While five years ago many of your prospects were searching for an attorney on their desktop, today they’re mobile. Now that Google search results are mobile oriented and there’s a smartphone in every pocket, it’s past time your firm implemented marketing plans based on Apple and Samsung, not Dell and HP.
This isn’t as hard as it sounds. While the search platforms consumers are using have changed, their legal research has not. Their needs throughout the buying process remain the same, so your marketing doesn’t have to change too much—at least not your message.
There are a host of ways digital marketing can influence the consumer’s journey, but below is a look at the path a legal prospect might take as it pertains to mobile devices and online advertising. For a broader view, you might compare it to a recent post on a similar topic. In today’s post, we’ll narrow our scope for the purpose of telling a more clear-cut story.
Step 1: Awareness
Legal consumers often begin their journey with high nerves and low knowledge. Ten years ago, they would have had to wait until they were home to open their laptop, search for an attorney and go right to that firm’s website. Now, there’s no need or patience to wait. Since the answers they want are right in their pocket, many potential clients start researching on their phones, wherever they are.
Luckily, the basics still matter on mobile devices. Most mobile prospects (76 percent1) will open Google or another search engine and they’ll certainly want to see your website. They’re probably turning to a legal directory as well (the second-most popular online resource1), where they can learn about their legal situation while simultaneously searching attorneys in their area.
When you’re marketing to legal consumers in the awareness phase, your objective is to let them know that you’re here and that you can help. Online advertising places you in front of the person who’s researching their legal situation but is still wondering if they need to contact an attorney. A well-targeted ad, either via pay-per-click or legal directories, helps reach people who are researching their issue and are primed to notice messages of help or results.
Measuring Success: When it comes to advertising, it doesn’t get more straightforward than impressions – literally a count of how many times your ad was served in front of an audience. This number is often far larger than what follows but for most businesses, it takes a lot of advertising to get noticed by the right prospect. Don’t discount the value of basic impressions, though. Turning off this faucet can have devastating results down the line.
Step 2: Engagement
The engagement phase begins when a legal consumer recognizes that he or she has a problem and needs a solution. At this point, that mobile phone is put to work pursuing additional information about attorneys or law firms. Prospects have likely been exposed to an ad (hopefully yours) and they’re now doing research to identify potential options. In the online advertising world, this is where your directory profile or PPC landing page takes over.
At this stage, your prospects are more actively engaged in the process. They’re visiting your website or clicking on your profile to try and get a sense of who you really are and if you could represent a solution to the legal issue at hand. Ideally, they’re taking the option to call or email your firm by clicking links to connect with your firm directly.
Measuring Success: There is a lot to measure here. Traffic or clicks to your mobile website are an obvious indicator that consumers are interested in learning more. Look also at profile views for an entry-level engagement metric. Even more valuable are clicks to initiate an email or phone call, but there’s an important technical detail to note here:
Modern mobile phones protect their users from accidental phone calls. So, if a legal consumer clicks on your phone number from their device, they will see a secondary screen asking them to confirm their click. An iPhone, for example, displays the phone number and two buttons: Cancel and Call. This is important because a “click to call” doesn’t necessarily indicate a successful connection with a prospect. That comes next.
Step 3: Connection
Engagement often ends with that first phone call or email to your firm, but the buyer’s journey isn’t over yet. A phone call or email is not a done deal. That prospect still needs confirmation that you’re the right attorney for them. They need a quality intake experience that is organized and empathetic to help them decide that you’re the lawyer to hire. Quality intake is well-trodden ground here at FindLaw, but if you haven’t studied up on the topic, it’s never too late. Once a connection is made, that client is virtually yours to lose. Once again, our most recent U.S. Consumer Legal Needs Survey indicates that 85 percent of legal consumers who contact an attorney wind up hiring one.
Measuring Success: Your metrics here are simple: actual calls and emails. Trackable phone numbers are a source of objective truth in this stage as well as your own inbox. Additional metrics will depend on your marketing technology and tactics, but there’s little doubt that the measurable items in this category are your marketing program’s MVPs.
Wrapping It All Up
The mobile legal consumer journey is different for everyone, but looking through the lens of online advertising, you can see that each stage has its own experience, value and proof. Keeping up with all of these might seem out of reach for some small law firms, but if you’re partnered with the right marketing company they can do it for you. For more information on how FindLaw’s reporting works, make an appointment below with your local consultant.
12018 FindLaw U.S. Consumer Legal Needs Survey
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