By Jon Quick
You might be missing more than one-quarter of the population in marketing your law firm. I am talking about missing the millennials.
Unless you’re really in step with the times, this group of young adults may not be hearing or seeing your message. You could be losing a lot of potential clients, now and down the line.
Millennials have surpassed baby boomers as the nation’s largest living generation. Millennials, defined in 2015 as those ages 19-35, number 75.4 million, surpassing the 74.9 million baby boomers (ages 51-69). Generation X (ages 35-50) is projected to pass the boomers in population by 2028, according to a Pew Research Center study analyzing data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Millennials are also known as the Net Generation as they were the first to grow up in the digital age. Nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults own a smartphone, and the millennials are likelier to be “smartphone-dependent.”
If you want more proof, do some Google searches on how millennials use the media. They probably never watch TV or listen to the radio in traditional ways. They don’t read newspapers or magazines in the way their parents did when they were young. Certainly they don’t use the printed Yellow Pages. I have worked with one firm that was spending six figures a year on the Yellow Pages. They just have a free listing now. With the money they saved, they have produced one of the best law firm web sites I have seen and had money left over to buy some traditional media to drive people to it.
Everything millennials want, they want now and on-demand and on their own time schedule. Their tools for consumption are their smartphones and their tablets, plus newer devices that seem to be coming out every day. Half of millennials say they couldn’t live without their smartphones (and related devices).
Smart radio operators are relying more on distribution through apps and streaming and, like DVR and on-demand for TVs, more radio is now on demand through podcasts, for instance. Content today must be mobile-friendly and always available to meet millennials’ needs. NBC, ABC, CBS and FOX are now competing with new companies such as Netflix, Hulu and Sling TV that offer on-demand, on-the-go programming. It’s mind-boggling to keep up with the rapidity of it all. Even Twitter, You Tube and Facebook have increasing competition. One of them is Snapchat, with the millennials contributing heavily to its 100 million daily active users.
What does this mean for today’s law firms? The answer is similar to what other businesses have done. Get in step with the digital age.
I can hear you asking, “Why should I care so much about reaching 18 to 35-year-olds? Most of my clients are older than that.” You should care because these 18 to 35-year-olds are getting older every day. When they are in their 40s, they will still be used to a digital-only world. They could be your clients now if your message is on a platform they consume — and certainly they could be yours in the future if you act now.
Even your older clients who may be more in your target group also have entered the digital world. You want to be there. Almost 50 percent of Facebook users are over 40. Here are more takeaways:
Most people today search for a business online through a search engine such as Google, usually using a mobile device.
You need to have a web site that looks good and functions well on a mobile phone, and the web site must keep evolving. Consider it your integral marketing platform. Ideally, you should blog frequently. Place the posts on your web site and social media to draw people to you. Your web site should be the hub of your marketing efforts.
Consider investing in video on the site. People look at sites with video longer and more often. There are ways to produce it affordably these days.
Changing your web content frequently and having video also will increase your rankings on Google and other search engines. It does no good to have a great web site and when people search for someone in your practice area, your firm doesn’t come up until page 10. Nobody looks that long. Spend a few extra bucks and work with an expert who will help optimize your rankings. Getting listed on page one or two in search engine results will pay off in huge ways.
Get active on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Consider the other social media sites out there as well. You can potentially reach billions of people around the world and there are ways to target exactly the people you are looking for.
I work with several attorneys who have good success with beautifully designed monthly direct mail template-based e-newsletters using Constant Contact or Mail Chimp. Both are very inexpensive and user-friendly. You just need a permission-based email list so you are not reported for sending spam.
If you want to thrive and grow, you cannot ignore getting out there through the world of digital delivery. Don’t have the time? Hire a millennial to do it. Better yet, hire a millennial to join your firm as your next attorney or paralegal. They’ve grown up with this stuff that is like a foreign language to many of us. You’ll profit from the new perspective — and the new clients — they’ll bring in.•
Jon Quick is the president and founder of Carmel-based QPR & Marketing. With more than 25 years’ experience in media, Quick is a former manager with CBS and Emmis Communications. He can be reached at 317-432-0309 or by email via QPRmarketing.com. Data in this column came from Pew Research Center, U.S. Census Bureau and Statista. The opinions expressed are those of the author.