Legal consumers today are a lot more savvy than just a few years ago, and law firms need to update their marketing strategies in order to reach and persuade them.

In 2016, an Avvo survey provided a few interesting revelations about the modern legal consumer. The survey of 1,000 adults found that:

  • How Lawyers Can Connect with Today’s Legal Consumer95% said online reviews were important when researching an attorney
  • 76% said they prefer fixed fee billing
  • 47% only want to hire a lawyer to review an online form they prepared
  • 42% perform their own legal research online
  • 45% who get a referral to a specific lawyer will still research that lawyer online

Here are some tips for connecting with legal consumers today:

Have a strong social media presence. When it comes to social media marketing, you should focus on two things:

  1. Frequent the social media sites where your potential clients are most likely to be. Match the demographics of your ideal client with each platform’s demographics to narrow it down.
  2. Implement marketing programs that you can monitor and measure so you can repeat your successes.

When it comes to social media, Facebook is a must for consumer attorneys. One of the most powerful features of Facebook is custom audiences, the ability to layer demographics and interests on top of one another to create a highly targeted audience. This enables you to get your ads in front of people who need your services now. Facebook ads are low-cost, so you can experiment to see what resonates with your potential clients and then repeat what works.

For business attorneys, LinkedIn is the natural choice. This professional network also offers customized targeting with its Matched Audiences feature. And just like on Facebook, you can upload your own email lists and LinkedIn will match those contacts with their membership so you can reach your contacts outside your email marketing program.

Encourage online reviews. Attorneys need to create a process for making reviews happen. Always look for those moments in your relationships with clients to create a review opportunity – when you have won a case for a client, when you have helped someone avoid litigation – all opportunities for you to generate a great review. Make it easy for clients to review you by emailing them a link to post a review on Google. Better yet, create an autoresponder email with a built-in Google review form and send it to them at the appropriate time. When you have receive good reviews or testimonials, post them on your website, in your e-newsletter and anywhere else that potential customers are likely to stumble upon them. And be sure to ask whoever provided you with that great review if they would also submit it to Google so it shows up in search.

Offer a la carte service options. There are millions of people who download legal documents off LegalZoom or Rocket Lawyer for business and personal use. And it shouldn’t surprise you to know that many of them still want a real live attorney to review those documents (which is why the online legal service providers refer customers to attorneys now from their websites). Consider offering unbundled services like online legal document reviews, especially for business clients — the initial fees may not be much, but could lead to bigger things down the road. Remember, many people are looking for a la carte options.

Provide fixed fee options. To be successful with fixed fee billing, firms need to conduct extensive research into their case files going back several years in order to arrive at pricing that will protect profitability. Fixed fees can be staged according to specific phases of a case or encompass an entire legal matter. One of the often overlooked benefits of fixed fee billing is the creation of trust and goodwill — the client understands that the firm is incentivized by results instead of hours and the firm understands it will be fairly compensated for achieving those results. It’s a win-win for both sides, and can be a key component in client retention and referrals.

Provide instant access. Be sure your website is equipped with a Live Chat feature so people can get their questions answered quickly. Our research has shown that law firms can convert up to 75% of live chat leads into paying clients!