Successful law firms are tailoring their marketing to today’s biggest generation — Millennials, who now number 75 million strong and spend $600 billion per year, making them the most lucrative market in the US.
People in their mid-20s to mid-30s surpassed the Baby Boomer generation as the biggest marketing target earlier in 2016. They are buying cars, starting families and launching companies. Law firms that can’t keep pace with young people are missing out on a huge market, says Tina Wells, CEO and founder of Buzz Marketing Group. “They definitely have money to spend,” she says.
“The flourishing startup market is dominated by young entrepreneurs who are swimming in venture capital and angel investor dollars,” says Keith Ecker, age 34, of Jaffe PR. “These tech whiz kids often don’t know the first thing about regulatory or IP issues, issues that could destroy their entire business. Forward-thinking attorneys and law firms are racing to push out thought-leadership content to this attractive sector.”
Reaching young adults is straightforward — for law firms that can adapt. Forget old-school marketing like print advertising, radio spots, internet pop-up ads and direct mail campaigns. This generation loves technology, seeks authenticity and is looking for fun. Millennials pay attention to blogs, videos and social media.
Be where today’s generation is: online
Research showed in 2014 that most consumers go online to look for an attorney. The same year Hinge marketing reported 80.8% of clients “check out” professional services firms by looking at their websites. This is especially true with today’s tech-savvy potential clients.
What do visitors see on your website? Ho-hum pictures of your office building and boilerplate practice descriptions? Or do they see engaging stories about young clients that they can share?
“Content marketing, at its core, is a brand acting as a publisher,” says Michael Brenner, author of The Content Formula. “Content marketing is, and will continue to be, a mandatory approach for marketers. To act like a publisher, to leave promotion behind and truly earn your audience’s attention is going to be critical in today’s complex digital world.”
If you had a blog but shelved it, start it up again. If you have a blog, update it today. Gilman & Bedegian in Maryland does a brilliant job posting shareable news like “Hot-air Balloon Pilot Who Crashed Killing 15 Passengers Had History of Drunk Driving” and “Boy Dies While Riding World’s Largest Water Slide.”
These topics tap into the fun-seeking nature of thirtysomethings and combines it with real-life hazards. This is perfect for a personal injury firm. Wouldn’t you share these on social media?
Thought leadership is what turns website visitors into clients. They are 44% more likely to trust lawyers who present themselves as experts and are 247% more likely to be influenced by blogs, according to Inc.com columnist Ryan Jenkins.
Young adults want e-books, white papers and practical information. One example is the free eBook download “7 Things You Need To Know Before You Choose a Personal Injury Attorney” offered by solo attorney Dax Jones in Bellevue, WA. In exchange for entering their name and email address, visitors get a PDF including topics such as “Filing a personal injury claim will take time and effort” and “It is unlikely that your case will go to trial.”
Social media and selfies
Chances are your law firm has a neglected Facebook page and dormant Twitter account. It’s time to wake up these channels, because Millennials spend an average of 2.3 hours a day engaged with social media, according to TNS Connected.
Lawyer Craig Goldenfarb has a fabulous Facebook page, focusing on his good deeds in the community and employee appreciation outings. His authenticity has earned him 465 total page likes and 202 people who have checked in.
Sure, you can buy Facebook advertising. Attorneys who target ads directly to their followers get 700% more click-throughs, as well as 400% more conversions, according to TGB Digital. However it’s more engaging to talk about your activities in the community and to follow young adults who live in your area.
And don’t stop there. “They’re also sharing, liking, pinning, tweeting, snapping, forwarding, and commenting on all of their findings,” says Meaghan Moraes of HubSpot.
While there are numerous social media platforms that attorneys can join, be selective when you choose where to participate. Some social media platforms are better to reach potential clients than others.
You may want to use your cell phone camera to take pictures of the photogenic things you see. It can be a selfie in the halls of justice or a screenshot of a remarkable legal news item. (Tip for Android phone users: just press the home button + the power button simultaneously to take a screenshot.)
Video, vidi, vici
Today’s generation appreciates good video. Six in 10 Millennials prefer to watch a company video than read a newsletter, says the Animoto blog.
Please, please, please avoid making a video showing a lawyer sitting in front of a bookcase. Also, stop with the barking hard-sell TV commercials.
For a hearty laugh, you’ve got to see Stuff Lawyers Say. One lawyer says, “I was just running into a meeting, I’ll call you later,” as he sits in a bar. Another says, “The other attorney was so mean to me!” I can relate.
For something more client-oriented, check out “Sh*t Injury Lawyers Say” by Hastings, Cohan & Walsh of Ridgefield, Connecticut. Count how many real-life one-liners Richard Hastings crams into 2:29.
It’s important for lawyers to avoid being pushy or salesy in their videos. Nobody likes to be sold, but everyone likes to discover something new. Today’s watchwords are “be authentic,” which means that in your video you should be sincere, straightforward and sympathetic.
In the final analysis, today’s generation is what you would expect from young adults. If you’re a Baby Boomer reading this, think back to what you were like when you were 30. You wanted a good job, a quiet home and a happy family. You wanted good advice before signing an employment contract or complex lease. You wanted sage counsel when settling a dispute or caring for your aging parents.
The better that you can tune into the needs of today’s generation, the more your law firm will prosper.