The Evolution of Marketing for Lawyers and Law Firms

The Evolution of Marketing for Lawyers and Law Firms

This article first appeared in The Lawyer’s Daily.

(January 28, 2020, 11:24 AM EST) — Legal marketing has gone through a major shift and notable evolution over the years. There was once a time where the law society prevented lawyers and firms from marketing themselves and in some cases even forbade many forms of marketing and soliciting business via means of advertising strategy. Lawyers were not allowed to advertise on TV, billboards, buses, via Yellow Pages, radio, etc.

There was reasoning behind these restrictions: protection of the legal industry and profession as a whole and preventing the power of advertising persuasion and influence.

Law firms and lawyers today must adhere to and obey the Rules of Professional Conduct  by the Law Society of Ontario. Chapter 4 addresses marketing of professional services. Section 4.2-1 states that: “A lawyer may market legal services only if the marketing a) is demonstrably true, accurate and verifiable; b) is neither misleading, confusing or deceptive, nor likely to mislead, confuse or deceive; and c) is in the best interests of the public and is consistent with a high standard of professionalism.”

In today’s world, marketing strategy is now not just the norm, but a necessary practice embedded in most successful firms’ business development plans. Traditional marketing now co-exists with inperson networking and digital marketing — and most large national firms today implement a holistic strategy comprised of various marketing, technology and business development tactics. This has been pegged as innovation.

Today we see all sorts of legal marketing happening in mainstream media, magazines, e-newsletters, direct mailouts, but also online on blogs, social media, websites, YouTube, podcasts and more. In fact, marketing has now become an essential element of a law firm and lawyer’s practice.

In the late ’90s and early 2000s, the Internet era started rolling and businesses started to use the power of the world wide web to market their business. Law firms started to create their own websites. Over the next decade, out came paid digital advertising practices, search engine optimization tactics and social campaigns. Lawyers and law firms were slow to the race, however; by the time we reached 2012-2013, we started to see law firms beginning to adopt.

As a marketing and business development co-ordinator at a mid-size Toronto boutique litigation firm, part of my role in 2014 was conducting a competitor analysis and online audit of digital best practices among other firms. Launching the firm blog, getting the firm’s lawyers using LinkedIn and debuting a solid social media strategy fell within the scope of my work and by 2015, the firm was utilizing the power of online marketing to raise awareness of the firm and its lawyers.

Modern day legal marketing

We still see billboards, we still hear radio ads, we still advertise in magazines and newspapers.Traditional marketing and advertising still exists and there are definitely ways of getting exposure inall traditional media opportunities, whether earned or paid.

Today, however, law firms and lawyers are utilizing online marketing strategy to gain exposure, target a market and raise their profile. The power of the Internet cannot be ignored and while at the end of the day, word-of-mouth and in-person networking are crucial, in today’s world, reputation is not enough on its own to build business, attract clients and grow.

Legal discussions and engagements are happening on platforms like Twitter in real time, a platform

largely attended by lawyers. It is becoming more and more important to be part of the conversation

as a means to understand the landscape and be part of this online community.

Technology is ever-advancing and each month there are new strategies, platforms, tactics and best practices to consider: from Facebook to LinkedIn to YouTube and now platforms like TikTok, innovation and modernization is necessary to evolve, adapt and reach new audiences.

With change comes opportunity, innovation and the ability to reach clients like never before and

establish authority, leadership and credibility.

Digital marketing’s competitive advantage

There is no doubt that business development tactics like taking a client for lunch, attending networking events, staying in touch with contacts and referral sources are important practices. These practices should be maintained.

Traditional media also still has significant value and weight. Exposure via traditional marketing is a

valuable tool for brand exposure and profile.

Digital marketing is a whole different ball game when it comes to analytics and target marketing. A magazine and newspaper have distribution numbers, readership demographics and circulation rates; social media analytics disclose reach, click-through rates, cost per click results, cost per acquisition; website analytics provide time spent on page, page views, bounce rates and consumer behavior data. Taking things a step further, social media and digital media buys allow users to target their market by demographic: geographic location, age range, interests, occupation, job roles and more.

The digital revolution is a powerful marketing tool

Stay tuned for part two of this article, which will touch on the power of analytics, target marketing and tips to optimize digital marketing strategy for your legal business and practice.

Marly Broudie is the founder and CEO of SocialEyes Communications Inc., a digital marketing agency

based in Toronto. Broudie started her career as a paralegal and then worked at a litigation firm in

business development and marketing, where she honed her skills in social media, marketing, content

creation and Internet marketing.

