If you’ve been wondering if it’s time for your firm to consider making its site mobile-friendly or looking into mobile advertising, stop wondering, and start taking action. There are a myriad of statistics that make a compelling argument that your firm should take a serious look at mobile marketing techniques. If we start with the statistic that 91% of American adults own cell phones, and 60% access the Internet on their phones, it’s clear that your firm needs to be thinking mobile. Let’s take a look at some other mobile-related statistics that may impact your law firm’s marketing in 2014.
Statistic #1: “50% of mobile phone users use mobile as their primary Internet source.”
Law Firm Takeaway - Mobile-Friendly Website: By now, you’ve likely heard some buzz about making your firm’s website mobile-friendly. The term used to describe this is “responsive design,” which simply means that your website looks good on any device, whether it’s a PC, a mobile phone, or a tablet. Obviously, if you are going to build a new website, it needs to be responsive. If you aren’t in the position to develop a website soon, consider updating your current site to make it responsive.
It’s worth noting that the 2013 In-House Counsel New Media Engagement Survey found that 53% percent of survey respondents read business news on their smartphones each day. So, in addition to improving how your website is viewed on mobile devices in 2014, take a look at your client alerts or other communications that are sent to your clients’ inboxes. Not only should the formatting look good, but consider whether or not the content is truly user friendly for someone who might be reading it while waiting for a taxi or in between meetings. Will they be able to quickly digest the key points of the information you’re sharing, or will it get deleted because of information overload?
Statistic #2: “Mobile advertising is expected to grow 61% in 2014, while Internet advertising’s growth is expected to be around 16%.”
Law Firm Takeaway - Mobile Advertising: In recent years, many law firms have cut back on their advertising spend, which used to be composed primarily of print ads and some NPR sponsorship spots. Consider 2014 the year to take another look at advertising, specifically, mobile advertising. According to ZenithOptimedia’s analysts, mobile advertising spends (which include tablets) are growing seven times faster than spends for desktop Internet advertising. In addition to running ads on mobile sites that reach your target audience, consider advertising on apps or podcasts.
If you are going to advertise in an app, give careful consideration to which ones are most likely to appeal to your potential clients. Are they quickly looking up directions to a restaurant, or are they using the app in a situation in which they are more open to new content related to your firm’s services, and to engage?
Podcasts offer the opportunity to speak directly to your target audience, as well. A couple of years ago, The Wall Street Journal’s What’s News podcast featured a men’s shirt ware advertiser. Every morning, while driving to work, I had no choice but to listen to the ad – which was sandwiched in the middle of the podcast. Clearly, their target audience was businessmen, and while the ad didn’t appeal to me, I can appreciate their thoughtful marketing campaign. Not only was it targeted, but the timing was also appropriate, as most listeners would catch this news first thing in the morning, after just having rifled through a closet in possible need of some new shirts. In this medium, it’s critical that your advertising message is customized and compelling, as well as played at an appropriate time.
Statistic #3: “Mobile-based searches make up one quarter of all searches.”
Law Firm Takeaway - Mobile Search: If you are still counting the number of times you’ve repeated a keyword in your website copy, stop counting now! As mobile and tablet searches have skyrocketed, search algorithms have evolved to consider user intent – understanding phrases and synonyms. In 2014, your website content needs to be conversational and truly focused on what your client is searching for. Write value-driven content first, and the keywords (and search engine spiders) will follow. Also, consider where your clients are searching. How might your client’s search differ on a mobile phone than from their desktop? The mobiThinking blog provided an excellent example of this based on State Farm Insurance’s mobile site. Since there are more mobile searches for terms like “towing” and “roadside assistance,” than for terms like “auto insurance” (mostly a PC-based search), State Farm Insurance has developed their mobile site to have an “Accident Help” section, which is not available on their PC site. While the implications of this are obvious for a DUI-firm, any firm can improve their mobile search results with some clever thinking and client- focus.
And what about law firm apps? Should your firm jump on the app bandwagon? While some firms have had success with apps, they require careful consideration. The app needs to provide clear value to your target audience, and you have to have a solid plan for promoting it to that audience.
Years ago, your client’s first impression of your firm started in the reception area, then it moved to your website. Now, their first interaction with your firm could very well be on their mobile phone. As we move into 2014, it’s time to make sure it’s a good one.
By Aileen Hinsch, Knapp Marketing for the January/February 2014 Issue of the Capital Ideas Newsletter.
 Statistics #1, 2, and 3 are from those compiled by digitalbuzz blog, http://www.digitalbuzzblog.com/infographic-2013-mobile-growth-statistics/