Legal services, consumer behavior and micro-moments

Posted in Legal marketing

No matter how they begin their search, more and more legal service consumer decision-making is being shaped by micro-moments.

A married couple has been going through a tough patch. At some point, one spouse finds some evidence of infidelity on Facebook. She’s thinking she’s had enough and starts contemplating what divorce might look like.

She-wants-to-know whether she needs a lawyer. Whether she can use the lawyer she used to draft her will. She contemplates who she knows that has recently dealt with a situation like hers. Who can she trust to get answers to her questions? What does she need to do first?

There may also be some things she-wants-to-do. Perhaps she wants to file herself. Maybe she believes she needs to gather more evidence of her spouse’s infidelity.

Eventually, she may decide that she-wants-to-hire a lawyer.

At some point, for each of these micro-moments, she’s likely to reach for her smartphone.

From Think With Google:

Micro-moments occur when people reflexively turn to a device—increasingly a smartphone—to act on a need to learn something, do something, discover something, watch something, or buy something. They are intent-rich moments when decisions are made and preferences shaped. In these moments, consumers’ expectations are higher than ever. The powerful computers we carry in our pockets have trained us to expect brands to immediately deliver exactly what we are looking for when we are looking. We want things right, and we want things right away.

As the local on-demand economy presses further into the realm of professional services, lawyers who earn attention in these micro-moments will be best positioned to win new clients.

This is why we’ve been stressing the importance of communicating the value of your services online. Why your website’s speed matters. Why mobile matters. Why social networking matters. Why content marketing works so well.

Some lawyers have had a hard time wrapping their heads around these changes to legal services consumer behavior. Some camps bellow, “My clients don’t use the internet to find lawyers like me.” Other camps have become enamored with ranking number one in Google for searches that follow the “city + practice area + lawyer” pattern.

Each of these views demonstrates misunderstanding and misplaced focus.

No matter who your clients are and how they begin their lawyer decision-making process, at some point, for some purposes, they’re going to go online.

Those who seek lawyer referrals from people they know, like and trust will likely go online to search for those lawyers by name. Those who don’t yet know whether they even need a lawyer will search for information and answers related to their particular situation.

Lawyers who are able to most effectively marshal the evidence of their good reputations will win these micro-moments.

As Google’s Senior Vice President of Ads & Commerce, Sridhar Ramaswamy, recently noted in The Wall Street Journal:

In these micro-moments, consumer expectations are higher than ever. The powerful computers we carry in our pockets have trained us to expect brands to deliver exactly what we are looking for – the moment we are looking. We want things right, and we want things right away. In fact, 69% of online consumers agree that the quality, timing, or relevance of a company’s message influence their perception of a brand.

The successful brands of tomorrow will be those that can meet these demands. They’ll understand all of these moments and then deliver on them – in a way that speaks to people, connects with them, right where they are, right when they need it.

Avvo understands this.

Likewise, the quality, timing and relevance of a lawyer’s message will influence the perception of potential clients. Lawyers who deliver in a way that speaks to their audience of potential clients, where they are and when they’re looking, will win their business.

Consumer use of search, dark social and other online platforms via smartphones has generated new expectations of fast and efficient experiences.

In order to deliver these experiences, lawyers must invest in understanding who their potential clients are, what they are looking for and how they go about finding it.

Only then, will they be able to deliver on what their potential clients want-to-know, want-to-do, and want-to-hire.