Marketing Your Law Firm During COVID-19: What You Need to Know
April 2, 2020
With COVID-19 running rampant throughout America and across the world, it’s an interesting time to be in online marketing. Life has changed a lot over the past few months.
For many businesses, this has been the Corona-pocalypse.
Millions have lost their jobs. Millions more are at risk of losing their jobs, have had hours cut back or seen their portfolios decimated. People are stuck at home watching the economy tumble and wondering what all of this will mean for them and their families.
But what about the legal industry? How has COVID-19 affected law firms? Let’s take a look.
COVID-19 vs Your Law Firm
COVID-19 has definitely had an impact on law firms. For example, search interest in legal terms like “divorce lawyer” (yellow), “personal injury lawyer” (blue), and “criminal defense lawyer” (red) have dipped noticeably over the past few weeks.
That being said, the dip has been fairly minor, especially when compared with other markets.
Case in point, here’s how the search interest in “gym membership” (red) has changed relative to search interest in “personal injury lawyer” (blue).
Compared to many hard-hit businesses like gyms or restaurants, COVID-19 has barely moved the needle for law firms. Is interest down? A bit, but people still need legal help and—unlike dentists or gyms—they can get the services they need without leaving the safety of their homes.
The Upside of Coronavirus
For some legal specialties, this nationwide lockdown may actually result in more clients and cases in the long run.
For example, COVID-19 is bad news for rocky marriages, but it’s good news for divorce attorneys. China is a couple of months ahead of the US in this pandemic, and they have already seen massive spikes in divorce filings. Reports of domestic violence also increased during China’s quarantine period.
Along these same lines, it’s likely that we’ll see a lot more cases in the coming months for firms specializing in employment, bankruptcy, business law (business interruption insurance/franchises), securities, nursing home abuse, medical malpractice, personal injury, elder law, estate planning, probate and tax law.
Even if you don’t practice in one of these areas, you can still benefit from the current situation. This prolonged quarantine may be just the downtime your potential clients need to take a step back, realize that they need help and find an attorney (hopefully you) to help them put their case together.
For all of these reasons and more, now is actually a great time to invest more in online marketing. Your future clients are spending more time online than ever before and are in a good position to reach out. If you don’t take advantage of this unique situation, your competitors certainly will.
How COVID-19 is Affecting Search Performance
So, how has COVID-19 affected legal search performance? Well, for the time being, search volume seems to be fairly stable. However, since they’ve got a captive audience, many law firms are doubling down on their marketing, which is increasing the average cost-per-click.
For example, PaperStreet compared paid search performance in February and March for a variety of legal specialties and reported that overall, click traffic for law firm search campaigns had changed by less than 1%. The clickthrough rate and cost-per-click, on the other hand, had increased by 40%.
On the positive side, though, those clicks were a lot more likely to convert—conversion rates were up by 10% and cost-per-conversion had decreased by 5%.
Here is how those results broke down for the following specialties:
- Criminal Law
- Click traffic: 20% decrease
- Conversion rate: 30% increase
- Cost-per-conversion: 10% decrease
- Cost-per-click: 20% increase
- Clickthrough rate: 10% increase
- Personal Injury Law
- Click traffic: 15% decrease
- Conversion rate: 5% increase
- Cost-per-conversion: No change
- Cost-per-click: 5% increase
- Clickthrough rate: 5% increase
- Family Law
- Click traffic: 30% increase
- Conversion rate: 15% decrease
- Cost-per-conversion: 15% increase
- Cost-per-click: No change
- Clickthrough rate: 15% decrease
To be honest, there’s a very good chance that these numbers will only improve over time as COVID-19 continues to exact its toll on society. Obviously, no one wants a pandemic, but if you have to be in the middle of one, it’s not a terrible time to be a lawyer. Law firms are well-positioned to survive and even thrive both during and after this crisis.
Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Marketing
As you run campaigns for your law firm, there are a few things that you’ll want to keep in mind. First off—and this should be obvious—it’s worth pointing out that COVID-19 isn’t a marketing gimmick. Be careful with how you talk about the Coronavirus in your ads and social posts.
If people feel like you aren’t taking things seriously or you’re trying to capitalize on a disease that has killed thousands of people, they’ll be very hesitant to click or convert. You might get people’s attention, but you won’t get their business.
In addition, it’s likely that your practice has had to change how they handle things in recent weeks. Make sure that your campaigns reflect those changes. For example, if you’ve had to change your hours, don’t run click-to-call ads during times when you can’t answer the phone.
Along those same lines, phone calls are probably more important than ever, so make sure your ads are optimized for calls. The number you use in your ads should point to the best number to reach you or your staff. Have someone on hand to answer calls when you’re advertising and make sure all of your calls are going to the right place.
Finally, it’s a good idea to double-check your Google My Business account. Ensure that it’s set up, up-to-date and indicates that your firm is still active and open for business. If your physical office is closed or there are any other limitations to your services, make sure that those are clear—but that it’s also clear that your law firm is still accepting new clients.
Now is the Time to Double Down
As a law firm, this is a great time to invest more in your online marketing. You may not be able to handle every potential new client the way you’re accustomed too, but with social distancing in place, your firm’s leads aren’t expecting an in-person consultation.
Yes, you might not be able to move forward with cases normally at the moment, but the statute of limitations for the cases you’ll pick up during the quarantine will almost certainly be longer than the quarantine itself. For most firms, there’s no real downside to continuing to market and a lot of potential upside.
In addition, under normal circumstances, you aren’t just fighting with your competitors for advertising real estate. That might be the case on paid search, but if you’re advertising on social media, you’re also competing with their local gym and the restaurant down the street.
As we’ve already pointed out, those businesses probably aren’t marketing right now. That means more exposure for your business at a cheaper price. It would be foolish not to take advantage of this opportunity.
Making the Most of the Quarantine
If you’re currently experiencing a lull in your caseload, now is also a great time to get to some of those marketing projects you’ve meaning to take care of for a while.
For example, you may want to:
- Rethink your overall marketing strategy
- Create a customer journey
- Evaluate and update your paid search keyword strategy
- Overhaul your website
- Dig into and revamp your social media advertising
- Improve your retargeting strategy
- Brainstorm A/B tests for your ads and landing pages and set up the tests
- Do a deep dive into your analytics (on both your site and your ad platforms)
- Pre-record webinars or interviews
- Create and launch content marketing
- Put together a script and record a video ad
- Plan and fill out your social media calendar
- Ask someone (or some agency) to audit your ad accounts and implement their suggestions
If you use your downtime properly, when things finally settle down, your marketing will be stronger than ever. Most of the time, it’s hard to get to these sorts of projects, but they can have a huge impact on your ability to attract and convert the right clients.
We have a ton of great marketing suggestions and recommendations for law firms here on the Disruptive Blog, so if you need any pointers, don’t hesitate to search through our content. Or, just reach out to us directly and we’d be happy to help you make the most of your campaigns.
Unlike many other industries, law firms have been relatively unaffected by the novel Coronavirus. This is great news, because it means that you’re well-positioned to jump in, take advantage of a dip in competition and land more cases.
Since COVID-19 is a pressure cooker for relationships, businesses and the world at large, it’s likely that interest in legal services will only grow in the coming months. You can kick back and relax right now, but if you really want to grow, now is an ideal time to double down and take things to the next level.
As mentioned above, if you’d like some help with that, just let us know here or in the comments. We’ve helped dozens of law firms get great results from their online marketing and we’d love to make your firm our next success story.
How has the Coronavirus affected your law firm? Do you have any recommendations on how to take advantage of the current situation? Leave your thoughts in the comments.