As the year slowly draws to a close, I bet you begin to wonder:

“How am I going to grow my law firm in the coming months?”

“Will I need to use any new digital marketing strategies to generate more leads and sales in 2016?”

And finally…

“How can I ensure my business stays ahead of our competitors?”

So to help you out I decided to present you my personal list of law firm marketing predictions for the coming year.

Want to know how I think law firms will market themselves in 2016?

Then keep on reading…

Prediction #1. Reviews Will Become a Dominant Factor in Selecting Vendors

Prospects and clients already rely on reviews and online opinions when selecting a firm to hire.

In their recent Local Customer Review Survey, Brightlocal discovered that 92% of consumers now read online reviews.

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According to Statista, 81% of customers in total trust reviews as much as personal recommendations. 8% of them believe reviews unconditionally and 31% online believe reviews are authentic.

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And what’s more, opinions expressed in reviews and ratings affect customers’ buying decisions.

In the aforementioned survey, BrighLocal also discovered that 68% of customers said positive reviews make them trust a local business more.

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And 51% of customers will select a business if it has local reviews.

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Personally, I believe this trend will only continue to grow in importance in 2016.

As the choices available continues to persist, customers will seek more definite actors to determine which company to hire.

What does this mean to you?

As the access to information about companies widens, reputation, reviews or star ratings will become one of the driving factor determining a customers’ choice.

Therefore, to meet the customers’ expectations, your firm should introduce a strategy to solicit client reviews on Google Reviews, lawyers.com or Avvo.

Prediction #2. Lead Nurturing Will Become the Key Strategy for Converting Visitors into Customers

I bet your current customer acquisition strategy relies on using tactics like SEO and PPC to attract qualified traffic and then converting them through compelling website or landing page copy.

But customers become cautious about companies they hire. According to Marketo, up to 95% of them are not ready to speak with sales when they land on the site.

They want proof that your company is worth hiring. They also seek businesses willing to build relationships with them, educate them and earn their trust before initiating the sales conversation.

In other words, they want you to nurture the relationship with them until they are ready to hire you.

Lead nurturing is a process of convincing prospects to hire your firm by building relationships with them through sending relevant information with the goal of earning their business.

Lead nurturing attracts prospects at the early stages of the buying journey and helps guide them through it until they are ready to make a purchase.

What does this mean to you?

These changing customer needs will result in more law firms having to implement lead nurturing and marketing automation into their promotional strategies.

Consider incorporating strategies and tools like Infusionsoft, content marketing, lead magnets and drip campaigns to help you move prospects through every stage of their buyer journey.

Prediction #3. The Role of the Website Will Change Too

Up until recently, a website was nothing more than an interactive brochure. But today’s customers are getting tired of dry pitches.

They want companies to help them understand their problem and teach them more about possible solutions instead of boasting about their achievements.

Today’s customer’s seek education, information and advice relevant to their stage in the buyer’s journey. And there’s plenty of data to prove it:

For instance, DemandGen Report discovered that 95% of buyers select a provider who “provided them with ample content to help navigate through each stage of the buying process” (source).

And Forrester Research reported that 82% of buyers view at least five pieces of content from the winning vendor (source).

I predict that this trend will expand to the legal niche in 2016. Clients will start showing preference for law firms whose websites focus on providing all necessary information and content rather than information about the company.

What does this mean to you?

As part of your marketing plan for 2016, your firm should focus on creating useful and quality content tailored to every stage of the buyer’s journey.

Prediction #4. Conversion rate optimization will combat high CPC

FACT: Cost Per Click (CPC) in legal niche borders on the insane.

Just take a look at how much you’d have to pay to advertise for the term “personal injury lawyer”.

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I shared some advice on how to reduce the cost in one of my previous articles, but I also predict that 2016 will introduce a completely different solution to the problem…

Conversion Rate Optimization.

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a process of increasing the number of website or landing page visitors that convert into leads and later, customers.

In other words, CRO strategies don’t rely on getting more traffic but on making sure that more of the current visitors become leads and convert into new business.

CRO allows to reduce the cost of advertising while increasing your firm’s profit.

CRO relies on specific tactics like building highly relevant landing pages, optimizing the offer, copy and call to action to elicit a positive response from visitors and continuous testing to identify page elements that increase conversions.

What does this mean to you?

Instead of relying exclusively on generating traffic to your website, incorporate CRO strategies into your marketing mix. At a minimum, you should launch dedicated and highly targeted landing pages and A/B testing processes to identify elements that affect conversion.

Prediction #5. Lawyers Will Need to Come Out of Their Shell and Embrace Social

Social media presents challenges for many businesses, to a point that a lot of them choose to ignore it. But, today’s customers expect interaction from firms they choose.

They expect them to be active on social media, connecting with and engaging their audience, earning their trust and loyalty in return.

Even though it might seem like social media isn’t suitable for the legal niche, I predict that lawyers will have to incorporate social media marketing in 2016.

I believe more and more clients will begin to expect their legal teams to share useful advice, information and advice through social channels.

Of course this doesn’t mean that you’ll have to interact with clients about their specific cases. But if you specialize in family law, for instance, sharing articles and resources on the topic will only help your audience better understand their problems and the solutions your firm provides.

What does this mean to you?

I predict that in 2016 you will have to come out of the shell and embrace social as another channel to engage, interact and expand your customer base.

Want to Know More About How to Update Your Law Firm’s Marketing for the New Trends?

Sign up for our free, no obligation consultation. We’ll be happy to review your marketing plan and suggest new solutions to implement in the coming year.