The Boogeyman is hiding in plain sight: Mobile devices and legal marketing

Posted in Legal marketing

It is no secret that law firm marketing has taken a sharp turn in the last 20 months. Increasingly, both clients and prospective clients are using mobile devices to connect with lawyers and find information about legal-related issues.

But recently, while I was delivering a CLE, a lawyer interrupted me and yelled, “I don’t get any business from mobile, and I’ve got the analytics to prove it.”

After asking for his URL, I visited his website on my mobile phone and yelled back to the entire room, “That’s because your website sucks on mobile.”

The lesson: just because you don’t think people find lawyers via mobile phones doesn’t mean they don’t.

This is not a matter of opinion. For our agency alone, over 30 percent of our lawyers’ traffic comes from mobile devices. That should not come as a surprise. In 2015 access to the Internet via mobile devices surpassed desktop. With easy access to smartphones, almost everyone can now access the Internet. There’s also been a huge spike in people over 60 using mobile devices to go online.

The point is that your prospects and clients are using mobile devices regularly. So what can you do to properly position yourself for success in this mobile world?

Mobile websites matter

Some of you are losing referral business to competitors because your website is not mobile friendly. Others are not properly optimizing your website for mobile users.

You must have a mobile responsive website. This is not a requirement that falls under Model Rule 1.1 for competence; this rule falls under the category of “don’t be an idiot.” There is no excuse for having a website that is not mobile ready.

If your office furniture were falling apart, you would replace it. If your office plants died, you would get new ones. Because so many prospects and clients use mobile devices to look up law firm websites, a non mobile-optimized website falls into the same category.

To properly optimize your mobile site, you should check off a few major list items:

  • Can the user quickly get to my address and open up a map?
  • Can the user call me without having to scroll?
  • Is the other information on the website about our services easy to navigate to?

Most users land on your mobile website to accomplish the above tasks, so focusing on those first will set you up for success.

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Mobile search is unique

There are several components to mobile search that differ from desktop search. One major issue is that, due to the size of the screen, fewer results appear on a mobile device than on a desktop computer. This means that, when it comes to mobile, it’s important to push for better search results.

Voice search is another area of concern for marketing your law practice. Increasingly, people are using voice search to access information from mobile devices. These kinds of searches tend to be longer and more conversational. Creating content on your website that targets these searches is important. Use Google Analytics to determine what phrases people are using to access your website from mobile devices.

Load time is extremely important

Google would like your mobile website to load in less than 1 second. The mobile user wanted your website to load yesterday. Having a website load quickly is good for conversions and good for search.

Make sure your images are properly optimized to load for mobile. To do so, consider dynamic coding, which allows images that are low on the page to load only when the user scrolls down. Also avoid using things like rotating images because those can slow down your load time.

Now you should invest more money in your hosting than in previous years. Different hosting providers provide different levels of service. The difference between a good hosting provider and a mediocre hosting provider is similar to the that of a high performance sports car and a skateboard. It’s not hard to predict which mode of transportation will perform better in a long distance race. Avoid companies like Bluehost, HostGator, or GoDaddy. Paying a little extra for hosting will have a dramatic impact.

Know your sales cycle

If you are a DUI or criminal defense attorney, your mobile game plan should focus on the phone call first, directions second, and everything else last. If you specialize in real estate law or estate planning, your content and access to useful resources should be the focus of your site.

For different practice areas, you should focus on strategically delivering information to prospective clients. If you have a slower sales cycle, focus on content first; if you are dealing with people who need to hire an attorney immediately, take away all barriers for them to contact you.

Key takeaway: Think mobile first—always

At GNGF we’ve adopted a mobile-first strategy as our marketing approach. This helps us capture all the leads from the mobile audience and stay ahead of the curve as mobile adoption continues to rise.

Sit down with your marketing team and find out what your mobile strategy is. If they don’t have one, then I suggest you find a new team.

For any solo-practitioners out there, focus on your website first. This is the most important mobile step and the quickest way to get more business for your practice.

Here are useful resources that share lots of helpful stats about mobile adoption:

 

Like what you see? Don’t miss your chance to see Jabez speak live at Lawyernomics 2016. Get tickets here.