In a recent presentation to the Legal Marketing Association Southwest Chapter in Phoenix, I discussed strategic integrated marketing. While integrated marketing consists of branding, advertising, public relations, Web and interactive communications including social media engagement, and sales/marketing, a good portion of the conversation centered on law firm websites since that is the primary front door to most professional service providers today.
The mature law firm website is not one that was created in 1995 and looks like a brochure nor is it one that tells the visitor that the firm has been in business since 1905. To the contrary, a mature law firm website incorporates the concept of integrated marketing and provides visitors with information and tools that are of value to them in making a decision regarding their legal concerns. The sophisticated law firm website incorporates tools for tracking leads and measuring the firm’s various marketing efforts. It also:
Distinguishes the law firm.
Gavels, columns, scales of justice and city skylines in the law firm website cause the firm to appear commonplace and outdated. In order to differentiate a firm, the website needs to appear modern, sophisticated and unique – appealing to the firm’s target audience.
Incorporates integrated marketing.
A modern law firm website should include the law firm’s brand, public relations and social media engagement tools, ways to share blogs, news coverage, videos, and articles. The website should provide tools for the design and development of specific landing pages that can be used in advertising campaigns and support business development.
Supports business development and helps generate leads.
Law firm websites should store all of the information needed for the marketing or business development teams to compile marketing materials and answer RFPs. Website pages should have a branded “print page” functionality so that each page can be printed or turned into a PDF. A quality website should also generate measurable business leads which means incorporating rich content, search engine optimization and tools that will be of value to the website visitor.
Speaks in terms of benefits.
Benefits-focused content says things like, “we work with our clients to solve complex legal problems so that they can save time and money in the long run,” “we provide billing options designed with each client in mind,” or “we help our clients to avoid complex legal issues by focusing on industry standards and compliance.”
Has a content-managed database.
Law firms can purchase their websites so that they can control the content – it’s like buying the car as opposed to leasing it. By doing so, law firms can avoid monthly maintenance fees and add content from any Internet-enabled device.
As law firms have evolved, so too have the ways we market them. When my grandfather was a practicing lawyer on Broad Street in Philadelphia, he relied on word-of-mouth marketing and the shingle in front of his office that read “Attorney-at-Law.” When my father took over that practice in 1971, he spent the majority of his marketing time on networking and building relationships. When I graduated from law school in the early 1990s, most law firms didn’t have websites and many were still opposed to using email. However, communication tools have changed exponentially and will continue to evolve at an unprecedented pace. It is time for law firms to embrace the change and become more effective and efficient with their marketing tactics.
Gina F. Rubel, Esq., is the owner of Furia Rubel Communications, Inc., a strategic marketing and public relations agency with a niche in legal marketing. A former trial attorney, Gina is the author of Everyday Public Relations for Lawyers. Gina and her agency have won many awards for legal communications, PR, media relations, website and graphic design, strategic planning, corporate philanthropy and leadership. She maintains a blog at www.ThePRLawyer.com, is a contributor to National Law Review, The Legal Intelligencer Blog, AVVO Lawyernomics and The Huffington Post. You can find her on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/ginafuriarubel or follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ginarubel. For more information, go to www.FuriaRubel.com.