In legal marketing, technology has given lawyers more options than ever. It is easy to make, post, or tweet announcements to stay visible. Desktop contact management technologies and email marketing services also make it easy to stay in touch with clients and referral sources.
These options may look wonderfully appetizing and make you want to dive in and try all of them. But it is critical to step back and take a look at your office to see what will really work—both from a technology perspective and from an organizational one. Constant multi-channel communication requires a time commitment over the long term: who is going to make that commitment? Will you handle online marketing within the firm or with the help of an outside specialist? Does each option make business sense for your firm based on the way it has received business in the past?
For example, consider a small law firm that is redesigning its website and is tempted to have a “recent articles” section prominently featured on its home page. Many large firms have this and it is looks impressive. However, this small firm realizes that its existing “recent articles” section has not been updated in three years. Updating the section has never been the responsibility of anyone specific, and the lawyers at the firm just did not have the interest in keeping the site updated.
This is a great example of technology-related marketing that may look great when other firms do it, but that may not work for your firm. Outdated web content, in any form, looks bad. The best move for this small firm, then, is to eliminate the “recent articles” section and find other ways to list attorneys’ publications on the site. One such firm put a “representative articles” section in each attorney’s biography, so if the list went months or years without changes, it would not look outdated.
Social media options present the same issue: who is going to update all those blogs, Twitter feeds, Facebook pages, LinkedIn profiles, and mass email lists? Is it anyone’s job, and does it make business sense for someone to spend time on this? Does the firm have any evidence that this time investment will produce business or deliver some other tangible benefit? Look at the firm first before proceeding.
As a general rule, technology must follow the business, not the other way around. A law firm will not suddenly change its interests and capabilities just because technology offers intriguing new possibilities. Examine the firm, its people, and those people’s jobs before proceeding. Then, choose carefully based on evidence of business value, and technology can help rather than distract the business.About the Author: Russ Korins, Esq., Russ Korins Consulting LLC, assists law firms with marketing. He is based in New York City. Learn more at www.russkorinsconsulting.com.