The Technology Horizon – Manage it without fear
Legal Marketing Association seminar: How to take control
Technology has infiltrated every nook of our professional and private lives, often helping us to sound smarter and operate more efficiently. The frustration is that technology never stops changing, offering new options nearly every day. It’s easy to feel as if we are always scrambling to catch up.
Adam Stock, chief marketing officer and client services officer at Allen Matkins, addressed ways to deal with this consternation at the 2015 Legal Marketing Association annual conference in San Diego, where he presented “The Technology Horizon, Technologies to Keep Your Marketing Relevant.”
Stock came up through the information technology ladder, an unusual background for a marketer. But it gives him confidence to incorporate tech into his firm’s marketing plans. As he pointed out, technology makes it easier to gather information. The next critical step is to manage and gain insight from the information so that we can translate it into beneficial action.
Stock gave some advice on how lawyers can take control of technology to reduce apprehension and increase the return on investment. First, you don’t have to do everything at once. Start thinking about your needs for the next three to five years to give yourself time to plan and implement.
And as with many subjects, it helps to broaden your perspective. The adoption of technology, especially, is often proportional to age. In other words, the younger you are, the more willing you will be to try out the newest gadget. This is important to keep in mind, Stock said, when you are marketing to specific groups. For example, surveys show that managers of large law firms are generally eight to 10 years older than the CEOs of the NASDAQ companies they target for business acquisition.
Here is Stock’s guidance to anyone who is thinking about how to integrate technology into marketing operations – which should be all of us.
- Vendors can be your friends. Or, at least, not your enemies.
Every professional receives cold calls via phone and email. Instead of quickly deleting them, sort them into a file that you discuss once a month with your president and marketing chief. Determine whether you should learn more about any of them and then interview the vendor. If you are interested, ask for a free trial of up to 90 days. It is a good way to educate yourself about the quickly changing IT landscape while retaining the authority to commit your investments where they will help you most.
- Develop your niches.
Most firms concentrate on a few main areas but occasionally take on clients with specialized needs. You can attract more of these niche clients by optimizing your website — ensuring you provide content that conforms to the way people search for services. So-called long tail keywords help to narrow a web search. Instead of typing “business lawyer,” searchers today are more likely to ask for information on SCPA litigation, for instance. If this is an area in which you work, make sure your website includes a landing page with that heading and additional information about what you offer, your experience, client testimonials, and the like. Setting up a web page is a low-cost way to market more effectively. (You can also listen to our recent webinar “Switch to a Niche”.)
- Web access anywhere, anytime.
You have heard of responsive design. It means that no matter what device you are using – desktop, tablet, phone – your website will be accessible and easy to read. Even if you personally don’t use your phone to search the web, the majority of people do, and your company’s website needs to be responsive. Google demands it.
- LinkedIn is important.
Stock predicts that LinkedIn, the social network for business, is going to grow in importance and become something akin to an online store for attorneys. Your LinkedIn page needs to be updated at least once a quarter and list all your marketing information, including the services you offer.
- Use automated marketing.
Software programs can interpret the actions of visitors to your website and guide them to information that will allow them to make a decision. Automation moves them through the marketing pipeline until they are ready to talk to someone in the firm. This increases the number of prospective clients who can be engaged at once and gives your marketers more time to prepare an agreement. An important note: Automation can create great benefits, but when you have different programs for marketing, accounting, event planning, etc. eventually you will discover a need to have them all work together. You will save time, decrease your frustration and become much more efficient if you research and then adopt a system that ties all your software into one platform.