No time to be silent | Why Covid-19 shutdown demands you stay (razor) focused on law firm online marketing
“Not another COVID-19 article!”, I hear you scream.
But, yes ... because this is no time for law firms to go silent online. People across Australia need your law firm’s expertise.
Prospective clients face daunting challenges. Health threats. Work insecurity. Confinement life. Future anxiety ...
And many challenges of a legal nature, too.
Vulnerable Australians are under pressure. Their professional, economic and family lives are upended.
They face job insecurity and income loss. Health insurance and superannuation doubts. Unscrupulous profiteering. Fines for non-respect of social distancing … and on-and-on.
And in confinement, your prospective clients are spending hours online.
Their questions abound. And yes ...
Your law firm has legal answers to Australians' COVID-19 era problems
Going silent online isn't the right choice, today. To the contrary …
Now is the time to boost your social media and content marketing presence.
Reach out and educate people. Show how your firm can help. Be open for people at this historic and critical moment.
With the COVID-19 crisis, you should be online:
- maintaining and building your brand;
- securing your hard-fought-for presence;
- re-assessing your marketing messages;
- tweaking (or overhauling) your website;
- future-proofing your online marketing; and
- writing new content, projecting your firm into the future.
And yet, many firms have gone into shutdown mode … if not panic mode.
What Social Hive is hearing from law firms facing the Coronavirus crisis
“Not much point putting time and effort into our marketing as no-one’s around”.
Really, “no-one’s around”?
Where are they all?
There are millions of people affected by COVID-19. Some experience minor degrees of discomfort. Others, much more so.
Their stress is high.
- People have lost their jobs
- Many face unemployment
- Shops selling non-essential goods are losing sales fast
- Multitudes of businesses will not last the distance, facing bankruptcy
And the list goes on …
On the other side...
- Millions are still working, living, buying and selling
- People are still suffering road or workplace injuries
- Crime is continuing with some states reporting surges in certain types
- Scams are proliferating
- Unscrupulous employers are taking advantage of vulnerable staff
- Family law issues are continuing (anecdotal evidence suggesting increasing) and, yes ...
- Domestic violence is increasing
With traditional avenues of help "closing shop", people affected are going online. They're searching Google. They're surfing Facebook. They're watching YouTube.
Here’s the thing ...
Every firm that has gone silent presents you with a competitive advantage
Be the "open shop" for legal help online.
Be the ear and voice accessible to those in need.
Leave the lights on!
Show your firm is open for business, ready to give expert legal advice and representation.
During this critical time, maintain your online presence
Don’t be the firm that goes into online hibernation.
Ask yourself ...
Can your law firm afford to hibernate in the face of COVID-19?
We've also heard some say,
“We can’t afford to continue our online work.”
Is this something based on a full financial audit? Is it based on solid forward forecasting and modelling?
Unfortunately, in some instances, the answer is no.
For many, it's a knee-jerk reaction; what expenses can we cut to improve profit margin.
Consider the Federal Government JobKeeper scheme. It should ease at least some concerns about expenses and profit for the immediate future. There are other State and Federal Government initiatives for business, too.
And caution short-term thinking. You've invested time and effort in building your online brand. Stopping now for 2-6 months will undermine that investment. A re-start in September mindset, for example, is foolhardy.
Lost traction could be permanent.
Your organic marketing gains take time. Wins are compound effects.
Some of the following will help you understand why:
Losing search result 'position’ can mean being overtaken by other competitor firms. That's the smart marketing law firms who've maintained their online marketing activity.
To add fuel to the fire, consider this. The negative impact of abandoning for six months won't be undone by six months of re-boot. Lost traction could take 12 to 18 months!
Keeping the fire stoked is your insurance policy ... but also your continued return-on-investment.
But moving on doesn't mean beating the COVID-19 crisis drum.
Continue serving up high-quality, helpful legal insights
We've also heard firms say ...
“People are only looking for COVID related content and I don’t have enough to write about.”
I call furphy!
As you could imagine, Social Hive manages many law firm websites. We guarantee you, not everyone is visiting COVID-related pages only.
Certainly, those pages get traffic now when the content is engaging and informative. But for law websites with, say, 100+ pages, non-COVID traffic is still significant.
The same stands for social media feeds (both organic traffic and Facebook paid ads).
Facebook paid ad accounts have been going crazy in the last couple of weeks. This is the case for both COVID-related and "normal" content.
The reasons for this are unclear. But that's consistent with this pandemic experience. Like most we read about right now, "It's unprecedented". We have nothing to compare it to.
It's clear from our perspective, based on performance results, that people want more. They want both Covid and non-Covid related content.
Now’s the time to make time for online marketing ...
We’re not suggesting that there isn’t a downturn in new client numbers for many, if not most firms.
We recommend you see that as an opportunity for future-proofing your firm, not an abject disaster. Indeed, it is time to ...
Strengthen your online presence, making your firm resilient for the post-COVID emergency days
Here are a few things you could be doing, starting now:
- Review and update ‘static’ content across your website
- Optimise pages like your "areas of practice", "solicitor profiles" and "about this firm"
- Develop a schedule of blog topics, both COVID and non-COVID content
- Share your content writing tasks across the firm
- Create a publishing calendar, posting at regular intervals (Google loves new content)
- Refresh firm profiles on your social media platforms
- Consider updating your social media banner images
You can also pay attention to the online insight reports. That's the high-value data coming from Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, and LinkedIn Analytics.
Also, draw conclusions from the marketing reports your agency provides. Find areas where you can improve the targeting of your online marketing.
And consider these valuable email marketing actions:
- Review or build your digital marketing email database
- Share your content with electronic direct marketing (eDM)
You'll also want to update your Google My Business page.
- With office closures due to confinement
- Publish your new hours
- Update "virtual appointments" program
- Add regular posts, too, at least twice weekly and,
- Change your images.
This work on your Google My Business could boost your local search presence.
And go further:
- Take time to consider video marketing (like explainer videos or whiteboards); and
- Consider switching out your visuals for fresh, more powerful images.
Refreshing content is a plus for search engine optimisation. And it improves user-experience for "repeat" visitors. They get a sense your firm is moving forward.
And when it comes to ...
Publishing COVID-19 related legal blog posts
- Don't be alarmist
- Don't leverage COVID beyond a focus on its relevance to your practice areas
- Don't capitalise on the crisis, like offering free Wills "just in case"
But do ... most definitely do this:
- Keep active online;
- Be seen and heard on social media platforms;
- Engage with comments and messages with promptly helpfully; and
- Communicate in a positive manner while demonstrating empathy and understanding.
After all, COVID is not forever ... but your law firm should be.
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