The End of a Year… The End of a Decade

The End of a Year… The End of a Decade

It’s December 31, 2019. Today’s date marks the last day of the year, but also the last day of the decade. Every year on December 31, I sit down and think about what I have accomplished over the past year, but also what I wish for and what goals I wish to achieve for the following year. It is a day to reflect, a day to plan and a day to set objectives.

What’s changed over the last decade? Holy crap – a lot! Went from living in my parent’s home to moving out and moving in with my boyfriend (now husband), travelling Europe a few times, getting married, having 2 children, leaving my 9-5 job in the legal industry and launching a business.

2019 was a great year and I am proud of the goals and accomplishments this year: 

1.) We grew our team from 4 full time staff to 7 – and I am so proud of us. We grew into a larger office space this year and we have really built a strong, talented, dedicated team and I can say with utmost confidence that we are building and growing every single day. Learning new skill sets, brainstorming together, collaborating and driving all of our careers forward, together. There is nothing quite like taking a step back and just watching our team work together and thrive together. THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU!

2.) SocialEyes went through a rebrand – 2019 marked the year of a brand refresh for SocialEyes. New colours, new fonts, a new logo, a brand new website, new printed collateral and a brand guide that we live by and adhere to. On February 19, 2019, we launched our new and improved website www.socialeyescommunications.com , we got new brochures and folders printed, new business cards, created new templates for our own social media footprint and honed our skills at brand building… we now offer Brand Guidelines as part of our service offerings because we got (really darn!) good at it especially during this process going through it for our own company! 

3.) Article Contribution Opportunities – In 2018, I set a goal that I would seek out 1 or 2 article contribution opportunities. I really enjoy writing, story-telling and felt that I finally was at a point where I had valuable information and insights to share. The following articles were written by me and published:

Lexpert Magazine – Social Media Changes Legal Profession

Women of Influence – Meet a Role Model 

JeffBullas.Com – How to Build a Business and Raise a Family as a Young Woman

Canadian Small Business Women – 2 Babies and a Business

Canadian Small Business Women – 5 Elements of a Successful Brand

Canadian Small Business Women – Optimizing Your Business in 2019

4.) Threw my very first charity event – This is a big one! Since 2011 (the year in which my sister passed away), I set a goal that I would one day throw a charity event in support of Sick Kids Hospital… 2019 was the year. This was totally and completely outside of my comfort zone…. I had never ever thrown an event and didn’t know a THING about event planning. I set it as a goal in December of 2018… and on November 20, 2019, the SociaLux Gala occurred. Sunny Kiani (my beautiful friend and talented owner of Lux Events Co.) put her best foot forward to throw this event with me and was ALL in from the moment I brought it up to her back in February. With 203 attendees, the night was magical and meaningful…. we raised $32,134 for Sick Kid’s Hospital. THANK YOU AGAIN TO ALL OF OUR INCREDIBLE SPONSORS, DONORS, VENDORS AND ALL ATTENDEES!

WOO 2019 has been fantastic!

It is now time to reflect on these accomplishments, and set objectives for 2020. I want to be able to grow even more (collectively as a team, but also personally), spend more time conducting research, developing skill sets, BUT also taking more time for myself. 2020 is going to be the year for self-reflection and self-growth. Taking more time for ME, getting more comfortable in saying “I can’t get to that right now” while simultaneously staying tenacious, determined and dedicated. 

I encourage everyone to take an hour today or tomorrow (the first day of the year) and set your goals for the next 365 days. It helps to put things into perspective!

Why Companies are Putting Their Marketing Budgets into Social Media

Why Companies are Putting Their Marketing Budgets into Social Media

Remember when traditional marketing was the only way to promote your business? Business owners would buy newspaper ads, billboards, bus stop ads, and drop flyers at every doorstep. Snail-mail promotional flyers were considered high-tech. While some might sigh, longing for the good ole’ days, others are flourishing in the new age of marketing. Today, we have amazing online tools, like social media, to promote our businesses to the exact people we want to. Here are some of the other reasons why brands keep moving their marketing budgets out of traditional marketing and into social media. 

Targeting to the Extreme

How do you target with a bus stop ad? If your target customer is middle-aged men, how can you ensure that demographic sees it the most? You can’t. Targeting in traditional marketing only works if you’re targeting a specific neighbourhood or city. Any further specifications aren’t possible.

