From Togas To Touchscreens: 3 Ways Lawyers Need Mobile Marketing
Today’s legal system is a far cry from toga-clad men yelling at each other, deciding the fates of the masses from their oft-corrupt, opulent seats on a forum. Granted, our legal system has evolved quite a bit since then; we still face a troubling gap between the evolution of how law is practiced and the way optimize client/attorney referrals.
In 2014, 22 percent of the U.S. population hired a lawyer and 11 percent sought legal advice, according to a study by Lawyerist.com Meanwhile, Pew Research reports that two thirds of Americans now own a smartphone, and many of them use said phone as their only information point-of-entry. Mobile marketing is on the rise across every industry, and it’s time for the legal world to evolve along with it or risk wearing a proverbial toga in a suit-and-tie world.
1. If A Gavel Falls In the Forest, It Doesn’t Make a Sound
Mobile marketing and marketing in general can be a hot button for many attorneys. John O. Cunningham has spent extensive time researching and debunking some of the many reasons lawyers shy away from, or turn their nose up at the latest developments in the marketing world. Some of the most common are:
- Marketing violates traditions and/or ethics: While many see traditional marketing and advertising akin to ambulance chasing, they focus too heavily on the “traditional” part of the marketing equation. They fail to see that a strong presence online and optimized mobile capabilities are a far cry from a cheesy billboard looming over the 405 or wasting money on a phone book ad that will most likely end up in a landfill. As each generation reaches adulthood, brick and mortar marketing will become more of an endangered species. In fact, a study by a South Dakota based news organization called Keoland went on a quest to find phonebook users came up empty, with their consensus being “I just don’t think people are using it.” The same holds true with most commercial platforms– marketing tactics that worked just 20 years ago are about as effective as driving a horse and buggy down the interstate. When it comes down to it, prospective clients don’t just want mobile, they expect it.
- No one wants to feel “sold to.” Cunningham notes that many lawyers feel an extensive online or mobile marketing campaign may appear mercenary or intrusive. He notes that this can sometimes even cause them to put up a frosty exterior. However, marketing is less directly related to selling and more related to convenience, pertinence and emotion. An online and a mobile presence is now pivotal way to show clients a firm even exists, and a simple, interactive platform allows the client to come to the attorney, and simple, direct verbiage paired with top-notch reviews will eschew doubts and take away any pressure associated with sales.
- Marketing is a waste of time: For a high-powered attorney working 80 hour weeks, fiddling around with an online profile may seem to offer little ROI. Although unsubstantiated, many attorneys seem to believe that if they focus all their efforts on case work, they’ll reap the most rewards. Cunningham goes on to refute that just about any business professor or lauded business historian can cite dozens of examples of incredible products and services that failed into oblivion because of simple marketing mishaps.
Google reports that 67 percent of mobile users are more likely to buy from a mobile optimized website, and that number is on the rise. Even the most accomplished lawyer is at risk of their steady stream of clients trickling away without proper mobile optimization.
2. Marketing and Attorneys: Knowledge is Not Always Power
Attorneys are experts in their field. They can file a letter of demand in their sleep, or bring a courtroom to its knees on a powerful quest for justice. Thus, an attorney should be the perfect set of brains behind their own marketing initiatives, right? No. Hilariously wrong.
Like many CEOs or high-powered specialized professionals, attorneys often know so much about their job that they can end up alienating clients. Something as simple as providing too much detail in online legal advice can sever a potential case. Attorneysync.com notes that lawyers can have difficulty communicating with non-lawyers because they often speak in an avalanche of legal terms, which may as well be Greek to the client (and toga season has been over for at least 1,500 years).
Over-wordiness is a tried and true “click of death,” especially in the adaptation of mobile marketing for attorneys. When optimizing for mobile marketing, the mobile site function, content and features should be created or vetted by a marketing professional or specialized app.
3. Because “Mobilegeddon” Is Here, And It’s Not Going Away
“Mobilegeddon” is a term coined by web developers in reference to the release of Google’s new algorithm on April 21st. In tech jargon, what sounds like a tech-junkies’ pile of gobbledygook could actually be a swift, major and catastrophic bane to the existence of thousands of attorneys. In essence, the update gives priority SEO (search engine optimization) results to websites that are best optimized for mobile. A study by a Boston based firm found shocking results when they analyzed the top ten results from more than 15,000 search queries. Sites that were not mobile-optimized suffered a collective 46 percent drop in rank.
Kevin O’Keefe, a reporter for “Above the Law” reminds lawyers that if they don’t focus their online presence on mobile, the losses will only increase. In a report from LexBlog called the “2015 AM Law 200 Benchmark Blog Report,” it was discovered that of the 900 major blogs operated by Large Law, a whopping 73 percent of them are not optimized for mobile viewing. In order to avoid being buried by the algorithmically-advanced, O’Keefe notes that it is essential that attorneys use “responsive” software to build their online presence. That way, potential clients can find the best attorney on a computer, tablet or mobile device without struggle. Although law, trials and justice are as old as democracy itself, marketing techniques that promote them don’t have to be.