Legal marketing case study: Irwin Mitchell combines DR advertising, online promotion and brand buildingPosted on: December 20, 2013
The following legal marketing case study appeared as part of the Marvellous Marketing series I write for Legal Technology Insider:
I first became involved in the personal injury market in the 1990s through working with APIL. Since then this market – perhaps more than any other area of law – has been through significant change and has generated a lot of (mostly) negative PR. Many firms have wasted money trying to generate or “buy” leads and a lot have dispensed with their personal injury departments altogether when it proved so difficult to generate a steady flow of profitable work.
So I was delighted when Ian Powell, Business Development & Communications Director at Irwin Mitchell – one of the UK’s largest national law firms and a market leader within the personal injury market – agreed to tell me about its strategic and integrated multi-channel PI advertising campaigns.
“We first began to explore the opportunities that the web offered in creating a ‘direct’ capture or DR channel more than ten years ago when we began to understand that the web offered the potential to be much more than a simple ‘online brochure’ for the firm. It became apparent – by studying buyer behaviour in mainstream consumer markets – that our clients were comfortable using this emerging channel for personal shopping, banking, finance and insurance services and that legal services would go the same way. The demand for services to be available when the public wanted them, often on a 24/7 basis blew away the notion that lawyers could expect clients to stick to office hours and the intranet offered a channel to deliver our services right into the homes of clients at a time which suited them.
From this notion, we have developed and defined our strategy. Building on our early success, we have invested significantly in our on-line capabilities over the last 5 years, building a strong in-house specialist team to manage our e-business strategy. Today, the web is one of our most effective direct channels while also creating an effective portal through which we can engage with our clients.
Our in-house e-business team consists of over a dozen specialists from web development and front end web designers, to SEO and promotional experts, planners and data analysts as well as account management teams who provide an interface between the e-bus team and the business.
The strategy is defined into three core areas:
1. Online promotion and lead generation
2. Adding value to clients through online services (client engagement and creating loyalty)
3. Transacting business on line
Such is the success of our on-line offerings that, at present, a significant proportion of our personal injury business flows through www.irwinmitchell.com, whether that is due to the client looking for reassurance, confirmation, seeking contact details or to initiate a telephone call or email enquiry”.
Analytics – measuring success of our campaigns
All marketing and promotional campaigns should be able to be measured. However in many sectors, and especially law, the ability to measure the ROI from marketing and advertising expenditure remains the Holy Grail! However our e-business ‘direct’ operation is measureable and transparent. Through a variety of on-line tracking tools, we know exactly how many hits, visits, click throughs and enquiries we receive. As a result, we are able to calculate the CPE (Cost Per Enquiry) and CPA (Cost Per Acceptance) for different types and value of cases we receive.
A new dynamic content management system (CMS) called SiteCore has ensured that we remain at the forefront of legal on-line activity. Indeed, our approach is to look at how we can mirror leading retail online operations rather than the approach of traditional law firms. Today we are able to make changes very quickly in response to market developments and new opportunities. It also allows us to implement ongoing AB split testing – a test in a ‘live environment’ that enables us to measure the impact of making small changes to a specific page.
This approach allows us to measure the different response rates and how clients react to a change (such as tweaking the position of the click boxes or modifying the message or colours slightly). Such small changes can have a significant impact on the number of enquiries and ensures that are site is consistently evolving – all based on user interaction.
SEO vs PPC
“We use a combination of on-line promotional activities, using a mix of SEO and PPC as well as some banner advertising as they do different jobs. PPC allows us to have an immediate impact with a new development. It’s obviously cheaper to use SEO – although it requires a lot of knowledge and time – but it takes a while for changes to work their way through the search engines. And we keep a close watch over the changes to the way in which search engines rank sites through their algorithms. We monitor our results on a daily basis and make changes as required”.
Combining DR TV, on-line and brand
“Our product led campaign mixed DR TV and radio with on-line promotion as well as making significant use of social media – Twitter, Facebook and other platforms – the aim was to ensure a consistent message was pushed out across all channels, each supporting each other.
Our television adverts are carefully designed to include the firm’s overall brand messages and to distinguish the firm from the many claims management companies or other law firms that ‘hard sell’ PI claims. A conscious decision was taken to balance DR against brand and the focus is very much on the impact of injuries and accidents on the family and the need for rehabilitation.
The word “solicitor” was used to leverage the positive associations of professional, expert and knowledge whilst guarding against possible negative perceptions by stressing the ease of access, openness and approachability of Irwin Mitchell.
And we also ran a public affairs campaign that called for better rehabilitation facilities throughout the country. This was fact based – we showed that improved rehabilitation enabled people to get back to work more quickly – and used a mix of PR tools including used social media to promote it. The theme was supported through including articles and videos of occupational health and rehabilitation specialists as well as doctors and lawyers discussing the benefits of rehabilitation on the campaign brand web pages.
The firm also conducted research into brand awareness and propensity to buy (known as consideration) before and after the campaign. The campaign led to a significant improvement in both as well as increasing awareness of the other private client services that the firm offers”.
Communicating with all stakeholders
“Naturally, before we embarked on the campaign we had to reassure all stakeholders that we would not harm or bias the firm’s brand or reputation with the campaign. So we had a separate engagement campaign which included emails, links to the advertisements and briefings to allay any potential concerns”.
