The state of marketing in the legal sector. Matthew Johnson - Head of Marketing & New Business by Matthew Johnson, Head of Marketing & New Business

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Introduction

Legal marketing is on the brink of change. More firms are beginning to appreciate the importance of increasing marketing and business development efforts as the competitive landscape changes and revenue pressures increase. In writing this article I came across the same data over and over again. I came across many blogs offering the “top 10 stats for law marketers for 2019”. The frustrating part? It was all so out of date. They were using data from 2015 and in some cases from even earlier than that. 2020 is right around the corner so I set out to uncover some recent data about the state of law marketing, furthermore, the stats below are taken from reports and findings from the past year. 

A paradigm shift?

In recent years it seems that there has been a paradigm shift in the legal sector. Good legal marketers are now fully aware of the benefits of engineering their websites to be an around-the-clock sales engine. They know their site should attract and nurture new business leads and they understand the value of improving user experience and providing highly targeted content to delight their audience. How do we know this? A comprehensive 2018 study conducted by LMA and Bloomberg Law found that 62% of law firms asked said that their firm is increasing its focus on marketing. The logical inference is that things are changing, but why? Have law firms turned the corner? Are they ready to take digital and marketing seriously? Hopefully, the 5 facts below will provide a benchmark for law marketers and help shape marketing strategies for 2020.

5 stats for law marketers in 2020.

1)  91% of law firms rely on marketers to perform marketing, business development, competitive intelligence, and client communication tasks. 

Furthermore, marketers think that a lack of time and insufficient collaboration from lawyers are the two main things holding them back. It’s no wonder they feel like they don’t have time, they’re doing 3-4 jobs! Partner this with a lack of engagement from lawyers and you’ve got a terribly difficult role to fulfil. Interestingly, lawyers think a lack of time and difficulty finding leads holds them back. Only 16% of marketers said difficultly finding leads was holding them back. This tells me that the legal sector is ready for marketing automation. There’s just never enough time in the day, right? Most firms will use multiple systems for email marketing, social media management, content creation, managing your contacts, etc. This makes reporting a nightmare.

Doing everything in one place and on one system means you can operate with maximum efficiency and get more value from the time and effort you input. 

2) 73% of marketers think a CRM software is critical for success whereas only 22% of lawyers think the same.

Firstly, why is there such a gap in the perceived impact of CRM software? It’s probably because lawyers are usually the ones entering information into the system (which we all know can be time-consuming) while marketers are generally the ones pulling the data and using it for content marketing, client communications, pitches, etc. If data isn’t king in your business by now, well, good luck. Furthermore, 67% of marketers think email marketing software is useful, 56% said social media tools (organic and paid) were useful, and only 24% of marketers thought that marketing automation software was useful. Considering statistic number one, its hard to believe that only 24% of law marketers think automation software will be useful. Perhaps they don’t know what’s out there?

If I said to you we could supply an all-in-one software for marketing and sales which has a CRM, email marketing, social media management, advertising, marketing automation tools, blogs, landing pages, and so much more, how many marketers would say that would be useful? Yep, probably 100%. Get in touch today if you want to hear more about this sales and marketing software because it does exist and it will make your life easier.

3) The top two marketing initiatives lawyers think will be most effective in generating new business are increasing social media efforts (52%) and increasing marketing staff (41%).

I was quite surprised to see this. Over half of lawyers think that the most lucrative marketing investment is in social media. Social media is only effective when it complements a much wider ecosystem of marketing activity. It isn’t enough to just hire a marketing person and expect the cases to come flooding in either. 

In comparison, fewer marketers deem social media as an effective investment for law firms (39%). Marketers think in-person events (42%) and investing in new tech (41%) are more effective ways to spend budget.

4) Firms are increasing marketing investments and the main catalyst is internal pressure to generate more revenue (61%).

So what’s driving the internal pressure to increase revenue? 

This internal pressure is likely to be driven mainly by external pressures like corporate counsels reducing the number of firms they work with. In addition, firms that notice their competitors effectively using marketing strategies to win business are more likely to invest themselves through fear of being left behind. The challenge is getting the right strategy in place. Other external pressures include more RFPs, higher demand for specialised firms, corporate counsels in-sourcing more work, and clients requesting new billing models. Surprisingly, the threat posed by alternative service providers and new technologies is still perceived to be minimal. 

The good news is that plenty of opportunities arise when looking at this data, particularly, the need to differentiate and stand out from the crowd is clear. You can do this through branding, with the right marketing strategy, and by adopting new technology. ‘Me too’ brands just don’t cut it anymore. 

5) 82% of consumer internet traffic will be video by 2020. 

Finally, this statistic serves as a reminder! Get a video on your homepage sooner rather than later to avoid being left behind. Here’s how adding just one video to your homepage can improve your firm’s credibility:

  • Utilising video marketing can increase a law firm’s organic search traffic by 157%
  • Introducing your brand with an explainer video can increase email inquiries by 127% and click-through rates by 138%
  • 75% of people base credibility by a website and say that having a video on your homepage improves your credibility

Video is the most engaging form of digital communication. Here are some tips on getting started.

Conclusion

I believe law firms are beginning to understand how important marketers are to their business but are some distance from understanding just how digital and marketing functions can impact their financial performance if applied correctly. I think a jump to new technology is imminent for any ambitious firm and marketing automation is becoming a no-brainer. Its efficiency gains are second to none and it allows talented marketers to do what they do best, without being bogged down by manual processes and tasks that add little to no value.

You need to develop a marketing strategy fit for 2020. Yes, that probably means automation and perhaps systems integration. But if you want to compete with the best, you first have to meet them on their playing field. Get in touch today and see what we can do together to grow your firm. 

Matthew Johnson - Head of Marketing & New Business by Matthew Johnson, Head of Marketing & New Business
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