Survive v Threat - Embrace Online or risk your firm
There are a host of ways that a business can generate new customers, some of which are very traditional and some are more innovative.
It is fairly easy to understand some of the more basic and traditional marketing methods of generating new business as they are relatively straightforward. Whether this is a shop front or B2B and B2C direct sales, commercial relationships, applying for tenders or networking events, it is often clear what you need to do and assessing success (or ROI) is relatively straightforward.
Where matters become more complicated and often daunting is the online space and how digital marketing and advertising can be managed effectively for your business to generate a return on investment that you are happy with.
If not manged correctly it is an area where money can be wasted, however it is an invaluable source of business that really cannot be ignored.
Unless your business is solely generating business from commercial contracts or is so niche that competition is sparse, it is very hard to ignore online as a method to sustain and increase your customer base and grow brand awareness. In fact, it could be argued that having a good online presence is essential.
It is firstly necessary to separate online advertising and online marketing.
- Online marketing is the promotion of your brand, services and products to your target audience using general resources at your disposal which will include aspects such as: -
- Social media broadcasting
- Google Business
- Search Engine Optimisation
- Online advertising is the payment of fees to online resourcing to accelerate and promote your brand across various platforms : -
- Search Engines such as Google with use of Google Ads
- Facebook Advertising to boost your posts
- LinkedIn advertising
- Display Advertising – industry specific advertising on related websites / online media
Both are very specialist and require careful management and planning to ensure control of budget and return on investment. Whilst they can be used for very different reasons and should be manged accordingly, the campaigns can overlap with the most successful campaigns combining both
marketing and advertising services to ensure a firm is able to connect with its target audience in specified locations to generate new business.
There can be absolutely no doubt that for law firms that digital marketing and online advertising works. If a business has a negative experience it will tend to be due to: -
- The products or services you are selling do not gain traction online
- Your competition and their products are better than yours
- A poorly thought out and executed campaign
- Lack of experience of those managing a campaign
- Insufficient budget to compete
- Insufficient time allowed to achieve results
- Sporadic activity that is not cohesive or brand consistent
- Too many changes without allowing a campaign to take hold
Risk v Threat
The key issue a business should consider when deciding on whether to use their website and other online resources to promote their brand and services is whether they can afford not to?
Most consumers and many business owners will do their research online before making buying choices. A quick brand search online can generate a wealth of information on your business and its products, some of which you will have put there and some you will not, but there is no hiding from your online presence and reputation. You will have one whether you have a website or not and whether you pay attention to it or not.
The risk for a business which does not embrace online marketing and advertising is that your customers will and importantly so will your competitors.
It is a fact that establishing a presence and to complete online is made harder (and more expensive) by your competition and the better they are at what they do the better you need to become.
A business that chooses to ignore digital marketing and online advertising to generate new business is gifting to their competitors the opportunity to be more successful than them and to capture more of the new business available from online resource.
- The threat to your firm is that your competitors will be mobilising and when they do, they will take your market share if you do not keep pace and compete.
- The risk is that their business will flourish while yours suffers.
If you are one of the lucky firms that is able to generate work through wider commercial contracts, provide niche services or have the budgets to pay referrals fees then this may be a less of a concern for you, but if you rely on reputation and knowledge, as many firms do, ignoring online is a very dangerous strategy.
What to Do?
Online marketing and advertising does not have to be expensive. A properly thought out and put together campaign that ensures you are driving your brand and message to the clients and potential clients you want to engage within specified geographical locations, will ensure you control cost and achieve results.
Campaigns will tend to be more successful if you combine the various aspects of online marketing: -
- Search engine optimisation
- Social media management
- Content writing and distribution
- Up to date website content and copy
- Geographical positioning
- Tactical advertising spend
- Email campaigns
- Calling and engagement
- Competitor analysis
- Enquiry management and conversion
The requirement for a firm is to ensure they understand what they want and what they expect from their campaign. Decide on your budget and establish what you can achieve for the budget you have set.
You do not need to spend a fortune. A campaign can be successful regardless of budget as long as you are realistic about the return on investment and what you are seeking to achieve.
This is a technical area and our advice is to seek advice and assistance from experts before you engage in online marketing. If you have a campaign that is not working you need to get help as it should be!
At The Strategic Partner we work for and with firms who have very successful campaigns online and enjoy their results.
To find out more on how we can help you understand online marketing, put together a sensible campaign and be successful you can contact us on 02078421830, email us firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website https://www.thestrategicpartner.co.uk/Our-Services/Marketing-Business-Development
The Strategic partner are experts at law firm management and our focus is to create successful and profitable law firms.