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“We are the Number 1 legal practice…” We’ve lost count of the times that we’ve seen this statement “grace” the pages of a professional service website. Yes, that might well be the case but in the digital age such a proclamation carries little weight unless it is backed up by examples, client testimonials and content that proves your credibility. If the services a law firm offers are really so outstanding, then surely there are ways to showcase that online.

While this sounds like a no-brainer, you still see some law firm websites looking more like an online brochure than a digital hub – promotional, exclusively self-referential, relying on broadcast messages and reminiscent of the web relics that were around in the mid-1990s.

The reason for legal companies’ reluctant adoption of digital, some will argue, is that generally speaking, professional services get a lot of their business through referrals and word-of-mouth recommendations, and so, creating content and engaging with people online is not on their priority list. But as Bob Dylan sings in his eponymous song, “The Times They Are a-Changin’”.

78% of consumers research services online before making a commitment to buy, with law firms we’ve worked with finding it increasingly difficult to attract clients through interruptive advertising and traditional “push” marketing techniques. Your audience and prospective clients are online helping themselves to the most relevant information that they are seeking. Are you doing anything to attract and engage them?

If the answer is “no”, it is time to make the move from a promotional to a client-focused online strategy.

Why inbound marketing is a natural fit for law firms

There are some compelling factors (both internal and external) that hammer home the need to adopt an inbound internet marketing solution.

The external, contextual reasons have to do with the major shift in consumer behaviour and habits, which is taking place with the advent of social media. Internet users have transformed from passive recipients to active producers (and co-producers) of content. They not only want to find information; they want to engage with it, and so, they now demand strong and powerful user experiences. Old-fashioned “push” marketing tactics are losing their effectiveness and giving way to methods that reflect the new consumer behaviour.

The internal inbound capabilities may not be that obvious – despite traditionally being late adopters of technological innovation, legal firms have some of the best content resource at their disposal. What better match for inbound marketing, which is about attracting and engaging people through valuable, quality content? Since online users look for credible, thought-leading content, the existing powerful in-house resource – subject-matter experts specialising in different sections of the law – can be leveraged to the company’s business advantage.

This eliminates one of B2B companies’ greatest woes – the lack of in-house content development capabilities. Lawyers know their respective field inside-out; they are usually excellent writers and would make the most natural thought leaders if they put metaphorical pen to paper and committed to a sustained social media presence. This would not only establish the individual lawyers as thought leaders in their specific field but would also add credibility and boost the exposure of their law firm.

Inbound internet marketing is a tried-and-true comprehensive strategy that matches the dynamic nature of consumer habits in the digital space. Putting valuable, industry leading content at its core, inbound marketing changes the focus from “push” to “pull” – a much-needed move for forward-thinking legal firms looking to meet the challenges of the digital age.

Learn more about inbound marketing for legal pracices by downloading our complimentary White Paper.

Image credit: audiophilia via Flickr/Creative Commons