Are Legal Referrals Becoming the Horse & Buggy of Legal Marketing?

By Law Firm Suites - November 3, 2016
Are Legal Referrals Becoming the Horse & Buggy of Legal Marketing?

Influencer Marketing is like traditional referral marketing on speed. Here’s what small law firms need to know about it.

Ask any lawyer and they will tell you, the best clients come from referrals.

This is backed up by science. A study by McKinsey found that “marketing-induced consumer-to-consumer word of mouth generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising.” And of those that were acquired through word-of-mouth had a 37 percent higher retention rate. (Source: Adweek)

But the process of cultivating referral relationships can be slow. For most lawyers, there are only so many hours in the day for one-on-one glad-handing.

Lawyers can learn a valuable lesson from the top brands in the consumer sector, which have been embracing influencer marketing, which leverages the power of traditional referral on a much bigger scale.

What is Influencer Marketing?

Studies show that potential customers are burned out on ads. In the online world, there’s even a name for it: banner blindness. Today’s consumers prefer to learn about products and services while consuming the content they are already engaging with.

Enter influencer marketing.

Rather than marketing to large groups of prospective clients yourself, you inspire, hire or pay an “influencer” to spread the word about you and your firm, most often through their personal social channels. Sometimes firms create their own content, other times the influencer creates the content for the firm.

Influencer marketing proves to be effective in every aspect – whether it’s for garnering customer loyalty, finding new leads, or winning an audience’s trust. You might think this applies only to consumer goods and brands. But the fact is that even lawyers and law firms can benefit from the impact influencers have on people’s decisions.

How Can Lawyers Use Influencer Marketing?

You may be a bit skeptical about the uses of influencer marketing for those in the legal industry. After all, you don’t have a physical product to market and influencers are usually promoting actual products. But maybe you’re only thinking of social media influencers like YouTubers and Instagrammers.

Since you’re selling a service, you’ll be working with an entirely different group of influencers. For instance, you can partner with influential bloggers who write about legal issues. If you’re a finance lawyer, you could partner with influencers in the finance industry.

Before proceeding with how you can work with influencers, you need to first understand how exactly influencer marketing impacts businesses and how it can be implemented into your law firm. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of this marketing channel:

  • Earning high-quality leads – Research conducted by Tomoson reveals that at least 51% of marketers have been able to acquire better customers with the help of influencer marketing. An influencer has the trust and respect of the people who follow them, meaning those followers are likely to trust their product recommendations and reviews. So the leads these influencers generate are usually most likely to convert, meaning they’re high-quality leads.Influencer marketing Similarly, your law firm could use influencer marketing to attract high-quality leads with a high potential of turning into paying clients. Maybe an influential local journalist briefly mentions your practice in their article, an influential blog features your content, or an industry influencer talks about you. All of these could help you attract high-quality potential clients as you’ll marketing will reach more people who could use your services.
  • Cost-effective marketing – In the previously-cited Tomoson study, influencer marketing was found to be the most cost-effective marketing channel along with email. Each of the channels received a 22% vote from marketers in terms of cost effectiveness. Rather than investing most of your marketing dollars on a massive billboard ad, you could use it to fund an influencer marketing campaign and still have enough in your budget for other marketing channels. Even if a thousand people notice the billboard, there’s no guarantee that they’re going to show up at your door. Influencer marketing With influencer marketing, an influential individual makes sure that the relevant audience hears your marketing message. Although you won’t be spending as much as you would for the billboard ad, you’ll be reaching out to more high-quality leads. This gives you a cost-effective solution to market your brand without the need to spend everything you have.
  • Impressive returns on investment – Businesses make investments with the hope of gaining high returns. Sadly, they often fail to see the desired results. But with influencer marketing, you have a chance of yielding high returns on your investment. In fact, most marketers are getting a return on investment of $6.50 for every dollar when it comes to influencer marketing.

Tips for Lawyers to Work with Influencers

You now have a clear idea how influencer marketing can impact your law practice. The next step is to draw up a plan and come up with an effective method of integrating it into your existing marketing campaign. The following tips can help you successfully use influencer marketing to promote your practice:

  • Prioritize identifying the right influencers – The biggest challenge that will stand in your way is identifying relevant influencers. There are plenty of things you need to consider such as the type of influencers you should target, the level of influence they have, etc. Ideally, focus on industry influencers and relevant niche bloggers/blogs based on your specialty. For instance, if you focus on tax law, you could look for people or blogs specializing in finance and financial planning.
  • Don’t hesitate to use tools – You can speed up the process of identifying and filtering potential influencers using influencer research tools. Buzzsumo is especially useful for this, as you can simply search for relevant influencers using related keywords. As you can see in the image below, you can search for only bloggers, journalists, companies, or even regular people.Influencer marketing Buzzsumo gives you all the essential information you might need to research potential influencers. The page and domain authority along with the number of followers stats can help you determine the influencer’s reach. The retweet and reply ratios can help you understand their level of engagement.
  • Promote your content through influencers – Being a lawyer means you’re selling a service instead of an actual product. So you’ll need to market your service by showing people how you can help them. Usually, blog posts serve as an excellent channel for law firms and lawyers to market their expertise. But it’s not enough to simply publish a blog post on your own website. Instead, you can promote your content through influencers. Maybe they can share your post with their social media followers or mention it in their own blog post. They could even give you a chance to submit a guest post, sharing your knowledge with their loyal audience.

Wrapping Up

Working with influencers is especially crucial for startup law firms and solo practices because you need to gain visibility and earn quality leads. Make use of the tips given above to market your firm and raise awareness about your practice. And don’t forget to build genuine relationships with influencers to guarantee a successful influencer marketing campaign. Got any questions about influencer marketing in the legal industry? Feel free to leave a comment below. 


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About the Author, Shane Barker:

Law Firm MarketingShane Barker is a digital marketing consultant that specializes in influencer marketing, product launches, sales funnels, targeted traffic and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.

 

 

About Law Firm Suites

Law Firm Suites is the leading NYC shared office space for solo attorneys and small law firms. At Law Firm Suites, attorneys get headache free sublet office space, virtual office rentals and litigation hotel services. Law Firm Suites has two locations in Manhattan, one in White Plains NY, and one in Annapolis MD. Law Firm Suites' community of self-employed lawyers are eager to help colleagues succeed, and routinely exchange over $2.5 million in legal business every year in each LFS business center. Connect with Law Firm Suites on Twitter and .

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