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The importance of using digital marketing channels

The use of digital marketing channels is key if you want to reach your clients, says Dez Derry.

Law firms are still not using social media properly

I’d like to start this article by asking you a simple question.When did you last go online? Being online is not just about checking social media, reading news stories or shopping. Your emails came to you online, the text messages on your phone may well have been transferred in part via an online system, and your TV broadcaster can use the internet to update your listings or subscription to your set top box.

My point is online digital channels are everywhere, yet there are still a lot of law firms lacking any desire to embrace digital channels fully. We’re now at a stage where an entire generation of young adults do not remember what the world was like before the internet. For them it is something that has simply always been there and in turn they’re influencing other generations to use digital channels to find the services they need.

The legal sector needs to start acting now and make the most of what is no longer a digital revolution but is now a digital normality. Other business sectors have embraced digital marketing and it has done wonders for them. Looking at retail, it’s hard to find anyone that’s not at least once purchased something online via Amazon or had their weekly supermarket shopping delivered. In fact the UK’s online retail association IMRG and consultants Capgemini predict that this year online retailers will earn over £10bn for the first time ever, and that’s just in December, so why shouldn’t law firms also take a cut?

Different digital channels offer different solutions for growing your business and using them together can make a massive difference.

Telling people who are:

• Website: This is your most important digital channel and the place where your online clients will learn the most about you. Easy to understand content needs to be updated regularly with the whole site mobile optimised too, meaning it can be viewed on any device. This is increasingly important with figures published by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) showing that globally 1.2 billion people access the web via mobile broadband.

• Video: A video on your website gives your firm a personality and allows you to get across information that isn’t always easy with text alone. It also keeps people on your homepage for longer which means your clients are more likely to get in touch and become a paying client. Showing how professional you are in your videos will also reflect how professional you are in the services you offer.

• Search Engines: Following the previous steps will help your website appear above your competitors in the results of search engines like Google, when a potential client is searching for a service you offer. You can increase this further by looking at pay-per click (PPC) campaigns to refine exactly where you appear when certain search keywords are used. A full service digital agency can assist you in creating a PPC campaign so you’re able to generate good leads and analyse how well the campaign is working.

Reaching a wider audience:

• Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn are where peer recommendation come into play. Being on social media allows current clients to talk about how great your service independently. It also gives you a chance to add links to your blog and your website, while also interacting with potential new clients.

• Blogging: As explained earlier, writing a regular blog helps keep your website higher up in search engine results. But as experts in law, writing short articles on legal matters, offering basic advice, or opinions on recent sector changes show that if the reader ever needs a lawyer you’re the one to contact. It also gives you another chance to point your social media channels to your website.

• Email: Offering an email newsletter is a great way of keeping in touch with previous clients for repeat business. According to the Direct Marketing Association email marketing ROI was £21.48 for every £1 spent in 2012, proving it’s a fantastic investment.

Using digital channels does not mean you have to stop the traditional methods used to interact with new and current clients. But as more and more people look for services online, the importance of not accessing the market via digital channels become clear. If you are not using the channels your clients are to find the services they want, then you will be left behind.

Dez Derry is CEO of mmadigital

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22 December 2013

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