Monday, March 25, 2013

How to Reach Your Target Prospects and be Recognized as an Opinion Leader

Much has been written about blogs, social media and how it is critical that you maintain a high online profile by regularly generating fresh content. All this is true. Consistency is important.

All that being said however, the internet is awash with content that has been regenerated and replicated a couple of thousand times, as well as with superfluous musings that have little if anything to do with the subject your followers are interested in. Although there’s room on the internet for everyone, that doesn’t mean its space should be taken for granted. If interacting with the online community is important to your practice – and it should be, then use your online pulpit to talk about something that matters.

The key to being recognized as an opinion leader is to have an opinion. Don’t rely on canned articles.  Remember, the internet is an international medium. If the article is canned, your prospect has probably read the piece on another source. 

Instead, provide your insight and opinion on the topic.  Share your thoughts on the new legislation about to be passed, explain why reallocating assets might be in order given a new tax code, detail what to do if a spouse left the state with a “joint custody” child in tow, or state your opinion on the effectiveness of the new legal software that may have just been launched.  Regardless of the topic, give your reader something.

Because when you do… when you provide something to think about, mull over, agree or disagree with, something absolutely terrific happens. You earn the respect of your readers for your experience, your opinion and your insight. And when that happens you gain clients. Because people want to work with an attorney who is knowledgeable and who has already given something valuable. In other words, you’ve reduced the perceived risk of hiring you.

So now you’re probably a bit intimidated about the need to create original content and post on a consistent basis.

The solution is simple. Keep your posts to a narrow topic. You are not writing a legal brief. A few paragraphs on a single topic will more likely be read than a comprehensive legal treatise. Pay closest attention to the headline. It’s the hook that entices the reader to read on. Make it intriguing. Leave a little mystery.  Before you know it, you may just have a loyal following looking to you to stay informed.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Most Boring, Though Critical, But Often Overlooked Part of the Legal Marketing Process

One of the most overlooked parts of the legal marketing process is also its simplest – the creation and utilization of new client intake. In all the years that we have worked with law firm clients of all sizes, it still baffles me that some law firms still show a reluctance to obtain the kind of data that can help them make important decisions.

While most law firms may know their click-through rates, directory page rankings and how much new revenue came in at any given time,  many still do not know whether those clicks turned into leads that turned into clients; whether the efforts at high page ranking were worth the time and money; or which marketing/business activities spurred that new revenue.

The new client intake form is critical if firm management wishes to know whether different parts of the firm’s business-building efforts are working and to what degree. Besides the obvious name, phone number, address data that will be collected, law firms should probe to get a deeper understanding as to how and why prospects came to them.  Where did the prospect learn about the firm? Was it from more than one source? Was a referral involved?  Did they take the time to visit the firm’s site? What message resonated with them? All of these questions are vital if the firm is serious about making better marketing-related decisions in the future.

I believe that law practices often initiate their marketing efforts with good intentions, but then fail to commit to tracking the results of these programs. Even when such information is available, there is often a reluctance to examine what the data is actually conveying. For example a pay-per-click campaign may have netted 5 new clients and $60,000 in revenue, but what good is that if the campaign itself cost $100,000? Similarly, how efficient is being ranked number one on Google if the efforts are not just justified by the revenue generated?  Conversely, might certain business building initiatives be serving a worthwhile purpose even if they are not “paying out” immediately? Is that new firm brochure really a waste of firm money, simply because none of the new clients mentioned it during intake?

Law practices should take a page out of the playbook of businesses that manufacture or sell products. Most have a pretty good idea as to how their marketing programs are doing. Similarly, it’s important that law practices create processes that offer measures of accountability.