Social media and digital marketing have changed the targeting game. You can set the parameters of your Facebook ad to only show up on the feeds of men of a certain age with a certain profession and certain income level. You can even set your ad to target people with specific interests or buying histories. That’s incredible for your return on investment. The money you spend on social ads gets utilized as efficiently as possible.

Analytics are Everything

When you buy a paper ad in a magazine, how can you tell how many people read it? Can you calculate how long most people stayed looking at the ad before flipping the page? No! With social media ads, you can determine both of those metrics. You can count how many people saw your ad, clicked it, shared it, or engaged with it. Then, you can see how many of the people that clicked your ad purchased your goods or services. This is crucial for knowing which ads work for your audience and which get less engagement.  

Reporting for Future Planning

Since your analytics are constantly and automatically being tracked, you can create reports weekly, monthly, and yearly. These reports are amazing for showing which marketing campaigns have been successful and why. You can see the promising trends in your content. For example, you might notice in your monthly report that your Instagram posts that included a person’s face in the image got higher engagement. Or, that Facebook posts that were written in the first person received more comments. By reviewing this month’s social media report, you can plan an even more successful content calendar for next month.

Sure, you can create reports for your traditional marketing campaigns. Before the internet, brands would pump out paper ads for a month and then hopefully see an increase in sales. But, there was no feedback on which specific ads caused the influx or why. Traditional marketing reports are far broader than social reports based on analytics.

It’s no surprise that more businesses are transferring their marketing budgets from traditional marketing to social media marketing. If you’re curious about making the change, contact us.

The Instagram Landscape is Shifting- Here’s What You Need to Know

The Instagram Landscape is Shifting- Here’s What You Need to Know

Three months ago, Instagram rolled out a pilot project in Canada to hide the number of likes on all posts. For mental health advocates, this was a huge win. When you don’t know how many likes your peers’ posts are getting, there’s less to compete with. But, what about the Canadian businesses that once used this metric to determine the success of their campaigns? This change has left marketing directors and social media managers at a loss. With the ever-changing landscape of Instagram, here’s how to keep utilizing this free resource for your business.

Hiding likes have changed the algorithm Instagram uses to organize feeds. Before, posts with very high metrics would be shown to more people. Without likes, how does the algorithm work? Well, no one knows for sure. But, we can deduce that it favours direct engagement more now. That means brands need to focus more on receiving comments, starting discussions in the comments, and encouraging the sharing of content.

Having a solution to focus on takes away some of the stress marketers were feeling. Sure, no one can see the like count. But that seems to be okay because users are clicking the heartless and less. Instead, users are commenting on posts that spark their interests, even if it’s with a simple thumbs-up emoji.

There has been some anxiety over the assumption that Instagram is changing the algorithm to favour paid ads instead of free posts. For small businesses with small marketing budgets, this is worrisome. There’s no doubt that paid ads were successful before, but brands could also be successful without them. Now, it seems you’re better off if you do a mix of both. Some experts recommend making one out of three posts paid. If that’s still not feasible for your marketing budget, experts recommend placing more effort into making posts primed for engagement.

What does that mean exactly?

It means creating posts that spur engagement, like discussions and shares. Treat your Instagram feed like an extension of your email newsletter. The focus is always on adding value to your followers’ lives, not spamming them with sales copy. Does that mean you can’t talk about your products or services? Of course not! Just don’t talk about them in terms of sales; your call to actions shouldn’t be encouraging users to buy your goods. Instead, create content around the purpose of your offerings and the problems they solve. Call to actions should pose questions that spur discussions in the comments or encourage shares. Post content that your target audience wants to read, even if it’s not directly promoting your business.

The learning curve of Instagram for business is ever-changing. The moment you feel like you have a handle on it, it changes. It’s important to be adaptable and committed to learning; get comfortable with rolling with the punches. Instagram is still an amazing resource for marketing if you adapt your strategies to its changes.   

For expert guidance on rolling with the punches and improving your Instagram marketing plan, contact us.   

Why Social Media Takes Time for Business Growth and Success

Why Social Media Takes Time for Business Growth and Success

Social media has changed the game for businesses everywhere. Suddenly, business owners can connect with thousands of potential customers without even opening their doors. Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube have created space for brands and consumers to socialize and build relationships. These relationships and connections lead to trust, which can lead to sales.  

Unfortunately, many business owners underestimate how long that process can take. The crux of successful social media marketing is networking and nurturing, both of which take time.     

