The novel coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19, are wreaking havoc on public health and the world economy. Stay-at-home orders and other restrictions and concerns are placing a strain on businesses, and law firms aren’t exempt from the pain. When budgets are cut, marketing efforts are often on the chopping block. While that might be necessary, there are ways law firms can continue to invest in legal marketing during COVID-19 and position themselves to come out of this crisis better equipped to serve current and future clients.
This blog provides links to helpful information you can use to strengthen your online presence during this time of uncertainty.
It’s Time to Reevaluate Perspectives on Legal Marketing
As the pandemic spreads, thousands of Americans will need help—not just with medical issues but also with legal issues including lost jobs, evictions, insurance claims, family emergencies and obtaining government benefits they need to survive… Those who come before our criminal justice system will face additional challenges as jobs are lost, the inability to pay fines and fees escalates and we face a greater risk of detentions. In times of crisis, lawyers help.
~ABA President Judy Perry Martinez
If thinking about marketing your law firm during a pandemic feels uncomfortable, it’s possible that your approach would benefit from a shift in perspective. Consumers tend to be more savvy and skeptical these days. This was true even before we were all immersed in a pandemic. The old razzle-dazzle has fallen out of fashion.
The modern marketing methods that resonate now—and produce results—often are based in genuine connection and conveying your skills and unique value to those you serve. Connecting people and businesses with legal needs to the right attorneys who can help is always important. During and in the wake of a pandemic, it is critical that people can access the quality legal services they need.
Who Needs Your Legal Services Now? Who Will Need Them Later?
Whether or not you are currently willing and able to invest financially in a legal marketing plan, your law firm needs to be planning and poising for the future. How is this crisis currently impacting your clients and potential clients? How will it continue to affect the businesses and individuals in your practice areas for years to come?
Right now, attorneys and law firms have a critical window of opportunity to think about how they can use their skills and knowledge to help clients. This should inform your practice area and business planning. The next step is to create or adjust marketing goals, plans, and content accordingly in preparation.
Why Content Marketing and Law Firm SEO Are a Good Fit for Communicating in a Pandemic
Content marketing is effective because providing useful material to clients and potential clients demonstrates value. The content you create or share should prioritize the benefits to your clients first. Developing thought leadership and authority in your practice areas and attracting clients based on what you can offer is the natural result of providing that useful content and information.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is key to making sure the people you want to reach actually see this useful material. When this tree falls in the forest, if no one hears it, it doesn’t make a sound. Good law firm SEO demonstrates the value of your legal content to search engines, like Google. Those search engines, in turn, present the content they deem useful to Internet users in response to their search queries.
Tips for Legal Marketing in a Pandemic
While a thorough content marketing and/or SEO campaign should ultimately involve the assistance of professionals, if attorneys have more time than money on hand during the pandemic, there are things you or other staff can do to improve your online presence and organic search rankings. If you find your budget can still support a marketing plan, this could be an ideal time to get ahead of the curve.
Assess Your Law Firm’s Web Presence
Start with a review of your law firm’s online presence. Evaluate whether the content that represents you online truly represents your firm in the way you wish. Also, review your current content—your website, social media—with an eye toward how it will be perceived in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Any material that could be construed as inappropriate, insensitive, or tone-deaf should be removed as soon as possible. If you have time to write legal blogs or create useful content and dig into some SEO strategies, all the better!
Review and Update Business Listings and Attorney Directories
If you haven’t claimed your law firm’s Google My Business profile, do this as soon as possible. It’s a relatively simple process and Google walks you through it. Add some basic information and photos, a description, office hours, and a link to your website. This listing is likely to appear when someone searches for your firm or one of its lawyers online. An incomplete listing does not convey professionalism and competence. A more complete listing is ideal, but at least tackle the basics.
It’s also critical to get out ahead of this issue so Google doesn’t create a listing for you. Once a listing is up, people can leave reviews, good or bad. Claiming and managing your listing actively puts you in control.
You can also claim and complete listings in other local business and legal directories. And it is wise to review the major directories to see if information is listed for your firm, if the details are accurate or need to be corrected, and if the listings include contact information and a link to your website. Inconsistent name, address, phone (NAP) information across the Internet can be a negative ranking factor for local search.
Tend to the Technical Side of Things
There are also technical details you can attend to that improve your online presence and visibility. A website that loads slowly kills traffic to your site because people turn away, frustrated, then search engines perceive this as a negative commentary on the value of your content.
Mobile-responsiveness is another critical technical component of a website. With more people searching on smartphones and tablets than ever, a site that doesn’t adjust accordingly is going to drive traffic the wrong way.
Technical updates to your site can also ensure security and compliance with personal privacy and accessibility regulations.
TOPDOG Is Ready to Help
Do you have questions about appropriate and ethical legal marketing in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic? The team at TOPDOG would be happy to discuss your concerns in this area or answer other legal marketing questions—big and small.
Reach out to TOPDOG Legal Marketing to see what you could be doing now to poise your law firm to serve clients when they need you most. Call (844) HEY-T-DOG (439-8364), email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or complete our online contact form.