The way forward
Despite the changes in the market – including powerful new entrants – Irwin Mitchell has achieved sustained profitable growth. As well as the significant investment in the online space, Powell believes that the firm’s brand has played a key role in this success.
“Today’s society has consumers who are constantly interacting in a multi-level and multi-platform way. Whether they come to us directly through the online route or it is simply one of the many touch points on their journey we have to ensure that the positioning and messages are consistent throughout, including television, literature, the web site, the public affairs programme, media relations and even what’s happening in our network of offices. It has to be truly integrated”.
COMMENT by Kim Tasso: Whilst the significant resources and investment of Irwin Mitchell may be beyond what most law firms can afford, it is possible for all marketing campaigns to be carefully integrated across communications platforms and supportive of an overall brand strategy. And as the analytics tools are free, every firm can commit time to understanding what is working well (and not so well) for them and make the necessary adjustments to maximise the results.
* Kim Tasso is a management and marketing consultant specialising in the professions, a freelance journalist and author www.kimtasso.com/blog2 Twitter: @RedStarKim
- Delegates’ views of the new course: Inbound Marketing and Social media
- Integrated marketing systems (Web, CRM, ERM etc) – Hubbard One
- Book review: Ark’s “Best Practices in Legal Marketing”
- App development case study – Mills & Reeve lawyers
- Digital PR case study – Brecher Solicitors: from food to law to property blogging
- Case study – Digital PR central part of the mix to build an accountancy niche in fashion
- Partners running e-shot campaigns and an App for events – New products from Concep
- Developing a family law practice – mind shift, focus and pricing
- Legal Marketing Case study - How Thomson Snell & Passmore lawyers grew a new office from scratch
- Book Review: Valuable content marketing by Sonja Jefferson and Sharon Tanton
- Coaching success stories
- Legal Marketing Case study - Withy King's research/media relations campaign
- Pricing in the professions – books for marketers, lawyers and accountants
- Marketing and Business Development
- Social Media
- Selling Skills for the Professions
- Lawyers and the Professions
- Marketing and Advertising
- What is the impact of technology on marketing?
- Legal marketing case study: Focused newsletters at the heart of client relationship and events programmes at Aaron & Partners
- From Jesse J to Einstein - ROI in professional service firm marketing and business development
- Marketing strategy for personal injury lawyers at MASS conference
- Case study: Developing a family law practice at Oxley & Coward solicitors in Yorkshire
- Book review: Rainmakers and Trailblazers – A practical step-by-step guide to effective business development for lawyers showing how their support teams can help
- Marketing education and qualifications
- How do I integrate social media into my business development?
- Legal marketing case studies – Farrer & Co Lexis® Interaction® and Berwin Leighton Paisner Siteimprove web governance suite
- Case study (Law firm marketing) - Mishcon de Reya
- Marketing Information Systems (MkIS) in the professions – An overview
- 10 steps to create a business development campaign
- Project Management in Marketing
- How can a lawyer become more effective at business development?
- Impact of technology on marketing
- How to write a press release
- Current and future trends in web technology
- Up to speed in digital marketing and social media (session summary)
- Client Relationship Management (CRM) for local government lawyers
- Book review - Rainmakers and Trailblazers (Business development for lawyers) by DWF
- Review of law firm strategy and finance (First half 2014)
- Divorce and family statistics
- Video in the marketing mix – Legal video awards and trends for 2015
- Legal Marketing Case Study – Fisher Meredith family law services and so much more
- 101 uses for a dead PI lawyer? Renew, redirect, redundancy, redeploy, respray
- Crisis management - When your web site is hacked…
- Business development for professional service firms – Summary of MBL seminar
- Two book reviews – For “Rainmakers and Trailblazers: Business Development for Lawyers”
- Withers’ double win - A cracking demonstration of superb law firm marketing AND a tour de force on legal pitfalls in social media
- Where do I start? Business Development for Lawyers (MBL Private Client Training July 2015)
- Marketing to the elderly – for lawyers and accountants
- Four insights from developing a private client practice – Analysis, Objectives, Targeting and Internal Communication (June 2016)
- The pricing (and value) of legal services
- Clown fish? Book review of "Rainmakers and Trailblazers: Business Development for Lawyers" by Charles Christian
- Six highlights from CLT’s Business Development for Lawyers training course
- Back to basics – The importance of segmentation and personas
- Book review - Rainmakers and Trailblazers: A step by step guide to Business development for lawyers
- Legal Marketing Case Study – Rix & Kay thought leadership in the later life and care sectors
- What makes a good marketing campaign?
- “Mavericks, measurement and impatience” Campaign management in the professions – highlights from the West Midlands Professional Marketing Forum
- Legal Marketing Technology Case Studies – Highlights from Conscious Solutions “Marketing in a digital world”
- Seven thoughts on private client marketing (June 2015)
- 10 steps to create a business development campaign
- Legal sector consultancy
- What’s Google+ and why should I use it?
- Update on digital marketing and social media in the professions (May 2015)
- Legal Marketing Case Study: "Hot on family law" at Rayden Solicitors
Category: Kim's Blog, Lawyers, Marketing, Social Media, Strategy, Web Sites
Tagged: Advertising, Analysis, Brand, Campaign, Communications, Digital Marketing, Effectiveness, Facebook, Lawyers, Legal Marketing, Marketing, Marketing plan, Measurement, Media Relations, Personal injury, PPC, SEO, Social Media, Strategy, Twitter, Web site