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The Way Forward: Digital Marketing for Attorneys in 2021

Darrin Sennott's Headshot Darrin Sennott Senior Vice President of Sales

In an ever-shifting digital marketing landscape, law firms looking to generate growth, new clients, and increased revenue must assiduously keep pace with the latest trends, technology, and insights that shape their industry.

This is especially true as the legal field continues to grapple with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. While 2020 saw some niche law practices thrive, such as those specializing in bankruptcy law, many other types of firms struggled with declining profits and a shortage of prospective clients. Still, others cut billable hours or implement alternative-fee arrangements.

And though the coronavirus will continue to roil markets for the foreseeable future, analysts fully expect 2021 to be a year of renewal and resurgence across many sectors of the economy, including the legal industry. This presents an opportunity to position yourself for growth in the new year with a comprehensive digital marketing plan.

Scorpion specializes in helping practices navigate challenging times by assessing the current business landscape and giving you the best solutions for success. The end goal is to create a custom marketing strategy that yields tangible results for your specific growth goals and bottom line.

In that spirit, we have compiled some data-backed insights to help guide your firm's approach to digital marketing in 2021.

The Time to Invest in Marketing is Now

Conventional wisdom holds that during periods of economic instability, marketing budgets should be subject to cutbacks. However, evidence proves this line of thinking to be a fallacy. Far from being expendable, your marketing investment should increase during a slowdown.

The rationale is simple: Maintaining clients and generating new prospects becomes paramount during a downturn. Increasing your volume of advertising, even amid turmoil, is the best way to not only hold onto your share of the marketplace but to expand it as well.

In the words of renowned Stanford economics professor, Dr. Robert Hall, marketing and "advertising should be highly countercyclical," meaning firms should expand advertising aggressively during a slump.

Data from past recessions validate this analysis:

  • In the 3 years following the recession of 1981-82, the businesses that maintained or grew their advertising during the downturn experienced over 200% higher growth than their competitors
  • The businesses that sustained or expanded their advertising during the 1990-91 recession benefited from 25% higher growth than their competitors.
  • During the 2001 recession, the businesses that maintained or increased advertising took home 2.5X more revenue than those that didn't.
  • By not choosing to press "pause" on marketing and advertising during the 2007-09 recession, businesses saw 4.5x greater annual market share growth.

And while the evidence indicates that law firms should continue marketing during periods of economic contraction, few actually do—which makes for an extraordinary opportunity to ramp up your visibility while your competitors are likely scaling theirs back. The sooner you can begin implementing your marketing plan, the sooner you will see its benefits.

So with 2021 upon us, it's necessary to ask yourself if your firm is prepared to invest in its digital marketing strategy to thrive in the coming year?

Digital is the Way Forward

As a law firm looking to acquire new clients, you need to focus your marketing efforts on the places where people are. And these days, everyone is on the internet.

Digital channels are now the primary avenue to reach potential clients. And while there's still a role for traditional advertising, your growth plans for 2021 should focus on digital—especially considering the large number of people spending time online due to stay-at-home measures.

A well-rounded digital strategy can include many different elements; some of the key ones include an informative website, SEO, Pay-Per-Click ads, and more. And unlike older marketing methods, digital solutions allow you to hyper-target your message to reach a particular audience, which invariably leads to greater cost-efficiency and more clients.

Local Services Ads by Google are a great example of how precise digital marketing can be. They appear at the top of Google's search results page, making them the first thing prospective customers see when searching for local attorneys. This allows your target demographic to quickly see your practice's name, location, reviews, and other relevant information that can lead them to contact your office.

Another area of digital marketing that will only grow larger in the coming year is YouTube. With 1.3 billion users, advertising on YouTube is a necessity for your firm's strategy. And the process for creating great video advertisements for the site is easier than you may think. As long as you invest in the requisite amount of production value (e.g, good cameras, good sound, etc.), your ads can be impactful to their intended audience.

It's important to note that YouTube ads, like all your firm's digital assets, must be optimized for mobile use since roughly 4 out of every 10 Americans primarily access the internet through their smartphone. So, every piece of content your practice produces, whether on YouTube or not, must be created with mobile in mind.

Scorpion clients, McGee, Lerer & Associates are a notable example of how attorneys can leverage digital solutions to benefit their bottom line. With their prodigious use of blogs, videos, and strategic social media posts, attorneys Daniel McGee and Catherine Lerer built a buzzworthy legal brand that's garnered attention from national news media like Bloomberg, The Hollywood Reporter, and BuzzFeed News.

Given all the choices and directions that the digital space offers your law firm, it's important to ask what you can do to leverage online marketing infrastructure to boost your firm's profile in the coming year?

It's All About Brand

There are a lot of lawyers out there, and if you're serious about standing out in 2021, you need a brand. At its core, brand is all about how your audience or local community perceives you. It's essentially telling a story about yourself as an attorney, and when done right, it can create deep, meaningful connections with your client base and build a distinct identity for your practice.

Authenticity is the key to a successful brand, so let's take a look at some ways your practice can put its unique identity out into the world.

Marder Employment Law, a longtime Scorpion client, is an example of legal firm branding done right. One look at their website, and the viewer gets a sense of who they are as a practice, their mission, how they relate to their clients, and what one can expect if they hire them. This identity remains the same across all their online channels and helps them distinguish themselves from the countless other employment law firms in their area.

Besides developing a strong website, law firms should carefully cultivate their online reputation to further their brand. Managing online reviews might seem like a simple task, but it's a hugely effective way to establish trust between you and potential clients (or existing ones).

It's essential to respond to negative reviews with understanding and a genuine desire to remedy a bad experience. While this might satisfy every unhappy customer, it can undoubtedly increase their interest in trying your services for a second time. It also has the added advantage of letting casual online browsers see your firm's concern for its clients.

And even positive reviews can warrant a response. It doesn't have to be much-just a simple "thank you'" can go a long way to demonstrate an attorney's commitment to serving clients, which translates into a stronger brand.

In addition to the examples above, there are many other ways to help you develop your brand. They include: using Google My Business, making original creative content, and being active on social media.

The more you can employ these tactics, the more you define yourself from competitors and meet your growth goals. So start considering how you can tell the world all about your law practice and its unique story.

Insights for 2021 and Beyond

One of the great takeaways from 2020 is that every attorney should understand the importance of being flexible and ready to handle business challenges, the most unexpected ones.

A proper digital marketing plan can be beneficial to you not only because of its proven benefits but because it can always undergo adjustment based on the state of the marketplace.

Scorpion can provide your law firm with just that kind of digital plan. We help you implement the right type of strategy with clear-eyed, concise data and actionable analysis to back it up. And, we walk with our clients through every step of the marketing process, so you're never on your own.

If you are interested in learning more about how Scorpion can help your legal practice grow in 2021, contact us at Visit ScorpionLegal.com or call 866-622-5648.

About the Author
Darrin Sennott's Headshot Darrin Sennott Senior Vice President of Sales

Darrin Sennott is Senior VP of Sales at Scorpion. For the past 20 years, he has worked with the top law firms across the country, developing multi-channel marketing strategies that position them to stand out in the industry and more effectively acquire their ideal clients. When Darrin isn't working, he enjoys spending time with his 3 beautiful children, skiing, taking his boat into the Pacific, or traveling to the next exciting destination. He has been dedicated to volunteering time to assist various non-profit women’s business organizations throughout his career.

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