Geo-Targeting Law Firm Growth: Customizing Efforts to Maximize Regional Impact

by JD Supra Perspectives
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[The sixth in a series of 12 year-end posts published by LMA's Social & Digital Media SIG:]

From the series editors: This great post by Jill Huse and Andrew Laver builds upon previous posts exploring the implications of mobile traffic, and the possibilities available to us with marketing automation, and takes this one step further with geo-targeting. Read on!

Geo-Targeting is here. If your firm is a multi-region law firm, you may already be looking to implement this technology in your marketing and business development strategy. But even if your firm just has a single office, this technology allows you to deliver a better client experience in an affordable and efficient manner.

One application that  delivers  significant results for many firms is  with geo-targeted ad buys. This uses geo-location through digital media, enabling us to offer targeted content and brand messaging to a potential customer, based  upon his/her location. But  what else can geo-targeting do for us? How else might it help us  localize the client's digital experience  but in a manner that is reflective of our firm’s sub-culture, consistent of the firm’s overarching brand, and compelling enough to be noticed in a barrage of information overload? The answer could be revealed by engaging in geo-targeted and geo-fencing practices.

Let’s assume we have a law firm with more than one office in different regions. As many of you who have dealt with this scenario know, it is almost impossible to market the regional office(s) within a firm's web presence. Geo-locating technology is an affordable and efficient option that makes this problem much easier to resolve.

The process is simple so let us paint you a picture of how this is starting to be implemented within the legal industry: you have a Chicago-based firm with five regional offices. A prospect from Seattle visits your firm’s website…but instead of seeing your general firm landing page, their IP address dictates the imagery, content and regional contact information specific to your Seattle office. Pretty cool concept, huh?

Geo-targeting lets you  appear local everywhere. And this is important: studies have shown that 20% of all personal computer search queries and nearly 50% of all mobile search queries carry local intent, meaning the searcher is expecting to see businesses and service providers near them in the results. It is imperative that we meet that expectation.

If you're new to geo-targeting and thinking about how you might implement it within your firm, where should you start? Start by looking at who has been doing it the longest and with the most success—the retail industry. Have you ever noticed that you’ll often times get popup notices on your phone or computer for businesses that you’ve recently frequented or are currently shopping in at that time? That is the retailer geo-targeting you using either your computer’s IP address, cookies or iBeacon technology.

iBeacons are part of NFC (Near Field Communication) technology, which allow brands to communicate hyper-targeted offers to consumers carrying smartphones inside stores, theaters, malls, sports stadiums or other such venues via Bluetooth. To take advantage of NFC, you must have active physical beacons (antennas) within your premises which allows the beacons to pair up with specific apps on users’ smartphones and when a user comes within range of a beacon. The app can then send custom push notifications to the user. Since support for this technology is already built into iOS7 and newer iPhones, it is a readymade target market for retailers and brands wanting to adopt this targeting technology.

What could you do right now at your firm to take advantage of this technology? One option is to create a firm app for users and clients to download. A responsive website is expected these days but how many firms can brag that they have their own app? (Answer? Not many…and most are small or solo firms specializing in family, criminal or personal injury law). A user with your app downloaded onto their phone can receive push notifications regarding upcoming deadlines, appointments or hearings. Or if they walk into your offices will have immediate access to your client WiFi without having to ask for the password. Or can receive a popup with “Did You Know?” type facts about the firm, such as Chambers rankings, recent pro bono successes or M&A transactions. The possibilities are limitless.

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[Society 54 Co-Founder Jill Huse is renowned as a trusted professional services advisor. Jill, a certified Worldwide Association of Business Coaches Coach, is highly regarded for her progressive ingenuity, research-based strategy and, most importantly, her ability to deliver results for clients.

Andrew Laver is a Business Development Manager for McCarter & English, LLP. A firm of over 400 lawyers in nine offices, McCarter is among the oldest and largest law firms in the United States and is the oldest and largest law firm based in the State of New Jersey. Andrew is responsible for the marketing and business development efforts of the firm’s Philadelphia, PA ,and Wilmington, DE, offices as well as the Insurance Coverage and Bankruptcy & Restructuring Practice Groups.]

 

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