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Digitalise your business - the importance of digital marketing in the legal sector

I sat down with Dave Cain, Digital Marketing Manager at Boots UK and asked him a few questions on the importance of digital marketing for businesses.

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1.     Thanks for spending some time with me Dave, firstly, let’s kick off and tell me about yourself.

Hi Richard, thanks for your time. I've been working in the digital sector for the past 13 years. Originally I entered the market place as a web designer but very quickly realised I had a passion for marketing – Over the years I've worked with a broad range of clients from SMEs to global enterprises.

2.     You have previously been instructed by and worked with law firms - so how important is their digital presence / profile in the current market place?

A solid digital presence is a must have for any business and especially for law firms – a website, social media presence or even digital videos on YouTube will typically act as a primary touch point for a prospective client, however it is the way which this is presented that is the key to success – remember every digital touch point acts like a shop window.

3.     Dave, you have worked in digital for some time. What 3 key things should businesses expect from digital marketing?

Great question...

1.     A great website that works across multiple devices is key. Whilst we live in the moment, all businesses need to think about tomorrows customers and a website should work from a small mobile phone screen, all the way up to a laptop, smart TV and beyond. Also Google does give more credibility and a rankings boost to a website that work across the board.

2.     Digital won't transform your business over night. Search engine optimisation is a long term investment, as I mentioned, you need a strategy around social conversations and messages and these require ongoing management and fine tuning. Digital needs time but when you find the sweet spot it can transform businesses.

3.     Use data and knowledge from within the business to define the strategy – as I've mentioned, defining what conversations to have, what messages to push out, what demographics to target are key to digital success.

4.     Brand. How important is it to have your own personal brand?

For law firms I would say it is a must have – having previously worked with several law firms ranging from mediation, probate, divorce solicitors and many other areas – I always suggest each lawyer, or member of the legal team have their own profile, not only is this good for business and shows expertise, it makes the people (the most important element to any business) approachable. What most people forget is we are all human, we have families, interests and so on. Potential customers want to connect with 'real people'.

5.     The good the bad and the ugly – can social media have an adverse / negative impact and if so how can a business avoid it?

Social media gives everyone a voice, this is the biggest challenge. Therefore a clear plan around what social media means for a specific business is required, a few key things to consider are:

·         Sensitive subjects – as a law firm you probably shouldn't be engaging in controversial news

·         Demographics – as a business, you'll probably have a good steer around who your customers are; talk to those people about the things that matter to them, make it personal and show that you care

·         What are you going to say – any good social strategy involves messages so think about the approach and how you'll connect with new audiences. I've been using this example a lot recently but look at the Lloyds ‘250 years by your side' campaign – this connects with many different walks of life and is a very powerful and strong message.

·         Social is pay to play – if you're serious about using social media from Facebook to LinkedIn, you'll need to invest into these platforms. It is reported most Facebook pages only reach around 2% - 6% of the people that have liked the page. Facebook have purposely limited this – at the end of the day, all of these channels need a revenue stream.

In my opinion, LinkedIn is still an untapped channel, businesses can have a business page where they can share updates and also promote the business through paid adverts. This is a brilliant guide which is worth reading.

To summarise what is good, bad and ugly:

?      Good – talking with people

?      Bad – ignoring people

?      Ugly – not listening to what people want

?      Top tip – position your business on LinkedIn and invest into paid ads

6.     A business would normally avoid any kind of failure, why should they be scared of a digital marketing fail?

Digital changes daily, so it shouldn't be about failing, it’s all about testing and learning. A great example is Google Adwords aka Google Pay Per Click (PPC) – these are the ads that appear at the top and to the right after you have done a search in Google. Don't assume if it didn't convert in the first month that it didn't work – from experience it can take a good 12 months to optimise a PPC account, beyond that its about regular fine tuning and expansion.

7.     What is your response to people that say digital marketing can be expensive?

I love this question – the great thing with digital is everything is trackable, using a statistics package such as Google Analytics can show how people have found your website from advertising done online. A good digital marketing firm should be charging at least £500 a month, but remember, everything digital is trackable, that can't be said for a £500 newspaper ad!

8.     Just touching on digital marketing agencies Dave, what should businesses look for in an agency?

The majority of my background has been working within agencies and also competing with other agencies. The feedback I also got back from clients was openness, honesty and transparency (along with delivering the numbers) where the crucial elements to a good working relationship. Agencies should report on progress, challenges and activity completed each month.

Dave, thank you for taking the time to speak with me today and I hope that the readers find this a useful insight in to digital marketing.

Richard Betts, Legal Recruitment Consultant – Bygott Biggs

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