Law Firm Marketing – Viral Marketing

Michael CarabashPart of your law firm search engine optimization strategy will undoubtedly involve identifying and targeting a viral market. What is a viral market, you ask? Simple: an initial market that will take your product, service, or idea into the mainstream (where all the money is going to be made). A viral market, much like a virus, spreads the word for you. They are the market that the hesitant mainstreamers will look to before embarking on a new idea. Here are a few examples of how viral markets helped make Internet websites and companies become what they are today:

Facebook: Facebook is a social media website where people can post information, pictures, videos, and updates about themselves on their own personal page and interact with others that join their network. Membership was initially limited to Harvard students but was expanded to other colleges in the Ivy League. It later expanded further to include any university student, then high school students, and, finally, to anyone aged 13 and over.

Yahoo!: Search engine giant Yahoo! started as a student hobby in a campus trailer as a way for the founders to keep track of their personal interests on the Internet. Before long, hundreds of people were accessing their guide from well beyond their Stanford trailer. Word spread from friends to what quickly became a significant, loyal audience throughout the closely-knit Internet community.

Criagslist: Craigslist is a very popular free (for the most part) classifieds website. Most of the early postings were submitted by founder Craig Newmark and were notices of social events of interest to software and Internet developers living and working in San Francisco. This quickly developed to include free classified posting on everything imaginable.

eBay: this website started out as a place where collectibles and antiques could be bought and sold by traders. This ultimately turned into a marketplace where all sorts of products could be bought.

So what can you learn from this? Simple: to spread the word that you are the best at “X” in your industry, you need to focus on a target market that is going to take you to the next step – namely, to help you penetrate the mainstream market.

Say, for example, you’re a Toronto personal injury lawyer. Your target market may include, for example, those persons who have been injured in a car accident. To reach out to them, you’ll need to target those “go-to” people who could recommend your services to those injury victims – for example, doctors or tow truck drivers or police officers or people in the insurance industry. If, for example, doctors are that group that your target market will listen to for advice and spread the word about your services, then you need to target and incentivize them to do so. This is where your strategy begins to take shape.

With respect to your online marketing presence, if you’re targeting doctors, then you’ll need to do things like offer good quality content about things that doctors want to read about, be linked to websites that doctors visit, promote yourself and your brand as one that caters to doctors, and do off-line promotional activities (e.g. conferences, seminars, lunch meetings, etc.) with doctors to help them spread the word about your law firm’s legal services.

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