RW Lynch Online Legal MarketingAt RW Lynch, we recognize the dynamics of how consumers search for attorneys and law firms are changing as the Internet age advances, and reflect an overall trend of increased consumer use of the Internet in general.  For example, a series of Pew Research studies demonstrated that 95% of homes with an annual income of more than $75,000 are online, and 45% of American adults indicate that the internet played a significant role in making a major life decision. As Americans become more Internet-savvy, and search tools like Google and Yahoo! become more able to target and refine search criteria, consumers are increasingly utilizing online resources to research information on their legal matters, find and validate lawyers, and ultimately hire one.

A recent study conducted by The Research Intelligence Group (TRiG) offers compelling insight into the complex world of legal consumer behavior patterns. The study, titled the “Attorney Selection Research Study,” was conducted in February 2012 and included 4,000 consumers age 18 and over. The study, found that 76% of adult Internet users in the United States employ online resources at some point when they are in the process of finding an attorney. Furthermore, nearly 60% of all adult Internet users (approximately 110 million people) have sought an attorney at least once in their life – 58 million alone in the past year. And, of those who used the Internet to search for an attorney in the past year, 57% hired one. A key finding of this study was that consumers are now just as likely to conduct an Internet search to locate an attorney as they are to seek referrals from friends and family, which has long been a preferred method.

This is important to reiterate: “consumers are now just as likely to search the Internet to find an attorney as they are to seek a referral from friends and family!”  This information has important implications for attorneys and firms, and underscores the need for strategic and creative marketing that transverses a variety of mediums.

If this report isn’t enough to convince you, an earlier report, published in February 2011 by the American Bar Association Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services, presented a different look into how consumers search for attorneys. This public opinion poll was conducted among 1,004 adults ages 18 and over in September 2010. Participants were asked specific questions regarding their primary method used to search for an attorney. Although trusted sources (i.e., friends, family members, colleagues) were the most popular primary way for consumers to find a lawyer, many respondents were also highly likely to involve the Internet in their decision-making process at some point or another.

What does this mean for your firm’s marketing? As the trend of eschewing Yellow Pages ads in favor of using technology to attract clients continues, firms will increasingly notice new clients saying, “I found you online.” The Internet helps level the playing field, if you will, and gives firms of every size the opportunity to be noticed. A successful marketing strategy for firms that want to grow their practice in the digital age should incorporate a robust online strategy that takes advantage of every online medium including mobile, pc, and tablet with tactics that include pay-per-click, SEO, social media and traditional marketing.   Don’t be left behind your peers, if you want to continue to attract and retain clients in the digital age you will need to employ these strategies for your firm.

To learn more about RW Lynch and our lead generation program, please contact us or call us at 1-800-594-8940.

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