9 Top Law Firm Marketing Trends to Watch Out for in 2017 and Beyond

Today, lawyers need to be proactive about finding clients.

An increasingly competitive legal industry, advancements in technology and a constantly changing digital marketing landscape, means law firms must adapt and innovate. A failure to do so will leave your firm at risk of falling behind, as others forge ahead.

So, how do you stay ahead of the game? You focus on law firm marketing trends that are shaping the industry! By monitoring these trends you can identify and capitalize on growth opportunities.

Law firms: How do you stay ahead of the game? You focus on law firm marketing trends that are shaping the industry!

With that in mind, here are nine top law firm marketing trends to take advantage of in 2017, and beyond.

Trend #1: Simple CRM Solutions are Gaining Momentum

A shift is occurring in the legal industry. Modern law firms now focus on innovative tools, software, and processes to grow their firm. A recent Ackert Advisory study highlights this trend, with a 70 percent adoption rate of CRM for law firms.

Despite the proliferation of this marketing trend, utilization rates remain low because of CRM systems that are complex and not tailored to lawyers. Maybe you’ve experienced this?

Regardless, there’s now a new trend emerging to deal with these low utilization rates. Innovative companies are producing simpler pipeline management systems that lawyers want to use. A few examples include Base and Practice Pipeline.

The prediction is that the trend will start gaining momentum throughout 2017. Are you ready to take advantage of it?

Trend #2: Content Marketing Is on the Rise

Like CRM, law firms are also rapid adopters of content marketing. Many firms recognize the power of content marketing to show expertise, drive traffic, capture leads and make sales.

This trend shows no signs of slowing, but presents a new problem: how do you stand out from the crowd? The short answer is by providing diverse content to include more long form and visual content—a law firm marketing trend in itself.

Trend #3: Long Form Content Is More Prevalent

A shift toward longer form content may come as a surprise. After all, people have reduced attention spans, so surely shorter content is better, right? You’d be wrong. There are many studies showing that longer content improves search engine rankings.

For example, a study by Capsicum Mediaworks found that the average length of the content of the top 10 results in search engines, was usually 2000 words or more. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should write long content for the sake of it. The content still needs to be valuable- something Neil Patel emphasizes in his post, “Why 3000 word Blog Posts Get More Traffic“.

While written content drives search engine traffic, visual content also offers several benefits: increased brand awareness, engagement, increased social sharing and more sales.

Trend #4: Visual Content Is Making a Splash

Visual content consists of photos, images, and videos. A Pew Research Study shows how almost half of internet users have re-shared photos or videos. That’s not to mention that 54% of users have posted original photos and content and by 2020, it’s projected that video will account for 82% of traffic.

Visual content is powerful – there’s no doubt about it -, and more law firms will warm to it, with time. There are several examples of law firms successfully using visual content already. For example, LexisNexis created an infographic titled, “Bridging The Gap”.

Trend #5: Lawyers Are Realizing the Power of Linkedin

Many lawyers are already using Linkedin to show their expertise and market themselves. If you’re still doubting the power of Linkedin, you only need to look at this infographic: Six Amazing Stats That Prove Linkedin is Important to Lawyers. Some stats include:

  • 80% of social media leads B2B leads originate from Linkedin.
  • 45% of website traffic from social media comes from Linkedin.

The prediction is that this law firm marketing trend will continue it’s rampant growth as lawyers realize the power of Linkedin as a marketing tool.

Trend #6: The Gap Between Marketing and Business Development Is Closing

Marketing and business development are two different functions. Where marketing provides the support role in identifying needs and devising marketing strategies, business development uses this as a basis to build relationships and grow law firm revenue.

But, as Mo Bunnel – a business development strategist highlights, the gap between the two functions needs to close. In fact, he listed “Mesh Marketing and B.D” as one of the business development imperatives for 2016.

If closing this gap is important for law firms success, more law firms will close it with time.

Trend #7: Law Firms Are Moving to the Cloud

According to Law360, the number of lawyers who are using the cloud has increased in recent years, due to improved privacy and security.

Lawyers are using the cloud in a variety of ways, from hosting their websites and sharing files to preventing cyber attacks and managing documents remotely.

For example, cloud-based solutions like FreshBooks are helping lawyers stay organized, manage and track their time and bill clients for all hours worked. What’s more, lawyers can do all this remotely, something that’s important considering the growth of remote working.

The trend of moving to cloud-based solutions will only continue with advancements in technology.

Trend #8: Mobile Optimized Sites Are on the Rise

31% of all law firm related website traffic comes from mobile search.

In 2015, Google announced that mobile traffic surpassed desktop traffic in 10 different countries, including the USA and Japan. That same year Google also introduced an algorithm update that promoted mobile friendly sites. If you’re thinking that your law firm is immune to mobile, consider that 31% of all law firm related website traffic comes from mobile search.

Mobile is important – there are no two ways about it – and it’s no surprise that some law firms have shifted their attention toward mobile optimization. But there are still those lagging behind. In 2015 one-third of law firms’ websites were mobile optimized.

As mobile usage grows, more firms will hop on board this trend to remain current, competitive, and relevant. And for those who don’t? Well, I don’t need to tell you what that potentially means.

Trend #9: Law Firms Are Harnessing the Power of Podcasts

The growth of podcasts in recent years has been phenomenal. A recent study shows that the number of people tuning into podcasts increased by 23% between 2015 and 2016, with most of that growth a result of increased mobile usage. A whopping 64% of people are listening to podcasts via mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.

There are law firms already taking advantage of this trend. For instance, Legal Talk Network features podcasts by thought leaders in the industry. The podcast trend is only set to spread like wildfire with low-cost podcasting technology now available and the desire for firms to remain competitive.

The ability to remain competitive in the legal industry isn’t easy. Technologies and the digital marketing landscape are always changing. That’s not to mention the increasing number of lawyers out there. But, by focusing on these nine top law firm marketing trends, you’ll identify opportunities for growth that’ll allow you stay ahead of the competition.

Look into your crystal ball… do you foresee any other marketing trends becoming prevalent in the legal industry? Let us know in the comments below!

about the author

Freelancer & FreshBooks Customer Nick Darlington is a FreshBooks customer and small business owner who's been running a writing business for close to four years now from his home in sunny South Africa. When he’s not sharing his knowledge and experience about how to successfully run, manage and grow a small service business, he’s helping aspiring and established writers succeed at WriteWorldwide.