The Irish Law Society: Growth Strategy Workshop
This discussion occurred at a recent full day's workshop on Growth Strategy in the Law Society of Ireland. The event, ran by Law Society Finuas Skillnet took place on the 11th March and had a panel which included Mary Cloonan from Marketing Clever and Dorcas Réamonn, a lecturer at the Smurfit School in UCD. There were a lot of great topics covered but I wanted to expand on some thoughts I shared around competition for law firms that day.
I want to share a quick story. This is a story about Sam Walton. Sam was an American businessman who was best known for being the founder of Walmart and Sam's Club. Sam was hugely successful and at one point in time, he was the richest man in America.
Sam was completely obsessive. His attention to detail was massive and in his early years, he put all his time and energy into researching his competitors deeply to get any type of advantage that he could.
The next account from How Brands Built Its Sustainable Competitive Advantage? by Shah Mohammed illustrates this obsessive nature perfectly.
"Sam loved to do a lot of research before trying out an idea. He visited as many stores as possible, observed them in detail, took notes, spoke to the employees and collected a whole lot of information. He was not shy or hesitant to talk to the competitor store’s employees. He was open-minded and believed that he could learn from anyone. In stores, he would observe consumers in detail which helped him identify their most pressing need and promote the product they wanted. This way he was able to sell products in large volumes. His observation and inquisitive mind helped him imitate good ideas from his competitors and implement them in his stores."
While Sam's attention to detail can be admired, it is not something that you have to replicate with your law firm (thank god). You can now garner deep insights a lot more efficiently than in days gone by. These competitor insights can still be the key to making accelerated growth.
But, we can achieve them a lot easier than spending hours in our competitor's premises.
It's time to reframe how you perceive competition or that "law firm down the road".
Why is this?
We know that it is still as equally important in today's world to keep a close eye on your competition, especially if you want to grow. Looking at your competition can allow you to quickly learn how to make impactful changes within your firm.
Digital media means you can acquire these deep insights from observing your competition with one hours research as opposed to one month. The findings and learnings you can draw will heavily impact how you move forward with your growth strategy.
What should your firm be observing?
You know that looking at your competition is important, but what should you be looking out for? There are the 8 categories you should be observing (See image below).
However, some of these categories are more important than others. Why? Well, some categories will have deeper learnings for you to garner insights into your own growth strategy.
The above categories are a great starting point. You now have the magical ability to peek behind the hood of any competing firm's online marketing strategy. You’re only a few Google searches and clicks of a button away from fully looking under the hood of any law firm's strategy in the world. The key is in how you interpret what you’re seeing to draw actionable conclusions.
These are the 4 areas I would advise looking at when dissecting a law firm's online marketing.
Look through the design, the menu items, the amount of content that is being shown on their "service pages".
Where are they directing their traffic to? A contact page with a form/ a consultation request etc?
Take note of anything that catches your eye, both good and bad.
Are their pages on their website optimized?
Do they have a content strategy in place? If so, how regularly are they posting? What are they posting about? Is the content itself optimized? For example, is the headline of the article in the URL, in the first line of the blog and the image title? They are one or two things to look out for.
Have a look at their Google My Business Listing, do they have a lot of reviews?
Looking through these items will help you decipher whether they have an SEO strategy.
3. PPC/ Social Ads
Firstly, look to see what is being tracked when you go on their website. Do they have a Facebook Pixel installed or a Google Remarketing Tag (feel free to contact our team if you would like us to install this on your own website)?
See if they have a PPC campaign by searching for some common keywords in your area that they work in.
Go onto Facebook Ads Library and look for their Facebook page if they have one, you will be able to see if they have any live ads running across the social platforms.
If they do have ads, click into their links and see what their landing pages look like. How are they designed and what are they trying to get people to do?
4. Email Marketing
Finally, sign up to their email lists and take note of what they are sending out.
How are they enticing you to sign up? What is their flow of emails? Takedown their flow and record whether the emails are value-driven or they all have an ask. A typical email flow you might record can look like the below.
The Evolve Marketing firm works at the cross-section between the digital and legal industries.
Our work takes on different forms depending on the firm. We work for some firms as an outsourced marketing department and for others as an extension to their team. We also do some custom ad hoc project-based work for firms depending on the requirements.
We impose a cap with the number of firms we work with per market so if you would like to have an introductory consultation, then please book a time that fits your schedule.