[Picture: Rafe Berding]

Rafe Berding is a career marketing professional. When he sees a law firm website he looks at it through the eyes of a professional marketer. He evaluates law firm marketing efforts not just for their aesthetics but on their ability to achieve marketing and business development objectives.

Rafe Berding is Head of Brand and Communications at GlobalX, a major provider of information and property-related services to law firms. He has been a keen observer of the evolution of law firm marketing on the internet. Unlike a lot of marketing professionals, Rafe Berding is aware of the delicate balance that law firms face between standing out from the competition yet maintaining a professional image.

In this article, he highlights what he believes to be exemplary marketing efforts of firms and explains why each has been selected by him:

Social media and websites

Your website and social media channels should reflect your brand.

As Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter have millions of active Australian users, distributing consistent and engaging content via these platforms is vital. A mix of thought leadership, industry leadership and product and service announcements, allows you to tell the business story and keep your clients informed. In return, your business will gain respect, trust and the opportunity to win new business.

A highly effective example of this was a social media campaign by Pillsbury Law, releasing a recruitment video on their social media channels called ‘The Interviewers’.

The video featured the organisation’s employees discussing what they like and don’t like when they interview job candidates. The video is short, unscripted and very casual, with the employees laughing and joking throughout.

It successfully demonstrates how a clever social media campaign can shift the traditional view of law firms as ‘serious’ and ‘boring’ to fresh and young. The video was widely shared on social media.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

There’s no point in having the best website and social media platforms if no one sees them! With approximately 90 per cent of consumers using search engines to research a product or business, having your business’ website or social media pages appear on the first page of search results is integral to generating new leads.

Canadian law firm Blaney McMurtry, recently won an award for their website overhaul. They hired a copywriter to rewrite large sections of the website, reduced the amount of legal jargon and made it mobile-friendly. These effective changes made the website far more accessible for prospective clients and the new copy improved its search engine rankings.

Communication strategy

It’s important to ensure that your communication strategy reflects the goals and priorities of the business. In every aspect of marketing, your company’s values and goals should be clear and coherent.

For a communication strategy to work, consistency is crucial. This means ensuring that the same themes are reflected across all of your company’s social media channels and website, as well as any marketing campaigns or collateral. If this doesn’t happen, your audience will likely find your company’s brand inconsistent or confusing.

A creative example of this was a Christmas campaign by a law firm called Levenfeld Pearlstein. Instead of sending out a traditional Christmas card or modern e-card to their clients, the firm sent them a locked box. On the front of the box was a link to a video on the firm’s website, which explains the work of the charity Chicago’s Community Kitchens (CCK). The firm supports this charity as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility program. At the end of the video, viewers were provided with a code to unlock the box from one of the law firm’s partners. Inside the box was chocolate, which had been created by those working at CCK.

By putting a creative spin on the traditional Christmas card, the law firm demonstrated their commitment to charitable initiatives and raised money for a good cause. Many people who viewed the video chose to make a donation to CCK.

From a marketing perspective, the law firm was also able to increase their website traffic, familiarise people with their website and connect with clients in a very memorable way.

The future of legal marketing

Today’s technology is indelibly changing the way we do business. Our customers’ behaviour is dramatically changing, from their initial contact with us, to the way they communicate with us as our relationship develops.

The latest digital tools can be used in conjunction with tried-and-tested marketing strategies so you can stand out, be reachable and importantly, not sacrifice your image as a professional trusted advisor.

© 2017 Legal Practice Intelligence