Staying Ahead of the Competition 

Foreword

They say the only constant is change! Such words could not be more relevant than in the current crisis we are facing due to Coronavirus (COVID-19). With the sudden and drastic effect that the coronavirus pandemic has delivered to the economy, it is an unfortunate consequence that law firms (along with most other businesses) are facing daunting and uncertain times.

As law firms are seeking and finding ways to navigate this ‘new norm’ we are often used as a reference source and one of the key questions we are asked is how firms should approach marketing and advertising.

With the sudden and unexpected loss in new clients and for most, a slowdown in cash receipts, law firms are being forced into conversations on how they can trim budgets and maximise efficiency. While we certainly agree that action needs to be taken to ensure the sustainability of firms, the question on “whether law firms should stop marketing activities during the pandemic?” the short answer to this big question is a resounding ‘no!’

There is an absolute need to adapt and adjust your marketing and advertising strategy, but a complete withdrawal could prove to be a more costly mistake, even in the short term. Clients and potential clients need to know you are there and ready to assist them and maintaining a presence through the crises will help ensure, that when the crises is over or as people adjust to new ways of working that your firm will be found and instructed by those who need your services.

Whilst there may be a natural inclination to cut spend where you cannot see a tangible benefit, cutting all marketing and advertising budget needs a lot more consideration.

If you are there to be seen and found people will find you! If you withdraw your marketing your positioning will reduce, particularly on search engines and those who maintain a presence will increase. Achieving high ranking on search engines takes time and costs money and it can be a slow process to reach first page positions on search engines. Losing positioning is a much quicker and damaging process which you will accelerate by stopping your activity while other continue theirs.

A recent article by The Guardian suggests that the UK lockdown could end with a sector by sector phase out plan. Should this phasing out plan include your sector, be sure you are ready with a proactive strategy. Firms that are cutting marketing activities from their strategies will feel the effects on their bottom line for a variety of reasons.

In the rest of this paper we will share our knowledge and experience from what is happening across the market:

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Adapting marketing and advertising strategies during Covid -19.

Property Sector

One of the most significant affected areas for law firms is property work with the property sector depending on interaction to view, sell and purchase properties most if not all transactions have ceased. If phased return is considered appropriate it has been suggested that estate agents will be one of the first to reengage and when that happens firms need to be ready to provide services to those in the residential and commercial property sector.

People are spending more time on the internet that ever before – Update your website

Your website is one of your most powerful marketing tools. It is the window into your firm and the way it is worded and structured is essential for the search engines to connect your firm with your target audience as they seek out the services of you and your competitors. When was your website written and by who? Is the content out of date and is it relevant? Does it represent who your firm is today? If not then change it! Keeping your content refreshed and expertly written is more important than the look of your website. Search engines use your content to connect you to your customers and it is a fact that a well written website which is optimised with relevant keywords ranks better than those which are not.

With millions of people working from home and school closures, people are more reliant on the internet than ever before. Ecommerce giant Amazon is only one of a variety of companies that have seen a sudden surge in demand for their services. This surge in demand is the result of a robust digital presence. SEO and content marketing can be your solution to combat the impact of coronavirus on your firm. With an expanding online audience, now is the best time to conduct new keyword research to analyse how peoples search preferences are changing. Additionally, this is an opportune time to increase site traffic and branding by editing or creating content to target these searches.

Your competition is not stopping marketing, in fact, they are increasing

Due to the effect of the current pandemic many firms have seen a slump in clients, with more time available, many firms are taking this time to tackle tasks that in normal times can get overlooked. For example, we are seeing firms taking the time to engage and review their website wording and content production ensuring that their website is a true reflection of who their firm is and is up to date and refreshed. Firms who are seizing this time to rewrite content and write blogs are seeing refreshed and renewed activity on what may have been a ‘stale’ website which is serving to bolster their presence and social media engagement. Rather than letting your competitors get ahead in google rankings you should be ensuring your website and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is fully optimised and that when the crises does end, you are ready and already ahead of your competitors.

 

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