As the U.S. slowly begins to reopen the economy during the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic, many law firms are left wondering what their firm should be doing in terms of marketing while they’re waiting. Perhaps your firm stayed open during lockdown and in an effort to comply with executive orders have been working remotely and practicing social distancing. Regardless, there are some marketing tactics your firm could be employing in preparation of the reopening of the economy.
The legal industry was hit hard – some practice areas more than others – with a pretty significant drop in clients. It doesn’t help that the courts are all closed. This may be affecting your marketing budget, but it shouldn’t stop you from pursuing some marketing activities that you can do from your home. Focusing some of your efforts (or your teams’ efforts) on content marketing while working remotely is a great way to make sure that your legal marketing stays in tip top shape.
Communication is King
Or queen, however you prefer to think of it. Since the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak, many law firms have been in communication with clients through various channels such as email, social channels, and their websites. Communicating with your current and potential clients through this is what will help you make it to the other side crisis. There will always be challenges, albeit some larger than others, and it’s how your law firm handles those challenges that can really define your practice.
Where does your law firm fit in, in the plans to reopen the economy? Many states are rolling out phased reopening, meaning some businesses will have to wait longer before being granted permission to reopen. If your law firm is able to open its doors soon, will the courts be opening back up soon? How will all of this affect your client’s cases? Communicating this can help not only reduce the number of questions, but also help your clients set their minds at ease that you haven’t forgotten about them and are still working their case.
In addition to the normal avenues for communicating with clients, your strategies should include updating places such as Google My Business (GMB). In fact, GMB is giving priority to those businesses who have changes or closures due to COVID-19. Meanwhile, other GMB features may be temporarily unavailable while the pandemic is ongoing such as leaving new reviews. For now, GMB has disabled the ability to leave reviews.
Creating Unique COVID-19 Content
Let’s be real for a minute. Many states throughout the U.S. have issued shelter in place orders, closing all non-essential businesses and forcing countless people to either file for unemployment or find a new normal while working remotely. The courts are all closed with the exception of emergency hearings. People aren’t really driving or leaving their homes. With some practice areas (such as personal injury law /car accidents) seeing a decrease, others such as family law and criminal law may see an increase as divorce, domestic violence and grand larceny are on the rise. And let’s not forget nursing home abuse! Nursing home abuse existed well before covid and is still there during all of this. Exacerbating the situation is limited PPE, limited staff and a fear of contracting and spreading COVID-19 through the nursing homes.
“There is a lot of opportunity out there,” Mordy says. “It’s really just a matter of thinking about how the situation impacts your niche. For example, family lawyers could write a blog post about visitation rights under quarantine. Tax attorneys could simplify the stimulus requirements or provide updates, etc. Then there’s the whole side of how to write blog posts on this content. Things like writing comprehensive and authoritative content that is easy to understand become very important.”
“Building unique content marketing strategies can give you the competitive advantage over the competition.” Steve offers. Why not write an article for a press release or some extra articles you can use for your blog during your down time? Have a list of email addresses? Send them an informative newsletter while also demonstrating your expertise on the matter. The economic downturn doesn’t have to mean failure; let’s aim for success.
Build Site Authority
Thought leaders can all agree that a website’s authority shouldn’t be forgotten. Having a low score for your domain authority can mean that you may rank lower on the search engines even if you have all of the right keywords. Mordy offers the following advice on working towards building site authority.
“If I’m a lawyer with time on my hands I would spend some time bolstering my site’s identity. About pages, posts that tie into the core identity of the firm become important here. Meaning, if you’re an estate attorney in Maryland, talk about planning an estate in Maryland (not only in the abstract) – highlight your experience… in Maryland, that sort of thing.
Law is a YMYL category. Yet, a lot of what shows on the SERP for legal queries is not super-authoritative. I think there tends to be a lack of really solid content coming from within the legal world itself. For example, when I query legal advice when forming an LLC I get a lot of finance sites mixed in. There’s a lot of room here if you’re willing to play the long game.”
Finding Your Niche
“While there is a lot of room for strong legal content, sites like LegalZoom still dominate. What I’ve seen happen in niches with a similar sort of problem is that these sorts of sites rank well for top-level queries. But when you start looking for specific questions, Google goes a bit more “boutique” with its results. This kind of goes back to my first point, write COVID-19 content but write about niche-specific topics where you are the main expert.” Mordy goes on to caution that your law practice should not just write about anything and everything COVID-19 as it may be seen as an opportunist move and not sincere.
Steve’s advice is this: “The information you convey to your clients should help to establish you as a thought leader in your industry. If you’re an estate planning attorney but want to start focusing on family law and divorces as that’s a trending practice area right now, it could potentially backfire and do more harm than good.”
Lawyer Listing Sites
If you’re in a lull and the clients aren’t beating down your door, take this as an opportunity to comb your listings to verify the accuracy of the information and improve on the profiles. Why not even create a few new profiles?! It can be a great way to drum up new business and if nothing else, provides another link back to your website. These marketing efforts will not be in vain!
Mordy reflects that “Local lawyer queries will always bring up sites like justia.com. If things are quiet now, maybe it pays to give your profiles on these sites some TLC.”
There are millions of daily active users on Facebook alone. There almost as many on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube. Not having a business page on those platforms could be costing business. Not only are there a bevy of potential clients out there waiting for your sponsored ad to come across their feed so they can check out your website and give you a call, but when checking out the reputation of a business, many turn to social channels to see what people are saying.
With millions of Americans flooding social media every day, can your business afford to not be listed? It only takes a few minutes to create these FREE profiles and with a little planning, you can have your content calendar filled and pre-scheduled for weeks in advance. These business pages also provide a great opportunity for you to send out timely updates to people on your opening status.
Already have business pages? Why not use the time to go through and ensure that your profiles are all uniform (conveying the same images and wording across each channel) and that all of your information is still accurate? A bad phone number can harm your law firms’ image and could ultimately cost you business.
Whether through content marketing or through advertising, law firms across the nation are finding innovative ways to reach clients and to keep open lines of communication. “You can bet your competitors are looking for ways to impact people in your community through marketing” says Steve. “Take care of your audience and find those opportunities, because I promise you, they’re out there.”
Precision Legal Marketing is a one stop shop, full-service marketing agency ready to help your firm through these unprecedented times. We can provide you with some recommendations to help improve your rankings while identifying problems that could use a little attention. Let’s work together and focus our efforts on preparing your firm to reopen with the economy. Get in touch with us today at www.precisionlegalmarketing.com or by calling 1-877-602-7510.