Is Your Law Firm Ready for Digital Natives?

Younger consumers, especially those under the age of 35, have grown up in a world in which digital technology is ubiquitous. Also called “millennials,” this is a generation that sleeps with their smartphones and multitasks so much they don’t even realize they’re doing it: texting friends, downloading music, uploading videos, watching a movie on a phone or tablet, and posting on Facebook and Instagram and Vine and Twitter and more.

Digital immigrants, on the other hand, are those older than 35. They have a lesser degree of digital fluency as a result of being introduced to technology at a later age. While digital immigrants understand social media, smartphones, tablets, and wearable devices, and can also be avid users, their immersion is learned rather than innate.

Each of these consumers has distinctive behavior patterns when it comes to using digital technology, from devices and social networks to the Internet and apps. This influences all types of activities: how they shop, connect with friends and family, watch videos, do their banking and even choose a doctor, a real estate agent, or an attorney. According to a recent report, U.S. consumers between the ages of 18-36 check their smartphones an average of 43 times a day.

While the average baby boomer client doesn’t want to create a will or trust online or do research on how to incorporate a business, younger clients prefer it. These young people are moving into the world of work, getting married, and starting families. They are soon to become the typical legal consumers. They are used to conducting their business on the Internet and that’s also how they’ll choose their legal services.

Connecting with Digital Natives

In the coming years, more and more of your prospects and clients will be digital natives. They operate in a completely new way, purchasing goods and consuming media, advertisements, and Word-of-Mouth recommendations differently from other groups. There are four ways you can differentiate your firm, engage with these savvy, on-the-go prospects, and build your business.

1. Upgrade your website.

If you haven’t touched your website in years, it’s time to upgrade. A recent Google survey of mobile users found that 72 percent say it’s important to them that websites are mobile-friendly, yet 96 percent have visited a site that doesn’t work well on their device.

Websites that aren’t mobile-friendly annoy visitors and that’s bad business. For this reason, it’s critical to have a “mobile responsive” site. A mobile responsive site is one that loads quickly, fits on a small screen, has a clean and efficient design, offers information in just one or two clicks, and has big, finger-friendly buttons.

It’s equally important to have a website that looks up-to-date, offers useful information and reviews, is easy to navigate, and is integrated with social media. Upgrading your site will also help you have a stronger online presence and achieve good rankings in the search engine results.

2. Gather ratings and reviews.

Digital natives like to read – and write – reviews. Ninety-five percent of millennials say the most credible source for product information is their friends, while they also trust parents and online experts. This group wants to know what their peers think and are comfortable sharing personal details on public sites.

Clients who share or write about your firm can be its greatest resource, generating leads and new business. Give them opportunities to post reviews and generate word of mouth. Make sure that reviews are easy to find and share.

3. Offer good content.

High-quality websites contain relevant, well-written, unique content that offers genuine value to visitors and prospective clients. It is also critical that this high quality content is aligned with the terms that your prospects use to search for your firm’s services.

Publishing content that is meaningful to your prospects and clients and updating it regularly will improve your visibility in the highly competitive search engine market. For some ideas about adding good content to your site, see my article “You’ve Earned Your Rank, Now Keep it!”.

4. Make it social.

One recent report showed that 86% of millennials regularly use social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Social media is a great way to broadcast good news about your firm and it can encourage your clients to share and promote your services.

Adding a blog, ratings and reviews, or links to your Twitter feed increases your website’s currency and is a great way to generate original, relevant content that search engines look for and that digital natives crave.

The Future of Online Marketing

The wave of digital natives is causing a revolution for all types of products and services, including legal services. Successful firms will connect with millennials by offering great content, presented on a well built interactive website, that is easy to find and view on a mobile phone.