Perhaps she’s grouchy because she hasn’t had any trips to Custom Legal Marketing’s office this year. Or maybe it’s because she hasn’t been able to enjoy the unchaperoned freedom of barking at every person that drives by, walks by, or looks at her house. Whatever the reason, this year’s candid photo of Maple, our 13-year-old dingo and 2017 Bigger Law Firm Magazine Covergirl encapsulates how many of us feel about this year.
As we usher in a New Year and say goodbye to 2020, the year that nobody will miss, we’re going to look at the upsides as we gleefully await its sunset.
Necessity is the mother of invention and with the jolt of a pandemic, invention was certainly needed. Fortunately, most law firms stepped up to the challenge.
Teaching Old Lawyers New Tricks
Many of CLM’s long-established law firms have reported upgrading their infrastructure and improving their case management systems this year. Even when masks and Zoom parties are a distant memory, these investments are going to ensure these firms are ready for the future. Whether that’s enabling better virtual communication with clients or convincing those attorneys who love their paper calendars to make the switch to an online scheduling system, the value of these upgrades will be realized well into the future.
Big Law Adapts
In September, Law.com reported on several big firms that have adapted to a remote workforce. GrayRobinson implemented touchless questionnaires. Greenberg Traurig launched an app for their team members to be able to report possible COVID-19 contact. And Carlton Fields plans to indefinitely keep 75% of their workforce remote.
Google My Business Adapts
As the dust from the first shutdown settled, Google released some new features to help businesses adapt. Among those were the “Online Appointments” tag which rolled out in June. Even as life roars back to normal at some point in 2021, most law firms we talked to plan on continuing to provide virtual meetings and sees this as a way to expand their reach into markets that would otherwise be prohibitive due to travel.
Google Launches Google Local Service Ads
Over the Summer, Google Launched its long-awaited Local Service Ads product. This “Pay-Per-Lead” platform puts ads above the traditional Pay-Per-Click ads on certain search results. The product was launched two years ago for household contractors (plumbers, electricians, and similar services) but after much anticipation, Google finally opened access to lawyers in key markets.
The platform has a lot of growing up to do and some of our larger accounts have been frustrated by its limited integrations that make automated placement in lead management and case management systems nearly impossible. But for those attorneys in larger markets, Google Local Service Ads have delivered leads at a cost-per-conversion that is competitive with the PPC cost-per-leads.
It may not be a good fit for every firm right now but we’re optimistic about what it can become in 2021 and our team is already developing strategies that can improve the performance of LSA ads.
Google Web Stories
After a long time in beta, Google released its Google Web Stories platform for WordPress. Our team of SEO experts and designers quickly jumped on board and now CLM’s clients are some of the first law firms in the country to have active Google Web Stories generating traffic. You can see some examples of how law firms are using Google Web Stories.
We’re planning on investing heavily in this platform and making it a key part of our SEO strategy as well as our conversion strategy for 2021.
Mobile Goes Mainstream for Lawyers
Law firms have lagged behind internet trends at large regarding the percentage of traffic that comes from mobile devices. That all changed this year as many of our firms in multiple practice areas saw their percentage share of mobile traffic increase 30-60%.
In March 2021, content that is only visible for desktop users will no longer be indexed in Google Search. This begins the era of “Mobile-Only Indexing” and CLM is far ahead of the competition in making sure our firms are ready for the transition.
2020 wasn’t all bad… but we’re not going to miss it. Let us know how we can help your firm make 2021 so great you will forget 2020 ever happened.
Cheers to a New Year!
Jason Bland & everyone at CLM