories.” – Jonathan Gottschall, The Storytelling Animal
So, what is your story? How can your content marketing strategy change your practice?
Reference: Forbes (May 19, 2105) - "5 Ways Your Content Marketing Needs To Grow Up"