Marketing a law firm online to businesses and organizations takes a different approach than marketing online to consumers. Like business-to-consumer marketing, successful business-to-business online marketing requires knowing the target audience and what challenges they face, or may soon. Where B2B online marketing differs from B2C marketing is in the “buyer’s journey,” which significantly impacts, and lengthens, the decision-making process around hiring an attorney. Read on to learn how a little planning and strategy can set law firms up for B2B law firm marketing success!
The B2B Buyer’s Journey
When a business or organization needs to hire an outside professional, like a law firm, the decision-making process is longer and more complex than when a consumer does the same. While both businesses and consumers want to hire the attorney with the most expertise at the lowest cost, businesses have a more rigorous vetting process. The law firm’s point-of-contact within the business is likely required to present information - and options - about qualifications to internal stakeholders, investors, or a board before a decision to retain an attorney is made.
Having information about you, your law firm and the work you do available online ensures that everyone involved in the law firm buying decision can quickly educate themselves about you and, importantly, how you can help them.
Define Your Audience
Who is your ideal client? What type of industry are they in? What are the likely titles for the professionals within that business who would retain you? Are you trying to reach local, regional, national, or global companies? The answers to these questions will give you a critical snapshot of the people you are trying to reach. Remember: While you want a business to hire you, it is the people within that business or organization that will make the decision. Once you understand who you are trying to reach, your online marketing strategy will focus on meeting them where they are with the information they need.
Make a Digital Footprint
Simply, it is expected that every business - including your law firm - has an online presence. Business people search for and vet attorneys, even referrals, by visiting websites and social media profiles. Your online persona must showcase your experience and knowledge of the law and the industries you serve. Businesses want to see that you understand them and their problems, and how you can help them solve them.
The importance of a great website cannot be underestimated. Your law firm's website must have information that is valuable to your target audience. Using keywords and phrases not only helps businesses feel like you “get” their industry, but those keywords also bring visitors to your website through search engines.
Business clients repeatedly say that they expect their attorneys to share changes to the law, trending topics, and decisions that impact them and their business. A well-written and informative blog or article delivered in an email shows your clients you know your stuff, and you’re thinking of them and their business. Easy-to-use templates, list management functions and automation make marketing emails look professional and polished, and help you stay compliant with data and privacy laws.
With so many social media platforms, it can be hard to know where to focus your legal B2B marketing efforts. Defining your audience, as discussed above, helps you make that decision. However, when targeting businesses, it’s a safe bet to focus on LinkedIn. According to LinkedIn, there are 65 million decision-makers on LinkedIn and 55% of them say they use “thought leadership” to vet the organizations they work with. Thought leadership is a marketing buzz phrase for content marketing - anything from articles and blogs to videos and seminars - that shows an attorney is an authority on the topics and trends in his or her practice industry.
Content marketing provides information to current and potential clients, positions you as the best candidate for legal services, and brings potential clients to your website. The more content you post on your law firm website and social media and distribute through email, the more likely business people will return to your website and trust you as a knowledgeable resource.
B2B marketing online is ultimately about building your reputation as a legal leader in a targeted industry. By continually creating, posting, and sharing content, you are creating an online presence that decision-makers rely on when selecting the attorney to best represent them.