Digital resolutions for law firms in 2016
As the old saying goes, a new year means a new start.
Everyone knows that there’s no excuse in January, since all the resolutions that have built up over the year have already been pushed to the “new year” pile. Once the festive period is over, it’s time to take on the pile, and tick off those resolutions. While you may have some personal goals to achieve, we’re looking at some digital resolutions you might be thinking about making along with some suggestions of how to keep on top of them.
Start a newsletter
If your firm is already creating content online, then starting a newsletter won’t be difficult. By compiling the best content from the last month, you showcase your firm’s personality and send it directly to your prospects and clients, allowing them to get a sneak peak into what you do. It doesn’t have to be lengthy or wordy, but it should match your firm’s brand, be attention grabbing and be useful. Consider your practice areas and how you could create content that will be related to them but also useful to your readers. Perhaps try throwing in a video interview with a different solicitor each month. By using an email client such as MailChimp, you can track the success of your campaign based on link clicks and open rates, allowing you to gradually understand which articles worked best as part of your newsletter. Once you find the unique formula, keep it up and your clients and prospects will feel much more engaged with you. For more email marketing ideas and tips, see our blog post on improving your law firm newsletter.
Clean up your citations
The term ‘citation’ refers to any mention of your business name, address and phone number (NAP) on local online directories such as Yelp that does not include a link to your website. Believe it or not, citations are one of the most important ranking factors in local SEO as search engines use them to verify vital information about businesses like contact details. If your firm recently changed address or phone number, leaving these citations untouched could be damaging to the organic traffic coming to your website. Not only this, but it will also cause confusion for your prospects searching for local solicitors. The first step you should take is to check your Google My Business listing, since this is the primary NAP that Google uses to recognise your firm. Make sure it is correct, if not, change it, and save the correct information into a spreadsheet. Next, visit http://www.moz.com/local, type in your details and check your listings. Moz will show you your citations across 13 main local authority sites, and you can then clean them up using the correct details you saved earlier. Job done? Not exactly… It’s going to take a while before every single citation matches up, and you’re going to have to make a note to check on them regularly to ensure that no spelling mistakes or inaccurate listings are wreaking havoc on your local SEO campaign. If you simply just don’t have time for this, you know who to contact to help you with this (us)!
Get responsive already!
If you’re not mobile responsive by now, you’re living in the past. Getting your website to be mobile responsive should be number 1 on your list ofresolutions. In case you still aren’t sure what we mean, a responsive site is one that looks great when viewed across all devices. The responsive website is built on a fluid grid and works by optimising it’s design to fit whichever screen it’s being viewed on. That means that depending on the size of the screen, the website will appear scaled up or down, but is based on a single site and shares a URL. Therefore, any content added to the desktop site or changes made will automatically be viewable on the mobile site, since they are the same site. Responsive web design is favoured by Google and is their recommended design pattern, since creating a separate mobile site with a different URL can affect your rankings in search results. With mobile searches now ahead of desktop searches, it’s more vital than ever that you have a mobile responsive website.
Boost your social media presence
If this is something you’ve been putting off all year, the New Year is a perfect time to start boosting your social media presence. Setting up accounts is fairly straightforward; it’s their maintenance that’s the tricky part. Here are the main points to focus on in 2016;
- Real Time Marketing
This year we saw an increase in corporations and brands taking advantage of big events for some real time marketing. Be it a sporting event, a piece of news or a post that is viral already, getting involved with a topic while it’s trending on Twitter does drive engagement. Of course, it’s hard to know when something is going to become viral, but for events such as the Olympics, some planning can be done in advance regarding how your firm will get involved in the social media sphere.
- Video & Live-Streaming
Facebook recently announced that they would soon make it possible for users to live-stream directly from the app to their newsfeed with ‘Facebook Live.’ Factor in the huge success of Twitter-owned live-streaming app Periscope as well as multi-way broadcast platform Blab and we can see that social media is becoming increasingly about being ‘in the moment’.
- Social Media as a Search Engine
While we’re still using search engines like Google to locate business and services, 2015 saw an increase in social media searches, whereby a person types in a company name directly to social media sites like Facebook to read opinions and reviews as well as to connect with the business on a personal level. Social media has now become a great influencer of buying decisions amongst users, and according to research from Social Media Examiner, 95% of Millennials expect brands to have a presence on Facebook. Social media platforms are now an indicator of a brand's level of customer service and their dedication to engaging with their audience, so boosting your presence on these channels should be high on your list of resolutions.
One of the most important points to consider in your law firm's digital resolutions is to measure the success of your campaigns. Trying out various strategies is no use if you aren’t recording which ones are working best for your firm. The only way to know whether a tool, technique or strategy is worth your time and effort is to collect and analyse the data. Consider the effort you have made in 2015 – what worked and what didn’t? This is how you should begin your resolutions.
If you need any help ticking these off, get in touch.