Legal marketing has always been a cutthroat, competitive landscape. Attorneys know that market saturation is the only way to keep brand awareness within a community so that when the need for legal services arise, people will know exactly who to call. While traditional advertising like billboards, bus wraps, newspaper ads, television spots, magazine ads and other tireless marketing promotions can still be effective, they can no longer stand alone. Embracing the ZMOT theory introduced by Google is now a necessity for law firms, even if they have established a strong clout within the community.
The ZMOT theory explores the step-by-step process in which a consumer makes a purchasing decision.
- The first step is the stimuli. A consumer is introduced to a product, service or brand through a stimulus such as a magazine ad, television commercial or some other passive form of advertising. The second step is the Zero Moment of Truth, or ZMOT. This step includes active research on behalf of the consumer, in which they will visit 10.7 places, on average, online to learn more about the product, service or brand.
- The last step is the First Moment of Truth, or FMOT. This step is the first real exposure to the product, service or brand through experiencing it in person or having a conversation with a representative of the brand.
From a legal marketing standpoint, you need to be firing on all cylinders in order to differentiate yourself within your market. So, when John Corey, who is the president and co-founder of the marketing and communications firm, Greentarget, recently traveled around the country to speak with law firms about content marketing, he found that more and more firms were becoming early adopters of this strategy.
When it comes to digital marketing, the easiest route for visibility for law firms is through Google Adwords, though it can be financially draining. When it comes to bidding on keywords, personal injury keywords can run up to $100 per click! Depending on your rate of conversion, it can be easy to lose money if you don’t have your campaign set up effectively. This is why so many law firms are looking for alternative forms of marketing, which would allow them to penetrate their market while reaching a target audience.
The reason content marketing has resonated so closely with law firms is because the evolution of search engine optimization has led them on a yellow-brick path straight to Oz, otherwise known as content marketing. Google is constantly updating its algorithm to best serve its users, and each update points to effective content marketing. It’s certainly not a paint-by-number approach, but it can come naturally if your primary goal is to serve your users in the best way.
Google Hummingbird, a search algorithm update that took place about two years ago, modified the current algorithm to focus more on what’s called semantic search. Danny Sullivan, co-founder of Search Engine Land, talks about the driving force of semantic search:
"Google said that Hummingbird is paying more attention to each word in a query, ensuring that the whole query — the whole sentence or conversation or meaning — is taken into account."
The goal of this update is to make interactions with Google more human and intuitive by allowing it to be capable of understanding the relationships between concepts and keywords. This very advancement in the search engine is what makes content marketing so valuable to people who want their brand to be visible when it comes to conversational search queries. By generating content, whether it's a blog, a static page, a video, an infographic, an e-book, a social media post, a newsletter, a case study, or an online presentation, you can find a way to connect with a user who is looking for exactly what you’re talking about.
Now, from a law firm’s perspective, how do you figure out what to people are interested in when it comes to law? This research should actually take very little effort.
Think about what type of questions your clients ask.
Think about what type of inquiries potential clients have when they call into your firm for the first time.
Think about the potential qualifiers you want to see out of a client.
Think about what information you wish could be communicated to your clients prior to particular meetings.
After you generate your content, distribution is the next step. Find out where those 10.7 places are that your audience is looking for this information at, and make sure you’re sharing your content in those places and monitoring the results.
There are several areas to mine this gold, and it’s all based off of human interaction. By generating the content that is useful to your audience, you will generate traffic to your website and leads without putting the thousands of dollars into Google Adwords or paying a SEO company to add all of those unnecessary h1 and alt tags throughout your website.
Don’t be one of the late adopters of the marketing strategy that is effective from the perspective of both cost and lead generation. Embrace content marketing today.