The ABA Journal recently published an article “Folks Still Find Lawyers the Old-Fashioned Way.” The article featured a study finding only 7% of participants go online as their primary way to find a lawyer. But rather than letting this article frustrate you, look at what is going on behind the scenes. You will find that blogging does add value to your marketing efforts.
Consider the Sample
The ABA’s survey questioned “1,004 adults 18 or older via landline telephone calls.” Only about 40% of young adults have landline telephones. A Centers for Disease Control survey in December 2012 found:
[M]ore than one-third of American homes (35.8 percent) had only wireless telephones during the first half of 2012 while 15.9 percent of all households had both landline and wireless telephones but received all or almost all calls on the wireless phones. This means 51.7 percent of U.S. homes don’t have or didn’t use their landlines in the first half of 2012.
In the ABA’s study, 18-24 year olds were twice as likely to primarily go online, so the fact that most young adults are unplugged means their representation was probably skewed low and online marketing is reaching far more than the 7% polled.
People Go Online to Validate Referrals
The ABA survey found that most of those questioned turn to family, friends or colleagues for a referral. There is no question that referral marketing is an important part of any lawyer’s advertising efforts.
But because the survey asked about “the primary way you would find [a lawyer]” the responses don’t give a complete picture. People today are far more likely to be informed shoppers. They may have gotten the initial referral from a family member, but 76% of potential clients go online at some point in the process of finding a lawyer. By limiting its questioning to the primary source, the ABA survey downplayed the importance of a strong web presence to today’s consumers.
Blogging Leads to Trusted Source Referrals
Even when potential clients don’t check you out online before they call, your blog may very well have played a role in their decision. That is because your blog is also a great way to reach out to referral partners. In his response to the ABA study, Kevin O’Keefe gave a great example:
This morning on the ferry the CEO of a good sized web development company asked me for the name of a good lawyer in a niche area of the law. I gave him the name of a lawyer I have come to know first though her blogging and then in person. She was the real deal and someone who could help him or could refer him to someone who could.
Your blog’s influence doesn’t just reach your readers. Instead it plants a seed in the minds of your referral partners that they will pass on to potential clients they encounter.
So when you read articles that disparage online marketing, remember the real value of your blog: as a direct resource, by providing credibility to savvy shoppers, and by building your rapport with referral partners. If you need help creating your blog, contact blogging coach and ghost-writer Lisa Schmidt.