Forging Relationships from Scratch Takes Time

There’s a reason most people don’t get married after the first date. You don’t know the person well enough; you don’t know if you can trust them or will even enjoy spending time together. 

The same thinking applies to social media marketing. 

Why would a user buy something from you when they don’t know who you are, if they can trust you, or if they’d even like your products? For them to answer those questions, they need to feel a connection with you. 

Building their trust takes time, effort, planning, and genuine care. You need to be transparent and authentic in your online presence so they can see who you truly are. The most successful social brands view their followers as friends and part of their tribe.    

Of course, building so many deep connections will take time. Once you put in the work, these followers become loyal ambassadors for your brand. 

Proving Your Value Takes Time

“Add value” is another buzzword phrase in digital marketing. The idea is that providing value to your potential customers makes them value you. It can help them trust you, see your authority, and genuinely like you. 

However, adding value isn’t as simple as creating a free e-book and promoting it on social media. 

You have to think outside the box. Here’s an example. If your business sells Christmas trees, posting about the trees you sell isn’t adding value to their lives. However, discussing how they can save money on decorations during the holidays does add value. Showing how they can help less fortunate families get a tree adds value. Showing them new and trendy ways to dress a tree adds value.

This is a lesson in content marketing. Understand what your target customer finds value in and start creating it for them. Over time, and as you provide more and more value, users will care about what services or goods you also provide.   

Sticking With It Takes Time

Regardless of the algorithm each platform uses, consistency gets rewarded. When you post quality content every day for years, it shows in your engagement rates and sales. 

So, how long do you have to be consistent for?

Social media isn’t a one-and-done marketing tactic. That’s why successful brands hire a social media agency or social media manager to work on their pages full-time. The more content you post, the more chances users have to see it on their newsfeeds. If the content you post each day is high-quality, authentic, and adds value, you’ll gain followers and eventually, increase your sales. 

Plus, consistency shows users that you’re reliable and active on the platform. By being consistent (posting, commenting, liking, outreach, etc.), you create more opportunities to build relationships with users.

For as long as you care about growing your business, be consistent on social media.

If you’re ready to step up your brand’s social media game, remember that success takes time. We can help you improve your social media marketing; contact us to learn more. 

Top 3 Digital Marketing Apps Worth Exploring

Top 3 Digital Marketing Apps Worth Exploring

Digital marketing is an ever-changing landscape that can be tough to navigate without the right resources. However, thanks to an ever-growing market there are plenty of companies that work to help businesses create engaging, interesting content. We’ve gone through several programs and resources for you and have selected our top 3 digital marketing apps/programs, focused on content creation and planning, to help you get the best tools for your business quickly!

Promo

Videos are a great way to break up static content and deliver information to your audience, and Promo is a great resource for people who want to create high-quality videos to use for advertising, product or service explainers, and social media content. Their library contains tons of footage, copy and music that you can choose from and edit to suit your own business. There’s also support for various aspect ratios so you can ensure your content looks great on whichever social media platform you’re using. Additionally, the online video editor streamlines the process so that anyone can create beautiful content quickly – regardless of your experience or skill level working with video content.

Story Maker

To give your Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook stories a boost, Story Maker is a great option to expand on and polish your ideas. The app offers a catalogue of 50 templates, stock images, backgrounds, and fonts to enhance your content and create professional stories, with the option to purchase additional resources in-app. Import your high-quality images and take advantage of the options within Story Maker, including unique photo framing options and combination templates, to make sure your stories catch the attention of your audience right away.

Planoly

Designed to make organizing and planning Instagram content easier for users, Planoly is a great multi-tool for both new and experienced Instagram users. The app features a drag and drop grid system that lets you determine how your feed will look before posting, and the scheduling and auto post features ensure that your stories and posts go out to the world exactly when you want them to. Planoly also supports audience engagement with a separate comment section, making it easier to connect with your followers. If you’re interested in tracking Instagram analytics, the app will generate the top five most liked and commented posts, respectively, on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Plus, if you find you prefer working from a computer, Planoly supports mobile and desktop use.There are plenty more apps centred on digital marketing, so if you find that you would like even more options when it comes to content creation feel free to combine our top three picks with your favourite apps! And if you find that digital marketing isn’t something you enjoy doing, or if it’s outside your comfort zone, you’re not alone – it can be a difficult field to navigate. If you need help with content creation and getting your digital marketing plan organized, contact us today.