The legal industry seems to be growing in ever increasing prominence with the passage of time. There is hardly a time you turn on the radio or TV, or visit a website where you don’t get to see one type of advert or message by a law firm advertising their legal services.
This is somewhat odd because, just a few decades ago, you would be hard pressed to find many law firms advertising their services, especially with the intensity with which they do so now. The advent of the internet, as well as its widespread use and availability, is perhaps one of the biggest contributing factor that has brought this change.
It is widely acknowledged that traditional forms of advertising like TV, radio and billboards are not always as effective, especially with regards to reaching the right people at the right time. Not to mention the astronomical price tags they can often command. It is perhaps for these reasons that most law firms shied away from any of these types of advertising in the past, and usually only relied solely on word-of-mouth referral to bring in new customers, or simply just hoped and waited for new customers to walk in the door of their own accord. Neither of which were sustainable strategies for growing a law practice.
The advent of the internet changed all of that and democratized the entire process and industry. These days, a law firm does not need to cough up several thousands of dollars in order to get a few minutes of airtime on TV or radio. Instead, with a simple website and proper search engine optimization (SEO,) they have a much better chance of reaching not only more customers than a radio or TV ad could they helped them reach, but more importantly, they now have the capacity to reach more targeted customers.
The Advent of the ‘Target Customer.’
Besides the drastic lowering in marketing and advertising cost that the internet brought about for lawyers, the other equally important element was to bring about what is referred to as a “targeted customer,” in marketing parlance.
A loose definition of a target customer, is someone who is actively looking for your product or service, and even more so, goes out of their way to find it. The advent of the internet and just as importantly, search engines, made it so much easier for a customer to find whatever they were looking for, because all the information they could ever need, and even those that they didn’t know they needed, could now be found in one place – the World Wide Web. Where previously, their search database would be limited to their personal network of family and friends, and maybe even the network of their personal network.
The ability of an individual in New York for instance to find a business attorney near them by typing in the words “business lawyer NYC” and clicking a button, meant that the lawyer didn’t necessarily need to advertise anymore in traditional media to reach them, but all they had to do was to make their website available and ‘findable’ on the web. It is this phenomenon that gave rise to the digital marketing term “inbound marketing,” which refers to the process whereby the customer or potential customer goes out to search for information related to a problem or need they have, and in doing so, comes across information that has been specifically created by a company for that specific person and their specific purpose, in a bid to turn them from a lead into a customer.
What the Future of Lawyer Marketing Looks Like
It is impossible to say with any degree of certainty what the future holds for the legal industry and its marketing thereof. Perhaps the one thing that can be said with any degree of certainty, is that fact that the current methods of marketing a law practice, especially referring to things like SEO and social media marketing, are not going to change principally any time soon. While they will likely evolve and the methods will get better, especially as the major search engines like Google and Bing continue to tweak and update their algorithms, the underlying means and methods are likely not going to change.
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