Time for your firm to take the mobile plunge?

by Nancy Slome on October 24, 2012

In typical fashion, mobile computing is yet another area where law firm marketing trails how corporate America goes to market. As of last week, only 28% of AmLaw 100 firms offered a mobile-enabled version of their website. The Interactive Advertising Bureau conducted a study during the summer and reported 55% of the Fortune 500 now have a mobile-optimized website.

As a legal marketer, why should you care about these statistics?
For starters, in 2012, mobile phone sales surpassed the number of PCs sold, and tablet sales are increasing exponentially: Gartner predicts 99 million iPads will be sold worldwide by the end of 2013, and nearly 170 million iPads will be in use by 2016.

Earlier this month, Kevin O’Keefe wrote on his blog, “For law firms, your target audience is even more apt to have a tablet or smartphone. For corporate clients, the percentage using mobile is going to be high.”

How critical is a mobile site for law firms now?
My quick and admittedly unscientific sampling of seven LMA colleagues’ firms (mostly AmLaw 200) revealed some very interesting stats:

  • Mobile users represent 8-21% of their firms’ total Web visitors, and these numbers are up significantly over the same period last year.
  • In nearly every case, 50% used smartphones (iPhones, Android and a few others) and the other half used tablets (iPad, Kindle and a few with Nook devices).
  • The most compelling stat: For all seven firms, the time spent on the mobile-enabled version was nearly equal to time spent on the main (desktop) version.

But a Google study conducted this summer revealed “… [Web] users are five times more likely to abandon the task they are trying to complete if the site isn’t optimized for mobile use, with 79 percent saying they will go back to search and try to find another site to meet their needs.”

So what are your options?

Take a wait-and-see approach and let the other firms figure it out. Meanwhile, visitors may be looking at a site that covers only half of the mobile screen. (See graphic above.)

Include a mobile-enabled site in your 2013 BD/Marketing budget. The good news for law firms is that unlike a major website redesign, a mobile version is not difficult or terribly expensive to implement. Most Web companies that focus on the legal market have a mobile-enabled product for their clients’ sites. But if your site was developed in-house, your IT group probably knows of the low-cost options available from Google and several other vendors. You can read more about what your colleagues are doing with mobile sites on the LMA Connect area of the LMA website.

A couple quick tips to consider during design

Take advantage of the “Call to Action” already built in to a smartphone. It’s okay to include a ‘click to call’ or ‘call us’ button to make it easier for your clients and prospects to contact your attorneys!

Keep it simple. If it’s a pared-down version of your main site that you’re offering, select the areas your visitors want to access. For most firms, the top three areas accessed are lawyers’ bios, office addresses/phone numbers, and practice descriptions – in that order. If your traffic stats show users are visiting via tablet devices, make sure the PDF copies of your lawyers’ client bulletins and practice area newsletters are also available.

Which law firms have a mobile-enabled site?
Arnold & Porter – #48 on the AmLaw 100 list has a very good mobile-enabled site (see graphic below), yet #2 DLA Piper (above), does not yet offer one. Click here to see the full results of my survey.

Resources
Search Engine Watch: “72% of Consumers Want Mobile-Friendly Sites: Google Research

Law Firm Mobile: “Should Law Firms’ Mobile Strategy Focus Only On Mobile Compatible Web Sites?”

Kevin O’Keefe – Real Lawyers Have Blogs: “Explosion in mobile audiences and what it means for law firms”

IAB.net: “IAB Unveils ‘Tap into Mobile’ to Help Business Maximize Digital Impact in the Mobile Age”

 

Nancy Slome is a principal and marketing consultant at One to One Interactive. Her firm provides practical online strategies and solutions for law firms. You can reach her at nancy@1to1interactive.net and follow her at @nancyslome.

 

 

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