If you're not yet doing behavioral targeting for your law firm, you're already missing out on the most exciting new trend for finding clients with pinpoint accuracy. Behavioral targeting advertising budgets are still low at just 2 percent, but you should consider increasing your firm's investment in this marketing method. Keep reading this guide to find out how behavioral targeting is creating a personalized web and why the most forward-thinking marketers are using it on a daily basis.
Why is Behavioral Targeting the Biggest New Trend in Marketing?
Currently, conventional wisdom holds that most businesses are drastically under spending on their behavioral targeting advertising. Demographic data, which is the most common way to target customers, has some major flaws. Many people aren't easy to reduce to their demographics: what about the people who are 40 but act (and buy) like they're 20? What about women who have more stereotypically male interests? These people often get overlooked by demographically targeted marketing efforts.
For lawyers, demographics are an even worse way to target. Even if you know what demographics your clients are most likely to come from, a relatively small number of people will have a legal issue at any given time. You're going to be showing your ad to huge numbers of people for whom it will be completely irrelevant. That's wasted effort and wasted money.
Usually, when people have a legal concern or issue, they behave differently. That's why behavioral targeting advertising works particularly well for law firms. Behavioral targeting is becoming more sophisticated every day, and it's already becoming more possible to determine when major life events are happening to people just based on what they're browsing and shopping for.
Privacy Concerns with Behavioral Targeting Advertising
Not everyone is a fan of behavioral targeting. Some privacy watchdog groups have criticized the practice, saying that it is invasive and uses customers' data in ways they would be uncomfortable with.
Target made the news last year after its offline behavioral targeting advertising program delivered a flyer full of pregnancy items to a teenage girl's address. After her father complained to the company, he ended up even more shocked when his daughter confessed that she was actually pregnant and that the company had correctly guessed her situation based on her buying patterns.
For attorneys, the need to keep behavioral targeting from looking like stalking is even more important. As a professional with ethical guidelines from a professional association, every attorney in your firm needs to respect client privacy. As behavioral targeting advertising becomes more common, you're going to need to ask yourself how far you're willing to go in pursuit of great targeting opportunities.
Before you use any new method for behavioral targeting, it's never a bad idea to consult with your bar association. They can often give you guidance about your behavioral targeting advertising so that you don't unwittingly cross any ethical lines.
Methods for Behavioral Targeting Advertising
There are several different ways to track people's behavior for behavioral targeting. If you want to base your behavioral targeting advertising campaign exclusively on how people act on your website, you can use what is called onsite behavioral targeting. This means that you'll track the exact patterns of behavior from each of your website visitors, analyzing them to decide what kind of advertising they'll see.
How can this help your law firm? Let's say someone visited your law firm's website earlier today but ended up getting distracted and doing a few other web searches first. Instead of losing that potential client for good, remarketing behavioral targeting identifies these visitors and targets them for an advertisement for your firm when they're using another website or a search engine. This can help to refresh their memory and get them back where you want them—looking at your content.
Many companies also use advertising networks to help them get the data they need about their site visitors. Network behavioral targeting looks at someone's behavior across a wide variety of websites. Because you get more data doing this, you'll be able to come to some better conclusions about their needs. However, it can also be hard to interpret this data for some consumers, and this kind of continuous tracking can create additional privacy concerns.
Using Behavioral Targeting Advertising for Conversions
One form of behavioral targeting you may have already seen happens if you've been lingering a while on a web page for a law firm or another business. After you've been looking at a page for some time, you may see a live help window or a contact window open up in case you have any further questions from looking at the website.
This kind of behavioral targeting advertising can help to keep potential clients using your website and calling your firm. However, you should use some caution if you decide to use this kind of behavioral targeting. If your behavioral targeting advertising comes up too quickly, it can be regarded as a nuisance rather than a help and is likely to be ignored.
The Personal Web: The Future of Behavioral Targeting Advertising
The end goal of behavioral targeting is to have websites that behave in fundamentally different ways for visitors who are taking a different path through the website. Currently, behavioral targeting advertising is being used primarily by retailers, but other businesses are quickly getting on board. There has been a significant uptick in behavioral targeting spending, and it is expected to double by the end of 2014.
Imagine the possibilities, especially if your law firm has several different focus areas. Instead of trying to make your website fit all the possible clients you could get, you can just create different paths for each type of client. Instead of just making a targeted landing page, your whole website could respond to the kind of interaction someone has with that landing page.
The possibilities for behavioral targeting advertising in the future are amazing—you'll want to get started with it as soon as possible if you want to get there before your biggest competitors.