Content sharing – the smarter way to build business

Posted by Joe Reevy, managing director of Legal Futures Associate Best Practice Online

Professionals should work together for their mutual benefit

What would you call a person who knows a couple of thousand local people and businesses that would make great clients for your firm and who are not?

You probably call them ‘my accountant’, or maybe the chamber of commerce, or the local estate agents, the secondary school. All of these will have contacts with hundreds or thousands of people who could be clients for your firm and who are not – and they are local.

Incidentally, this works equally well in non-local niche markets, so if you substitute ‘niche’ for ‘local’ as appropriate below, the arguments work just as well.

More than 85% of all Google searches for legal services have a local tag. People want advice delivered locally.

Most firms could quadruple the size of their businesses, without having to gain new clients more than 30 minutes travel time from their offices.

This is how.

Firstly, you should recognise that you have things of value for their contacts: content

The clients of accountants will be interested in employment law and, indeed anything to do with business… ditto the chamber of commerce. The contacts of those dealing with property professionals are interested in property issues and so on.

You have brand value – you are known and respected in your community. Your pronouncements have a lot more weight than newspaper comment and so on.

Your business contacts would like to be able to get in front of your contacts as well! Offering them access is valuable to them also. If you have content relevant to these local constituencies, a whole raft of marketing opportunities opens up.

Go to your contacts and offer them web content for their websites in exchange for them giving you content for yours. This will make both sites more compelling and (crucially) will mean that over time each of your messages is put in front of large numbers of people who otherwise wouldn’t see them AND in an ‘authoritative’, not a ‘sales’ context (such as an advertisement) and will show you as a thought leader/commentator, not just touting for business.

The maths is simple. Say you content share with an accounting firm with 2,000 clients, of whom 10% are common at the outset. That means they have 1,800 clients (and goodness knows how many contacts) who do not use your firm. Say, in any month 10 % of these clients access their website and see your legal update. That’s 180 people.

What do they see? Something interesting and useful, contributed by a firm that is local to them. More important, however, is the implicit seal of approval from a firm with whom they have an existing trusting relationship.

If just 5% of these make contact with you, that is 2 well qualified (they are local, coming as a result of something they have seen that is relevant to them, they see you are trusted by a source they trust and so on) approaches per week.

Of course, similar maths will apply to the visitors to their website who are not clients.

This approach contrasts with SEO based approaches in several ways. Firstly, it concentrates on local and trusting relationships. This means that though it won’t lead to massive increases in the number of people visiting your website, those that do will be much better ‘qualified’ and much closer to making the decision to do business with you.

The time wasted in sifting through the inappropriate contacts which can result from web searches is saved. Our clients routinely report that the contacts they receive are of much better quality than previously

Secondly, unlike SEO, it does not require continuous substantial investment. It is a ‘set it up and leave it’ approach. Each participant benefits indirectly form the other’s marketing and promotional activity.

All the technology needed is built and is simple to use and easy to deploy. You could do it tomorrow.

So, why not phone a few people and ask them out for lunch? Tell them what you can do to help them expand their influence and build their client base in their local market and how you can help one another grow and save time and money on your marketing.

    Readers Comments

  • We approached large numbers of firms with a similar collaborative (law + accountancy + chamber + etc) approach in 2010 and were surprised at the complete lack on interest in it.

    Put simply, firms did want to be seen to be “only working with particular firms of accountants” etc. Ditto the chambers and accountants.

    This even applied to reciprocal links.

    That said, things are changing very quickly in this market and the case that you just put forward is a compelling one.

  • Joe Reevy says:

    Our clients who do this are doing extremely well!

    A lot changes in 4 years.

    Our (200+) law firm clients tell us content sharing (which, is in effect, free), and targeted, content managed enewsletters massively outperform other marketing methods used on the web.

    We have a new offering for chambers being worked up now, which we’re sure will produce excellent results for them. Watch this space.

  • Joe Reevy says:

    The same argument applies to niches and communication methods by the way.

    Foe example, we have given our platform to Manchester Law Society which they’ll use for sending Enewsletters (targeted and general) , mobile sites (there’s one for their committee and one for the student members built now) and web content. management (The content management is all automated, as is the social networking). Our system also allows them to sell branding on their communications so they’ll make a good return.

    In return we get:
    presence on their website
    Co-branding of the mobile sites
    co-branding of the Enewsletters.

    We won’t be doing any paid marketing in the NW!

    If YOUR local law soc would like a similar arrangement, get in touch!

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