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Lawyers still can’t figure out online marketing

Technology for Lawyers

Published: December 6, 2019

One of the great things that comes out of reading end-of-the-year legal tech surveys is a true overview of how slow the legal market continues to be in adopting technology. Not new technology, mind you. Any technology.
Take the case of online marketing. The 2019 ABA tech survey has some rather startling revelations regarding the use of said topic. (One caveat—80 percent of respondents were over 50. OK, Boomer. Anyway--).
The report covers primarily the uses of online marketing for firms under 100 lawyers—which makes sense, since the mega firms don’t really need to advertise as much.
It seems that the smaller the firm, the more it should be engaged in online marketing. But the opposite is actually the case, according to this survey. Only 60 percent of solo practitioners have a firm website, for instance, and a third do not participate in any social media. How is anybody going to find you, especially with apps like Rocket Lawyer and Legal Zoom filling some of your space?
Overall, though, 80 percent of lawyers have some kind of social media presence—mostly Facebook, but a little AVVO for the smaller firms. (Another caveat—LinkedIn wasn’t an option).
Most firms’ main marketing campaigns centered on emails. So most firms have some kind of online awareness.
But the real question raised by the survey wasn’t so much what a firm’s online marketing presence was, but who is actually doing the marketing.
And it is here that everything falls apart. The vast majority of firms do not have a marketing budget. Most of them do not hire outside marketing experts. Most of them do not hire SEO experts. Most of the firms’ online marketing is handled by exactly one lawyer in the firm, who may or may not know anything. Virtually no firm uses any sort of analytics to figure out if their marketing is effective—and certainly almost no firm which has one of its lawyers running marketing does. For most lawyers, online marketing is all just a bunch of random shots in the dark.
One would think that professionals (lawyers) would hire other professionals (marketing experts). Nope. Just because you know about technology, doesn’t mean you’re using it properly.
If you’re not doing this already, you may want to consider going and getting some professional online marketing advice.